Anyone who knows me or has attended one of my workshops/watched me on Facebook Live has heard me say it time and time again… Twitter chats are the golden egg of social media marketing. It’s an underused method to get in touch with your customers, see real-time changes in the landscape of your industry, promote your content or reference, build visibility and recognition for your brand, and countless other benefits… And the craziest part? Other than your time, it’s completely free!
But… What IS a Twitter Chat?
I’m so glad you asked! As explained by the always amazing Chelsea Krost, “A Twitter Chat is an hour-long social media focus group that crowdsources information by engaging a targeted audience.” Neat right?
Basically, a Twitter account, whether it be a person or a brand, blocks off an hour a week and submits questions into their twitter feed for their audience to answer and engage with. Seeing as how I just mentioned her, we’ll use Chelsea’s weekly Twitter Chat #MillennialTalk as an example:
This is actually a perfect example because for the last Twitter Chat she held (when this post was written) Chelsea really pulled out all the stops!
It’s incredibly important that you promote your Twitter chats otherwise your followers won’t know you’re hosting one until it’s happening! Sure, you can mention certain influencers on the spot to participate but it’s just better to put it on their radar beforehand!
So, you’re thinking about hosting a Twitter Chat? Awesome! What’s next? You’ll want to make sure you follow this checklist below to ensure that you’re not only doing it right but taking it to its full potential!
First thing’s first, you need to set a goal. Are you adding Twitter chat’s to your social media marketing strategy for the purpose of growing your following and building a community? Great! Twitter chats can do that for you! Are you looking to use Twitter chat’s to reach more customers and hit your sales targets? Cool! Twitter chats make sense for that too! Once you got all that figured out, you can start planning!
You’ll want to pick a hashtag to promote so A) your followers can search it and see past chat’s you’ve hosted and decide if they want to participate. And B) so you can measure the growth of your community. I personally recommend Hashtagify to track any and all hashtags you use to promote your brand.
If you’re stuck on what to call your Twitter chat, you’re probably over thinking it! It should be simple and easy — most end in “chat” such as #HootChat, #LinkedinChat, #ContentChat, and etc but feel free to get extra creative!
2. The WHEN 🕔
Okay so you have a name to promote for your Twitter chat and the location is kinda obvious — so next you want to make sure your audience knows WHEN they can find you! You’ll want to do your research to see if there are any existing Twitter chats on your specific topic to make sure you don’t schedule them at the same time and lose your audience. Picking a day of the week can be the most challenging part of starting your own chat. Social Media Examiner provides this calendar showcasing a few of the Twitter chats they like to attend and you’ll notice that Tuesday and Wednesdays are particularly heavy days, whereas earlier and later the week dies off.
In this case, if you were starting a chat related to social media and marketing I might take a look at Monday, Thursday, or even Friday.
One thing that I’ve noticed some people can forget is the time zone details. Most of your market might be local but Twitter is a global community and should you recruit some fans from Alaska, it’ll be helpful for them to know if they need to adjust!
3. Come up With a Topic!
In the #MillennialTalk example, Chelsea’s chosen topic was “How to Build and Fund Your Dream Business” so she crafted questions such as number 1o:
You’ll notice she reiterates the official hashtag in her tweet copy, as well as a secondary one (which we’ll get into in a minute). Chelsea created question cards for each one of her 11 questions, keeping them on brand and reiterating important information about the chat — she knows that a potential participant might see one of these cards before they see her original promo material and wants to give them as much information as possible. Chelsea is smart!
Each question will be intriguing your audience to think and engage more around the topic you’ve chosen. Twitter chat hosts usually give about 5 to 10 minutes before sending out the next question and will send out warning tweets to keep things moving. You’ll want to make sure that your topics are relevant and as current as possible in order to keep engagement up!
4. Who’s Your Ryan Seacrest?
Every great Twitter chat needs a host! Feel free to host the chat yourself if you’re the expert! But, Hootsuite does a great job at recruiting the best of the best in the industry to tweet on certain topics!
Now Hootsuite is a well-established brand and has been hosting their weekly chat, #HootChat, for as long as I’ve been in the game, so their promo is pretty low key, but still a great example! They usually announce their next topic at the end of every twitter chat along with who the host/sponsor is going to be. Get creative with how you announce/promote this to attract more participants!
5. Build the Community!
The last and my personal favorite part of launching a Twitter chat is finding influencers! Find those popular tweeters in your space and make sure your chat is on their radar! Getting them to attend will attract their followers and so on and so forth. This is where coming up with a co-host who is an industry expert can be particularly helpful. You’ll be able to tag influencers while live tweeting during your chat but if you really want to have a big impact, make sure they’re aware ahead of time so they can put it on their calendar. Feel free to tell them you’re on their list of top influencers you want to attend, nothing wrong with a little bit of ego stroking to get the ball rolling!
And I mean if that doesn’t work you can always just resort to begging.
Congrats! Now you’re ready to launch your very own Twitter chat! Done properly, this social media marketing strategy can be ultra powerful for your brand. Just be sure to set your goals first, and make sure you’re clear about when you’ll be hosting, discuss relevant topics, and engage, engage, engage! I have no doubt you’ll be a success and if reading this blog post inspires you to host your own — hit me up on Twitter at @jaredgoodmaninc and I’d be GLAD to participate and help you out with your first go!