Have you considered using Twitter chats as a marketing tool?
As the use of hashtags on Twitter continues to flourish, conversations built around specific hashtags—or Twitter chats—have become commonplace.
While you may be familiar with how to use Twitter chats for personal networking, you might not know they can also be used by brands to achieve business goals.
In this post, I'll show you 5 ways your business can benefit from Twitter chats.
#1: Connect With Customers and Prospects
Hosting an event is a great way for a business to bring its potential and current customer base together to learn, engage and build a deeper relationship. Not all businesses can host a conference or seminar, but every business can host a Twitter chat.
The key to hosting a Twitter chat that helps your business connect with potential and current customers is to choose a topic that resonates with your customer base. Whole Foods, for example, hosts a weekly Twitter chat that discusses (you guessed it) food.
HubSpot hosts a weekly Twitter chat that discusses the science and data of inbound marketing. Their Twitter chat is run in conjunction with a weekly webinar on inbound marketing, which makes it a great lead generation tool for their business. Especially considering that, according to the Hashtagify tool from CyBranding, the #scichat hashtag gets an average of 12 million weekly impressions.
As the host of a Twitter chat, you can expect to gain lots of new followers each time you hold the chat. In addition, you'll build your social influence (i.e., Klout) when you're retweeted and mentioned during each chat.
As your chat grows in popularity, your business will become synonymous with the Twitter chat topic, and thus achieving recognition as a leader in your space.
#2: Build Authority
Many businesses use social media with the goal of building themselves up as an authority in the eyes of their customers and in their industry as a whole. Appearing as a Twitter chat guest to answer questions about your area of expertise is a surefire way to boost your authority.
So, how does one get invited to a Twitter chat as a guest expert? The best way is to actively participate in the Twitter chats you'd like to be a guest on. Get to know the host of the chat and tweet with him or her on a regular basis. Staying in the forefront of the host's mind and acting as a valuable resource in the Twitter chat is bound to lead to a guest opportunity.
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If you want to take a more proactive approach, send an email and let the host know that you'd love to be a guest on the chat sometime. If the host is familiar with you and believes you'd be a good fit, he or she just might agree.
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With the goal of lead generation in mind, be sure that you update your Twitter profile appropriately before the chat. For example, if you're a social media expert who is going to be a guest talking about Facebook, include a link in your Twitter bio that takes new followers from the chat to your Facebook services page, book or product.
As the guest of a Twitter chat, you can expect to gain lots of new followers during the chat as well as if/when the host writes a recap with the highlights of the chat. You might even get some business leads from people who find out how knowledgeable you are about your topic during the chat.
#3: Create One-on-One Relationships
As an active participant in a Twitter chat, you have the chance to demonstrate your knowledge to customers and colleagues. The more often you participate in a specific Twitter chat, the more relationships you form and the more recognition you gain in your industry.
Each time you participate in a Twitter chat with valuable comments and advice, you'll gain new followers. You'll also generate leads for your business as people in the chat visit your profile to connect with you, so make sure your Twitter profile is updated to help people learn more about you and your business.
#4: Stay Informed
Not everything has to be about your business's bottom line. Attending Twitter chats in your industry as a spectator can be a great educational experience.
In Cases on Formal and Informal E-Learning Environments, there's a chapter dedicated to a case study on how higher-education professionals used the weekly #sachat as a learning resource for student affairs.
As a spectator, your goal is to find Twitter chats where other professionals and experts in your industry meet to discuss common issues. Marketing professionals, for example, will find lots of Twitter chats with educational opportunities in the Ultimate List of Twitter Marketing Chats by Raven Tools.
#5: Promote Your Brand
If you know that a particular Twitter chat attracts your target customer base, then it makes sense for you to approach the host of the chat about sponsoring. Sponsorship packages vary based on the Twitter chat you're interested in, but many include some of the following opportunities:
- Mention of your business as the sponsor for the Twitter chat during the chat itself, as well as in articles and social updates on other channels used to promote and/or recap the chat (Facebook, Google+, etc.).
- Promotion of your products and/or services during the Twitter chat.
- Positioning of your business as the featured guest of the Twitter chat that allows you to work with the host on questions that help you market your business.
- Advertising banners on pages/websites devoted to the Twitter chat.
Some examples of Twitter chats that offer sponsorship include #blogchat, #TGTaste, #SocialChat, #FoodieChats and #PPCchat. To find sponsorship opportunities that are relevant to your business, search for Twitter chat sponsorship on Google.
Before you decide to be the guest or host of a Twitter chat, be sure to find and observe a chat within your industry so you know how they work.
There are many Twitter chats happening on a regular basis and you can find them on this Twitter Chat Schedule by Tweet Reports, or by searching on Google for your keyword + Twitter chat.
What do you think? How have you been involved with a Twitter chat? What were the benefits? Please share in the comments!
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