Over the past year, we’ve used social media regularly as a part of our marketing mix for brand monitoring, customer service, market research and building/nurturing connections. A few weeks ago, we added a “Live Chat Event on Twitter” to that repertoire. This article series will profile our experience with live Twitter chat events, and summarize what we have learned so that you can benefit.
Our objective for the chats: Build on our reputation for crowdsourcing solutions by providing valuable content through a “new” medium. We wanted to provide a forum for anyone to showcase case studies of successfully tapping the power of workers in the crowd. And of course, we expect our own technology to figure positively amongst many of the examples.
Tweetchats have some inherent benefits in your social media line-up. Here are 6 things to consider as you weigh adding it to your priority list.
- 140 characters. Twitter forces the conversation into only the most salient points. If moderators and panelists are properly prepped, there is an awesome opportunity for presenting clear, concise, data-rich information. It’s akin to offering just the highlights of an otherwise long and uninteresting game. It’s also a great way to weed out jargon and nonsensical buzz words. Tough to include that filler when you have a character limit.
- A Built-in Audience. At all times on Twitter, you have people monitoring the stream for a variety of key words and phrases. For example, during our very first Smartsheet-sponsored #crowdwork chat, there were on average 90 people monitoring the term ‘crowdsourcing’. Many of these people had no idea who we were, but caught a bit of our chat and decided to attend based on the profile of our panelists, the topic or something else.
- It’s a Good Medium for Bloggers. Social media is an indirect channel for us; we get our best ROI from engagement with bloggers and journalists. Since building our reputation is the goal, improving blogger relations is a big part of that. Because they are fast and can be monitored while multi-tasking, tweetchats are a great way to gain an introduction to a blogger in a specific niche, especially if you have interesting topics and thought leadership.
- Twitter Was Not Built for This. Twitter was not built for chat, yet millions are using it for that purpose. You should expect unpredictable delays. Twitter applications (of which there are many) all respond differently on client-side machines. It’s impossible to replicate what each audience member is experiencing and delays are commonplace.
- Annoyed Followers. I know there are ways to ‘alert your followers’ that you are engaged in a chat and may be tweeting often for the next 25 minutes, but needless to say, some followers still get irritated.
- It Can Be Confusing. Let’s face it, non-Twitter users have no idea what you’re talking about when you tell them to participate in a Tweetchat by following the hashtag #crowdwork at 9am. They want the registration link, the url, the dial-in, the slides, etc. etc.
As with any marketing initiative, Tweetchats take time and investment. The objective must be crystal clear and if your audience isn’t on Twitter, it may not be the medium to achieve your goals. A great way to experiment is to summarize a traditional online or web event through your company’s twitter stream and gauge the feedback.
Jump to part two in the series: Preparing for your First Tweetchat.
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About the Author: Maria Colacurcio is the co-founder of Smartsheet, the only collaboration tool with a built-in workforce. Prior to starting Smartsheet, Maria worked in B2B marketing for 10+ years at companies including Onyx Software, NetReality and Microsoft. Join our weekly Tweetchat on crowdsourcing by following @Crowdwork or #crowdwork Thursdays at 9am PDT.