Want to build community around your business? Needing to up your game and become a more recognizable face on social media? Hosting a Twitter chat is a super effective way to achieve both of these goals. After hosting multiple chats that have gone from ‘sucked’ to ‘success’, I’m here to share the top 5 reasons why you should host a Twitter chat.
It doesn’t take up too much of your time
Once you’ve hosted a Twitter chat, you’ll realize how easy it is to get set-up, host and reflect. It doesn’t require you to block out huge amounts of time in your schedule (in fact you can absolutely get it all planned out on an evening. You’ll already have defined your audience, have set a time, have chosen a hashtag, have images ready as templates and have a promotion strategy. All you’ll have to do is pick a topic, plan out your questions & answers, pick a date, schedule your tweets and promote (trust me, this really doesn’t take long). A community like a Facebook group or Slack channel doesn’t give you the security of a set time and date – it requires ongoing attention taking up more of your time. Hosting a Twitter chat can be a once-per-week or once-per-month thing, and it’s only for a set duration.
You can set up the whole thing without needing to invest any money
Create your images using Canva, schedule your tweets and view multiple feeds at once by using Hootsuite. Each of these are really simple and quick to use, plus they won’t cost you anything.
It strengthens your content marketing strategy
Make your Twitter chat about a blog post you’re writing or a product/service you’re launching. You can use it as a research tool before you publish, or as a follow-up to continue the conversation after you’ve launched. It’s a great way to get your audience really involved and invested in what you’re doing, plus it helps you to improve what you’re doing too. If you’re considering hosting a monthly chat, choose a theme that you stick to across all of your platforms each month. This gives you and your audience consistency so that you can plan in advance and they know what to expect/look forward to and when. It also enables you to talk about/share content that fits in with the topic, driving traffic to your site which could convert into email subscribers, clients or customers.
It showcases you as a leader in your niche/industry
Got the courage to step up and ask the questions people are dying to know? Ready to dive in with a strong response and effective questioning? I love this because it gives me the opportunity to demonstrate my knowledge and expertise – to show that I can think on my feet and not avoid any awkward answers. Even better if you own up and say “I don’t actually know the answer to that, but here’s someone who might”. It shows that you’re not winging your way through, and that you’re willing to support others. Encourage people to find the answers themselves, that’s what a true leader would do.
You’ll get to know your audience & get the feedback you need
Have you held surveys that just haven’t seen the amount of responses you’d hoped for? There could be a number of reasons for this, but if it’s questions like “what would you most like to learn about X?” then hosting a Twitter chat is far more effective at getting answers. It’s super appealing due to its’ fast-paced interaction, which also gives people the chance to be really honest. They’ve got just 280 characters (for now) and a matter of minutes to get their answer to you before the next question comes around. Sometimes not leaving people with too much time to think through and change their mind is best, as you’re likely to get the most honest reply. With the option to quickly jump in and out of the chat, it’s easier to get people involved and also gives them a reason to be online. As I encourage all of my readers to be purposeful and practical with their approach to entrepreneurship, I would always recommend they spend an intense hour participating in a chat.
So, what did I personally get out of hosting Twitter chats?
As the host of the Twitter chat, participants tend to follow you so they can easily see when you tweet out a new question and get updates about when you’re hosting another. More Twitter followers means your tweets are being seen by more people, which increases the opportunities for your content, products, and services to be consumed, shared and/or purchased. (In an algorithmic feed, you need to get the initial traction (engagement) to keep the content out there).
By asking about my audience’s problems and sharing my knowledge and expertise based on their situation, I received more client enquiries for my business. This was also the perfect way to extend the relationship and build trust by inviting individuals to have a discovery call with me without it feeling like a sales pitch. Quickly after the chat, I followed up with these prospective clients and booked them in.
I was also able to provide resources to support my answers and what my audience needed from me in the form of sending over a link to a relevant piece of content… resulting in more website traffic. I recommended content by others which demonstrated that I have knowledge of my niche/industry and increases trust with my audience.
And of course, I really got enjoyment from the experience (and I was nervous too! “What if nobody turns up?” went through my head before every chat). As an introvert, I found it the perfect first step to interacting with people I don’t know. Live webinars/workshops are likely out of most people’s comfort zones as a starting point, but hosting a Twitter chat eases you in gently, meaning I had loads of fun.
How to get started
- Join a Twitter chat as a participant, testing out tools like Hootsuite
- Follow a host during a Twitter chat, observe what they’re doing and make notes
- Volunteer to host an existing Twitter chat to get a feel for it
- Reflect on what you’ve learnt so far and what should be done next time
- Plan out your own Twitter chat, host it and reflect again
PS, If you are feeling brave enough, the concepts in this post also work for Facebook/Instagram Live and webinars!