Marketing for Small Businesses

Twitter Marketing 101: Hosting Twitter Chats

In our last Twitter marketing post, I spoke about tips and tricks to step up your Twitter game. I had mentioned we were going to go over Twitter Chats and how you, a small business, should use them to get your brand into the Twitterverse. Below you’ll read about what Twitter Chats are and a step-by-step guide to using them.

What Is A Twitter Chat?

A Twitter Chat is a public discussion based on a specific hashtag. They are led by a designated moderator, which is usually a brand but can also be an individual. In these chats, questions and discussions are asked and made around a predetermined time. You can find a schedule of Twitter Chats by simply giving ‘Twitter Chats’ a quick Google search. You (the moderator) will choose a date and time, a topic, promote it to your preferred audience, and then host the discussion live at the chosen time. Anyone can contribute to the discussion.

What’s in it for you and the participants? By participating in open conversations like Twitter Chats, you’re creating new opportunities to connect with people, whether they are influencers, current customers, or potential customers. For participants, they’ll get the answers they want or need. Many times, consumers don’t want to ask questions through contact forms or phone calls. This gives them another option to get their questions answered.

Your Guide To Twitter Chats

The Key Pieces Of A Twitter Chat

  • Host: This is you or your business. The host engages others and moderates the discussion to make sure it stays on track.
  • Hashtag: The hashtag will help those who are looking for your discussion find the chat. People can find and follow the hashtag.
  • Topic: This can be a general discussion or a specific topic. Be prepared to talk about this subject with talking points and prepared content.
  • Questions and Answers: Twitter Chats usually follow a Q&A format. The host can ask questions and label them as Q1, Q2, etc and the answers would be A1, A2, etc to correspond to the question.
  • Time and Date: Like I previously mentioned, Twitter Chats are scheduled on a certain date at a certain time.
  • Participants: What kind of discussion would a Twitter Chat be without participants? Make sure you promote your Twitter Chat effectively.

How To Best Host Twitter Chats

  1. Have a purpose: Figure out how hosting a Twitter Chat will support your brand. Make sure hosting a chat is worth it because it also requires a lot of commitment. A good bit of planning and work will need to be done on that day.
  2. Research Twitter Chats from a participant’s view: Take notes on things like how many people participated, the time and date of the chat, what kind of responses were given, how did the host act, the relevance of the topic, and what you got out of the chat.
  3. Choose the best time to host a Twitter Chat: Every bit of social media marketing is based on timing. Plenty of research goes into when is the best time to post on each platform, and you’ll find many different answers. Do your research and find out when tweets around your topic are the most active.
  4. Create your Twitter Chat hashtag: Make this hashtag relevant and on-topic. This is the hashtag that people will search for to find your chat so make it memorable and good.
  5. Create topics and questions in advance: Most Twitter Chats follow a question and answer format. Come up with quite a few questions to ask and look into some topics your participants might be interested in. Keep it all related to the topic.
  6. Promote your Twitter Chat: When it comes time for your Twitter Chat, you don’t want to  end up talking to yourself. Make sure you promote your Twitter Chat to the correct audience multiple different times and ways. Try promoting it on a different social media platform; it couldn’t hurt!

Host Your Twitter Chat!

Finally, host your own Twitter Chat. Ask your participants to introduce themselves. This will help the conversation get more personal. Here are a few tips:

  • Use the Q1/A1 format for questions to better find them.
  • Ask a question every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Ask between 5 and 15 questions total.
  • Retweet the best answers and ask follow-up questions to some responses.

Now that you know all about Twitter Chats and how to host one, get out there and try it! Thank you to everyone for staying tuned throughout our Twitter Marketing series, and we hope each and every bit has taught you something or helped you better your approach to marketing on Twitter.

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