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Parallel Path's Definitive Guide to Tweet Chats

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Everything you need to know to participate in and even host your own Tweet chat.

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Parallel Path's Definitive Guide to Tweet Chats

  1. 1. Tweet Chat Guide Drive Earned Traffic Growth Through Twitter
  2. 2. Introduction The Basics - What is a Tweet Chat? - Who’s attending - How to find Participate - Understanding the Format - Best Practices & Etiquette - Demonstrating Value Hosting Your Own Tweet Chat - Planning - Promotion - Hosting TABLE OF CONTENTS
  3. 3. Social media marketing is here to stay; for now. If your company hasn’t developed a solid so- cial strategy, you run the risk of giving away share of voice (SOV) to your competitors. If you’re reading this you likely already know that Twitter is a growing powerhouse for reaching consum- ers, with 230 million active users worldwide and 130,000+ new accounts created each day. And it’s not just a tool for B2C brands, as 42% of business decision makers claim to use Twitter for business purposes. INTRODUCTION When it comes time to develop a Twitter strategy, performance social or paid social will likely come up. But you should also take time to lay out an organic/earned twitter strategy based on interaction with other users to build brand reach and recognition. One of the best, and most underutilized tools at your disposal is the tweet chat. But how do they work, you ask? And how can I leverage them to build my brand? This guide should help you get started and give you some best practices so you can best represent your brand to a larger audience in the awareness and research phase of the purchase funnel.
  4. 4. What is a Tweet Chat? If you have never taken part in a tweet chat before, you’re missing out on a great market- ing opportunity. Tweet chats are online con- versations around specific topics where users can share thoughts on current events, best practices, knowledge, etc. Think of them as virtual branding hosted on Twitter. They are a great opportunity to get your brand and internal subject matter experts in front of your target audience and expand your social influ- ence. In general there are two types of individuals taking part in any given tweet chat. Experts and Learners. Experts are are your hosts and main contributors. They are there to share best practices, opinions, and moderate the conversation. Learners are there usually to educate themselves on the topic. These users are in the awareness and research stages of the purchase funnel. Learners in the research phase will be active in the conversation, asking questions and looking to build knowledge on the topic. While others who are in the aware- ness phase will be passive voyeurs to the conversation. They may chime in and ask a question, but for the most part, they are there to read through the responses and learn. THE BASICS TWEETS DAILY JUST HOW BIG IS TWITTER? DAILY SEARCH ENGINE QUERIES UNIQUE MONTHLY SITE VISITORS DAILY NEW USER SIGNUPS 58 MILLION 2.1 BILLION 190 MILLION 135 THOUSAND
  5. 5. Understanding the Format Before you jump into the deep end, it would be wise to just observe a tweet chat to get a feel for it. Follow along with a tweet chat by searching the designated #hashtag. Observe the dynam- ics of the chat, the types of questions asked and answers given. For a calendar of active tweet chats check out this page: http://blog.tweetchat.com/calendar/. It has a list of chats on a wide variety of topics. Just do a search for your industry and you’ll likely find a tweet chat for it. Now that you have observed a chat and discovered some active chats around your industry, it’s time to participate. It’s important to announce your intent in the days leading up to the chat. For example: “Join us & host @ParallelPath for #tweetchat. 12pm on March 1st!” Tweet again about an hour leading up to the chat. Just as you want to understand your audience offline, you will want to understand the audience of the chat you are participating in. Reach out to users and companies who have already confirmed they will be there ahead of time. PARTICIPATION
  6. 6. Formats for tweet chats can vary from very structured to open-ended. In this guide we’ll take you through the most common format. A tweet chat generally goes something like this: 1) Host welcomes everyone to the chat. Once they’ve opened up the chat, introduce yourself! 2) After introductions, the hosts will begin asking questions. For example, let’s take a look at #seochat from February 27th, 2014 : To make your answers easy to find and follow, respond in this format: Always answer each question at least once. But of course, you can always tweet more than once.
