Lee Odden

Twitter Marketing Tips: Twitter Chats & 8 Marketing & PR Chats to Follow

There are many tactics companies can implement as part of a smart Twitter Marketing strategy. Growing the initial following is important as is providing the budding community you’re building with something of value to keep coming back and to spread the good word to their networks. One such tactic that offers value and brings people together is the Twitter chat.  I’ve been involved with about 5 or 6 different Twitter chats as a guest and they are a unique experience. In this post I’ll share my observations about what seems to work, some logistics and a few examples of some well-run Twitter chats for the marketing and PR verticals.

1. Pick a great hashtag – The hashtag ties your Twitter chat together. It should reflect the topic and be intuitive. Examples might be:  #poetry #crmchat or #seo411 – Here’s a list of over 150 chats, topics and the times they run at:  Twitter Chat Schedule.

2. Decide a format and schedule – Part of what makes a Twitter chat successful is that there is a consistent time that requires little reminder and also a format that’s easy to follow. There are a certain number of early adopters on Twitter that “get” how #chats work, but there are many, many more who don’t. They’ll see a sudden flurry of #chat handles in their friend’s Tweets and wonder what’s going on. Make it easy for the audience you’re after to join in and know when the next chat is happening. While there may be more, I’ve seen 2 formats standout.

  • Free for all. This is where the chat is treated like a cocktail party and people start posting comments and questions and anyone that wants to, will reply. Its very much many to many and without the use of a tool like Tweetchat can be difficult to follow.
  • Outside guests or experts.  If you start the chat, you’re the moderator. One of your duties if you choose the format of bringing in a guest is to find guests that your attendees respect and want to hear from. Prep the guest with how you run your chats in advance.  Use a template email or web page to communicate this. If your guest hasn’t participated in a chat before, they might need a little more guidance but once you’ve done one, the rest go pretty similarly.  Prep the guest with questions in advance so they have an idea of what the specific topic will be. This helps them provide better answers more efficiently.

Promote the guest and get the guest to promote the chat.  Tell the guest what your group responds well to and give examples if you can. This will provide some appreciated guidance for the guest and help give the group what they’re looking for.

3. Create a web page explaining your chat – While a Twitter @account for the chat is a good idea, it’s also a good idea to have a static web page somewhere that the Twitter account can link to. People should also be able to easily find the About #chat page through search engines, so get some other pages or chat members to link to it using the chat name. Explain what the purpose of the chat is, who the moderator(s) are, when the chat runs (including time zone), if the chats are archived and where, and make it easy for visitors to spread the good word about the chat by offering social sharing links/buttons.

This page can live on your blog, your web site or you can easily setup a page on posterous, wordpress or blogger.  If you want to explain more than what is reasonable on a Twitter page, a web page offers more room. A Blog, Facebook Fan page or LinkedIn group that explains the Twitter #chat can also be used and several #chats mentioned below do just that.

4. Recognize #chat participants –  Call out participants during the chat by retweeting interesting things they’ve posted. List all chat participants on the #chat web page. Offer a TweepML list of participants to make it easy for someone to follow everyone in one in a single click. You might also manage a Twitter list of past guests, another list for moderators and another list for most active participants. Possibly promote the Twitter list on services like Listorious. Besides ensuring quality questions, on-topic tweets and great guests, recognition is a powerful thing to do in order to grow a Twitter #chat group.

5. Archive the #chat – Saving the threads of discussion that occur during the chats can be very useful afterwards. This is especially true if you have a good guest and/or participants that come prepared. I like to have about 10-12 pre-written Tweets with links to useful resources prepared before the chat even starts. That way when people ask questions I can answer immediately. I’ve done this several times and it’s gone over pretty well. Look through the Twitter stream of the chat and archive the whole thing or just the most interesting threads into a web page. Archived Twitter chats are an excellent source of content for your blog. Over time, archived chats can be a very useful repository of information, attract links and create search traffic for your web site.

