With various benefits of setting up your own Twitter chat, there’s no doubt: both hosting and participating in Twitter chats should be an essential part of your social media marketing plan.
Twitter chats build customer loyalty, promote your brand, attract influncers, let you talk to your audience and hear back in real time…, you name it! Twitter chats may help you in any trending online marketing tactic you have heard of: From community building to influencer marketing.
Twitter chats can be have many forms:
- Q&A (think of Twitter version of Reddit’s AMA)
- Conferences with sessions
- One-time events
- Weekly meetings with friends, etc.
If you are planning to try playing with Twitter chats, let me help you brainstorm: Here are some creative forms a Twitter chat can take.
1. Weekly Expert QA
Weekly Twitter chats are usually one hour long, held on a specified day and at the set time. The best thing about them is that they create that feeling of “being home” that makes your business “native” to your followers. Make it there at least twice and suddenly you are looking forward to each upcoming one.
- #AtomicChat (Monday at 9pm EST) covering weekly digital trends! What I really love about this chat is that they discuss very hot topic each time (that always results in a heated discussion)
- #SocialChat (Monday 9pm EST) by Alan K’necht (@aknecht) and Michelle Stinson Ross (@SocialMichelleR). The coolest thing about this chat is that they have a calendar of upcoming chats and expert guests, so you can mark which one you really want to visit.
- #VCBuzz (Tuesday 12 pm EST) by ViralContentBuzz: A new content marketing expert a week. This chat has a very detailed chat archive (think content re-packaging!). The chat features expert members of the community, thus giving them more exposure.
Benefits of weekly expert Twitter chats:
- Drive influencers to your brand by giving them exposure and opportunity to talk to your brand and your following. At least 20% of those influencers will become your brand evangelists forever.
- Create a strong social media context for your brand: Weekly popular hashtags will add much more visibility to your brand (and your niche experts will help boost the hashtag popularity!)
2. Twitter Conferences
Who said that a Twitter event should be a short relaxed online chat? There are whole conferences being held exclusively on Twitter!
Adobe Youth Voices Twitter Chat. Adobe runs a very cool initiative: every year they invite professionals in the creative industry to join a creativity themed Twitter Chat powered by a yearly hashtag. In 2013 that was #AYVSummit13. The event is one week long and it aims at giving young creativity minds the power of a voice!
Benefits of running a huge conference on Twitter:
- You can do your best with marketing your event. You have much more than one week to draw experts and influencers to your event.
- With weekly chats it’s easy to get tired and overwhelmed. That’s a HUGE commitment. A yearly event is easier to manage!
3. Twitter parties
A Twitter party is a one-time Twitter chat usually celebrating a project launch. It’s widely embraced in (self-)publishing industry.
Zombie apocalypse book Zone One was released using #RHZombies hashtag. Zombies are so easy to tweet! The Tweetuniverse responded with lots of zombie-related humor giving the book launch the well-deserved social media buzz.
Depending on how creative you get, you can generate huge buzz for your launch. But like any other viral marketing campaign, it’s not easy to predict. Well worth a try though!
More Creative Uses for Twitter Chats!
- Twitter chat contests: #RGtalk is the perfect example of utilizing Twitter chats for running successful giveaways: “Join to win a set of guidebooks!”
- Twitter chat meetups: #ProFresh does a great job involving students with their chats. To participate, you need to tweet using the hashtag but there’s also the actual location where you can show up for more fun “pizza, refreshments, door prizes and giveaways”
Twitter Chat FAQ for Marketers
Now that you are hopefully inspired and determined to start your own Twitter chat, let me address a few most frequently asked questions:
What’s the best tool to host a Twitter chat? I have published a very details tutorial on hosting a Twitter chat long ago. Most tools on the list still work. My favorite one is TwChat simply because it’s very easy to follow (so as a host, I won’t miss anything).
What if my hashtag gets spammed? Do I own my hashtag? Sadly, no. There’s always a risk that someone else will start using your hashtag (especially if you get too popular). That’s a tricky thing about hashtag marketing: You need be aware of all the risks.
Are there any other benefits in Twitter chat except for community and following building? I love the content marketing aspect of twitter chat. If you curate those online conversations properly, you’ll end up having lots of content assets you are able to use and re-use. Here are just a few examples: Storify, Youtube, blog post, etc. Your imagination is your only limit!
How do I know if my site is successful? How fast should the participation grow? Everyone hosting Twitter chats will tell you, there’s no such a thing as a consistent growth. Sometimes it’s a busy discussion, sometimes it’s almost just you talking. There are many factors into play (time of the year, topic, daytime changes, etc, etc). More experienced Twitter chat hosts may have better outlined ROI metrics. To me, it’s the growing number of old-timers: People who come to visit again and again. They can be just a few (2-5) but if you have them, consider your chat a success
Have you participated in any creative Twitter chats recently? Please share your examples, tips and experience!