Earlier this week I participated in my first TweetChat with none other than Erik Deckers and Jason Falls, two well-known, no-nonsense social media experts who most recently wrote the the all-business, no-hype guide to social media marketing: No Bullshit Social Media. By connecting via Skype, our “Social Media for Business” class at the University of Nevada, Reno was able to conduct a live video conference with Erik and Jason from our computer lab, while simultaneously hosting a supplemental discussion through our back channel on Twitter entitled “#unrbrand.”
Much more dynamic than a static conference call, participating in a TweetChat allows for one to interact not only with those who are hosting the conversation, but with the Twitter followers at large of those who are participating within the TweetChat. In essence, a TweetChat exemplifies the “many-to-many” model of communication whereby conversations are no longer taking place between two individuals alone, or between one individual vs. many people (the traditional advertising model), but rather between many people vs. many people on open social networks. Below is an example of how our TweetChat looked:
What Exactly is a TweetChat?
According to this Hubspot article entitled “8 Steps to Hosting a Successful Twitter Chat,” a TweetChat is defined as follows:
A TweetChat is a virtual meeting or gathering of people on Twitter to discuss a common topic. Companies like Cisco and FedEx have hosted their own TweetChats to engage with their audiences on a more personal level, and it’s a great inbound marketing tactic for your social media strategy.
As you might imagine, the implications this has for your business are rather dynamic. But with thousands of third-party applications available to customize and enhance the Twitter user experience (TweetChat being just one of them), determining which third-party applications to use can be quite overwhelming. So, by sharing some examples of companies that are already using TweetChat for business, below are 5 reasons why I think TweetChat should be a part of your overall business development/marketing strategy.
5 Reasons to Use TweetChat for Business
- Uncover Real-Time Information About Customer Needs and Wants: FedEx Office hosted a three-part TweetChat series featuring industry leaders addressing small business trends and issues at the end of 2011. The purpose was for leaders to discuss challenges facing small business as well as to generate some ideas for success. Through hosting such a conversation, they were undoubtedly able to uncover valuable market research with regard to their customers.
- Obtain Support/Funding for Your Cause: Save the Children recently launched its first ever multi-lingual global TweetChat, spanning 14 hours and 12 time zones, creating one conversation about the hidden crisis of child malnutrition. The tweet reach for this event topped 5 million. By engaging such an audience, the organization was able to gain support for their cause while at the same time spreading awareness about their issue.
- Improve Customer Service and Nurture Sales: Dell has used TweetChat for a variety of purposes. In 2010 Dell hosted a TweetChat that generated $3 million in sales through its Twitter account @delloutlet. By hosting such a conversation, the company was able to generate additional sales.
- Increase Engagement: Gannett’s USA Weekend sponsors a variety of TweetChats on an ongoing basis that pertain to the subject of “food” and “pets.” TweetChats are led by industry experts. By drawing readers into TweetChats who are interested in such topics, Gannett is able to increase engagement among their target audience.
- Educate Potential Customers About Your Products and Services: Alaska’s Bureau of Land Management used TweetChat to facilitate a discussion this past February regarding the 2012 Iditarod National Historic Trail and its centennial. TweetChat can most obviously be used as a method for sharing and sourcing relevant information as it pertains to one’s brand.
As you can see, hosting a TweetChat can serve a variety of purposes. More than just a communication channel, TweetChat can be used by a company that wants to source market intelligence, build engagement levels with existing/potential clients and consumers, solve customer service issues in real-time, educate about products and services, generate crowd-sourced ideas for an event or a conference, or even utilize as a non-traditional sales channel.
How to Host a TweetChat
For more advice on how to conduct a successful TweetChat, click here for a recent article courtesy of www.MarketingProfs.com entitled, “How to Host a Twitter Chat That Rocks.” Similarly, click here for a list of general TweetChats that every entrepreneur “must know.”
Now it’s your turn! What are some TweetChats that you have participated in that you have found useful? What are some examples of companies you are familiar with that have hosted TweetChats that have been a success?