PTBA Blog

Running Your Own Travel Twitter Chat

By Shane Dallas of The Travel Camel

Starting and building a travel Twitter chat is a tremendous way to build your presence on Twitter. But it’s not as easy as it looks. Many chats lose momentum after a while so you need to be dedicated to make it succeed.

I’m a founder of The Road Less Travelled Twitter Chat. Starting in November 2013, we are one of the world’s top 3 busiest weekly travel Twitter chats, the largest travel Twitter chat based outside of North America and we have one of the highest response rates per question of any travel Twitter chat. It’s usual for us to reach 1 million Twitter accounts and generate more than 15 million impressions during a three hour period around #TRLT (one hour before the chat, one hour during the chat, and one hour after the chat).

How did we achieve this? By working with fellow founder, Savannah Grace, and permanent hosts, Jess Lipowski and Anton Magnin, we have uncovered four factors that you can incorporate into your own Twitter chat to make it successful.

Personal


We welcome every new person to #TRLT. Our goal is that every person has at least one tweet that receives a response. We are known for being a very warm and welcoming community and this is one of the reasons. We also send reminders every week – this amounts to more than 1000 Twitter accounts. And these reminders are not automated, they are done manually. It is these personal touches that make #TRLT different.

Reliable


Since #TRLT started on 5 November 2013, we have never missed a week. We have even chatted on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. We are there when people expect us to be there. Only two other travel Twitter chats have a longer unbroken record: #TTOT (Travel Talk on Twitter) and the original travel Twitter chat, #TNI (Travelers’ Night In).

#TRLT’s audience comes from many different countries and cultures, and just because where I live has a holiday (whether that be Christmas or Thanksgiving) it does not mean that all our audience is on holiday. Likewise, for people on the road, #TRLT has become their family and for them it is a way to connect with like-minded individuals every week. We are always there – and this strengthens the #TRLT community.

Interesting

We keep #TRLT interesting by asking our community members for topic and question suggestions. However, keep your topics broad and inclusive. Topics such as “New York”, “Africa” or “Ireland” are poor, for anyone who has not visited these destinations is effectively excluded from the chat.

Likewise, we avoid topics such as “Summer Holidays” or “Beach Holidays” during June/July – why? These are great topics for discussing beaches and tropical islands if you are from a colder or mild climate in the Northern Hemisphere, but our audience comes from other places too. In June/July it is winter in the southern hemisphere, and for northern hemisphere countries such as United Arab Emirates or India, summer is not a time to be on a beach – it’s too hot. Therefore, discussing summer holidays during June/July doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. So instead of “Summer Holidays” in June/July we discuss “Hot Places” and we don’t discuss “Winter Holidays” in December/January either, it is “Cold Places”.

Inspiring

Social Media is aspirational, and we keep #TRLT positive by asking positive questions that allow for inspiring answers. We avoid questions that discuss the worst experience or least favourite city or country. Rather than discussing something bad, why not discuss something challenging instead?

A great way to be inspiring is to ask people to share photos. We’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the quality of images shared in #TRLT once we started asking more photo questions. Photos are inspiring, especially when they are strong photos.

Finally, we are inspiring because we are different. We are the largest (and perhaps only) travel Twitter chat dedicated to all regions outside the usual travel Twitter chat destinations of North America and Western Europe. People are welcome to discuss these destinations, but the proportion of tweets about these places is not high.

 

Twitter chats are more than just strong content and conversation, it’s the community. The #TRLT community is our most important consideration at all times. We have started a Facebook Group where people who enjoy discussing or visiting #TRLT destinations can do so.

If you have a real passion for something not covered in other travel Twitter chats, or it’s currently covered but you believe you can do it better, consider starting your own travel Twitter chat and inspire others!

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Shane Dallas is a travel photographer, Social Media specialist, radio persona. You can connect with him on Twitter @thetravelcamel.

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