Want an engaged audience to amplify your content marketing efforts? Ready to grow your reputation at high speed? If you answered yes to these questions, a Twitter chat is the way to go!
Twitter is a great place in general to win customers and gain influence through your content marketing efforts. Twitter chats can give those efforts a bit of extra oomph, taking your further, faster.
Ready to learn about how you can use Twitter chats to boost your content marketing efforts and your reputation? Read on to learn more!
What Is A Twitter Chat?
Twitter chats (also referred to as Tweet chats) have been around almost since hashtags on Twitter began. They use hashtags as a means of creating a conversation around a specific topic.
Twitter chats have a few specific traits. They are:
- Planned conversations
- Centered on a specific topic
- Scheduled to take place on a regular basis (e.g., once a week or once a month)
- Based around the use of a particular hashtag
- Run by a host or several hosts, who develop the questions/topic ahead of time and runs the chat
- Sometimes sponsored by a company or brand
- Used by active, engaged Twitter users
For example, there is a Twitter chat every Tuesday at 5:00 PM EST, based around social media ROI. Madalyn Sklar runs the chat and it is sponsored by the social media management tool ManageFlitter. You can follow and participate in the conversation using the hashtag #SocialROI.
What’s So Great About Twitter Chats?
Twitter chats offer multiple benefits. First of all, they supply a powerful venue for building an engaged audience that likes to share. Twitter chats expose you to an interesting group of people. All of those people are online at that specific time and chatting live.
Those people participating in the chat are generally fairly loyal to the chat. They are excited to connect with like-minded people around the topic at hand. When you show that group of people that you can provide them with value, they will connect and converse with you. Generally, the relationships last even beyond the chat itself.
Twitter chats are based around a specific topic, so you can reach a very targeted audience. For example, if you create customer service oriented content, you can market that content directly to a customer service oriented audience. That will really help you improve the process of growing a brand reputation for yourself and your company.
Chat participants are very engaged. That means there is a greater likelihood that they will like, comment on, and share your content. Many of their followers are also likely interested in the same subjects they are. Therefore, your content marketing efforts will reach a vastly larger, yet still relevant, audience.
How Do I Get Involved In A Twitter Chat?
Anyone can join a Twitter chat, but not everyone can be a guest. If you are not sure yet whether or not you want to be a Twitter chat guest, you can certainly start out as a participant. That’s a great way to learn about how chats work, connect with other participants, and begin to get your name out there with a relevant audience. Just make sure you follow Twitter chat best practices!
While you can get a lot out of simply participating in Twitter chats, there are definitely advantages of being a guest. For example, when you are a Twitter chat guest:
- The host will publicize you, your expertise, and your content
- More participants will want to interact with you during the chat and share your content
- You will be able to more quickly build your reputation as an expert
- Your content marketing efforts will be yield better results
The host of the chat can invite you to be a guest. If you don’t get a personal invitation, though, you shouldn’t let that stop you. Often the hosts of Twitter chats are looking for proactive guests. Don’t be shy about reaching out to them and asking if you can be a guest on their chat.
What Is The Criteria For Being A Twitter Chat Guest?
The criteria for being a Twitter chat guest can vary depending on the nature of the chat and the host. That said, here are a few things that will help you be a more credible guest:
- Published content: If you participate in a Twitter chat to pump up your content marketing efforts, chances are good you have a range of content published. You may have written a book or articles, created videos, developed a podcast, or created a number of infographics. You can use any of those pieces of content to show that you have a deep understanding of the topic at hand. What’s more, Twitter chat hosts often use that content to develop the questions for the chat. That way, they know you will be able to provide relevant answers.
- Activity on Twitter: Twitter chat hosts want their guests to help keep the online conversation going throughout the chat hour and beyond. If you are not an active conversationalist on Twitter, you are probably not a good fit for a Twitter chat.
- Followers: Generally, the number of Twitter followers you have bears no relevance on your personal importance or success. However, some Twitter chat leaders prefer that their guests have above a certain number of followers. That said, often hosts will be more flexible around follower numbers if your audience is very engaged. After all, large numbers of followers with no engagement are no match for smaller numbers that regularly converse.
Start your Twitter chat experience by participating in a chat a few times. This helps you get a feel of the speed, content, and tone that people use. When you participate in the chat, you will also gain a better understanding of whether there are co-hosts or helpers. Those are great people to connect with, as they might be able to give you tips on how best to approach the influencer who hosts the chat.
Finally, reach out to the host with a note via Twitter or email. Show what kind of content you’ve created in the past and how your content and knowledge can provide value to the participants of the chat.
Which Twitter Chats Are The Best?
I can’t answer the question about which Twitter chats are right for YOU. That’s because you need to find the right chats to achieve your goals. If you are selling a healthcare product, you don’t want your content marketing efforts to be based around social media marketing.
There are loads of great Twitter chat lists available online. You can also ask other people who are interested in your area of expertise what chats they participate in.
Some of the topics I like to talk about on Twitter are customer service, marketing, and business strategy. Here are a few chats I enjoy and that fit my areas of interest:
- #CXChat: This weekly Twitter chat is based around customer experience. The chat alternates invited guests with a round-table format. The conversation is hosted by customer service experts Annette Franz and Sue Duris. It takes place on Wednesdays at 2:00 PM EST.
- #cmworld: Hosted by the Content Marketing Institute, this chat is all about content marketing. The conversation is good, the topics are always very relevant, and the guest are all true experts. The chat takes place on Tuesday at 12:00 PM EST.
- #BizHeroes: The #BizHeroes chat is aimed at small business owners and marketers. Sometimes there are guests and sometimes the conversation is simply led by Magda Torres, from Paper.li, and co-host Zala Bricelj, marketing expert. The chat takes place Tuesdays at 2:00 PM EST.
