A twitter chat is any long conversation on Twitter joined by a common hashtag. For instance, conversations surrounding kittens may have the hashtag #kittensarecute.
#1 Improve Branding
There is an old saying, “There is no such thing as bad advertising.” That is true in many ways, especially when it comes to social media. A well placed twitter chat will bring your company into the public eye. For instance, if you are a web developer, you can start a conversation about what people like to see when they visit a web page. From there, you can discuss your corporate policies, and improve the public perception that your company will always look out for their interests.
Additionally, you can join the conversation whenever a competitor makes a mistake. The horror stories of executives destroying a company’s reputation online abound, and the savvy rival media team will take every opportunity to say, “We are better than they are. Check out our product and see for yourself.”
#2 Gain Exposure
New companies face an uphill battle in gaining market share. The reasons for this problem are numerous, but the two largest are the size of the competitors and the amount it costs to be noticed in the market place.
A twitter chat is a free way to reach out directly to people, by letting them know you exist and provide a better product or service than the competition. For instance, if you are an operating system developer it may be worth joining conversations about OS security whenever a bug is discovered. Mention how your company produces a more secure product, and watch as it gains exposure.
The purpose here is to be heard on as many different chats as possible. Spend a decent chunk of your free time getting the ball rolling, and then watch as people flock to your site.
#3 Increase Following
Social media only works because people are willing to share contact information, and accept messages into their media inbox. By bringing something different to the conversation, you will give people a reason to wish to follow you. Be it interesting tidbits about your industry, or insightful jokes, it only matters that you produce something that catches their eye.
Media relations is both an art form and a science. Experiment, and see what works with different groups of people. Just don’t do anything foolish, like insult a competitor. Flame wars typically do not result in increased followings.
#4 Share Expertise
People only read things they believe they will get value out of. By concentrating on providing quality material, you will build a positive relationship with the readers and give them a solid reason to follow you. Once that has been established, you will be able to mix in some advertisements along with your conversation.
#5 Increase Outside Participation
A conversation is only as good as the participants. By having a meaningful and informative dialogue, you create incentive for other knowledgeable people to join in. This creates a situation where the conversation may leave your control, but the readers will walk away grateful for the opportunity your company provided. There is no such thing as bad advertising.
By concentrating on promoting new and interesting information in a chat, you will create a positive public image that will help when it comes time to directly market your product. Items promoted by a trusted and familiar company will be received much more readily than those from unknown or untrusted firms.
A good twitter chat will be open to everyone, and focus and promoting unique and insightful discourse. Advertising should be a small component of this.