A Twitter chat is a public conversation organized around a specific topic or for a particular audience. Each takes place at a scheduled time chosen by the organizer. All participants use the same hashtag (this makes it possible to stay on top of what everyone is saying).
Attending a Twitter chat is a great way to grow your audience. Still, a better way to get everyone’s attention would be to get invited as a guest expert. This will give you a chance to answer questions related to your field of expertise.
I have been invited as a guest four times in the past year. Not only did that establish my credibility, but the questions attendees asked gave me hints about the problems my audience encounters and the services they needed.
As a guest expert, there’s an expectation that you’ll answer questions from both the host/organizer and “attendees.” Like interviews in traditional media, some of these questions (and the answers) are usually written in advance.
This can be a daunting task if you haven’t done it before, but now that I have been a guest four times, I have figured out the trick to coming up with questions. (The answers are comparatively easy.)
Basically, before you can write the questions and answers, you need to brainstorm your topic. Write down your topic on paper, and below that, write Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How.
And if you think it will help, write down the five or six key details about your topic. You might also find five or six articles related to your subject, read them for inspiration.
The trick to brainstorming the topic is to write dozens of who, what, when, why, where, and how questions. The questions don’t have to be good at first, but writing them will help you get into the right mindset.
Write at least twenty questions, and keep writing them until you come up with questions to introduce your topic to your Twitter chat audience.
Start a new document, and write down that first question. Then, write down an answer to that question.
Oh, and while you are at it, you should also write the text you will use to introduce yourself. (Twitter chats with guest experts usually start with introductions before getting into the Q&A.)
Look at the question-and-answer set you just wrote, and read it to yourself. Consider this: If you gave that answer in a conversation, what would the follow-up question be?
That follow-up question is the second question for your Twitter chat Q&A, so write it down, and then write an answer to it.
You have now written two questions for your Twitter chat, and you’re going to need another four to six questions. Look at the questions you wrote while brainstorming, and then look at your topic’s key details.
You don’t have to include all the details or all the questions; in fact, you won’t have space. Instead, try to write question-and-answer pairs that provide useful information for participants that are also interesting.
You should also look for question-and-answer sets that you can use to prompt attendees to respond with their experiences. Remember, a Twitter chat is a chat. If more people contribute to the conversation, it will be more exciting and informative for everyone.
Once you finish writing the questions and answers, send them to the host of the Twitter chat for feedback and approval. They will have a better understanding of what their audience will be interested in.
Want to Be a Guest Speaker on a Twitter Chat? Here’s How was originally published on Social Media Justice for Writers on Dec. 17, 2020, and republished on the ACES blog with permission from Nate Hoffelder.
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