- #TwitterSmarter: I was recently a guest on host Madalyn Sklar’s #TwitterSmarter chat and I can tell you that it moves FAST! I was impressed by the number of people involved in the chat and the level of conversation throughout the hour. Madalyn also hosts a lively Facebook live show after the event to recap the chat. The chat takes place Thursdays at 1:00 PM EST.
How Can I Prepare Ahead Of Time?
Once you are scheduled to be the guest on a Twitter chat, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.
Be sure to include a winning call to action (for example, “here’s how you can contact me to learn about my book!”). However, ask ahead of time about when you are allowed to plug your content or include links. Some chat hosts don’t mind if you market your content throughout the chat, as long as you also answer questions and converse with participants. In that case, you can set up content marketing related posts ahead of time to help your efforts while not detracting from your chat participation.
Other chats have rules around when you can share content. For example, #CustServ, a customer service oriented chat which takes place on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM EST, only allows you to share links in the last five minutes of the chat. You can use the hashtag at other times during the week to improve your content marketing efforts, but you must be respectful of how your content is shared during the actual chat hour.
One thing that hosts will usually allow is your input into which questions are asked. Hosts want to be sure that their guests are shown in the best light, so you should proactively offer options and topics for conversation. Then you can angle your answers to the questions in such a way that you can show off your expertise while providing value to the chat group.
Sometimes you can even give a shout out to another influencer during the chat, for example someone who wrote a book you enjoyed or who has a blog you like to read. That way you are combining content marketing, reputation building, and influencer marketing in one fell swoop.
How Should I Answer Twitter Chat Questions?
You will most likely get the final questions ahead of time, so you can prepare your answers before the chat starts. Twitter chat answers should be provided in the following format:
- Answer each question with a correspondingly numbered reply. For example, the answer to Q1 should start with A1.
- Use the appropriate hashtag. If you don’t include the hashtag of the Twitter chat, no one from the chat will see your answers.
- Take advantage of additional hashtags. Add in related hashtags (like #CustServ for the chat and “CX” to represent customer experience) to draw a larger yet still relevant audience. You can also use hashtags that promote your business or other areas of expertise.
- Try to make your answers into “sound bites” without making them so general that they are useless. The more universally relatable your answers are, the more likely it is that the chat participants will retweet or reply to your post.
Keep the answers you prepare ahead of time in a document that you can easily copy and paste from during the chat. That way you can quickly answer questions and also have time to interact with the other participants.
One other great thing you can do is prepare more than one answer for each question. I generally like to have three answers for each question. That’s enough to provide useful information, but not so many that I don’t have time to check out the live conversation.
What Should I Do During The Twitter Chat?
Now it’s time for the live chat itself! Be ready, because many Twitter chats move quickly and have a lot of participants.
During the chat, you must keep track of several things:
- The questions. Don’t miss when you are asked a question or you will not come off well at all.
- Mentions. Sometimes you can’t reply during the event itself when people mention you. You may find replying to be too complicated during the chat. You also may not have enough bandwidth to find all your mentions. In that case, make sure you at least go back after the chat and reply to everyone who mentioned you.
- Host. Since the host will be asking you the questions, keep a separate stream open so you can follow what they say.
- Hashtag. Keep a stream open to the chat hashtag so you can follow what others are saying in response to the questions asked.
You may want to use a tool like TweetDeck to follow various streams at the same time. I also often like to use both my computer and my phone during the conversation. I use one for following the host and for providing answers to the questions asked, and the other for liking people’s comments, retweeting them, and responding to comments.
In addition to answering the questions you are asked, you can participate in the conversation too if you are able to multitask. Responding to others or commenting on their posts is great, but sometimes just a retweet of a relevant answer is enough when you are pressed for time.
How Do I Improve My Content Marketing Efforts After The Twitter Chat?
The fun doesn’t end when the Tweet chat does. There are a number of different ways you can use Twitter chats to improve your content marketing efforts after the conversation finishes up at the end of the hour.
- Twitter chat wrap ups: Most chats have some kind of wrap up or summary of what happened during the chat. Some do Facebook live interviews. Others create articles that include quotes from the guests. Sometimes it’s just a collection of relevant Tweets from the chat. You can share these pieces of content with your audience and also create similar ones for yourself.
- Connect with contributors: Remember that all the people who participated in the Tweet chat are engaged and interested in what you have to say. Connect with them, retweet their content, and share your own content with them. They will appreciate the ongoing effort to stay connected and you will have a bigger audience to bolster your content marketing efforts.
- Go back and make sure you didn’t miss anything: As mentioned previously, Twitter chats can move VERY quickly and it’s often easy to miss conversations and mentions. Take time after the chat to retweet relevant conversations, like people’s comments, and reply to anything you missed.
- Offer a bonus of additional content: Right after the chat itself, as well as for the following few weeks, you will be high on the chat participants’ minds. Now is the time to boost your content marketing efforts, mentioning chat participants when you share your pieces. Mix in some offers that don’t require contact information along with some that do. Either way, make sure that whatever you share is valuable and helpful, not spammy. Otherwise, you will lose the trust of your audience.
- Make a list of people from the chat: Make a list of all chat participants and continue to stay connected with them. Over time, these people will become your greatest advocates – and possibly even your friends!
When Should I Get Started?
There’s never been a better time to get started using Twitter chats to improve your content marketing efforts than RIGHT NOW! Plenty of Twitter chats go on every day. Loads of interesting and engaged people are waiting to hear what you have to say.
Do you like participating in Twitter chats? How about being a guest on a chat? What benefits have you seen as a result of your participation? Let me know in the comments below, Tweet me up at @HollyChessman – or talk with me live during a Tweet chat!