‘Twitter Chats’, to those of you less familiar with the world of social media, are online gatherings where users engage in conversations and share information with each other.
But how can hosting a Twitter chat benefit my company?
Create engagement and expand brand awareness
Leading keyword research tool, SEMRush, run an active Twitter chat – #semrushchat
There are many benefits to holding your own Twitter Chat as a business. It allows you to interact with your followers and understand common areas of thought in your field.
They are also a great way of growing your community, especially if your chat gains traction and visibility through high interaction, shares (Retweets) etc. Twitter Chats are a great inbound marketing tactic for promoting your business.
Here’s 7 simple steps to hosting your own:
Like with any marketing method, you should begin by researching the technique. If you’ve been on Twitter long enough then you’ve probably witnessed a few Twitter Chats before. If not, get involved!
See how the successful chats are run by the big companies and get familiar with the routine. There are many websites that list Twitter Chats by topic. Check out – hashtags.org or Twubs.com for trending Twitter Chats in your niche.
Once you’ve found out what the popular conversations are, you should look to create an easy to type and remember hashtag for your own chat. It should also be short and reusable. Make sure that it’s not in use already and that it isn’t clogged up with previous conversations or spam.
You should also consider getting some moderators to help you throughout the process. You’ll need people to help direct the Twitter Chat and promote it by inviting new members. Whilst using colleagues is the easy choice, you should be aiming to get key influencers in your field to help out and promote the chat too.
When there is a collection of highly authoritative accounts with large followings getting involved and promoting your chat, it will create a buzz and be an incentive for users to join in.
Schedule & Promote
Your Twitter Chat should be regular and hosted at a consistent time. Take a while to research other popular Twitter Chats that are on similar topics and try not to clash with them.
Whilst it would be ideal to find a time that suits both you and all of your followers, it is never usually that easy. Consider the location of the majority of your followers and when they should be available. You could even ask your audience for suggestions.
Getting key influencers in your field to promote your Twitter Chat is great publicity, but there is plenty that you and your team can do to promote it too. Begin by posting information about your chat across your various social media accounts and in your newsletters.
Write a blog post explaining the benefits of your Twitter Chat to the user and include introductory videos detailing how they work. If you really want to go that extra mile, you can create a custom banner for your website or badges that people can embed into their tweets or on their own blogs.
Welcome the Audience
You should begin the Twitter Chat with an introductory tweet that reminds the audience of the topic and the key questions that will be raised. You should allow them a few minutes to respond and introduce themselves. Now is a good time to introduce your co-hosts and moderators so the audience understands their roles.
Explain the Format
Ensure the audience understands the format of your Twitter Chat by explaining it within a tweet. Most Twitter Chats typically follow a labelled question and answer format to maintain the order of the conversation, for example –
‘Q1’ refers to question 1 to which the user will answer with ‘A1’
You should also allocate time for each question as well as the overall Twitter Chat. They tend to last for an hour with each question taking about 10-15 minutes. Of course, if a question gets a lot more interactions and engagement, you should extend the time for it and reduce the time for weaker ones.
Keep the Chat Running Smoothly
Summarise the key points from each question before moving on to the next one. Ensure that you respond and retweet some of the better and more helpful answers to help stimulate the conversation further. Retweeting your moderators can be helpful too. A user will always prefer interacting with a human rather than a faceless corporate account. Having your colleague co-hosts appear in the audience’s timeline will give your business a more personable feel.
Try to include links to related material and useful tools where possible too. The more information and takeaways the user gets, the more likely it is they will return. Whilst we’re on the topic of tools, there is some great ones you can use to organise your social channels; perfect for hosting a Twitter Chat. Try Hootsuite or Sprout Social, which can both schedule tweets and messages, or Twitter’s own TweetDeck for real time tracking.
Thank the Audience and Re-purpose the Chat
The end of the Twitter Chat is not always the end of the conversation. Users may continue to comment using your hashtag if they join late and are not aware of the times. Check back and monitor the hashtag over the coming days to see if anything else of interest was added and interact with users mentioning you.
Now that the chat is over and you’ve thanked your audience for their participation, you should make the most of the replies you received. Pick out the best ones and embed them on your next blog. You can also use services such as Slideshare and Storify to preserve the chat; a great way to show it off to people who missed out the first time around.
Promote Your Next Chat
Make sure to remind the audience to come along to your next Twitter Chat. You should explain what the topic will be or ask for suggestions to increase the chances of people returning. Create a schedule for them to rely on so they know exactly when they can catch your conversations and ask them to spread the message to friends and colleagues if they enjoyed it.
Hosting and maintain a successful Twitter Chat takes a lot of patience, dedication and persistence. You need to be creative in what you offer and exhaustive in your promotion of the event. However, when done correctly, the benefits in terms of brand awareness and customer insight are well worth it. If you don’t believe me, just search #semrushchat in Twitter!
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