Have you ever thought about hosting a Twitter chat? Many Twitter users, including President Obama, are turning to the platform to engage with other users around a particular topic. If you work in healthcare, this represents a tremendous opportunity to connect both with the local community you serve and the broader community interested in your area of expertise.
In April, HealthONE began their first in a series of monthly Healthy Happy Hour Twitter Chats that take place the last Wednesday of every month from 6-7pm Mountain Time. We highlighted their May chat in another post.
While the idea of conducting your own Twitter chat may seem intimidating, here are a few tips from HealthONE on how to offers these four tips for a successful health Twitter chat:
- Promote outside of your current networks: While interacting with your current fans and followers is important, expanding your audience is key to growing your network and promoting your services. The first Healthy Happy Hour was promoted solely through Twitter and Facebook, but HealthONE is planning to utilize more traditional and social media tactics such as community calendars, news releases and partner outreach on social media to continue to grow the program.
- Engage a larger audience: Limiting chats and conversations to Twitter — or any other single online community — might alienate a large portion of your target audience. Try to host your online chat on different networks to increase and to reach a larger audience. The Healthy Happy Hour is primarily hosted on Twitter but questions and comments are also taken from Facebook and from a direct website using Cover-it-Live. This way, people that aren’t members of any particular social network can still participate.
- Lead the conversation: Prior to the Twitter chat, develop a list of lead-in questions and tips relating to the topic. A successful moderator needs to lead the conversation and encourage feedback from participants, especially during the inevitable times when there are no questions from the audience. For HealthONE’s Healthy Happy Hour chat, the moderator discussed several questions with the physician in advance so that helpful tips and advice could be Tweeted on the fly.
- Engage with Prizes: People love to win even the smallest of prizes. Consider low-cost items like health guides, pens or t-shirts to help engage participants. HealthONE discovered in their first Healthy Happy Hour that if the prize is given to the first person who answers correctly, fewer people participate in the trivia. It is better to enter all correct answers into a drawing and randomly select a winner so participants don’t get disappointed and stop engaging.
The HealthONE Healthy Happy Hour chat is open to anyone [not just people in the Denver metro area] with questions about their health and interested in participating in the discussion. Join them again on June 27 when they’ll discuss pregnancies. More information on Healthy Happy Hour and the full schedule of monthly topics is available on the HealthONE website.