February 9, 2012
10 Tips for Moderating a Successful Live Chat
A live chat is a production that requires clear roles and responsibilities. The moderator role is central in ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
1. Determine your topic. Chats based on timely topics tend to draw the most participants. Think about which stories would lend themselves to good chats based on your interests and goals.
2. Select your panelists. Choose panelists who will add value to the discussion by drawing on their expertise or firsthand knowledge of the topic.
3. Help panelists prepare. Send panelists an email with details about how to prepare for the chat and what to expect. This can put them at ease, especially those who haven’t taken part in a live chat before.
4. Prepare yourself. Come up with questions to ask the panelists, create an article page with a brief introduction to the chat, and take care of all logistics.
5. Spread the word. Let everyone know about the live chat through social media that your company uses, send out links to anyone who you know will be interested and can potentially contribute.
6. Talk with panelists. It’s beneficial to be on the phone with panelists throughout the duration of the chat. As questions come in, read them aloud before posting them in case the panelists have any objections about answering.
7. Prompt the audience. At the beginning of every chat, welcome participants and let them know that they can start submitting questions. If you find that you’re not getting any, start off by posing one of your own questions to the panelists.
8. Look for themes. Be deliberate about which comments your post and in what order. While panelists are responding to comments, look through the comments you haven’t published yet and figure out which ones you want to publish next.
9. Post highlights. If a panelist says something you think is worth sharing with a larger audience, post the quote on your company’s social media site.
10. Re-evaluate strategies.
Toward the end of the chat, poll the audience on how it worked for them. Update the story that the chat appeared in, see how many comments were submitted, and see how many replays the chat receives over time.
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