Hosting a Twitter Chat For Your Business
Twitter chats are an excellent way for businesses to further connect with their established community and invite others to join in.
At HJMT, we hosted a Twitter chat each week during our promotion of Glasslandia, the first Google Glass reality show and a behind-the-scenes look at our day-to-day activities. These chats were a lot of fun and helped us drive viewership for the show.
Here, we’ll talk about what you’ll need to set up your own successful Twitter chat.
- Think of your objective.
What are you trying to accomplish? Is it a promotion of your products or services? Are you trying to expand your Twitter community?
This will be the foundation of your Twitter chat and will help you measure your ROI. Once you’ve determined what you’d like to get out of this particular chat, the next step is to determine the topic.
- Selecting the Topic
The trick to the perfect Twitter chat topic is to choose something that is relatable to your target audience on this platform. When deciding on a final topic, try not to make it centered solely on your product. For example, if you’re launching a new app, don’t make the chat on your product. Think about its general features and what issues it’s solving and work from there. If your app focuses on health and fitness tracking, then consider making your Twitter chat about fitness and health.
If your Twitter chat topic is screaming “Look at me; it’s all about me” then it’s too narrow and self-serving. You’ll need to develop a topic that can capture users’ attention and get them talking.
- Creating a name for the Chat
Consider a title that will capture their attention and create a hashtag that matches the title and topic. Remember, keep the hashtag short as users will need to include with their tweet responses.
- Promoting the chat
Make sure everyone knows about your upcoming chat. If you can allot a budget, we recommend using a Twitter ad. Create the ad to extend your reach and make sure users that are not in your community are informed.
We also suggest sending out an email blast and posting about it on your other social pages. This way, users that are familiar and practically advocates of your brand will become aware of your upcoming chat. Try to do this at least three weeks in advance so interested users can schedule time to participate in your chat.
- Moderating the chat
Twitter chats are run at a fast paced rate. Once you start, you’ll need to keep up the pace while making sure tweets are read and responded to. There are a few ways to do this.
First, we urge you to create the questions in advance. It may seem odd to do this for a live event, but trust us, once you start the chat, simply pasting in the questions will certainly help keep the conversation moving in the right direction.
Depending on the amount of time you’ve allotted for the chat, develop at least ten questions, five main questions and five others that are offshoots of the main questions (in case the conversation shifts). If your chat is more than a half hour, double the amount.
Once it’s time to actually moderate the chat, there are a few platforms available to help you keep track of responses. Check out products like Hootsuite (free or premium), Nurph or Twchat, to help you monitor the hashtag for responses and continue the conversation with your own replies.
Although you’re technically following your questions, feel free to jump in to answer- after all, this is a two-way (or hopefully more) conversation!
On a rare occasion, a troll may jump into your chat and start posting negative tweets or heckling your participants. Keep calm and continue with your chat.
- Closing the chat
Once you’ve asked your questions or the time has run out, you’ll need to close out your chat with a “thank you.” Think of it this way- you wouldn’t host a party without saying goodbye to your guests, would you? It’s the same principle here. A simple “Thanks so much for coming to our chat” and directing them to a website for more details (if it’s product focused) or the Storify page (for chat recaps) will let the participants know that there are no new questions to come and that their time is appreciated.
- Monitoring any remarks about the chat
- Measuring ROI
Your ROI will rely on your objective. Was it to grow your community? If you noticed an increase after several chats, then it was successful. Was it to increase visitors to your website? If you noticed a spike in hits following, then your chat completed its mission. Did your product or service receive more attention as a result of your chat? Then it succeeded!
Remember, the effort you put into these chats is what you’ll get out of it. If you’re conducting a few chats a week, month or year and you’re seeing great interaction, then you’ve successfully conducted effective Twitter chats. Congrats!
Hosting a Twitter chat soon? Don’t forget to send us an invite at @HJMT!