A few of my archived chats include:

Now that I’ve shared a few tips that Twitter #chat editors or moderators should consider, here are some of the best marketing and PR #chats to check out:

  • #blogchat – Run by @mackcollier, #blogchat is a long running chat that covers all aspects of blogging on Sunday nights from 8-9pm Central.  View transcripts and other info here.
  • #journchat – Run by @prsaraevans,  #journchat is another long running weekly conversation (Mon 7-10pm Central) between journalists, bloggers and PR people.
  • #pr20chat – Moderated by @PRtini and @JGoldsborough, #pr20chat is a weekly conversation (Tues 8PM EST) that focuses on public relations 2.0 topics.
  • #socialmedia – @Marc_Meyer & @JasonBreed moderate the #socialmedia chat, which of course, is all about social media and occurs Tuesdays at 12 pm Noon EST. Each episode is also tagged with a number, such as #sm1 #sm2 etc. View the live stream here.
  • #commschat – @AdamVincenzini & @EmilyCagle run this UK-based Twitter ‘communications’ chat #commschat Monday nights, 8pm (UK time) on traditional / social media, PR, journalism, blogging. See the Blog and FB page.
  • #measurepr – Run by @shonali, #measurepr covers measurement topics within the public relations and social media industries that kicked off on February 2, 2010, and is held bi-weekly on Tuesdays from that date, from 12-1 pm ET.
  • #prstudchat – Run by @dbreakenridge & @valeriesimon, the monthly #PRStudChat (I thought “stud” meant “manly” not “student” the first time I saw it) provides a platform for conversation between Public Relations Students, Educators and Professionals. See more on WTH.
  • #imcchat – Moderated by @bethharte & @abarcelos, #IMCChat is a chat for all of those interested in Integrated Marketing Communications and runs every Wednesday night at 8pm ET.

What are your favorite Twitter chats for Marketing and Public Relations topics? What advice do you have for running or participating in a successful Twitter chat?

Besides the tips above, there are great posts on how to run and participate in Twitter chats on Mashable, from Mack Collier and here.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. Dbreakenridge says:

    Hi Lee! Thanks for including #PRstudchat in your post. It’s funny, a lot of people thought the same thing with reference to stud 🙂 Your observations are very helpful. We found that having the outside guests definitely adds value to each discussion. I think our community also enjoys the challenges/contests and giveaways, which are fun too. Thanks again!

  2. Mack Collier says:

    Lee thanks for the #blogchat mention! When you co-hosted a few months ago discussing SEO for your blog, it was one of our most popular chats!

    I have to agree with my pal Beth, I just don’t have enough time to do everything with #blogchat that I would like, and having a devoted website is one area I wish I could tackle. But these pesky bills still have to be paid, so… 😉

    Thanks again for the mention, BTW when are YOU going to kick off #SEOchat? 😉

    • Thanks for creating a great resource and platform about blogging Mack. You are a social media pioneer 🙂 Speaking of time, when I can find some, #SEOchat sounds like a doable idea 🙂

  3. Mary Ann Halford says:

    Lee, great piece. I am a regular attendee at #imcchat and an occassional participant in #blogchat and #socialmedia and find them incredibly resourceful. I will definitely be exploring some of the others on your list. In the meantime, I would like to add on another tweetchat that I also enjoy immensely:

    #kaizenblog – A weekly chat at noon ET each Friday focused on using “kaizen” in social media. Co-hosts are @ConversationAge and @3keyscoach. Check it out!

    • Excellent, thank you Mary. When I pinged my network on Twitter, #kaizenblog didn't come up but I appreciate the suggestion.

  4. Lee here is one for your list that I am involved with: #B2Bchat

    #B2Bchat [http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23B2Bchat]

    Co-Moderated By Andrew Spoeth, Ksenia Coffman, Anol Bhattacharya, and myself.

