Using Twitter Chats to engage your audience
I recently presented at an Advanced Learning Institute training on social media and government - specifically how one of my clients is using Twitter chats to engage with their audiences to spread important information to their followers & start a dialogue around particular issues.
And, I thought perhaps you would like to know some key takeaways that you could use for Twitter chats with your clients.
For background, a Twitter chat (sometimes called a Twitter party) occurs when a handle on Twitter sets a specific date and time to address a particular topic. So, from 1-2pm a Twitter handle may have an expert on hand to talk about depression, yoga, a new movie or product, etc. Users can log into Twitter, follow the chat hashtag and participate, ask questions and learn from other users.
So, here are a few tips if you want to use Twitter chats.
- Set a consistent hashtag and use it for all chats. It will make it easier for people to participate on a month to month basis and recognize when your chats are taking place.
- Invite experts and other organizations that have to do with your topic to co-host, or participate, to increase the chat reach.
- Ask questions in advance to see what people want to hear about. Before drafting your script, ask people what they want to learn about the topic. Then, make sure to address those topics during the chat.
- Use services available that make monitoring and analyzing the success of the chat easier. Tweetchat.com is a great service to use to conduct the chat and TweetReach provides great data post chat for only $20.
- Learn from chats and use those insights in the future. Does your community love lists? What information from chats is more retweeted? What information is not really shared? Are the same questions asked over and over? Analyze each chat for content and sentiment and make changes moving forward.
- Be engaging. No one wants to log into a Twitter chat to just see tweet after tweet of messages from an organization. Ask questions, answer questions, thank people for their participation, and retweet other information. The chat is to share your information but also interact with your followers.
- Post your chat transcripts to your website so that people who were unable to participate can still see what was spoken about.
These are just some basic and easy ways to make your Twitter chats better, or start them in the first place. And if you’re not ready to take the leap for your clients just yet, try participating in chats first. As a participant you can see how others run their chats, see best practices and learn more about the ins and outs.
2013 #socialmedia trends
We’re just about one month into 2013 and many of the trends that have been discussed in the last few months are being put into action.
Here are a few identified at the Mashable Media Summit at the end of the last year that I think we’ll definitely continue to see in the near future.
- Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. People are accessing the internet on their phones more than ever. Make sure your sites are optimized for mobile, that people can do whatever they can on your website on their phones as well. At the summit someone even said to start on mobile and work your way from there. And I agree.
- e-commerce and the user experience. More applications and mobile sites are integrating one click purchasing. Instead of simply interacting with something you can scan it and actually buy it. In catalogs, magazines, and more. An ad should lead to a point of purchase.
- Social first, paid second. Paid media tactics are great, advertising is great, but social is first. Content is king. Focus on your content and using social media channels to get that content to your customer, employee, member, etc. It works.
- Print isn’t dead. The digital marketer loves to say that print is dying, or dead already. That’s not true. People are still buying books and magazines. But print marketers need to make their content digital as well. Interactive through scanning and apps and additional content available online. That is the way for print and digital to live in harmony.
- Images can’t be overstated. They are still the most engaging content on social media. Focus on images that resonate and are important to your audience. And don’t forget about images and content in ads. A billboard won’t drive anything unless it’s engaging and resonates.
These are only a few of the things to keep in mind as we venture further into 2013 and look for ways to stay on the cutting edge for our clients.
These can be applied across industries and topic areas and you can look for ways to integrate them as you execute social media strategy in the next few months.
And don’t forget to keep an eye on the news for companies and brands and agencies that are doing it well - learn from their success and mistakes and look for ways to make it work for you.
hurricane sandy & the power of social media
Social media is great for stalking exes from college, posting sepia tone pictures of your dinner & giving play by play feelings on your favorite tv show (#homeland).
But it’s also an important way messages are distributed during disasters and times of stress. And this was apparent yesterday and today during Hurricane Sandy.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or maybe on the West Coast), you know that Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast yesterday and today with insane wind, lots and lots of rain, & waves that destroyed much of the shore of the Carolinas, NJ and flooded the streets of NYC.
