Twitter Chats: To Host or Not To Host?
Thinking about hosting your own Twitter chat?
I did two months ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my brand and my community. I’ve been able to grow my audience at a rapid pace and connect with other creatives in real-time.
If you’re not sure if you want to start your own Twitter chat, here are a few key benefits of doing so:
You’ll build loyalty with your readers and followers
When you invest in your community, they will invest in you in return. If you host a chat, you’ll be able to give them a platform to have valuable conversations with other like-minded people. You’re also showing you’re available to give free tips and tricks because you genuinely want to help. That’s a big deal.
You’ll have a leg up on your competitors
Can’t find any chats in your niche? That’s a good thing. It allows you to be the first to talk about topics that matter to an untapped audience. I can’t think of a better situation! This helps you become a thought leader in your industry, something everyone wants.
You’ll grow your personal brand
What do people associate with your personal brand? For me, it’s PR, blogging, poetry, and of course hot chocolate. Now #createlounge has been added to the list and when I meet people at networking events and local meetups, some ask me about #createlounge now. Many then become regular attendees. It’s incredible.
You’ll see a boost in traffic
As you know, I publish all of my content on Mondays, but my biggest day of traffic is often Wednesday. What else is on Wednesday? My weekly chat. Boom.
You can choose the topic
How many chats have attended where you loved the group of people there but you just weren’t feeling any of the topics week after week? Instead being bummed out that you can’t connect with that community, start your own! Maybe the participants in that chat are interested in your topics too.
You will connect with others in your niche
I’m a big fan of mingling with your competitors. The more insight you have into their creative process, the more you can fine-tune your own. We all have so much we can learn from each other. Who knows? Your next content idea might just come from an interaction with them.
Now you might be thinking, “But Kayla, I still have some reservations about starting a chat.”
I totally understand. Starting a chat can be a big undertaking. If you’re on the fence about starting a chat, these are a few things you need to be sure of before you begin.
If your audience is even active on Twitter
Naturally, you want to be where your audience lives, so do they live on Twitter? Maybe your niche is so visual that most of your audience stick strictly with Instagram and Pinterest. If so, a Twitter chat wouldn’t make as much sense.
If you’re still passionate about Twitter chats in this situation, think about asking the host of a chat you regularly attend if you can be a special guest one week or possibly even a permanent co-host. You never know unless you ask.
If you have the time to invest in building a chat community
Hosting a Twitter chat is a lot more than showing up for one hour once a week. A LOT. It takes time to prep the questions, survey your audience for topic suggestions, check in with audience members throughout the week, add them all to a Twitter list, set up special guests (if you choose to do so), make the chat graphics… the list goes on.
Your community may also prompt you with extra “work”. We recently had a #createlounge chat on creating About pages and the group was really interested in getting peer feedback on their About pages. It took me about an hour to gather the list of people interested and easily six hours to respond over email to the twenty participants who were interested. Time consuming, yes, but rewarding, absolutely.
If you’re available when your audience is
Time differences are tough. I wish we could all be in the same time zone to make things easier but alas, that’s not how it works. Because Twitter chats are in real-time, your audience must be awake and free to participate. If you’re hosting a chat at midnight your time just because that’s when you’re most creative (which I get since that’s my most productive time), the majority of your audience will be in bed catching some z’s. Be thoughtful when scheduling your chat.
As much as you want to host a chat that everyone can make it to, it’s better to know now that it impossible to find a time that works for everyone. You can ask your audience what time of day works best but ultimately you should know that some people won’t be able to make it because of their conflicting schedules. For the people that can’t attend, create highlight summaries to help them see what they missed. I do this with Storify and it’s been a big hit.
If you’re passionate about Twitter chats
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your Twitter chat won’t be either. Are you genuinely passionate about starting a Twitter chat on your own? Without passion, your Twitter chat will fizzle out and your community won’t be sustained. But with passion, you’ll connect with more like-minded people on a deeper level, unlocking your potential and growing your online presence organically.
Are you ready to take the leap?
Have you thought about hosting your own Twitter chat? Have you already started your own? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!