A Twitter Chat Helps Get Your Tweets Noticed

You and your healthcare facility may have some exciting news to share with the outside audience. Maybe it’s a new facility or a wellness seminar with a great speaker.

As a marketing person, you have to get that information out to the masses. One way to do that is via social media – it’s cost effective because it doesn’t cost anything more than time you put into it, and it can go viral.

For a business or a hospital, the first social networks you may consider to get your message across are LinkedIn and Facebook. Don’t ignore these great networks. But there’s another way to get folks talking.

Let me introduce you to Twitter Chat. Twitter, the third name in the Big 3 that come to mind when you think of social media, has more than 200 million people currently on the site and has become the most popular social network with the media – every news anchor and celebrity seems to have a Twitter handle these days.

With Twitter, however, there are tons of conversations going on in real time, and it can be hard to get your messages to break through.

A Twitter Chat, or Twitter Party, is simply a group of online Twitter users who use a designated hashtag at a scheduled time to discuss various topics and trends. At the chat people can interact with each other, ask questions and get information on a topic. Each tweet related to the chat includes the same specific hashtag in the tweet – for example, #flushots – to allows people to easily follow the tweets that are involved with your specific chat.

To make your Twitter Chat even easier for your audience, you can create a custom feed and provide a link to your event via http://tweetgrid.com. This will make it even easier for people to follow along because they will just see tweets that involve people in the chat.

Before you host a Twitter Chat, do your homework. Usually a Twitter Chat lasts for between 30 to 60 minutes. You will want to decide on a moderator or host who tweets on behalf of your healthcare facility. Designate a specific hashtag for your party. Make it as short as possible – with Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters and to participate in the Twitter Chat, each tweet needs to include that hashtag. Create a script for the topics you want to talk about and prepare 50 to 100 tweets in advance so you can easily copy and paste them during the event to keep the chat moving.

Once you decide on a specific date and time, promote the chat in all your social media, email outreach and website. Look around the web to find other places where you can post a chat you are hosting. Include the Tweetgrid link and the date, time and designated hashtag in all correspondence.

During the chat, make sure all your tweets are HIPPA compliant and aren’t specific about any individual cases. After it’s over, make it a point to mention and follow all the tweeters who participated in the chat. This will help get new followers. A Twitter Chat can lead to lots of buzz, community engagement and even new patients, which in turn can lead to more business for your hospital or healthcare facility.

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