  7. 7. Best Practices & Etiquette As with any other medium used for brand messaging, you will want to make sure you follow best practices. For starters, always use the designated hashtag at the end of your tweet. Otherwise no one in the chat can see it. You may have to reword answers to meet the character require- ment while including the hashtag. There are usually about six questions, so prepare ahead of time. Brainstorm what questions you think may be asked and make sure you can provide an answer in less than 140 characters. These chats move at a fast pace, so it’s important to be able to have answers available at the drop of a hat. Because of this rapid pace, it’s possible you won’t see every user’s tweet. It’s a good idea to have a separate tab or window open with the host twitter feed up so you don’t miss the main questions asked. In addition, make sure to keep an eye out for others’ responses. It’s important that you respond to tweets made by other users in the chat. You do not want to just jump in and push your own agenda. You will demonstrate more value by generating conversation with the other users in the chat. When the chat is over thank your hosts. “Great chatting with everyone in #tweetchat today. Thanks to @example for being a great host!”
  8. 8. Best Practices & Etiquette 1 - Always use the designated hashtag 2 - Study the topic beforehand 3 - Brainstorm answers ahead of time to fit 140 character limit 4 - Don’t be selfish - Interact with others! 5 - Thank your host!
  9. 9. Demonstrating Value Go back through the chat after it’s over and look for users who you didn’t have a chance to tweet with. You might be able to answer questions for them that no one else could. An example could be; “@example we saw you had a few questions about SEO best practices in yesterday’s #tweetchat. Anything we can help with?”. In addition, take notice of any common themes or questions brought up. There’s a good chance these discussions will reveal pain points in your industry. You can use this knowledge to build content and messaging around these issues to further develop your brand. Finally, remember to follow up with other users. Keep track of other users who you were talking with, jot down their twitter handles and interact with them after the chat. They may still have ques- tions that you can answer. “Hey @example, let us know if you have anymore questions about running paid search campaigns.” Maybe you recently pub- lished a blog on the subject – send them the link. The main purpose of a chat like this is to expose your brand and provide thought leadership to the community of individuals/companies who are interested or involved in your area of expertise. Answering host questions will help highlight your expertise and lend credibility to your brand. Responding and following up with other users will demonstrate your company is interested in contributing to the community and is a competent provider of solutions. In time, you could even host your own Tweet Chat. Take notice of any common themes or questions brought up. There’s a good chance these discussions will reveal pain points in your industry.
  10. 10. Participating and interacting with potential customers on an existing tweet chat is a great start. As you gain more experience with tweet chats you may even consider hosting your own as part of your outreach strategy. Hosting can bring in even more exposure to your brand than just con- tributing to a conversation. When you host a tweet chat, you are in control of the conversation. The topic, question, and moderation of the chat is in your hands. This can go a long way to es- tablishing yourself as a thought leader in the market. However, it is not as simple as just hijacking an existing chat or creating your own hashtag. Just as with any other outreach strategy, a good deal of planning and preparation must go in before execution. HOSTING YOUR OWN TWEET CHAT
  11. 11. Planning Ultimately, you will have two choices when hosting: using an existing hashtag or creating your own chat. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Option one: Let’s start with utilizing an existing chat. The main advantage is exposure. An exist- ing chat will likely already have a following within your market. Chats with an established follow- ing will normally have a consistent audience, users know when the chat is occurring and what to expect. When it is announced that you are hosting, your brand will gain instant exposure. Essen- tially, from a marketing standpoint, this path requires much less effort than starting a chat from scratch. On the other hand, you may not have as much creative control in this situation. Ultimate- ly, the chat is generally operated by a neutral third party. You will have to establish a rapport with whoever regularly moderates the chat and a reputation within that community. This will also require time and effort. Advantages Disadvantages Guest Hosting: Create your own chat: • Established audience • No advertising budget, strategy, or extra resources needed • Complete control over chat • Larger SOV • Your own targeted audience • Need time to build reputation in community • Less control • More planning required • Budgets and resources needed to promote Option two: Create your own chat from scratch. As opposed to an established chat, this will require a little more planning from your marketing team. You will need to come up with an enticing hashtag, establish a schedule, regularly generate topic ideas, and promote the event. The toughest task here might be establishing a schedule. You will need to decide the frequency of the chat (monthly, weekly, etc.) and this time must not only work for your marketing team’s schedule but you will also want to avoid overlapping with existing chats within your industry. Promotion will also require resources and planning. You will want to find influencers to join your chat to help establish credibility. Advertising will also need to be considered. For example, you could utilize promoted tweets, promote across your other social channels, or send out an email to your consumer database announcing the launch of this new chat. More work, yes, but rewards can be valuable. You will have total control over the chat. All topics are controlled by your brand. Every time your chat takes place, all the users in the chat will be interacting with your brand as the leader of the conversation. Wallah, your own community at the mercy of your creativity and thought leadership, not bad!
