Twitter Chats: How To Build and Define Success Through Data
It’s the era of unlimited access, and the twilight of traditional brand loyalty. The level of connection that followers and customers feel toward you directly correlates with how much they’re willing to invest in your brand.
Twitter chats, and Q&A sessions are a daunting tactic to approach. If yours isn’t a success, you’ve wasted a lot of hours and embarrassing exposure to the disappointed folks who did get involved. You can’t afford to plan a Twitter chat halfway. It takes a strong strategy, clear goals, and a definable timeline for determining success. You also need to know what type of Twitter chat or Q&A is right for your brand. Should you execute and grow a live chat? Should you plan a series? What should you be discussing? Who should be running your Twitterview? How should it be structured?
This guide can help you determine – using data as the basis for all of your decisions – whether or not a Twitter chat is right for you, and how to plan your attack.
Should you even be doing this?
First, discern if your audience is a good fit for a live chat. If you answer “yes” to one ore more of the following questions, there could be a Twitter chat in your near future.
✔ The demographic I market to is active on Twitter.
A Twitter chat, or a Twitterview (which is a clever name for a live Twitter interview with a celebrity, thought leader, or influencer) is not the time nor the place to draw in folks who aren’t active on the social network to begin with. While, of course, your goal should be to make the Twitter chat so compelling that people are joining Twitter just for the occasion, it’s pretty unlikely that an inactive, barely active or non-existent user is going to get involved solely for your chat. With that in mind, here’s are some relevant statistics about Twitter users:
- There are about 550 million registered users, and 241 million monthly active users (a great pool to draw from if you’re looking to expand your follower base).
- 50% of Instagrammers also use Twitter (so advertise your Twitter chat on Instagram).
- 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads (and live chats can provide you with ultra-specific market research on what your followers think, want, and wonder about).
✔ There’s a demonstrable value-add to engaging in live chats.
For a Twitter chat to be successful, you’ve got to define a goal. Without a measurable goal, what’s the point? Lay out what you’re hoping to accomplish. Here are some examples of good goals for a Twitter chat. Once these goals are set, develop some baseline KPIs for each that you can monitor and adjust as you execute:
- I want more followers.
- I want to drive more traffic to my site.
- I want feedback.
- I want to drive brand awareness and thought leadership around a specific topic.
✔ Comparable or competitive brands are hosting chats.
While it’s important to blaze your own trail, there’s something to be said for keeping up with the market. If your competitors are seeing success with Twitter chats or Q&As, it’s time to claim your piece of the pie, so as not to be seen as dinosaur-like. By doing some competitive analysis, you can identify where you stand generally among competitors:
It’s also important to trend engagement over time for your competitors that are running chats. Since you choose the dates, you can really zone in on whether those live chats have been working for your competitors, and which kinds are the most effective.
And with this killer blend of competitor data and your own fresh ideas, you can plan your own Twitter chat attack.
What are your followers interested in talking about?
Step 1: Discover the most common keywords your Twitter followers are using.
Run a Twitter Audience Analysis for your brand.
Step 2: And get specific.
Click on over to the Topics tab.
Step 3: Choose a topic.
Your chat topic should be something that intersects with your brand voice, your goal for the Twitter chat, and your audience’s interests.
Should your chat be structured around a product launch? A well-known guest? A specific event?
Option 1: Find an expert within your organization.
— Mount Sinai Hospital (@MountSinaiNYC) March 11, 2014
Or even outside of it!
Providing the audience with the incentive of new knowledge and simultaneously the chance to have their voices heard is a winning Twitter chat tactic (say that three times fast).
Option 2: Find an influencer who relates to your brand and speaks to your market.
On 3/14, Cosmopolitan conducted a #CosmoMiley Twitter chat with Miley Cyrus.
In this example, Miley herself is the commodity. Cosmopolitan has carefully chosen a brassy, bold celebrity who appeals to both teenagers and twentysomethings in an effort to maintain their own brand’s relevance. Some modes of Twitter chats are more direct in their marketing efforts, such as Kim Kardashian’s live interview with fans:
In this case, the link between the fact that the influencer is trying to shill product is obvious (often a turn-off to followers), but the celebrity is so popular that it’s still successful. Brands also win when they partner with celebs on Twitter chat by creating the perception that they are providing intimate access to a popular figure:
In this gatekeeper role, Us Weekly pulls a great move by continuing to publicize their Twitter chat success and capitalize on that content after the fact.
Option 3: Pick an event on the calendar.
Do you have a big conference, premiere, or product launch coming up? That’s the perfect time to have a Twitter chat or party.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) February 27, 2014
Offering some form of connection with the makers of a new product is an ideal ways to build awareness and engage your followers.
How do you know whether your live chat was successful or not?
Through the data, of course. Say that my goal was to….
Gain more followers.
When I run a Twitter Account report for the time period around my Twitter chat, I can see exactly how many followers I gained, how many bit.ly clicks I received, and my overall reach.
Drive more traffic towards your site.
When I run a Twitter Traffic Analysis report, I can see exactly how activity funneled down from Twitter to site click-throughs for any time period I want.
I want feedback.
Remember the Twitter Account report we mentioned above? If you click on over to the “Mentions” tab on the Excel doc, every Tweet that mentions your handle is listed for your perusal and examination. Use this to search for specific terms (Control+F) to search for the type of feedback you were seeking out.
I am going through a rebranding and want to raise awareness around that.
Give your rebrand a hashtag, and run a Conversation Driver Analysis report when you want to check in on the buzz around your Twitter chats, interviews, parties, extravaganzas…you get the idea.
All of these reports are available as part of the Simply Measured’s complete suite of Twitter Analytics. For a free trial of Simply Measured’s full social analytics package, click the button below.
I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.