    Every Thursday – 8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST

    About the chat – The objective is to bring B2B marketing community on Twitter together while discussing topics relevant to the transforming nature of B2B marketing – search, content marketing, mobile marketing, print, direct mail, webinars, demand generation, social media, and more are all topics that have been addressed.

    In most cases, we'll post a pre and post chat wrap up on http://B2Bbloggers.com.

  5. CBWhittemore says:

    Thanks, Lee. This is a great summary on Twitter Chats. Best, CB

  6. Lee, thanks so much for the shoutout to #measurepr.

    A couple of other things I've found/learned as #measurepr got off the ground:

    1. As we all know, Twitter is notorious for going down. So while my preferred tool for managing and monitoring that chat is Tweetgrid or Tweetchat, I also keep a dedicated chat window open in my Twitter application (currently HootSuite) as well as Twitter Search. This way, I can switch between windows to make sure I'm not missing anything – at least, to the best of my ability.

    2. A few months ago I “guested” on #pr20chat. Justin and Heather, the co-moderators, set up an “RSVP” page on Facebook, which I thought was a terrific idea and fell into the category of “WTF Didn't I Think Of That?!” I've started doing that for #measurepr now. While these chats are free and don't really “need” an RSVP as such, I've found it's a helpful tool to remind people of when it's taking place, who the guest is, etc., and it's a neat way for folks to add it to their calendar as well.

  7. Great list of chats Leo. I'm familiar with most of them but can only get to a few (aside from #IMCChat which I co-mod. thanks so much for mentioning it) You learn so much at these chats and meet great, helpful folks. Those are my two drivers. Hope to maybe see you at one of them in the future 🙂

    • Thanks Anna, glad to know we're helpful. IMCChat will likely open many more doors for you 🙂

      • Lee, Anna is an integrated marketing master, someone will scoop her up soon because she shares her brilliance every week on the chat. 😉 Thankfully our world of marketing and networking has much changed… blogs, chats, tweets, etc.

        • OMG Beth, you can easily bring a tear to my eye with that post. Thanks so much for your endless support. You may be right. First come, first serve (wink, wink)

  8. Hi Lee!

    I'd also like to suggest #CROchat as a good chat as well. It's a chat all about conversion rate optimization started by myself and my colleagues at ion interactive. It takes place every Thurs from 1-2pm ET. Would absolutely love for you to jump in!

    #SEO411 is also a great chat hosted by the crew at Search Mojo!

    And I really love #soloPR which is a chat for PR consultants started by Kellye Crane.

  9. TraciBrowne says:

    I would also like to add a tip for those participating in the chat. Do not sign on 15 minutes into the chat and ask what the topic is. Please scroll down and figure it out. Otherwise you come across as very arrogant…it’s the equivalent to showing up for a meeting 15 minutes late and start telling a story about why you are late.

  10. If you know how to use Twitter right, you should be able to drive 100's of visitors back to your website everyday

  11. Hi Lee, thanks for mentioning #IMCchat, it's appreciated!

    Oh, no! I am following all of your tips except #3. For me, it's a time issue. We do have a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account, and even those are hard to keep up with. 🙂

    I will say that if someone is considering a chat that they understand it's a commitment. People do look forward to coming together each week to have a discussion. Anna Barcelos and I always make sure that at least one, if not both, of us are available each week. And it's nice to be able to know someone is there if you need to be away from the chat.

    It's also a great idea to get topic ideas from participants…we've had a ton of great suggestions.

    Beth Harte
    Serengeti Communications
    @bethharte

  12. Candy Silvasy says:

    Hi Lee – Great article – I've hosted a few twitter chats with foodies night in #fni but am now starting my own spa series of design chats #spahome . I wondered if you could tell me the best and easiest way to archive the chats? I'd like to download entire chat to ipages or text/edit on my mac. Thanks again, Candy @artofthespa

  13. bryanshepard says:

    Thank you Lee! Very good and resourceful article.

