October 31, 2014

Tweetchats: How They Help Grow Your Business

Tweetchats:  How They Help Grow Your BusinessThis is part one of a Twitter series:  Everything You Wanted to Know About TweetChats But Were Afraid to Ask

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.

The Good:

  • 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. 

The Bad:

  • 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.

More in: 11 Comments ▼

Maria Colacurcio


Maria Colacurcio Maria Colacurcio is the co-founder of Smartsheet, the only online project management tool with a built-in workforce.

11 Reactions

  1. It’s a good day and I’ve learned something.
    Will definitely check out TweetChat soon.

  2. Every Friday at 4pm est the multifamily industry engages in a chat with the hashtag #aptchat. This has been a great tool to discuss key topics that we face. Recently it has started bringing in other individuals from other professions, who have great thoughts and ideas. Last week, we even started having residents chime in! It has served as a great tool to bring the industry together and to learn from one another.

  3. I enjoy our Tuesday night chats on #sbbuzz each week and look forward to talking to like-minded business owners. I learn something new each week I can apply to my own business. Maria, great article and I look forward to the next installment and to seeing you on #sbbuzz soon!

  4. Almost without exception, we’ve hooked up with at least one influential person post Tweetchat. Twitter is an effective way for some of the busiest journalists/ analysts/bloggers to troll the business-universe for cutting edge content.

  5. Tweetchats are also great because they can be searched later by those not in attendance. If the content was particularly good you should consider aggregating it into a blog post, newsletter or free PDF download.

  6. Maria Colacurcio,

    I have enjoyed the tweetchats I have participated in so far. I get some “flashback” from the good old time and Internet Relay Chats (IRC)… ;) Think if you could create a modern mash-up version of IRC!

    By the way: Please tell Brent that we still are interested in the smartsourcing lists on e.g. seabuckthorn, aronia, fine bottled water, cities in the United States, etc.

  7. As a small business owner, working with other small business owners, I’m still working to make sure that online social media provides enough payback for the time invested. Having said that conceptually I like the idea of tweetchat because it sounds like a dialogue rather than a very short monologue at 140 characters. Thanks.

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments. I hope the following 3 posts will give you more details on the guts of sponsoring your own Tweetchat. As always, the best way to start is to find a few to attend and see what you like and dislike.

    Bradford Shimp posted a link to a list of the available TweetChats in this blog post:
    http://allbizanswers.com/twitter-chats-and-your-business/

    Thanks again for the comments,
    Maria

  9. Great article Maria. Tweetchats are a confusing topic for a lot of people. Your articles give us a nice idea of what’s involved in the whole process. Can’t wait to read your next article.

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