Twitter chats becoming a major collaboration and learning opportunity

Twitter Hashtag

The hashtag is a vital conversational tool on Twitter.

While they have been around in some manner since the evolution of Twitter and the hashtag (#), Twitter chats have become a major thing in the current landscape of social media. I have recently engaged in excellent Tuesday evening #MillennialTalk chats facilitated by TV and radio talk show host and brand consultant Chelsea Krost (@ChelseaKrost). This particular chat is a 10-question format where professionals, educated, millennials and non-millennials can discuss topics ranging from millennial habits to workplace trends and collaboration. In general, Twitter chats offer a blend of learning and promotional opportunities.

Benefits of Hosting Twitter Chats

Hosting Twitter chats offers a number of benefits to an organization or a social media marketer. As the host, you drive the conversation and initiate the questions. You also impact the direction of the discussion by engaging strong Tweets through mentions, retweets and replies. More broadly, the host benefits from increased company or personal brand awareness and professional credibility. As the host, especially of a successful and large conversation, you become a known entity to those engaged in the chats or familiar with them.

As an example of the potential impact and exposure, “#MillennialTalk” is a regular on Twitter’s trending list between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m Central on Tuesday nights. This trending exposure demonstrates the level of engagement in the chat and also adds to the viral impact of the conversation.

Benefits of Participating in Twitter Chats

I personally see a lot of direct and indirect benefits of participating in Twitter chats, including:

Learning – With a listening (or reading) attitude, you can gain a lot of ideas and perspectives on topics of interest. I recently learned some valuable insights directly from the source when a nice fellow, @irayroberts, shed some light on why millennials are reluctant users of Twitter relative to other social media.

Sharing – We all like to share insights and feelings. As a college instructor who teaches many millennials, I enjoy reflecting on my own views of them and sharing those views with others who have a different vantage point.

Networking – I have met and followed a number of great new people in marketing and digital marketing related areas, and gained a number of followers, based directly on involvement in Twitter chats. While this adds to my “Twitter count,” more importantly, it enhances my potential engagement opportunities in the future.

Experiencing – As a hands-on learner, I find that diving into something and experiencing it is often the best way to learn. I have learned through involvement how Twitter chats work and how they can benefit an organization, and me personally. Additionally, as a college instructor (or for someone in a leadership role), I have insights and perspective to share with students.

Conclusions

A lot of people view the use of a “#” in a Tweet as a way of calling out a particular term. From a marketing perspective, it is. I signal keywords and themes in my Tweets to attract attention from the right audiences and to brand myself in the right way. However, a hashtag is increasingly the basis for in-depth and ongoing conversations around central topics. Innovators pioneered the Twitter chat several years ago. However, for anyone serious about social media marketing today, you should think seriously about participating and potentially hosting Twitter chats yourself.

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Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller has been a Professor of Marketing at Des Moines Area Community College since 2004. Prior to teaching, he worked as a marketing specialist and retail manager. He holds an MBA from Iowa State University

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