6 Ways Twitter Chats Can Help You Connect With Your Audience

social media how toIs your Twitter marketing working?

Are you trying to reach a wider audience and generate leads?

Twitter chats are a great way to boost your marketing results.

In this article you’ll discover six ways Twitter chats can help you connect with a larger audience and enhance brand awareness.

Why Twitter Chats?

Most marketers use Twitter to promote content, build brand awareness and interact with followers. Overall, it works pretty well. But what if you could turbo-charge those efforts?

Twitter chats are open, moderated conversations that use a relevant hashtag for a certain topic (e.g., #blogchat or #MMchat for Marketer Monday).

Many chat participants use services like Twubs or Hashtags.org to filter conversations based on the chat hashtag so they can easily follow the conversation.

filter twitter with twubs

Tools like Twubs filter conversations based on hashtags.

Including a regular Twitter chat in your marketing tactics helps you reach your current followers and their followers. A successful chat can introduce you to hundreds of potential leads.

Below I show you six ways Twitter chats can bring value to your followers and position you as a thought leader.

#1: Crowdsource Content Ideas

Are you looking for content ideas? Or deciding what type of ebook to offer list subscribers? Or maybe wondering what topic your next webinar should tackle?

A Twitter chat can help you answer those questions. Whether you’re looking for input on a project or wondering what your customers are looking for, chats are an easy way to gather information and opinions from a lot of people at one time.

The New England Music Association has an interesting way of using chats to keep their members in the loop. They choose their annual conference themes by crowdsourcing via a Twitter chat. They even host a public Google document to keep track of ideas.

crowdsourcing on twitter

You can apply crowdsourcing to any aspect of your marketing needs.

Crowdsourcing can also help you define what problems your customers need to solve. Ask chat attendees what they need or want, and while you have their attention, delve deeper and ask them to clarify their answers or give you examples.

Take notes, integrate their ideas and needs into your efforts, and then give them what they asked for.

#2: Connect With New Leads

Want to find new leads? Make yourself useful. Answer questions, provide good information and engage with your followers. Chances are, you’re already doing this across platforms, right? Use a Twitter chat to amplify that value.

With a little promotion and buzz around your upcoming Twitter chat, you’ll have the chance to reach an even bigger audience interested in your product, service or information.

To attract those new leads, you can host a fun Twitter chat with a general theme, include a giveaway or choose a topic that tackles a common problem and showcases your expertise. Not sure which topic is best? Crowdsource!

promoted tweet

Make sure people know about your upcoming Twitter chat!

Follow up with chat attendees after the event and ask them how you can be of service. Engaging with those folks can cultivate great business relationships.

#3: Build Your Social Reach

Social proof is one of the highest compliments you can receive from your followers.

When a fan shares your information or product with a friend, they’re giving it their seal of approval. It’s very likely those friends will consider that recommendation when they’re ready to buy.

A successful Twitter chat attracts a large group of people whose followers are watching them engage with you. Maybe they’ll take the hint and join in too. It’s a great way to leverage your existing followers.

social proof with hashtags

Twitter chats can reach far beyond your existing followers.

#4: Create Community With Live Tweets

You can’t attend every in-person event you want to, and neither can your fans. Twitter chats are a way to bring everyone together as if they’re there.

If you’re hosting or attending the in-person event, try live tweeting (or having someone do it for you). Invite your fans to follow the hashtag and share their ideas and opinions about the topic at hand.

Many conferences project real-time tweets onto a screen so all attendees can see the Twitter conversation and join in if they like.

live tweets from an event

Live tweeting shares the conference vibe with everyone, even if they can’t attend.

#5: Track Your Successes

As a marketer, you already know the importance of analytics. Plan to track your Twitter chat successes from day one. When you know how popular your guests, topics, questions, interactions and hashtag are, you can determine what resonates with your followers.

A service like TweetReach helps you keep track of reach, impressions, tweets and contributors. You’ll know who saw your tweets and who shared or retweeted your information.

Evaluating the data over time gives you a good idea of which chat topics are most successful and what ideas are most important to participants. You can use that information to create relevant follow-up content.

tweetreach reporting

TweetReach reports on several aspects of your chats so you can track what’s popular with your audience.

#6: Learn More About Your Industry

Because marketers are so busy, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day work and miss opportunities to chat with your peers about the industry you work in and any relevant news.

An industry Twitter chat serves as a kind of online professional meeting. Participating in these specialized chats is another way to network, both locally and even internationally, and expand your circle of contacts.

Industry chats are also a place where you can discover and discuss any debates or “holes” in the industry. These kinds of chats keep marketers on their toes and up to date with the latest trends.

hcsm chat description

Meet up (virtually) with colleagues around the world to discuss what’s happening in your field.