  12. 12. Once your approach has been determined, you will want to work on topic ideas. Allow your marketing team/SME’s time to brainstorm ideas around relevant issues and ideas within your industry. Once a topic is established, it will be time to create questions. As mentioned before, there are typically about six questions in a chat. However, you never know how the audience is going to react to certain questions, so you will want to have a few back up questions. As a rule of thumb, try to come up with at least eight questions then narrow it down to the top six and keep the other two as backups if you need to fill more time. You may even want to create sub questions to keep a good conversation going. In addition to the questions themselves, have answers prepared. People will usually retweet most tweets from the host or @reply them with expansion or comments on your answers. This will increase the interaction with your brand during the chat and make you more than just a mod- erator. Below is a general template you will want to follow when planning to keep you organized during the chat. Question Answer Sub-Question Question 1 Answer 1 Question 1b Question 2 Answer 2 Question 2b Question 3 Answer 3 Question 3b Question 4 Answer 4 Question 4b Question 5 Answer 5 Question 5b Question 6 Answer 6 Question 6b Question 7 Answer 7 Question 7b Question 8 Answer 8 Question 8b
  13. 13. Promotion Once the topic and questions are all planned out, it is vital that you create a plan for promotion. As stated earlier, it is less laborious if you are working in an established chat. Here we will take the approach of promoting a brand new tweet chat with no established audience. First let’s go through some cost saving strategies. The most important will be identifying influ- encers to bring into your chat. Tools such as Followerwonk (www.followerwonk.com) are great for identifying twitter influencers around certain topics. Reach out to these individuals and invite them to join your chat. You may want to consider offering some sort of incentive to join. It could be something as simple as sharing a link or even offering them an opportunity to host the chat at a future date. You may even consider sending them free samples of your product. Figure out what types of incentives work best for your business and industry influencers. Once you have a good list of influencers on board, ask them to announce their presence to their following to further increase your reach. Conducting thorough hashtag research will also reduce advertising costs. Identify high reach- ing and engaging hashtags in your industry and leverage them as vehicles for your promotional messages. You will want to get the word out to as many potential users as possible. You can also leverage existing tweet chats with this method. Find an already popular tweet chat in your indus- try (preferably one you are not competing for time with) and aim your message at this communi- ty. If you already have a strong reputation in these communities, even better! You may also consider paid methods. Ultimately, if you’re paying to promote your tweet chat you will want to stay on Twitter to ensure the audience you’re reaching is actually on the required medium. Promoted tweets are the best way to do this. Here you can target specific users and their followers who will likely share an interest in the subject. Ads can also be targeted at users viewing specific hashtags. You can possibly have your ad display in existing tweet chats around your industry. Identify high reaching and engaging hashtags in your industry and leverage them as vehicles for your promotional messages.
  14. 14. Take the Plunge Now that you’ve planned and promoted your chat, it’s time to host! You will want to follow the best practices outlined in the first part of this guide, but there are also a few differences you will want to keep in mind as a host. For one, keep track of time. You may be getting a lot of great discussion around one question, but you don’t want to spend too much time on just one question. Keep the conversation moving. If you are asking six ques- tions you will want to keep it to a minimum of ten minutes per question. Second, as you a general user you will want to interact with others, but it is even more important as a host. Keep an eye out for interesting comments and ideas. Ask users to elaborate (the best they can in 140 characters) on certain ideas. Remember, you are not just there to ask questions, you want to lead and stimulate conversation. This will ultimately bring more interaction with your brand. Finally, thank everyone for participating and follow up with any new contacts you interacted with. Remember, the goal of these tweet chats is to expand your reach and influence users in the awareness and research phase of the funnel. It is all about demonstrating your knowledge of the industry and establishing value in the eye of these consumers. Interaction like this makes your company more approachable, bringing your brand to the front of the consumer’s evoked set. Keep the conversation moving. If you are asking six questions you will want to keep it to a minimum of ten minutes per question.
  15. 15. Hosting Checklist 1 - Topic Generation a - Eight thought provoking questions b - Answers to each questions 2 - Promotion plan 3 - Keep each question 10 mins or less 4 - Interact with chat members 5 - Thank participants 6 - Follow up
  16. 16. 303-396-1111 www.parallelpath.com | info@parallelpath.com 4688 Broadway St. Boulder, CO 80304 Join Our Growing List of High-Profile Clients Today!
  17. 17. Thank You

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