Twitter chats or tweet chats build community says health communications specialist Colleen Young.
In her essay included in Mayo Clinic’s new book “Bringing the Social Media #Revolution to Healthcare,” Young shares her five recommendations on starting a healthcare Twitter chat
What’s your Niche?
There are several noteworthy tweet chats, so its important to know what exactly a new health tweet chat will add to the conversation. A focused discussion is essential as is the knowledge of how much of a time commitment it is, your motivations for creating a Twitter group and what are the best practices in this effort.
Young suggests following chats you like and then asking founders for their advice. That’s what she did for her tweet chat #hcsmca — Healthcare Social Media Canada.
Create community before launching the chat
A robust community is essential for a successful tweet chat, so Young advises to invite people in your network both online and offline to come to the first chat. These people may be vital in helping to generate awareness as well as determine logistical details such as the optimal time and day for the chat.
Create a home base
Young uses her blog as a place to maintain a history of the community, something that Twitter does not do so well, she says. She also uses the blog to introduce a tweet chat or summarize a recently concluded one.
Networking and relationship building is key
Make a list of people who have not participated in your tweet chat but have used the hashtag, and then reach out to them. Invite subject matter experts to attend tweet chats. Connect people with common interests.
Rely on guest moderators to share the load
Moderating and hosting a tweet chat is a time-consuming effort. Feature guest moderators who can take the load off you from the very beginning.