Twitter chats, I believe, are an under-utilized way to connect with your target audience in a way you can’t anywhere else online.
I remember when I participated in my first Twitter chat years ago. It was for job at a recruitment company and I remember feeling totally lost because everything moved so fast! Despite it being a fast-paced environment, a small business can glean a lot of intel from observing and participating in Twitter chats. Let’s dive into today’s topic.
Before we fully dive into how you can get the most out of a Twitter chat, let’s first define what one actually is, for those that aren’t familiar. A Twitter chat is a live chat that a group of Twitter users discuss a certain topic at a pre-determined time. The host of the Twitter chat determines a hashtag for all participants to use, so you can have a stream of everyone participating in the chat.
The host or moderator will prompt the participants with questions (usually 7-10) to answer and share their experience.
A Twitter chat is a great way to network with a large group of like-minded individuals, gain insight, and potentially get you new business.
I have gained new clients, developed new business relationships, and networked with others in my industry all via Twitter chats, so they are definitely a tool to grow your business.
You first need to find the right chats to join. Joining the right kind of chats are crucial to your success, so choose wisely.
If you’re looking to network with others in your industry, select chats that are specific to your industry.
If you’re looking to gain exposure of your brand and potentially get new clients or customers, do the research and find out what Twitter chats your audience participates in. They probably won’t be participating in the industry related ones I first mentioned, because that’s not where they will find the most value.
There are numerous sites where you can find Twitter chats. Check out Twubs, TweetReports, or this Google spreadsheet to start.Find out how small businesses can use Twitter chats to grow their brand from @BrittneyLLynn! #smallbiz #smallbiztips Click To Tweet
You can shine on a Twitter chat if you consistently offer super valuable information. This does not mean going into a Twitter chat and only promoting your content and services. In fact, I would suggest not promoting any of your offerings or services unless someone specifically asks. You want to be seen as a thought leader, not a product pusher.
Participating in a Twitter chat isn’t all about pushing your products and gaining thousands of new customers, it’s about relationship building and one-on-one interaction with a certain group of people. Forcing your products and services down people’s throats won’t make them want to check out your business, it will only turn them away.
A first impression can be a lasting impression, so make it worthwhile.
What I find the most valuable out of a Twitter chat is what actually happens after the chat is over. While Twitter chats do move a lightening speed, find 3-4 people that you resonate with and connect with them on a deeper level after the chat.
Start following their blogs and regularly comment. Retweet their tweets and pin their blog posts on Pinterest. Selecting a few people to develop a deeper connection with will help make the Twitter chat seem less like a big scary place.
You can also possibly find people to collaborate with on a project. I’ve heard of numerous relationships begin through a Twitter chat, and then later they partner to host a webinar together or to offer a product. The opportunities are endless.
Another task to do post-Twitter chat is making a Twitter list. If you followed my tip on carefully choosing Twitter chats that are related to your industry, or your target market’s industry, this tip should be a breeze.
Go back through the tweets and identify people who could potentially be future clients/customers of yours. I suggest creating a Twitter list to help you easily categorize these.
Once your Twitter list is created, keep an eye on what these people tweet, the questions they ask, and offer as much as advice as you can. These individuals will remember how you once helped them and could eventually come to use your product or service in the future.
P.S. I’m conducting a one question survey related to social media and small business owners. I would greatly appreciate it if you took a few minutes to answer my one question. You can fill out the survey here. Thanks for your feedback!
Time for our next post in the Increasing Engagement Series: Twitter!
Twitter was one of those platforms that I was slightly reluctant to use. I remember my senior year of college in my Emerging Technologies class that we had to create our own Twitter account.
I thought it was dumb at the time. “What the heck am I going to tweet about? Nobody cares about what I eat for lunch!”
Turns out, people still don’t care what I eat for lunch but they do care about what I tweet about.
I’ve made so many connections on Twitter that have brought me legitimate clients so I am totally pro-Twitter now.
It may seem like a struggle to increase engagement in 140 characters, but it’s easier than you think! Let’s get to the good stuff.
Increasing Engagement Series: Facebook
Increasing Engagement Series: Instagram
When you’re sharing an article or product that could be helpful to your business, take that extra step and tag the journalist or product’s Twitter account.
Many times, especially if they are small businesses themselves, they will take the time to check out your profile and give you a shoutout back. That could lead to their followers checking you out and getting you new followers.
When you retweet someone, go the extra mile and give some sort of feedback on the tweet instead of just hitting the retweet button.
I don’t do this every time, but the times I do I see so much more engagement on my tweets than the run-of-the-mill retweets you see.
Twitter chats are a great way to communicate to a specific audience. Find Twitter chats that are related to your industry (here’s a great place to look for Twitter chats). If you can’t find any on there, just search “your industry + twitter chats” on Google and you’ll most likely find several.
Participating in a Twitter chat can help grow your followers as well as a great way to show yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Come prepared, Twitter chats move fast!
Ditch the robot sounding chit chat and tweet like you’re human. When you’re scheduling your tweets, imagine that you’re talking to a friend of yours. Thinking about it from this conversational mindset will help you come across as relatable and someone easy to talk to on Twitter.
Your followers shouldn’t feel scared or intimidated to talk to you, so be open, honest, and friendly while tweeting.
People like to follow and engage with other people who are consistent. Consistent with their values, business, and yes, even social media platforms.
If you are only tweeting when you feel like it, you won’t see as much engagement as you would if you consistently tweeted.
The great thing about Twitter is, even if you’ve been out of the game for a while, you can easily jump back in, no one the wiser.
The best times for me to tweet aren’t necessarily the best times for you to tweet. And what you think might be the best times for you to tweet might end up being the worst!
Use tools such as Tweriod (free) or FollowerWonk (free) to measure your tweets and your followers tweets to determine the best times for you to post, maximizing the engagement on your tweets.
Twitter brought us the world of hashtags and they are still a powerful way to interact with your community.
Hashtags are a way to communicate with a specific community, whether it be for Twitter chat, or discussing the latest episode of The Walking Dead, hashtags can expose your brand to a group that may not know of your business.
Don’t go hashtag crazy, keep it to one or two per tweet.
According to research, tweets that are around 110 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate than those over 110 characters.
Because there is enough room for people to add their own commentary when retweeting your tweets!
People are lazy and if they have to take the time to re-configure your tweet to add commentary they won’t do it. Having your tweet short enough for them to retweet and add commentary is ideal for increasing engagement.
Did you know that Twitter has a free way for your to view your analytics? All you have to do is log into your Twitter account, go to this link, and boom: analytics!
It gives you all kinds of information:
All of the information above, plus your top tweets, followers, and media you’ve shared. Over time, take a look at your top tweets. Those are the types of tweets you should be sharing with your audience, since those are the ones that resonate with your audience the most.
Research has shown that tweets with photos get 313% more engagement than tweets without photos. Say whaaat?!
It becomes more and more apparent that we’re living in a visual world (and I am a visual girl –> sang to the tune of Material Girl, of course :-)).
Using photos also helps you get around the 140 character limit by including text within your image, like Caitlin Bacher did with a recent tweet:
She doesn’t have to waste space in her 140 character explaining the date and time because it’s included on the photo. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.