  14. Great tips, Lee! I always learn something when participating in chats. It's also a great way to make new connections on Twitter. I try to favorite tweets of people I want to follow after a chat; but often the chat moves so fast that I can't keep up with that. So, alternately, while I have Tweetchat still open following a chat, I'll skim back through the tweets and follow some of the participants I interacted with.

    • Agreed Connie – I've learned some great tips through Twitter chats. Archives are priceless for getting the most out of chats, because I agree, they do go by fast.

  15. Excellent ideas and tips here, Lee. As moderator of #solopr (thanks for the shoutout, Kristina), I get lots of questions about starting a chat, and I'll be pointing folks here! I'd like to add a few additional suggestions.

    First, make sure you have a set schedule, and stick to it (for example, #solopr is *every* Wed., 1-2 pm ET). If the moderator has a conflict, it's best to find a guest moderator to cover for you. This helps participants get into the habit of attending, and reduces confusion.

    Also, in addition to the two chat formats you mention, there is the Q&A model (which is what the pioneering #journchat uses). It's a bit more “controlled chaos” than the free-for-all approach, but is less structured than having a chat guest. Questions are usually submitted in advance by the participants. I like it because it allows chatters to share their expertise and learn from each other, and builds a real sense of community around the chat.

    Regarding transcripts, you can register your chat on wthashtag.com and use its transcript function to create one for a given date. This is the easiest process, *however,* note that the service can be buggy. So, check the site immediately after your chat ends to see if your transcript recorded properly. If so, save it (in case it becomes unavailable in the future). If it did not save, I copy/paste out of whatever client I was using (Tweetgrid, Tweetchat, etc.). Hope this helps!

    • Welcome Kellye! Thank you for your advice – it is very much appreciated. This is one of those posts where the comments are where the “good stuff” can be found. Cheers.

  16. Also want to through #B2Bchat into the ring – a weekly conversation for B2B marketers, with topics ranging from B2B social media to such brick-and-mortar activities as face-to-face seminars and presentations. We are not a huge chat but pretty active and we meet every Thursday at 8 pm ET.

    WTH page: http://wthashtag.com/B2bchat

    Or follow on twitter at http://twitter.com/b2b_chat

  17. For freelance PR professionals, check out #solopr.

  18. For freelance PR professionals, check out #soloPR.

  19. Hi Lee,

    I never knew about Twitter chat. This feature looks really good. It can help increase our knowledge on certain subjects. Thanks for sharing those great tips.

  20. Hey Thank you very much Lee, for providing useful information about Twitter.

  21. John Taylor says:

    hi!great article! as a multilingual marketer i found some of the tips applicable to all fields.. but what is your view on autoresponders on twitter? there are softwares (tweetadder) that do this..i think its handy to have a nice greeting and a few links when someone follows you?

  22. Lee, this post will definitely go on my delicious.com list for future reference. I have been an active Twitter participant for a few months now and I had no idea that there were organized hashtag discussions. I can see where this practice will evolve into something a little easier but right now it is perfect. With 140 character limitations, no one can dominate a discussion.

  23. Akansha says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article…. I’ll definitely follow most of the tips mentioned.

  24. Thanks for mentioning the Twitter Chat Schedule. We’re working on a custom model for managing Twitter Chat communities. Check out our pilot version in operation for #KMers at http://KMers.org

  25. Great post, never used this feature for my own work on twitter but used for other seo work…..I am willing to try it on my twitter account with these chat groups…

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  28. B2B Marketing Tools says:

    This is good one for the valid source and the important article for the social networking and the networking….process.keep sharing.

  29. Sarahkayhoffman says:

    Wow! This is such a great list. Super helpful, as I was looking for a comprehensive list! Could you add the #GenZChat? http://bit.ly/cfnrYg We have a FB page, too! http://bit.ly/aVNu2d
    Again, kudos to you!

