If you’re a B2B marketer looking for a way to interact with current and potential customers, build your social following and promote your business all at the same time, hosting a Twitter chat might be just what you need. More B2B marketers are embracing this strategy as a way to engage on topics of interest for specific vertical markets such as food ingredients or building products.
Before you embark on your own chat, it’s important to practice and do some strategic planning. Participating in a few chats prior to hosting your own is an ideal way to get a feel for the process and form an opinion about how you’d like your chat to run. Check out our blog, Connect with Customers through Twitter Chats, for some tips and tricks on participating in a Twitter chat.
Before getting too deep into execution mode, develop a strategic plan. For B2B companies, this is your time to decide whether to tackle the Twitter chat on your own or partner with a well-established Twitter chat handle. For example, B2B kitchen and bath industry professionals could team up with KBTribeChat (@KBTribeChat, #KBTribeChat) to sponsor/host the weekly chat. Such collaboration with a well-known Twitter chat will allow you to gain access to a large following and further expand your reach.
So, you’ve participated in several chats and decided you’re ready to lead the show. Keep in mind these six steps when planning and hosting a Twitter chat:
1. Create a hashtag.
Selecting an appropriate hashtag is crucial when prepping for a Twitter chat. Your hashtag is what keeps the entire Twitter conversation together. When brainstorming hashtags, remember to make it relevant, easy to remember and type, and most importantly—unique! Double check to make sure the hashtag you decide on is not used by anyone else.
2. Set a date/time.
Choosing the right time to hold your chat is essential. Do a bit of digging first to determine when other Twitter chats are happening so that you avoid butting times. Twitter chats typically last an hour, so keep in mind different time zones as well. Helpful hint: Refer to this Twitter Chat Schedule to find a time best suited for your chat.
3. Choose a topic.
A topic can make or break your Twitter chat. Choose a broad topic that is relevant to your industry. Try to find a topic that will not only engage your current audience, but also encourage new followers to join in. Once you’ve settled on a topic, you’re ready to tackle step four.
4. Develop chat questions.
Your chat questions are the drivers of the conversation. It’s important that these are open-ended questions tailored toward your intended audience. Depending on how much time you allocate for answers, five to seven questions should be plenty.
5. Promote the chat.
Before you launch your chat, promote, promote, promote—we can’t stress it enough. Share the chat date, time and topic on your social platforms a week or two in advance, inviting followers to attend. Better yet, write a blog post about the chat, outlining the topic, questions and how to join.
Bonus: Creating a blog post will drive additional traffic to your website via your social channels.
6. It’s show time!
Introduce yourself as the host, ask questions, respond to questions, engage with followers—be authentic! It’s an informal discussion after all! At the end of the Twitter chat, don’t forget to thank all attendees for participating and providing their insights. As you continue to host Twitter chats, you’ll start to develop your own style and approach.
Hosting a Twitter chat may sound a bit daunting, but if you follow the steps above, all the hard work will pay off. Want to prove it? Use a tool like Hashtracking to gain real-time analytics into your chat. If you do plan on hosting a Twitter chat anytime soon, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@CBDMarketing). We’ll be ready to join in!