Conclusion

If you’re already using Twitter as a marketing channel, adding in a regularly scheduled Twitter chat can help you build brand awareness.

Just as you would with your regular content, create an editorial calendar for your Twitter chats, then promote the topics, dates and times to ensure a great turnout. The more value you offer, the more the community seeks you out.

Use your Twitter chat feedback to create the content your audience wants, find qualified leads and stay up to date on industry trends.

What do you think? Does your company host a regular Twitter chat? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments!

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About the Author, Maggie Hibma

Maggie Hibma is a Product Marketing Associate at HubSpot. She frequently blogs for the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Blog on social media. Connect with her on Twitter @MaggieHibma. Other posts by »




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  • Akash Agarwal

    Wow! It’s a great idea. I will definitely try this. Thank for sharing such nice idea.

  • Maggie Hibma

    You’re welcome! I hope you can put some of these tactics to good use.

  • Susan Elcox

    When you hold a Twitter Chat, does each tweet in the conversation have to contain the applicable hashtag to be found? Is that how this works?

  • http://entrebond.com Blake Schreckhise

    Haven’t even thought about doing a Twitter chat! Thanks for pretty much all the resources I will need to do so!

  • Maggie Hibma

    Sounds great, Blake! Let us know how your chat goes if and when you hold one.

  • Maggie Hibma

    Hi Susan – yes, it does. Here’s why: There are certain apps (like TweetChat) that help people monitor and participate in Twitter chats. The app lets you choose a hashtag to follow and monitors all tweets with that hashtag. So, if you want to participate, you’ll need to use the hashtag so you can respond and others can see your response as well.

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    This feels like a very informative deja-vu, since there was another post about Twitter Chats only last week. But the more information the better to understand this topic. The only issue I have is, how effective could be a twitter chat for brands with a small group of followers? Even if we promote the event, I don’t think many would join in… Other than that they work great: I’ve organised some of these for clients with many followers or strong brand and they work like a charm.

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    …and not only that: including the hashtag is also a good way to feature that chat for example in your website or even within a Facebook Tab (just showing all comments including that hashtag)

  • Maggie Hibma

    Hi Antonio – it could be very effective, depending on what you’re looking to get out of the chat. For example, for a brand with a small group of followers – it may be interesting to have your first Twitter chat be a crowdsourcing feedback experience. Are you creating content & sharing it with this group? Emailing them? If so, you can use a Twitter chat to get feedback on your content, marketing strategy – you even might get some great content ideas out of it! The bottom line is – I wouldn’t rule out a Twitter chat based on numbers, but would be very specific around goals for the chat beyond building brand awareness.

  • http://unionmetrics.com/ Sarah

    Thanks for the TweetReach mention, Maggie!

    We’ve got a few different options for tracking tweet chats: free snapshot reports, our full paid reports ($20), or setting up a Tracker with a Pro account prior to the chat (an especially good option if the chat is part of a larger campaign).

    You can also find us in #MMchat and #socialchat on Monday nights, starting at 7pm CT. Thanks again; we appreciate it!

    -S

    Sarah A. Parker
    Content Marketing at Union Metrics
    Fine Makers of TweetReach & Union Metrics for Tumblr

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    Fair point Maggie, good way of thinking out of the box. Another problem I’ve experience with my own audience is, it is so spread across many countries that at times it’s really difficult to organise a time that suits more than 10-15 people…. after that, you need to make sure they are interested, etc… But I have enjoyed the article, and are really keen in organising these. So thank you!

  • Omari O’Neal

    It’s great to include visual content in these conversation to grab attention in peoples already crowded feed. #ThoughtTour2014

  • http://www.ngbuzz.com Soki Briggs

    Getting people to participate is the hard part for me.
    Maybe should just get some friends onboard and go from there.
    Thanks for this

  • http://entrebond.com Blake Schreckhise

    I sure will!

  • Patrice & Lori

    Thanks for some great ideas. I am still trying to ‘grok’ Twitter and this has helped!

  • http://www.blyve.com/ djksar

    Maggie, great article and advice on how to leverage a Twitter chat. I used to run online events at Motorola Mobility doing live audio podcasts, Twitter chats, live chats embedded on our website, Google+ Hangouts and traditional webinars. A few of the issues that I ran into were the following 1) the ability to moderate the conversation 2) have it embedded on my site so I could control the look & feel, showcase sponsors and provide calls to actions to resources that we were discussing 3) collaborate with other trusted contributors on content creation and engagement and 4) still have the ability to leverage my social channels that I spent a lot of time and money in. These were super key in providing ROI to the event and increasing our brand affinity. Thoughts? Love to chat more on this.

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