  30. Really nice article on twitter chat part and importance, i have used it before but left in some times ago…..it reminded me the importance and uses of this chat function

  31. I guess I learn something new reading your article, Lee. Thx!

  32. Thank you very much, you're list is very helpful!

  33. This list is really helpful. I am the Social Media Manager for VerticalResponse and we are hosting our first chat, #vrchats!

  34. Josh Weaver says:

    Thank you very much for this post. Both the post and excel sheet are now printed out and on my stack of important papers! I am a regular user of the pr student chat and this list is only gonna expand my knowledge base!

  35. Nice post.

    I co-founded #custserv in the last week of Dec 09 with @MarshaCollier. Here’s our landing page for it: http://custservdialogue.wordpress.com.

    I registered it on April 12, 2010 on http://www.twapperkeeper.com/hashtag/custserv. Since that date, as of today, we’ve logged 43824 tweets. The analytics state that in the last 10,000 tweets on hashtag, there were slightly over 1600 participants.

    I’ve also recently started #bakechat and #restobuild.

  36. I always visit your blog and retrieve everything you post here but I never commented but today when I saw this post, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting here. Fantastic Twitter Marketing Tips

  37. Looking for new tactical PR ideas for online marketing client and hadn’t thought of this – found other posts but this is by far the clearest, well done

  38. @passion4pr says:

    Hi there! This is fantastic. I am an aspiring PR pro and I just started #prchat4cstud (as in student :P) Similar to #prstudchat but for Students in Canada! Thanks for the fantastic tips!

  39. Great info! THX! How do you archive the chats? Just a copy paste into a document or is there any special tool for this?

  40. You might also want to have a look at http://www.tanglerlive.com/ (I work there). We have just developed a new Twitter feature which helps you to have better Twitter chats (please also have a look at our blog for more info: http://blog.tanglerlive.com/?p=966).

  41. Great post and thanks again for posting the link to the Twitter Chat Schedule http://bit.ly/ChatSched

    Hosts now have the ability to create a landing page that puts branding, instructions and even media around their chat. Just put your hashtag (without the #) after http://twebevent.com/ and it will walk you through the setup. Its completely free.

  42. Lee, thanks for the thoughtful article. I love seeing people come together based off of a shared interest as opposed to most of our communication which is based off previously held relationships.

    A buddy of mine and I just released a first version of a site that allows you to have these Twitter chats without annoying your followers. The conversations are all around a Twitter hashtag and tweets with that same hashtag are visible alongside the conversation. We kind of look at Banterly as Twitter’s real time sister. (http://banter.ly)

    Am I missing something? Why would people prefer to hold these conversations on Twitter instead of a tool that was built specifically for real time? Would love to hear your feedback. I’d love to give you a walk through of the site if wanted as well.

    • This tool seems excellent, I only briefly checked out the website but it seems extremely useful for keeping chats organized as well.

  43. This is some great advice for marketing event organizers, but also applies to those that don’t know much about twitter and hashtags/chats. I actually learned how they work now because of these tips and am grateful for this post.

    Its nice that the chats can have different formats, I particularly like the one where the chat has a moderator and a few important guest speakers, that way you can also promote audience members at certain times to ask questions and so forth (At least I assume).

    I also love the fact that you can archive chats. I haven’t used any of these features so its garnered my interest into using twitter for livechats.

  44. Cfsolomon says:

    Lee, Thank you so much for sharing this tips! You highlight some best practices and I was inspired to start #ProdMgmtTalk as a result! The Global Product Management Talk is a weekly twitter chat on all things Product Management related. Each week we interview a Product Management evangelist who leads us in discussing a particular topic. The Product Management expert will tweet answers to pre-posted questions during the hour, while everyone chimes in on the tweet stream. site: http://bit.ly/hRH3nw

  45. Zee Nkosi says:

    This is fantastic! I’m conducting some background work on how to establish and market a twitter chat.  I must say I’m delighted I opened up this article – exactly what I’m looking for! If you have examples of twitter chats in the financial services industry and of companies that have marketed and managed twitter chats effectively, that would be super! Thank you so much.