Here’s a challenge for you:
A client in a highly regulated industry just learned they are going to be featured in a primetime story on 20/20. It’s a rare public relations opportunity to shine in their industry. They’ve asked you to help get maximum exposure for them on Twitter.
There’s just one little problem.
Before you can finish your “happy dance” you find out their Twitter account is dormant. More like comatose. They have all of 200 followers and average two tweets a month. Not the ideal circumstances for gaining traction for a Twitter Chat.
How do you resuscitate the account for live-tweeting a Twitter Chat in the 30 days leading up to the news magazine broadcast?
That’s the backdrop for this episode of The Heart of Marketing.
We walk you through the strategy for planning the event, engaging key influencers, and promoting and executing the Twitter Chat – all in the context of this real-world example. In the process you’ll learn:
- Four steps to planning a live Twitter Chat
- How to increase brand visibility with organic, human engagement
- Hashtag strategies for researching your target audience
- The optimum volume and frequency of tweets to grow followers
- How to engage with industry leaders and influencers on Twitter
- The best tools for hosting and participating in a Twitter Chat
- And lots more
018: Four steps to prepare for live tweeting a TV Twitter Chat
Show notes and resources
John: Hello, fellow heart marketers. Thanks for joining us again for another episode of The Heart of Marketing. I'm John Gregory Olson with my co-host, Jayme Soulati.
Jayme: Woohoo! Hi, John.
John: How are you?
Jayme: Good. I'm good.
John: Me, too. Hey, I'm pretty pumped up. I’ve got to tell you something here I didn't get a chance to tell you before in pre-show, but I got a package in the mail today that I'm very excited about. Got my copy of the new Mark Schaefer book, “The Content Code”.
Jayme: Oh, my gosh. I can't wait for you to read it. I just ordered mine actually a couple of days ago. I did.
John: Did you? I did not know you were planning to get that.
Jayme: You know? Yeah.
John: Yeah, I read the first chapter already. I’m so excited. Yeah, it's going to be a good read, his stuff, I’m sure.
Jayme: Does he inspire you to write your own book?
John: You know I have so many people say, "You’ve got to write a book," and it does in a way, but there's so much work to it that that's holding me back. And there's so many other things that I've got going on right now. You know, I've got a podcast to produce.
Jayme: I know. And we have to market our podcast. We've got to get more listeners, more listeners, more listeners.
John: We do. Yes, I have a blog that I have to feed ...
Jayme: I know. It's a lot.
John: Yeah. But someday, maybe. Here's what I tell my wife who's always bringing this up to and what I say is, “If I could decide on a topic that's narrow enough and well-defined enough, I'd be much more likely to try to tackle the project.” I don't want to start writing something – write a book about blogging. Well, no. That's too broad.
Jayme: I wrote a book about blogging.
John: Well, yeah. You know what? So did Mark Schaefer!
Jayme: Well, John.
John: And I read his.
Jayme: Oh, hilarious. I'm going to send you a copy of my book, John just so you can have it. So you know that I'm really not lying when I tell you that I've actually published, self-published a book.
John: Please do and would you sign it, too?
Jayme: I'm going to sign it. I'm going to sign it. I won't tell you what I'm going to say though. So John, we are today talking about Twitter and I have to say, Twitter, I'm a self-professed Twitter-holic. Yeah, that's my brain.
John: Did somebody say Twitter?
[bird tweeting sound]
Jayme: That is my brain that you just shared with people. That’s my brain. No, I am a Twitter-holic. That means I've been on Twitter straight for six years exactly to this month, six years. And back in the day, I might have told you this story, but I had been in the city where I live, in this dark, deep basement working alone while my kid was at school and I was starting to die.
John: Is that the basement that you're in right now?
Jayme: Yes, but I opened it up, I did some construction. It's opened up now. And we’ve had a lot of sun this winter so I'm pretty happy. I think I'm one of those SAD people, seasonal affective disorder people, right?
Jayme: And Dayton, Ohio is very gloomy typically in the winter. And I'll tell you what, that March of 2009, I distinctly recall, I was ready to pull my hair out because I'm a Chicago girl, I had come to Dayton, not knowing anybody, and sat down here in this little basement and I was going stir crazy. And so I got on Twitter and I always say Twitter literally saved my life and I became the banter queen. We partied every night on Twitter at 10 p.m. when the kid got to bed, of course, sooner than that. But we got on Twitter and everybody else did, too, and it was like a party. From all over the world, I have so many friends from all over the world. From Hong Kong to Bali and everywhere in between, John, because of Twitter. But sadly, this dream has totally changed.
John: You said Hong Kong to Bali?
Jayme: I did.
John: You forgot to mention St. Paul.
Jayme: You weren't there back then. Oh, my gosh.
