To close out February’s American Heart Month, a group of HHS agencies banded together to execute our first bilingual Twitter chat to promote awareness of Latina heart health. Rather than hosting multiple events through multiple offices, each participating agency contributed to one coordinated, bilingual chat session. This strategy allowed us to pull resources from many different offices for the best possible discussion, while simultaneously embracing the Digital Strategy’s principle of using shared platforms to do more with less.
What is a Twitter chat?
A Twitter chat is a conversation on Twitter that uses a designated hashtag (#) as a way to sort and organize tweets. Others can follow the discussion on Twitter by using the same hashtag. We coordinated within HHS and teamed up with outside agencies to deliver an hour-long discussion. The Twitter chat was held on February 28th using the hashtag #CorazonChat .
To make the chat available for future reference, we created a ‘story’ using Storify that allows you to look at the information provided during the chat at your leisure. This way, you can see the questions asked of us and our responses whenever you’d like.
What We Did
Before the Chat:
- We chose to work in partnership with people and organizations that had a Spanish-speaking audience, like The US FDA’s Spanish Language Twitter .
- We invited organizations to participate who we knew appealed to our intended audience, like Latina Magazine .
- We asked individuals with large Latina bases of Twitter followers to engage in conversation with us, and their followers, during the chat.
- We registered #CorazonChat on the health hashtag database, Symplur , to inform the health community about the chat.
- We created a question and answer script to organize our partners. This gave everyone equal time during the chat to discuss their current initiatives and answer questions.
- Hundreds of Twitter users participated in the chat.
- There were more than 1,000 posts related to #CorazonChat .
- Analytics show us that the largest demographic group that participated in the chat was females ages 25 – 34 years old, which was our target demographic.
— Jessica Sofia Valle(@JesSofiaValle) February 28, 2013
— Pamela G. Johnson (@AHA_PGJohnson) February 28, 2013
- Think about what you want participants to learn and what type of action you want them to take after the chat. Create Tweets in advance that represent this message.
- Invite other departments/experts to join the chat that will be helpful in answering questions.
- Clarify with other agencies/groups participating:
- What types of messages will you post?
- Will the messages they post match the point of view we want to convey?
- If you do not know how to respond to something, redirect a participant to a .gov source that can answer their question.
- Ask questions or re-tweet questions from others using the selected hashtag if you are not getting a lot of traffic.
For more Twitter chat best practices visit A Guide to Hosting a Twitter Chat.