I was recently invited to a Twitter targeted chat session (hashtag chat). I had never been a part of these types of Twitter interactions, but I must say that it was quite interesting and intriguing. I say it was targeted because there was a guest speaker and a specific topic that was discussed. It lasted about an hour and anyone can join by searching on the related hashtag.

Here’s how it works:

You come up with a branded hashtag ("#" followed by a term) to identify your chat session. For example, I could use #RobertChat. You then talk about the upcoming session through normal Twitter communication using the hastag in your tweets to build interest. You would start doing this a couple of weeks prior to the session to build up buzz. Then, at the appropriate time, any interested followers simply searches on that hashtag to join. Their view is now all of the correspondence from the session.

I have talked in previous posts that for social media to be truly effective, you have to think about engagement and how to foster a 2-way conversation with your followers. These types of chat sessions accomplish this goal in an extremely effective and powerful way.

Here are my observations from the chat:

  1. Anticipation builds for the event which improves brand awareness

    Just like the feeling of waiting for a special episode of your favorite show to start, there was anticipation that was building for the event that you could actually feel. You would see tweets from people in the chat session talking about how much they’re looking forward to it and can’t wait for it to start. This builds brand awareness by tying the positive emotional feeling of the event to the brand of the host. In my case, I now associate the brand of the host of the event as a SME in the social media space.


  2. Very powerful way to establish your thought leadership in a subject area

    After the event ends, the takeaway is that the host is a thought leader in the topic area. This is interesting because it is not necessarily the host that is the major subject matter contributor in the session (that would be the guest speaker). Because the host organized the event and their name is tied to the event, they are given credit by association.


  3. Attendees have the opportunity to get in front of others and exhibit their expertise in the field

    It is not only the host and guest speaker who has the ability to shine during these sessions. It allows the attendees to get in front of a whole new group of people and offer their ideas in the subject area. This allows for the opportunity to gain very targeted new followers.


  4. Non-followers see your responses which will entice their interest

    Keep in mind that these chat sessions are still in the Twitter world. That means that even individuals outside of the chat session will see attendees’ responses. So during the session, many tweets will be created. This additional Twitter content can then be stumbled upon by non-followers. This also allows the attendees to gather more targeted followers.


  5. Fantastic way to expand on an in-person event

    The session I was part of followed an in-person event. The chat session provided in-person event attendees the opportunity to ask questions they did not get the chance to. It also provided further name recognition of the guest speaker with their event attendees.

I was very intrigued with the heightened engagement I observed through this session. I will be looking for more ways to leverage Twitter to foster this kind of experience.

Well done MarketingProfs!