Thursday 29 September 2016

Friday Five: Using Twitter Chats for Corporate Influencer Engagement

Corporate brands often find the greatest digital value in engaging with influencers. While CPG brands directly engage with consumers online to ultimately increase sales and brand affinity, the opportunity for digital engagement for corporate brands is less straightforward.

Online influencer engagement is a top request for corporate, B2B and public affairs clients, and a frequent strategic recommendation, but the tactical implementations are not always obvious. A Twitter Chat is one way to create a specific ask and build online relationships with those who matter the most to a company.

Below are five steps to a successful Twitter Chat.

1. Pick a conversation-worthy topic

Not every report, release or panel discussion should be accompanied with a Twitter Chat. Identify a conversation that your brand can own, tied to ongoing digital dialogue and related to a moment in time when possible. Then ensure the topic of your chat correlates to the passions of the influencers you identify.

2. Choose your date and timeframe wisely

When working with global brands, it’s important to keep in mind the time zones of all chat participants and primary audiences. If it is not possible to pick a time that makes sense for everyone, brainstorm creative ways someone can still contribute, whether through scheduling a tweet, holding multiple regional chats or asking them to RT following the chat.

3. Consider the risks and rewards of different formats

There are several formats for Twitter Chats. The two main chats a brand will likely host involve pre-written questions directed to the general audience or a QA format with one or multiple participants pre-chosen to answer the questions. The first is generally shorter and requires less organization and planning, but runs the risk of falling flat if the community does not readily participate, particularly for niche topics. The second can seem preplanned to a digital audience, runs the risk of creating temporary silence if an influencer no shows and can get lengthy. However, the QA format guarantees a certain level of conversation and activity, and means influencers only need to be available for a specific period of time.

4. Seed the conversation with strategic influencers

Recruit influencers to join the conversation for either a set period of time in a QA format, or during the timeframe a more free form chat is scheduled. Send an initial, brief communication and follow-up with details if the individual is interested. Be sure your influencer asks are clear and specific with the individuals’ busy schedules in mind. Also be sure to send through a calendar invite to block the time on their schedules and act as a reminder to join!

5. Let the qualitative results speak the loudest

Tools like TweetReach and Salesforce Radian6 are great to capture the numbers behind the conversation, but it’s the qualitative results that have the most impact on influencer engagement. Highlight the most insightful comments from those recruited to join the conversation, new relationships formed and social commentary from others not intentionally engaged.

Twitter Chats are not new, but when executed well can still yield lasting relationships with targeted individuals.

Have you ever hosted a Twitter Chat? What other tips did you learn in the process?

Image credit: Scott Beale

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