John: No. But that's how we met.
Jayme: We did meet on Twitter but it was what? A year, two years ago, right?
John: About two years ago now.
Jayme: So see? And I have never met you, John.
John: No, but you know me.
Jayme: I know you.
John: We've never met face to face.
Jayme: No. I've seen you on Skype though. I've seen you on Skype, right?
Jayme: So what I'm trying to tell everybody, and the reason why we're talking about Twitter today is because I have been in the Twitter trenches. Say that fast. Oh, my gosh.
John: That's a hard one.
Jayme: With a bunch of different verticals, one is the collision repair industry. You might have heard me talk about the auto body shop that I just got about five months ago as a client. And I'm doing something for another vertical market in healthcare which is very sensitive actually. And then I'm in another healthcare industry as well and then some legal stuff as well. But this one project in particular, John do you want to talk?
John: No, keep going. You're on a roll here.
Jayme: I'm just going to monopolize everything. You can sit back and listen. You can drive the car. I'll just be the passenger yakking into the microphone.
John: I'll be reading my Mark Schaefer book.
Jayme: Read your Mark Schaefer book, perfect.
John: I'll try not to turn the pages too loudly.
Jayme: Hey – Mark – he’s at Social Media Marketing World right now, he won't hear you.
John: Well fortunately we're recording, so he can pick this up.
Jayme: That’s true, too. So what I had to do, the one client in the healthcare world, they're preparing for a national media story that is going to come out in April and their Twitter stream was pretty dormant. It has nothing in it. They had maybe 200 followers and they only tweeted twice a week, if that.
John: Twice. Two times. Two tweets in a week?
Jayme: Two tweets in a week. And when I heard that, I was appalled. Obviously, they didn't know how to use Twitter at all. So what I did was, I wrote a proposal of a variety . . .
John: Here's their Twitter stream.
Jayme: Yeah, it's like sleeping Twitter is what it was. So, I created a hashtag for them that nobody was using in the industry. So they now own it and they're the first to be using it. And then I gave them a plan that, okay, here is how I'm going to engage with people in your membership group and I'm going to be increasing the volume of tweets for you. So John, there's really four things that I have to do or had to do for this new client project for Twitter, and I'm hesitating here because I'm thinking about, is it this way for every client? And I think that it is.
So you have to have a plan with your objectives. What do you want to gain out of Twitter? Do you want more engagement? Do you want to build relationships? Do you want more followers? Do you want to test the waters with advertising? For sure, advertising is a big deal right now for Twitter but what I do is organic Twitter. I don't do advertising at this moment for clients because my view regarding Twitter and many, many, many businesses is that people just don't get how to use Twitter.
And my goal when I work with people on using Twitter is to bring them along with the one thing that I said, which is a plan, a proposal of what I was going to do. If there's a hashtag, you know setup a hashtag. And the third thing is to research the stream and make sure that I, the consultant, that there's an understanding of who's important in the stream, what's being stated in the field, in the vertical market, and then also what's the strategy?
John: Well, what was the primary objective that you laid out for this client?
Jayme: Sure. So to recap their Twitter stream, had 200 followers, and they were tweeting twice a month or twice a week, or something innocuous like twice in a very long time span and they thought that was enough. Remember that they're preparing for a national broadcast. They're going to be featured in a national news story on air very soon in April. Because the topic is so important to them, they wanted to engage their membership. But because their stream was dormant essentially, they didn't think it was but it was absolutely dormant. There was no engagement at all.
So the goal for them was to, one, increase exposure, increase the brand, which means become more visible in the stream. Number two was to engage with others in the stream and humanize. That's the biggest thing with Twitter. I think people who put out the name of their company as their Twitter ID and their avatar is like a dog. . .
John: Or their logo.
Jayme: . . .or their logo, and their profile is very un-human. It's not engaging. It's not feature-y. Those people seem to think that that's how you do Twitter. But Twitter is a very human channel. You have to be personally engaged on Twitter.
John: You need a little personality.
Jayme: Oh, my gosh. Absolutely. And so that's what I was trying to infuse is some personality and some human touch, some heart. I was trying to infuse some heart in the Twitter stream.
John: Well, I would think, too, that since they see this television program on the horizon and they have this dormant Twitter account, that they'd need to build up some momentum leading up to that in order to have a dialogue that takes place when the program airs, right?
Jayme: Absolutely. And that is a great segue into the phased approach that I was proposing to them. One, phase one, was engagement. Just understanding the stream, getting familiar, my familiarity with their Twitter stream, what's being stated and said, what is suitable to share. It's a very sensitive field, by the way. And this client is extremely sensitive as well about what is tweeted and how and to whom.
John: I'm sure that it's a highly regulated industry.
