Twitter Chats Deliver Numerous Benefits for Events

January 31, 2016

Simply defined, a Twitter chat is a set period of time (usually an hour) where a group of people discuss a topic through tweets that include an established chat hashtag. 

It can be a useful tool in raising the event’s brand awareness, building interest in the event, providing additional value to event participants, extending the event’s content beyond the actual event and creating a strong and loyal community.

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) holds a #CMWorld Twitter chat every week with more than 100 active participants.

“Our Twitter chats are a great way for our community to get together once a week,” said Cathy McPhillips, vice president of marketing at CMI. “I’m certain it’s effective, because the few weeks a year when we don’t hold chats, our community still comes looking for us on Tuesdays.  When many of us do see each other in person at CMWorld or other events, we seek each other out. “

CMI’s main goal is to provide an outlet for its community to learn from each other. Once a chat is complete, it uses the dialogue to determine new blog post ideas, create other pieces of content and plan speakers and sessions for Content Marketing World.

“We try to balance out topics so it’s not all heavy strategy weeks in a row, or all tools and technology. We try to ensure that our community members won’t go more than a week with a topic that wouldn’t apply to them,” noted McPhillips.

Another show organizer, Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) and its digital marketing partner, Frost Miller, recently implemented this strategy to engage its TRANSACT audience. The annual event connects the payments technology world.  A series of four chats leading up the April conference will build interest on topics at the forefront of attendees’ minds.

“For us, the Twitter chats have two main benefits,” said Del Baker Robertson, director, membership and marketing at ETA. “They connect people around interesting topics before the show and expand our reach to their followers every time they tweet with our hashtag.”

CMI and ETA identified the following best practices for Twitter chats:

·         Build a plan and stick to it, because consistency helps attendees build trust and a relationship with the chat organizer. Small tweaks can work such as adjusting the number of questions.

·         Find a time of day that works best for your audience. Consider whether your audience is international, or if they are at their desks all day, or evenings might work better.  Ensure that no other competitive chats are happening at that same time.  

“We set our chat for early afternoon eastern time so that our participants on the west coast can participate in the late morning,” explained Baker Robertson.

·         Invite special guest experts to add to the discussion and give participants the opportunity to ask questions and get their opinions.

·         Use other channels - Facebook, LinkedIn and email - to promote the chat.  And promote the chat early and often.

·         Be prepared. The week prior to each chat, CMI’s community manager emails its special guest with the questions prepared for each chat and a script of the chat (as well as pre- and post-tweets). This helps the guest prepare and even pre-write tweets.

“This may seem like it’s too scripted, but it doesn’t come off that way. It gives the guest time to engage with the participants without having to think of their own responses during that hour,” explained McPhillips.

·         Ask for feedback advice from participants.

“We’ve asked our chat participants if ten questions were too many; if they wanted to meet in person at our event; if they read our transcripts each week, or if they’d find something else more useful. While we ‘think’ we know them based on our weekly interactions, unless we ask, we won’t improve,” McPhillips said.

Like many things in social media, Twitter chats build on momentum, so commit to a certain amount of chats when testing this tactic with a specific target audience.

Use experiences from each chat to tweak the next until the right mix of time, topic and participants is met. Whether the goal is brand awareness or building a loyal community or anything in between, Twitter chats offer a lot of possibility for event planners to engage their audiences.

If you’d like to join a Twitter chat focused on trade show industry issues, check out #Expochat, held every Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET. 

Add new comment

Partner Voices
One of the most iconic names on the Las Vegas Strip just got an upgrade. Mandalay Bay has everything that your business needs from a refreshed convention space designed to inspire productivity and creativity, to an impressive selection of world-class restaurants and amenities. If you're looking for a venue that's both inviting and innovative, you have to be here. New Wave Experiences Mandalay Bay continues to invest in a new wave of enhancements both in the convention space and within the resort as a whole. New restaurant openings including Orla by Michael Mina, drawing inspiration from the award-winning chef’s childhood in Egypt and with flavors and décor inspired by the spices found in markets common to coastal Mediterranean towns, as well as Caramá by Wolfgang Puck, bringing the essence of Italy and spirit of Wolfgang into one concept, are recent additions. The Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas also experienced a recent remodel of all 424 rooms. Swingers, a high-end, adults-only golf and entertainment concept will debut in Fall 2024. Enhanced Technology Creating a truly effective conference venue requires careful thought into what a business needs: the right technology, capacity, and inspiration to bring ideas to the next level. As part of the resort’s refresh, Mandalay Bay implemented state-of-the-art technology upgrades, installing cutting-edge Cat6A Ethernet cabling throughout the convention center. This advancement doubles the frequency of data transmission, enabling lightning-fast speeds up to 9400% faster. The convention center now boasts 11 dynamic digital walls, spanning up to 24' x 13', strategically positioned for brand placements, sponsorships and targeted event messaging. Additionally, attendees can benefit from 20 double-sided 55" mobile flexible display units, facilitating effortless navigation to meeting rooms and events. RFID locks were installed on all meeting room doors, and over 200 motion detection cameras have been placed throughout the space. Refreshing New Design & Fine Art The newly remodeled convention space provides a bright and vibrant atmosphere that complements Mandalay Bay's tropical-inspired brand. Featuring white-washed walls and ceilings adorned with bold floral patterns in cerulean and coral tones, the space is complemented by warm walnut accent walls. In addition to the redesign of all pre-function spaces, meeting rooms and ballrooms, Mandalay Bay's 1 million square feet of exhibit space has undergone a rejuvenation, including new paint, covered pillars and relocated strobe lights. Sustainable Spectacles Mandalay Bay is committed to Focused on What Matters and creating more responsible meetings. Refillable water stations all available around the resort, cutting unnecessary plastic usage from single-use bottles. The Mandalay Bay campus’ recent upgrades represent a bold step forward in redefining the Las Vegas experience. With a focus on innovation, sustainability, and unparalleled service, Mandalay Bay sets a new standard for excellence in business hospitality. Whether you're seeking cutting-edge conference facilities, world-class dining options, or simply a luxurious retreat, an unparalleled meeting experience awaits.