How to Run Twitter Chats



Some people I talk to in business are frustrated because they aren’t sure how to use Twitter effectively for business. I totally get it. Twitter is very fast moving and it can be hard to find your voice there.

At the same time, there are many business people who successfully use Twitter every day. They’re able to use it to boost their authority, make connections with potential JV partners, and connect with members of their audience.

It’s sort of mysterious how they do this. At least, it was mysterious to me until I really started to investigate what some of the most successful Twitter users were doing. By following the trail of what leads to success and traffic on Twitter, I realized that Twitter Chats, or Tweet Chats, are a very effective strategy.

Very few people use Tweet Chats as part of marketing, mostly because they haven’t heard of it or don’t know how to do it. But, it's a strategy that has worked for many, so you might want to try it out. Don't be scared off by the term "Tweet chat." You're simply going to use Twitter as you always have, but use a Hashtag that will connect you and the other people Tweeting and following along together.

It’s very simple, actually. You can get your audience really interested in what you’re talking about and truly “chat” back and forth with people on a particular topic.

When you host your own Tweet chat, you’ll act as the moderator and get others to follow along with your topic. You'll usually tell chat participants what to expect ahead of time (and which hashtag to use throughout the chat) so they're ready to go when it's time for the chat.

It’s important to choose a hot topic a lot of people will want to participate in. It should probably be something up to the minute and at the top of everyone’s minds.

Make sure the hashtag you choose is fairly unique to your chat so it's easy to filter through the noise to keep chat attendees on target. It can be something unique that’s related to your brand—but also something chat participants can take ownership of.

It can seem hard to build a community on Twitter, where it's easy on Facebook. I have to admit I’ve always felt more comfortable using Facebook for this purpose. But, using Twitter to host Tweet chats is a great way to get that community feel. As a bonus, you're the organizer and go-to expert, so you get an instant authority boost.

During the Tweet chat, you can answer people's questions, share new strategies, have guest tweeters, and more. It works well if you come up with an enticing theme beforehand, remember. Let your imagination guide you!

It's likely that very few (if any) other marketers are using Tweet chats in your niche. If they are, do some digging to see how it’s working for them and what you can do to stand out.

Ensure your idea is different enough to be extremely effective and to really get people's attention. As a bonus, people are really only focused on you and your chat at that moment-- which means giving away a special bonus for attending in exchange for an email is a fantastic way to drive great traffic.

You can simply use the TweetChat.com site to make this all happen. You can recommend your tweeters use it as well. There are other services out there (twubs.com and hashtags.org, to start) that make it easy for people to keep up with the conversation, so just figure out what will work best for you. Google to find something that will serve your purpose.

The really cool thing is that your tweet chats will show up in your newsfeed. So will the flurry of tweets coming from your guests and attendees. This can entice more people to join, including others of authority. They'll want to know what all the fuss is about.

Every once in a while, you might want to include a tweet to let others know how to easily join in, and even what a tweet chat is. The more tweet chats you host, the more likely they are to catch on. You can gain a ton of followers and a lot of traffic as a result because it's so exciting for people.

Remember-- tweets are content. You can use something like Storify to capture the best results of the tweet chat. You can then include the "story" on your blog, link to it from your other social media accounts, and more.

Using Hashtags in Marketing and During Tweet Chats

We've talked a little about hashtags, including how to use them in tweet chats. Now, let's talk about how to use them specifically for your marketing. Hashtags make it easy for people with common interests to find one another. You can search specific hashtags, or even just click on the one you're interested in, to find other tweets that have that same hashtag. You can find other users this way and they can find you.

When you post something interesting, try to find a great hashtag to include. There's a careful balance between choosing something that's way too general and choosing something that's so obscure it will be useless. Get a feel for what's popular, yet specific enough, in your niche so you can include these hashtags in your posts.

Your hope is that you're not the only one using a particular hashtag, which won’t be a problem if you’re running a tweet chat and have others on board, participating in it. Sometimes, it will be specifically related to your brand or campaign. Other times, you'll be piggy backing off of something that's already popular. Try different methods for different circumstances to see what's going to work best for you.

Just as I mentioned with tweet chats, you can use various services to help you analyze the effectiveness and current activity surrounding a particular hashtag. Tagboard.com, Rebelmouse.com, Talkwalker. com, and others offer this functionality.

Play around with different ways you can use hashtags and Tweet chats, and you'll start to see your follower count and overall engagement go up. This, in turn, can turn into more traffic and a growing recognition for your brand.