Do you remember the good old days on Twitter? I hear those days referenced a lot. The engagement and camaraderie that took place among Twitter’s users when it was in its infancy was special. People met on Twitter to converse over topics and events, forming different communities that got to know and appreciate one another through one 140 character tweet at a time. It was a far cry from the giant megaphone that Twitter has become today.
While the feel of Twitter as a whole has lost that magic, there are still ways to foster engagement and build relationships using the platform. You just have to work a little harder for it. I have to admit; when I saw my target audience fervently engaging on Twitter, I was a bit bummed out at first. Tweeting has never been a favorite pastime of mine, so I don’t have those “good ol’ day” feels I hear mentioned so often. But, I knew I had to recreate that somehow with my community if I wanted to remain a relevant part of their conversation. Shortly after, #FreshChat was born.
Reclaim Engagement on Twitter with a Twitter Chat
#FreshChat is a Twitter chat that provides helpful information about blogging topics that influencers can use to grow their businesses. We use this time to connect with the members of our community, providing each other with support, encouragement, and plenty of fun gifs!
If you’re looking for a better way to engage on Twitter, consider starting a Twitter chat. Following is a complete guide to setting up your own Twitter chat. It includes many tips I’ve learned along my journey toward engaging current and attracting new community members using our weekly Twitter chat, #FreshChat.
Part One: Developing Your Twitter Chat
Ask, Why? – Before you begin any planning, ask yourself: Why? What do you hope to achieve by starting, growing, and maintaining a Twitter Chat? I’m a firm believer that the reason you put behind anything you do will be the driving force that allows you to see it through to fruition. Your why has to be big enough for you to keep going, even when things are going slow.
Choose a Hashtag – Before you choose a hashtag, be sure to do a little research. Make sure the hashtag you pick isn’t already in use in another chat, or that there aren’t any strange tweets attached to it.
Pick a Day and Time – Choose a date and time that works best for YOU. You will never find a time that works for everyone. Since you’re the one that has to lead the chat each week make sure it’s a good time for you to clear everything else from your schedule.
Part Two: Attracting Chat Members
Show Up Consistently – Show up to chat every week, even if you’re the only one.
CONFESSION: When I started #FreshChat I would open two browsers on my computer and login to two different Twitter accounts, @FreshPressMe and @PowellAmyM. If no one joined me I would chat with myself for an hour. Weird, I know. But, it reinforced my commitment to show up each week ready to provide helpful content to my community.
Partner Up – Avoid making the same confession as me by recruiting a partner in crime. Partners come in handy during the early stages when your chat attendance is low, but it’s also nice to have someone available to cover for you when emergencies arise, and you’re unavailable.
Don’t Give Up – Regular attendance will take longer than you expect. Be sure to access your reason why to help you push through any slower periods of growth. It took a good year before I felt confident in my chat numbers.
Part Three: Increasing Chat Engagement
Choose a Theme Relevant to Your Niche – To provide value to your chat attendees, it’s essential to choose themes and topics that are relevant to your niche. Provide information that helps your community solve a problem or meet a need to keep them coming back each week.
Prepare Open-ended Questions to Ask in Advance – Set up a content calendar with a range of relevant topics and format your questions well in advance. I’ve gotten into the habit of using an image template to create a slide each chat question. An image appears more prominently in the chat thread and helps the flow of conversation.
Be Personable and Respond to Every Tweet – Use this opportunity to do more than share your expertise with your community members. Engage with them on a personal level and ask questions to help you learn more about each participant individually.
Part Four: Growing Your Twitter Chat
Ask Members to Invite Others – Don’t wait for people to start talking about your Twitter chat. Ask them to spread the word! Send a tweet to each participant individually to thank them for attending, then ask them to invite someone they think it would benefit.
Post a Chat Recap – Use your blog and other social media profiles to promote your Twitter chat by posting a chat recap every week. Embed tweets into your post from your attendees, then let them know their tweet is featured in your recap. You’ll share it; they’ll share it, everybody will share it!
Tag Members of Your Community to Personally Invite them to Your Chat – Even though you’ve been anticipating your chat for days, your community probably hasn’t thought much more about it. Remind them a few minutes before your Twitter chat starts by tagging them in a tweet sharing the topic for the day.
Invite Special Guests to Add Value to Your Chat – Recruit professionals on specific topics to join your chat and share their expertise. Ask your guest to invite members of their community to attend as well. It’s a great way to grow your relationships.
Part Five: Monetizing Your Twitter Chat
Offer Sponsorship Packages – Once you have built a regular list of attendees, offer sponsorship packages to advertisers and brands who want to promote their products or services during your Twitter chat. Remember to keep the topic focused on solving a problem or meeting a need.
Prepare Affiliate Links to Recommendations in Advance – If you have products or services you want to recommend during your chat, prepare affiliate links to those items ahead of time. Apply to the affiliate program and build links to the product pages you want to recommend.
Post a Call to Action – If you sell a product or service on your blog, be sure to include a call to action at the end of every chat. Let your community know how you can help them even further with the products and services you provide.
Hosting a Twitter chat has been a gratifying experience. It has allowed me to meet and get to know many members of the blogging community. We have a lot of fun each week, as well as always learn something new. The most significant benefit the chat provides us is the ability to connect with members of our community on a personal level week after week.
You’re invited to join us for #FreshChat! We meet on Twitter every Tuesday at 12:00pm, eastern. Come check it out, learn some blogging tips, and have some fun!
Do you attend or host Twitter chats? What are some of your favorites? Share them with us in the comments!