So what is a Twitter chat, I hear you say?
First of all, we all know it takes seconds for a tweet to be read as a person scrolls through their feed. It’s hard to capture attention when you have around 330 million active Twitter users a month, who make around 500 million tweets a day. Your tweet can feel like a drop in the ocean, even if you have a clear strategy, a cultivated audience and a great product or service.
We also know that using the right hashtag can help you find your community. If your brand has created its own hashtag, and your clients use it, it’s even better. You have your forum, your community, and your base for everything that has to do with your brand.
The problem with this is, your audience is busy. They don’t always have time for a chat, it’s random, it’s all over the place, and if you can create some good engagement, it has to happen in the moment or you lose all momentum.
So Twitter chats are really simple. For one hour a week, your brand can focus a little time on your clients, your fans, your followers and even your family and friends if they want!
These three things are necessary to get you started:
• A host
• Key questions
• A regular, one-hour time slot
The host is there to do what it says on the tin, host the chat for you, answer questions, retweet great answers, make new connections, engage in conversation, and network. It helps to have someone savvy with Twitter on your team to host this chat as it’s quick, and they need to be on their feet, or so to speak. They need to know your brand inside out, know the guidelines around what to say or what not say, and you need to trust them with your brand.
These are so important to plan ahead and they need to be relevant to your audience community. You don’t need to gain some insight from every question but you can use this to really promote your brand. Start with 5/6 questions. You won’t have time for more than this as you also need to make sure you have an introduction and a finish. If you have a design team then use them. You want to have these questions on graphics to really make them stand out. Don’t forget to include your Twitter chat hashtag in every question and ask for responses to always include that hashtag too. The great thing about these questions is that you can use them to really get to know your audience, what makes them tick, and what products or services your brand might want to work on next!
A One Hour Timeslot
This might take a while to work out as you want your audience to do this either during the working day or lunchtime as they may not be idling away on twitter any other time. Remember, many people are working from home now, so if that’s your audience, people really want to be social and interact with each other on their breaks from the working day. Or if your audience are people that spend a lot of time outdoors, this can be great for sharing things like where they are and what they’re doing at that very moment that might be related to your community! One hour is more than enough to hold a chat, as you want people to look forward to this slot every week!
Current popular Twitter chats:
In the marketing world, I have my own top 3 Twitter chats:
#PopChat – a pretty chilled out and fun chat talking about all things to do with popular culture and social media. Brianne Fleming is your charming host. A marketing instructor from the University of Florida, Brianne holds her chat on Fridays at around 5 pm GMT.
“Twitter Chats are a lot of fun, but some may find them intimidating at first. Try to write open-ended questions that invite people to share their opinions, experiences, and perspectives. This creates a comfortable environment where people can express their thoughts, rather than prove their expertise.” – Brianne Fleming
#TwitterSmarter – Hosted by super savvy Twitter Marketing Expert, Madalyn Sklar. This chat is where anyone in the industry can share tips and network with each other on how to achieve great results marketing on Twitter. Madalyn hosts her chat at 6 pm GMT on Wednesdays.
“My best tip for brands that host their own Twitter chat is to keep the conversation going beyond the one hour chat each week. Use Twitter Moments to share the best tweets from the discussion and share them out with your community. You can even write up an editorial that recaps the discussion along with embedding some of the best tweets. Or record a video (maybe even Livestream it) where you recap the chat, sharing your thoughts about the discussion. There is so much you can do to keep your chat top of mind for your community that goes far beyond the hour-long chat.” – Madalyn Sklar
#ChatAboutBrand – Hosted by the very stylish brand expert and social media trainer, Christine Gritmon. This is a great chat for brands who want to take the next step and move their platforms on to a new level of a more human to human style of marketing. This is unmissable if you want to hear what marketing professionals are taking notice of, and what they’re looking to do with their own brands. Christine hosts her chats at 5 pm GMT on Tuesdays.
“One top tip for brands hosting a great Twitter chat is to be truly present for that hour! Engage with your participants as much as possible, answer the questions from your own perspective, respond to interesting answers that you see, and in general make sure you feel like part of the community and not just broadcasting questions from on high. Make it a conversation and build relationships with that community.” – Christine Gritmon
All three of these chats are often followed by a little time to meet and greet and chat, live on Twitter Spaces! If you’ve read our blog on Spaces, then you’ll know this is a great opportunity to speak to followers, interact on a much more human level. It’s not necessary, but it’s a great plus to have, particularly if you have any special guests!
Brands that are currently hosting Twitter chats:
Spectrum Collections hosts #SpectrumTalks. This makeup brand chats to their fans and followers about all things makeup!
Salesforce App Exchange hosts #Apply, all about reporting and dashboard apps.
Semrush hosts #SemrushChat for those who want SEO tips and all things social media.
How can Brands take advantage?
Right now, Twitter chats are dominated by social media and marketing professionals, but there are plenty of brands in other industries who are starting to use Twitter to create a community for their own followers. Think of it as market research that doesn’t involve watching your customers through one-way glass. This is far more engaging, fun and cost-effective! A great way of turning your followers into your influencers and brand advocates, whilst creating a regular community.