Each month we host a twitter chat called #WEGOHealthChat.
#WEGOHealthChat is a twitter meet up of the WEGO Health Patient Leader Network minds, discussing topics ranging from advocacy goals to becoming a paid consultant to challenges in building communities and everything in between.
Many times we get asked “How do I participate in a #WEGOHealthChat?” or “I’ve never attended one, where do I begin?” And we get it! It can be confusing.
So, don’t worry if you’re lost and don’t know where to start. We’ve got you covered. Here are our top 10 tips for joining in a Twitter chat, like #WEGOHealthChat!
WEGO Health’s Top 10 Tips For Joining A Twitter Chat
1) Identify the Twitter chat hashtag and use it in every tweet
This is one of the most important tips we can give you! (Maybe we should have saved it for last. . . )
With every tweet that you publish, make sure that you include the hashtag associated with the chat. For instance, if you are joining our WEGO Health chat, at the end of every tweet you’d include #WEGOHealthChat.
Below is an example. Notice how she included the #WEGOHealthChat at the end of her tweet. This will ensure that it shows up in the twitter chat stream.
CT: Really learned a lot of great tips today, thank you all! So much wonderful and useful advice #wegohealthchat
— Deeanne (@twistedpsister) March 14, 2017
Remember! You’ll have to factor this hashtag into your 140 character limit. Often times it will take a few tweets for participants to get their whole answer out. Don’t be shy and feel refrained to 1 tweet per question. Use as many as you need.
2) Decide which platform you’ll use
There are many ways for you to participate in a twitter chat. You can follow along on twitter or use one of the many platforms out there.
If you want to follow along on twitter, navigate up to the search bar, type in the hashtag and hit enter. Once the page reloads, you’ll be taken to a summary page. If you click “LATEST” in the menu, you’ll be able to follow along, real time, with the tweets utilizing that hashtag.
If you’d like to explore other platforms, a few suggestions are Tweetdeck, TweetChat, Hootsuite, Twubs or Tchat.io.
There are many ways to follow along during a twitter chat. We’d encourage you to try out different methods and settle on the avenue that works best for you!
3) Introduce yourself and where you’re joining from
At the beginning of the chat, introduce yourself and let everyone know why you’re jumping into the conversation. Maybe you’re a patient leader within the Lupus space and you’re jumping into #LupusChat or perhaps you’re an oncology nurse and patient joining #BCSM. Letting everyone know what you bring to the table can be helpful to spark conversation.
My name is Chris and I have type 1 diabetes and write at https://t.co/N86hweS4sx and VLOG at https://t.co/8jzYxtz7OQ #patientchat
— Chris Stocker (@LifeofaDiabetic) March 31, 2017
4) Follow the number or naming convention for the chat
It’s important to pay attention to the host at the beginning of the chat. They’ll usually lay ground rules and tell you how the chat is structured. Each chat is different!
At WEGO Health, we like to use the Q/A format. The host will publish a question prefixed by Q and the corresponding question number. Example – Q1, Q2, Q3, etc.
Then, we like the respondents to answer with an A and the corresponding number. Example – A1, A2, A3, etc.
Here’s an example:
Q4 –An Advocate SM problem is participation inequality (90% Lurk 9%Participate & 1%Create) How do U avoid social stagnation? #wegohealthchat
— International Pain Foundation® (@powerofpain) March 14, 2017
A4: I post A LOT. constantly. Something I'll share has to resonate w. someone, in some time zone. It creates participation. #wegohealthchat https://t.co/ukEdAGnLEX
— Ashley Boynes-Shuck (@ArthritisAshley) March 14, 2017
5) Don’t be afraid to jump right in and answer
Don’t be shy and to wait for others start – whenever the questions are posted, start typing your answer! Your answer may spark someone else’s creativity and open up a great discussion. Start with what comes to the top of your mind and go from there.
And of course, don’t forget to include the hashtag!
6) Don’t make the #1 Twitter mistake
Want to seem like a twitter chat pro? Don’t make this #1 Twitter mistake! Whenever you reply to an account, and their twitter handle is at the beginning of your tweet, you are replying directly to that account. If you want your tweet to show up in your feed for everyone to see, make sure you place an “.” in front of the @.
Here is an example of a tweet sent by Myeloma Teacher in response to Liza. Because there is no “.” in front of the twitter handle, this tweet is a direct reply to Liza.
Me too ! #bcsm
— @MyelomaTeacher – Cindy Chmielewski (@MyelomaTeacher) April 4, 2017
Here is an example of utilizing an “.” in front of the tweet. Annette was responding to Dee but wanted everyone to see. Therefore, adding an “.” in front of the “@” will ensure that happens.
.@womenofteal Yes, co-design and co-creation is much more useful for the best results. #wegohealthchat
— Annette McKinnon (@anetto) February 14, 2017
7) Be an active engager
“Favorite” tweets that you agree with, retweet great answers or points you want to emphasis and reply to other’s tweets to help drive the discussion. Now that you’re a pro (you know when to use an “.” in the beginning of your tweet!), you can help spark discussion and become an integral part of the chat!
8) Add in related content that applies to the chat
Do you know of resources that would enhance the conversation? Maybe websites, foundations, or other tweeters you know who would love to weight into the topic? Feel free to drop them in the chat! Tag those foundations or friends and share URLs. The more content you can add in the better the chat will be.
Our new blog, 10 Tips for Building Online Health Communities is SUPER relevant to 2day's convo. https://t.co/HYCW2kLpwY #wegohealthchat
— WEGO Health (@wegohealth) March 14, 2017
It’s important to note: A twitter chat isn’t a place to “sell” your product or services. Don’t overtake a conversation by only talking about yourself and your own content. But by all means, feel free to drop in a link to your website or an article you’ve published that goes along with the topic.
9) Help promote the chat!
Re-tweet tweets so your follows can see the highlights of the conversation and give shout outs to those who make great points. Encourage your followers to join in the conversation – even if it’s to just read along. The more participants there are in a chat, the better the discussion will be!
@burtrosen said, "follow me over to #patientchat " So I did. #justkidding pic.twitter.com/1QKFgZHSlN
— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) March 31, 2017
10) Participate, participate, participate!
Try to contribute to the conversation as much as you can. Don’t be afraid of being shy or too eager. Twitter chat hosts love active participants who are respectful and courteous of other tweets. If you like the chat, put it on your calendar and make it a regular occurrence. I know many solid friendships who started from meeting at a twitter chat!
If you’ve never participated in a twitter chat, it can be confusing, but now you’re armed with the basics!
Hope to see you at our next #WEGOHealthChat!
Julie Cerrone is the Patient Leader Network Director at WEGO Health. Working with WEGO Health as a Patient Leader prior to joining the WEGO Health team, Julie wakes up every day motivated to help raise the patient voice. Follow Julie on Twitter, Facebook and on her personal blog.
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