“Twitter chats are a way for a community of people to get together online at a regular time and share ideas! But they are much more than a one-hour event. The true benefit of Twitter chats is the way they build relationships and rally everyone around a common interest.” — Brian Fanzo
In my recent blog post I described the potential of Social Listening. With Listening you show (potential) customers or prospects that they’re important to you. But maybe you’re now asking what could be an effective way to listen? One effective opportunity is Twitter chats. If you’re actively using Twitter you may have heard about them.
Those who join Twitter chats are likely to be experts and people who have the same interests and love to share their experience, opinions and expertise. They are a great way to engage with people and to gain valuable insights about a topic essential for your business. And by the way, they are also a lot of fun!
What is a Twitter Chat?
Twitter chats are live conversations about specific topics at a scheduled day and time. Everyone has the opportunity to join by using a common hashtag (e.g. #SalesEU) which makes it easy to follow the conversation. All participants simply use the hashtag in their tweets, so Twitter is able to link them together and make them visible in one place. If you tweet without the hashtag, your tweet gets lost.
Twitter chats normally have some hosts who guide the conversation during the chat. Hosts ask a question and participants can answer. Normally the hosts decide the topic of the chat and organize 5-10 questions that are likely to come up during the chat.
When participants answer the questions, you can ask a question or answer yourself. If you find some valuable tweets, use the RT or FAV Button. You´ll see — there are some great conversations!
Choosing the Right Chat for Your Specific Goal
In the meantime, there are a lot of great Twitter chats. You should participate in chats where you can show your expertise but also increase your knowledge and build your network. Have a look to see if there are any chats about your customers’ industries. You may find your customers participating, which opens the door to prospects. Which chats are the best for you depends on your own specific goal. To find the right ones, you can just Google “Twitter Chat” and you´ll find a bunch.
For salespeople and sales managers, here are a few that may be of interest:
- #SalesEU: Europe´s only weekly B2B sales chat which covers tips, tools, and strategies. Takes place every Wednesday at 3pm GMT/7am PST.
- #SShour: A weekly Twitter chat focused on the topic of Social Selling. Every week a well-known guest shares insights with the community. Takes place every Monday at 1pm PST.
- #S4LSocial: This chat covers not only sales topic but also marketing and social. Takes place every Wednesday at 12 ET.
Participate in The Right Way
As I already mentioned, all chats are organized by a hashtag. You can follow the specific hashtag in Twitter, but believe me, it can be very frustrating to follow a fast-moving chat in that way. So, to get the most out of your chat experience, the best way to participate is to use a Twitter tool to help you monitor the hashtag that you’re following. Tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck allow you to add a column for a specific hashtag. With Tweetchat you can create your own room for your chat.
Here an example on Tweetchat:
Do Your Homework and Follow The Etiquette
Before participating in a chat for the first time, do some research by searching for the specific hashtag and look if there are some rules you have to follow.
Write down some thoughts you want to share. If there is a certain webpage which you can read before the chat starts, do that. Some hosts provide participants with the questions before the chat.
Take the time to look up who the host is. Then follow them on Twitter.
Participants will retweet and favorite your postings and/or ask follow-up questions. Take the opportunity and start a dialog.
Follow the participants and keep the conversation going.
Write down some useful tips and suggestions you receive during the chat and try to use them.
The Real Value of Twitter Chats
Twitter chats can definitely grow your social media success. They connect you to a community of people who share common goals, values, and interests. You can grow brand awareness and expand your reach. Many people who are involved in Twitter chats love to follow other participants. Decide to participate and you have a great way to increase your influence on Twitter.
“Social is called Social because people talk to one another. If you’re not talking to people, you’re not building rapport…and you’re not selling” — Kathi Kruse
As a social seller it would be a mistake not to use Twitter chats. They have become an important networking and sales tool that you can use for your growth as a social seller. Make it part of your prospecting strategy and embrace the opportunity to get prospects’ attention in an easy way.
The biggest mistake most salespeople do is thinking that social media is a closing tool. It can be, but social media (and therefore also Twitter chats) are essentially the opposite of that. Achieving brand awareness and engaging with people should be the primary focus of a social seller! If you’re focused on that goal, you should pay attention to Twitter chats!