Written By: Adam Dince
I recently published an article on SEMRush, “What I Learned About Content Strategy Through Twitter Chats“. As I was writing the copy, I couldn’t help but wonder what other Twitter Chat hosts/facilitators have learned through their journeys. So, I asked some of the finest Twitter chat gurus, [quote] What have you learned about content strategy from hosting Twitter Chats?[/quote]
I hope you enjoy the awesome responses.
Our content strategy is informed by our community. How they talk, what they read, what they share. We have fun on #atomicchat cause we’re family.
“First, the way you write things must be done carefully. Content is taken different ways based on the audience in the room. In particular, questions that I’ve thought would go over really well – don’t always – and vice versa. A/B testing has never been more important as far as I’m concerned and Twitter chats have taught me that.
Additionally, it’s further stressed the need to adopt an “audience first” mentality. The relationships you build are going to help you build a content strategy that works. While a twitter chat obviously finds success around an audience – I think this concept relates directly back to delivering a valuable experience in planning the Twitterchat.”
I’ve also learned that twitter chats are great ways to pull in UGC (user generated content), which is so important in any digital content strategy these days. Sourcing content from your audience is a way to get the pulse on what your audience is looking for.
One thing I have noticed lately since the inception of Meerkat or live streaming in general, is that individuals are looking for new ways to consume content. In my latest chat, #MCEOtalk, we have incorporated a video component because our audience craves more than the traditional twitter chat, something more interactive but also quality broadcast.
“Hosting and participating in twitter chats has taught me that content strategies differ among brands, depending on the product, platform, audience and community response. What works for one company may fall completely flat for another, and that is why you cannot replicate what someone else is doing. Listen to your community, find out what resonates with them, and aim to strike a nerve – whether it’s in education, entertainment, or customer service.”
“Hosting my own Twitter chat, #createlounge, has reminded me how important it is to make a big impact using as few words as possible. It also teaches you a lot about consistency because it’s not enough to tweet and engage here and there. You must be actively participating and listening on a regular basis. It’s work, but it’s more than worth it.”
“What I have learned about content while hosting chats is that it takes a strategy. It takes planning, researching, understanding the audience, and leave room for the unplanned.”
“I have learned that creating a content strategy that speaks to people instead of selling them will only be that much more successful. We are a very visual society so make sure to use images and video. Infographics have become very popular and useful over the past couple of years. Everything created and shared must be of high quality and value to the reader for it to work.
Contributing to other websites is a great way to share your content. Guest blogging is a great way to build connections with people in your industry. Though guest blogging for the only reason of link-building is a very bad practice. Always test your content and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing!”
Twitter chats are great ways to network and gain insights from several people at one time, and it’s fascinating sometimes to watch the dynamics of particular chats and interactions. Sometimes you can learn more about an individual through a Twitter chat than with face-to-face networking, because they’re sharing their opinions, interacting with others and tend to be a little more relaxed than at a formal event.
Twitter chats are great ways to crowdsource ideas and figure out the information, products or services your audience truly wants. As a chat host—as with social media in general—it helps to have a thick skin, as you won’t make everyone happy. However, if you’re able to take criticism, you can grow from the ideas presented and make a chat something everyone wants to be a part of—while also enhancing your brand and building loyalty.
A Twitter chat’s host is much like the host of a dinner party. He or she is the last to eat, and spends time facilitating discussion instead of talking about him or herself. In like manner, chat hosts should focus efforts on keeping the conversation going, spacing out questions (and watching the time in case questions need to be cut or altered) and making participants feel welcome by retweeting, favoriting or responding to their tweets.
Along with learning it’s impossible to make everyone happy, I’ve also learned Twitter chats will never go the way you think they will, even with the best preparation. I have several tabs open at once and go with the flow, even if that means I have to change things on the spot during a chat. It will be impossible to interact with every single participant in a very busy chat, and the key is balance: Remember that your job is to provide the best chat atmosphere possible so everyone involved can chat with one another.
Reaching out after the chat to participants is always a good idea, along with gathering a chat’s tweets using something like Storify. This offers those who have missed the discussion a chance to read the insights as well, which may convince them to join in future chats because they see the value within the discussion.
“I write a rejoinder on Fridays based on the conversation in the Twitter chat. Also, culling and tweeting great quotes from the participants through the week is great content”
Strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve only been hosting Twitter chats for a few months now, but I’ve learned that research is key. My only regret is that I chose a topic that is a bit limited – not only in terms of subtopics, but also in terms of general interest. Be that as it may, I still take plenty of liberties, because I’m more concerned with the group’s interest than maintaining the integrity of the chat name.
Twitter chats are an interesting beast. There are a number of ways that you can ‘host’ these, but it really comes down to your personal style and personality.
I know that no matter the content that I have planned, there will always be ‘side bar chatter’ is conversations that may or may not be related to the subject at hand. I found that if I stick to my subject, that eventually those folks will ‘hear’ a question that really does pique their interest. Not every question and answer is going to be geared for every participant, but it is definately in the ‘wheelhouse’ of the conversation.
My chat is somewhat different, kinda like me. 😉 I prefer to have a wide variety of people from various disciplines. I have SoMe, marketing, PR, HR, accountants, sales, execs from many different industries who either participate or ‘lurk’. The one thing I know for certain is that they are all vested in one way or another to the success of their respected business. I keep THAT in the front of my mind at all times.
Regarding the content of my chat #IntegratedChat, I see it serving a greater purpose. I love connecting people who may not normally have connected. I am an absolute inclusive. Why, when I write the questions for my chats, not every one of the questions is going to completely resonate with the entire audience, however, the subject matter: Communication and branding, it will resonate with everyone on some level.
My goal is to truly create a more inter-connected conversation, bringing as many POVs to the table as I can. Branding and communicating are always timeless, and they invoke a passion with most everyone in any position. It’s about learning and sharing with and from one another. There is no age, title, or location that holds back the content in a Twitter chat. And with the questions, allowing the participants to take off with the conversation sometimes is best, as THAT’s where true collaborative thinking and discussion comes. I found that if I hold content too tightly, the audience is lost, or is less wanting to participate.