How I Got Arne Duncan to RT Me and other Twitter Chat Best Practices

Secretary of Education Arne DuncanAs many of you know, I work in Washington, DC in the education sector. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, held a White House Twitter Chat (#whchat) surrounding the topic of college affordability and I participated on behalf of my organization. This twitter chat corresponded with the #DontDoubleMyRate movement, urging Americans to pressure Congress to act before July 1st. If Congress fails to take action, interest rates on federal student loans are going to double. This will mean additional student loan debt for more than 7 million students. The chat was a great way to get the word out about the movement and encouraged questions from followers. I was determined to have my question answered and not only did Arne Duncan answer my question, it was the first one to be answered and retweeted. How did I do this?

Timing is everything. I made sure I asked the question early the day prior– just 2 hours after the White House and Arne tweeted about it. I also ensure that I retweeted it at the very beginning of the chat and also @ mentioned Mr. Duncan himself to ensure he would receive it.

Another way to get noticed on twitter is to have an interesting avatar. All avatars start to blend together after a while so if it visually stands out, it is less likely to be glazed over by everything else going on in the twitter chat.

Leave room for RTs. Just because you have 140 characters does not mean you need to use every last one. By leaving space for retweets, your tweet will reach a broader audience and travel farther. My one question during the chat was retweeted 14 times and had 3,026,456 impressions (according to  That is a lot of eyes!

Engage. In addition to asking my own question, I engaged with others by retweeting their questions, commenting and sharing our stand and opinion. We gained 10 followers in less than an hour, which is usually what we gain per week.

The best thing I did was participate! I took time out of the day to join the conversation on Twitter and it had a great impact on our social media presence. Make the effort and take the time to join chats about topics you are interested in. You will meet many others who share your interests, making social media a much better experience.


One thought on “How I Got Arne Duncan to RT Me and other Twitter Chat Best Practices

  1. Participating in twitter hashtag chats are a great way to curry favor, position yourself as a thought leader, and gain followers.

    You went about it the right way, and reaped the benefits. Something your organization should consider is not just participating in chats when issues arise, but participating in or starting a weekly/ monthly chat on the education topics you provide services for.

    (Found you via LinkedIn)

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