The 5 P’s of the Tweet Chat with Bryan Virgil Crist (@bcvirgil)
Whoah! It’s been about a year now of conducting tweet chats for our clients. It was a few months back on one of our prep calls for a Network Solutions chat, when guest tweeter and leadership expert Terry Starbucker commented on how fantastically organized our whole tweet chat process was. Then it dawned on me… there really is a strategic method to running a tweet chat. This post explains the 5 P’s to starting a successful tweet chat series.
Wondering how to make your Twitter presence more effective? Look no further, there is a way, and it’s free! It’s called a tweet chat (http://bit.ly/cedQ0Z). Hosting a monthly or bi-weekly tweet chat can help a business build thought leadership, increase brand awareness on the micro-blog, and provide a consistent resource of information.
Tweet chats have become a common phenomenon to further engage your audience and also create a regular dialogue with them. Usually they are done as a series with different themes, but they could also be used for a product launch or other specific events. Some popular tweet chats include #measurepr founded by Shonali Burke, #SOBcon hosted by Terry Starbucker and Liz Strauss, and #netsol lead by Network Solutions.
As a CRT/tanaka client, Network Solutions, leading domain registrar and online solutions provider has found their monthly #netsol tweet chat to be a very effective way to regularly communicate with the small business community. Network Solutions positions themselves as a small business champion – a provider of insights and a resource to small business owners. The company has consistently hosted tweet chats on a monthly basis since last June, generating several million impressions and reaching upwards of 100 people at each one. In total they have had nearly 1,000 members of the small business community actively participate in their discussions.
So how do you do it? It’s easy! With some simple planning, promotion, and persistence you can achieve some pretty eye opening results. Here are five steps to follow on how to get started on your brands tweet chat series:
1) Pick a topic that your customer cares about:
In most cases tweet chats should run as a monthly or bi-weekly series, so try tying your topic into a monthly theme. Make twitter part of your overall marketing strategy. The topic should be something that relates or is associated with your brand. The purpose of the chat is to regularly engage with a consumer. Make your topic edgy and fun and give your participants a reason to keep coming back!
2) Partner up with a Twitter influential:
If possible, partner up with a person of expertise in your particular industry who also has a huge reach on Twitter. This person will be your guest tweeter and provide the insight/advice/tips on whatever your topic is. He or she should be a credible name and have generous following on twitter. The bigger the following, the further the reach to potential customers and a person with a well-known name will attract participants. Another positive is that you are now forming a relationship with an expert in your particular industry.
3) Promote across all social channels:
Promoting a tweet chat can be a very difficult task, especially when you are just starting out. That being said, there are still several different ways to go about doing it. First, if possible, set up an online page to send your future attendees to. Popular sites like Eventbrite.com are great and also help with search engine optimization. This page allows you to keep track of registered attendees and start building a contact data base. The page should highlight your business, tweet chat topic, guest tweeter, and map out what the participants will get out of the chat. Ensure you promote the tweet chat acoss all your social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, PitchEngine, etc. To make this process easy, develop five tweets to use that include a link to your page, your brands hashtag and blurb on why they should attend.
4) Prepare for an engaging tweet chat:
Believe it or not, running the actual tweet chat is the easiest part! It helps to draft an outline or script of exactly how the chat will run. Sometimes the conversation can get so engaging and move extremely fast. Having a script of tweets ready to go will keep the chat running fluid. A simple introduction of your guest tweeter, welcome message, and then 8 to 10 questions that can be easily answered in less than 140 characters is a recipe for success. The discussion should last around and hour to an hour and a half. Afterwards do a quick wrap up, ask your attendees to introduce themselves, and give them an idea on when your next chat is going to be. We have seen that free giveaways are also a nice incentive to increase participation.
5) Present the metrics:
To gauge how effective your chat was there are a couple of sites that will measure the reach of your hashtag. Tweetreach.com and whatthehashtag.com provide with a pretty in-depth analysis of the conversation surrounding your hashtag. They also list every tweet by each contributor so you can go back and see exactly what was said and see who the most active participants were.
Follow these few steps and you are guaranteed an engaging discussion on what I consider as the #2 social network. The tweet chat is an easy way to position your brand as an expert in the industry and a great way to build relationships online. By launching a series you should start to see regulars show up each time. This is a great indication that your brand is becoming a thought leader and an attractive resource!
It’s a simple, free and an easy way to build your brand online! Twitter presence needs to be more than just building your following. Give your followers something to tweet about! What are you waiting for? Start your business tweet chat series this month!
Please share any feedback you may have on how to run a successful tweet chat. Let’s make the best of those 140 characters!