And my guess is you got a lot of that information via social media.
The power of the instantaneous nature of social media is imperative in times of a disaster. Sure, you can turn on the news and have CNN.com pulled up on your laptop, but to get whats happening in real time all you had to go was go to Twitter.
People were updating on the status of the storm in their area, warning about flooded streets and dangerous areas, telling their friends and families that they were heading to a friend’s house, that the power had gone out and that they were safe.
News broke via Twitter before it broke on the mainstream media. It was an important way to inform a large audience about the storm and keep in touch with loved ones. #sandy was the best way to get up to the second information that reporters couldn’t get yet.
Not only was it used on a personal level, but a large-scale disaster awareness and political level as well.
Governors used their Twitter handles to spread important updates. Transit systems tweeted out closures and where to go for more information. Pictures of the devastation were posted with warnings to stay inside.
The importance of social media in disasters is overwhelming. Personally, I barely turned on the news. Between Twitter and weather.com, I had all the information I needed. When I did turn on the TV or visit a news site online, what they were saying was “old” to me. I had seen it via social media first.
This all ladders up to the overarching theme we’ve seen over the last few years - everyday citizens are turning into reporters. They see and report on news using social media before the camera crews can get there. They keep people updated with photos, videos and information at the click of a “post” or “tweet” button. CNN and other outlets rely in their “i-reporters” for the latest information that they republished with their news.
And the last two days proved without a shadow of a doubt how important these mediums are to everyone affected by disasters.
Don’t forget to do your part. Help out and donate now.
[images via cnn.com]
why social media is here to stay
I saw a blog post on Twitter today titled “Why Social Media will Disappear.” Obviously I clicked and reading through the article, I’m still trying to piece together how this says it will disappear. To me, it reads like a case to DO social media except call it all “media.”
But I digress.
Social media is here to stay and if you’re a smart marketer, you need to get involved. And here’s why:
- It’s always evolving. One of the best parts about social media platforms is that they are built to evolve and transform into what users want. If there is a cry for more data, more pictures, more information, better interfaces, the platforms (generally) respond, upgrade and give users what they are seeking. This ability to evolve overtime and become evenmoreuser friendly and providemoreof what we want means people will keep coming back.
- But it’s not about the platform, it’s about engagement. Content is king, it’s a two-way dialogue, it’s about conversation, insert whatever cliche social media jargon you want here. If you’re good at doing social media the platform doesn’t matter. If there is a mass migration away from Facebook (unlikely) to a new platform, the engagement strategies and basic rules will be the same. Social media marketers aren’t just experts on the backends of platforms, they’re experts in marketing using these platforms to achieve goals, which is part of a bigger strategy than whatever platforms are used.
- People are curious. If there’s anything social media has taught us it’s that in this day and age it’s all about us and it’s all about reality. Think of the number of reality shows blowing up ratings every week. The celebrities with millions and millions of social media followers. The people that post 8x a day on Facebook about what they’re eating. People love to share personal information with the world and they want to see other people’s information too. That desire to connect isn’t going anywhere.
- Direct Communication is here to stay.Call a consumer hotline? Send a letter to a company to complain? Cut out coupons from the newspaper? Sure, people still do these things. But it’s a lot easier to do it all online. Consumers are constantly giving feedback to companies and engaging with brands via social media. And once they have been given a direct line of communication without the hold music or 20 steps of automated instructions before a real person, there is no going back.
- It’s a part of day-to-day life. I struggle to think of someone in my life that doesn’t utilize some form of social media. Whether that’s for work or personal life, they are touching it in some way. Reading food blogs, commenting on restaurant websites or Facebook, searching Twitter for information. And the next generation of people to start working have grown up with social media as a natural part of life since they were pre-teens. It’s ingrained in us. It’s part of what we do. It’s part of who we are.
So while the nuances might change, the basics will stay the same.
And evolving to fit this new and always changing space will set you and your company apart from the pack.