Twitter chats are a great way to engage and involve your audience. Not only does it help your brand build a social following, but it can also generate lively discussions and get helpful feedback for your business. If done right, there's so much to gain and plenty of benefits to reap.
However, we know that hosting a Twitter chat can be a little intimidating. Many companies and famous personalities have tried to use this strategy to gain more exposure and showcase what their brand is all about but instead of making deeper connections with their fans and followers, it totally backfired and had the opposite effect for them.
When J.P. Morgan decided to hold a Twitter chat where people were encouraged to ask questions for the wall street legend Jimmy Lee on career advice and leadership, it didn't go too well for the company. The results were actually pretty hilarious. Some tweeted completely unrelated questions along with sarcasm while some folks used the opportunity to share their concerns and criticisms about the company.
Do you like puppies? If you had a puppy, what would you name him? #AskJPM— Matt Levine (@matt_levine) November 13, 2013
Oh my lord, the #askjpm session. Will go down as case study in corporate use of social media.— Daniel Gross (@grossdm) November 13, 2013
How do you decide who to forclose on? Darts or a computer program? #AskJPM— Jen 0’Lantern (@reftpt) November 13, 2013
Did you always want to be part of a vast, corrupt criminal enterprise or did you "break bad"? #AskJPM— Scary Kevin Murphy (@kcm74) November 13, 2013
This is what can happen when you attempt to host a Twitter chat or do social media engagement without knowing the basics. Remember, social media is not only a communication tool that you can use as a megaphone to broadcast your events and showcase your products. It is also a relationship management tool to foster healthy relationships with your existing clients and potential customers.
So, how can you avoid making a social media blunder like this? By understanding how it works and making use of social media management tools. Here are some valuable tips that every brand should know if they want to host a successful Twitter chat:
1. Join Plenty Of Twitter Chats
It's best if you can participate in several active Twitter chats before starting your own. You need to get the feel of what its like to be a host and a participant as well as the possible questions people may ask during the Q&A portion so that you're prepared for whatever issues are raised. You also need to know how the chat was advertised to people and the number of participants that engaged with the host.
Basically, you must learn the ropes first to see how they actually work and how it can benefit you as a brand. There are tons of available tools online when looking for Twitter chats to join or participate in. There are chats for nearly every category you can think of. There’s no excuse if you can’t easily find one related to your industry.
If you're quite active on Twitter, you can look through your feed or tweets of specific users on the platform to see what chats they are a part of. You can even ask suggestions from them as well. Another alternative is to look through schedules of upcoming Twitter chats using Tweet Report or Twubs. These web application tools categorize chats by industry. It also provides more insight into what the chats are about and when they're going to take place.
2. Define Your Goals
You need to determine what you want to achieve in hosting a Twitter chat because they require commitment and take a lot of effort from your end. You must know if it is a right marketing tactic for you. This means you must identify what you are trying to accomplish in organizing this event.
- Are you looking to increase awareness for your brand?
- Are you looking for ways to improve how you receive customer feedback?
- Do you want to understand and get to know your audience better?
- Do you want to increase your sales and drive more website traffic?
- Do you want to build a community of influencers and advocates?
These are just some of the possible goals you might want to include in your strategy. It’s a crucial step for every social media marketer like you to identify their objectives as it defines your target audience and helps in curating the content needed for the campaigns you want to carry out.
3. Get Your Own Hashtag
Events that take place on Twitter almost always have its own specific hashtag so that people can easily join and follow the conversation. This is to ensure that no important tweet goes unnoticed as well. Your chat will need one so you definitely have to come up with your own hashtag or choose one from existing ones you've used before. Here’s one good example: LinkedIn’s Twitter chat and community.
A9: Don't be pressured to create a perfect summary. Present your authentic self and have fun with it! #linkedinchat— Dan MacDougall (@Dan_MacDougallx) October 4, 2017
A6: I over-think it. I try to make small changes so I don't overwhelm myself. It allows me to see if it increases interaction. #linkedinchat— Dan MacDougall (@Dan_MacDougallx) October 4, 2017
Your chosen hashtag will help define and build your community so it should be something simple and precise. It has to be a keyword that fits your brand and makes sense when your audience read it out loud. You also need to make sure that the hashtag hasn't been used by other brands before because it won't be great for your community when their tweets get mixed with other active chats during the event. It will be a total mess if you do that.
Picking the right hashtag for your Twitter chat can be quite tricky as it's hard to know which one among them is performing the best. But with the help of a social media monitoring tool, you can certainly find out which among these keywords will deliver the most engagement for your chat.
4. Plan Your Topics And Questions In Advance
It's the responsibility of a Twitter chat host to keep the conversation going and make it engaging as much as possible. That's why you need to plan ahead and think of an idea or a theme that you want to discuss and talk about with your audience.
Twitter chats usually follow a certain format that involves asking a set of questions and responding to messages of the participants. It's best to have answers prepared - that's why you need to try and predict all possible questions that may be asked during the event.
One of the best practices in hosting a Twitter chat is to create graphics for your topics and questions in advance. We all know visual content is a social media secret weapon that grabs the users' attention so much better than plain text. By simply turning your questions into graphic images will have a positive effect on your engagement.
5. Set The Date For Your Twitter Chat
Selecting the best time to host your Twitter chat requires you to do research and testing. Here are three things to consider:
Know your target audience.
How do they often log on to Twitter? What time are they usually active and most vocal on the platform? What is their average age? Where are they from? Are they on mobile or desktop? Knowing the answers to these questions will make it easier for you in selecting the best time to post tweets and schedule Twitter chats.
Experiment with time.
Trial and Error is the process of experimenting with various methods of doing something until one finds the most successful. You need to figure out which time brings pulls in the most number of participants and generates the most engagement. Try posting on the platform at different time zones and see what you can measure from there.
Choose the right tool.
Integrate a tool that can organize all your social data in one place so you do not have to manually research about your target market. The social media analytics tool can simplify your social media reporting and gain powerful insight. You can track the performance of each tweet and know which one got the most likes and comments among the content that got published. Advertise your event on various social media channels.
6. Advertise Your Event
Now that you've covered your topics, schedule, and hashtags, all that's left to do is broadcast your event on various social media channels. This is to increase the chances of more users participating in your chat and get more interaction from them since not everyone is registered as a user on Twitter.
You also need to promote your event by highlighting the benefits and what attendees can get just by participating. It would be good if you can share a graphic teaser a few weeks before your scheduled date. You can even invite an expert or popular influencers in your industry to join in. This will attract their followers to attend your Twitter chat.
Don't forget to make use of a social media scheduling tool because it will help you when it comes to publishing your posts on social media networks. You can even schedule the post in advance so that you have more time preparing for the event.
We hope these tips have helped you in hosting and organizing your Twitter chat. We know that it's not easy and can sometimes be frustrating and challenging at the same time. But with proper marketing, preparation, and tools, you can avoid making online blunders.