I recently discovered how fun and useful Twitter Chats can be from a business perspective. Twitter Chats might be the most underappreciated small business marketing and outreach tool. They give businesses a free, regularly-occurring way to network with industry influencers.
This is the first time I’ve really dabbled with them. I wanted to see what the potential benefits could be for small business marketing and industry outreach. It turns out, there are plenty of Twitter Chats that focus on the topic of social media/digital marketing (no surprise, right?). There’s at least one chat a day on average that marketers can jump in on, share expertise, and gain knowledge from on best practices.
So far, I’ve monitored and participated in the following Twitter Chats:
- #contentchat is on Mondays at 2pm CST. This chat focuses on content creation and marketing.
- #brandchat is on Wednesdays at 10am CST. This chat focuses on branding topics.
- #adweekchat is on Wednesdays at 1pm CST. This chat focuses on specific ad campaigns and topics of interest.
- #bufferchat is on Wednesdays at 11am CST. This chat focuses on different social media topics and analysis.
- #hootchat is on Thursday at 2pm CST. This chat focuses on different social media topics and efficiency.
- #foodiechats is on Mondays at 7pm CST. This chat is great for anyone involved in a food-related industry, because it targets foodies worldwide.
There are plenty of other chats to check out, even if you have no interest in marketing or seeking the company of other professionals in your specific industry.
After participating in a few of these, I can suggest a couple tips:
- Don’t get seriously involved in more than one chat daily. They tend to last an hour and you have to be constantly following the chatter to really make an impact. Even one a day may be too many to start out or to consistently be a part of. Part of the fun of participating is that you have a chance to strike up real relationships with people that you can build on week after week. So choose wisely!
- Be liberal with dishing out “Favorites,” replying to, and retweeting. This is part of the process of making friends. Don’t do anything you don’t want to, but don’t hold back – you’re there to engage with like-minded individuals!
- On that note, Tweet a “high-volume” warning to your followers so they know what to expect.
- Feel free to introduce and even pitch yourself at the beginning of the chat. It’s an easy way to break the ice with participants.
- Observe conversations and learn the proper way to get involved. When asked a question by the moderator, it’s customary to respond in a specific format. If they’re on “Q1:”, format your answer starting with “A1:”. And don’t forget the hashtag of the Twitter chat at the end of your Tweet! That’s how people follow along and respond.
- Some Twitter chats allow you to see the questions ahead of time. Take advantage of this to formulate intelligent and useful responses (bonus points if you include pictures). Don’t just respond to be a part of the conversation – contribute something useful. You can use a web application like Pablo by Buffer to make your answers stand out and more likely to be shared. Remember – if you get a retweet, it gets seen by that person’s follower, not just the chat participants.
- Listen as much as you respond, or more. There are a lot of seriously intelligent and interesting people who get involved in Twitter Chats.
I’ve been using my personal Twitter account on behalf of Social Media Beast in these chats, so I can’t tell you with 100% certainty how much of their follower growth in the last few months has come from this participating. But what I can show you are my own Twitter analytics.
March 2015 is a good baseline for us to start with. At this point, I hadn’t participated in a Twitter Chat.
In April, I tried a few Twitter Chats and started to get the hang of things.
May has been my best (complete) month to date. I’ve been participating in Twitter chats more frequently and have gotten the hang of how they work.
Here’s June so far (as of 6/10). I expect this number to keep growing month over month.
These are just a few data points to look at, but underscore the value of the relationships I’ve built with Twitter Chat participants. Plenty of the people I’ve been talking to express an interest in Social Media Beast, my role there, and the knowledge we possess. The more your business gets involved in Twitter chats, the more it can become a brand synonymous with industry expertise.
You might also eventually think about hosting a Twitter chat. I just hosted my first, and this was my experience:
I was asked (June 19, 2015) to be a co-host of one of my favorite Twitter Chats, #ideaschat (Tuesdays at 11am CST), hosted by Chicago Ideas Week. This Twitter chat holds immense potential for Social Media Beast, as we operate in Chicago and have a lot of local partnerships.
The chat was focused on a topic that resonates a lot with me, “Exploring Chicago… on the Cheap.” I write a personal blog called Chicago Cheap Ass, so interacting with the Chicago community accomplished both personal and professional goals!
Together with the Chicago Ideas Week team, we decided on questions ahead of time, a schedule (to the minute!) of when to introduce them, and had a Social Media Beast content writer get in on the conversation. It was a busy hour acting as a host! I wanted to acknowledge everyone’s contributions, continue the conversation, and also promote my company and my blog. It ended on a great note and ended up with a lot of new connections for me and Social Media Beast! I would love to do another one in the future.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community