Jayme: It is.
John: Right. So you have to watch out for that.
Jayme: It is, John. And that's really important. Every Twitter account is different, has a different approach, and you can't expect to take on Twitter the same for every client or every brand. And I think that's where the biggest fault lies with young people or people who are not familiar with Twitter, they don't know how to tweet. And it's really an art form, truly. So phase one, back to phase one because I can always get myself off on a tangent, phase one is the research. Learn the stream. Who is tweeting? What are they saying? Is it relevant? Find the relevant tweeps, the Twitter people. Find the relevancy in your stream and then favorite many of the folks that you want to follow.
John: Jayme, can you share some of the tactical things that you do in this stage?
John: Did you go to hashtags and see what. . .?
Jayme: Yes, absolutely. Great question. Great question. So for me, because I was an outsider and I had to learn quickly what was happening in the stream. . . This is a membership group so I went to all the members and I looked at what they were saying, and it is very interesting because all the members in this healthcare field had their own issues, their own pet issues, and their own mission, and causes and etc. So it became quite a haystack.
And for me to find the congruency for this group to see the relevancy, it was very challenging. So in that regard, there wasn’t a common thread amongst all the members in the group. So I had to try to figure out, all right, which member was saying what when? I had to go through the history of the members' tweets and look for that tweet that had a similar issue to what we're trying to do.
And then I put in hashtags into the Twitter search button, and I looked for any other folks who might be tweeting on the topic who are not following my client. So I followed them. And I was tweeting as the client, just so you know. So I tried to boost up the followers and the following ratio. Now, these days on Twitter, it's much more challenging to get followers if you don't engage and hit somebody with a, "Hey, thanks for following," or a personal touch. They're not going to follow you. So in the first phase then, it was really getting an understanding of what was being said in the stream, by whom, and how often, and taking note of that. Okay? So getting extreme knowledge about the topic.
John: So that takes some time?
Jayme: It took a lot of time. It took a lot of time. And at the same time, the same objective was to, while I was researching, I had to build up the stream. I had to build up the actual followers and followings, right? I had to build up those metrics. So I was also trying to engage with Twitter folks who were tweeting the topic. Maybe it was a month ago. I was retweeting some of that stuff and just trying to show some engagement and some momentum so that there was some traction.
And that's when the client started to get a little bit nervous. Are you tweeting too much? Is the volume of your tweets too much? Is anything too much on Twitter? And I said, "No, not really." But I understood, going from two tweets a week or month or whatever it was, two tweets a week probably or something crazy slow, low, to all of a sudden having 25 tweets in a day, that was shocking to the client. And I said, "This is what we have to do. We have to show momentum, engagement, relationship, that you're paying attention. You have nothing. You're invisible right now. Your brand isn't visible."
John: You said that they asked how much is too much. One of the things that I thought of that I see that turns me off on Twitter is the carpet bombing approach, when people, want to do their 20 tweets in a 20-minute timeframe and all of a sudden, your feed, you just see them one after the other, and it's a minute apart, and it drives me nuts.
Jayme: That's a great point, too. And I think one excellent takeaway I'd like to people to listen to here is get off of Twitter.com. I am suffering because I can't get off of Twitter.com with this client. I tried to put the Twitter account onto my Hootsuite so that I could actually have scheduling ability, and favorite ability, and list building ability, and for some reason, Twitter.com is deficient in a lot of these arenas. And maybe I haven't found it yet, but goodness, I've looked everywhere on Twitter.com. Nobody should be tweeting from Twitter.com. Nobody. There's so many more tools that are available to you if you go to a third-party dashboard or platform. And John, do you use Hootsuite?
John: I do. Yes. I like Hootsuite. It's a nice, handy tool. There's a lot of things that you can do for managing your stream in just the ways that you said.
Jayme: Exactly. And you can put columns across your screen. You can put columns of favorites, and retweets, or mentions, or private direct messaging. So yeah, there's many tools and there's also reports.
John: You can also follow specific hashtags in there.
Jayme: Oh, absolutely. That's correct.
John: I think anybody who's serious about building out a strategic Twitter stream needs to use some kind of tool like that.
Jayme: Absolutely. So phase two, I'm going to segway into phase two.
John: Go ahead.
Jayme: Great. Phase two is the actual airdate for the national media show is now known and so what do we do in the Twitter stream? We change strategy. Instead of just researching and finding out who's whom in the stream, now we're actually literally engaging people in our stream, to invite them to join us on a tweet chat.
Now, it's a little bit far out yet because often, if you're two weeks from a national media story, nobody's going to pay attention. But what you need to do is phase your tweets to be, “I'd like to invite you. I'd like to share with you to let you know about this neat media story coming up. We're going to be featured. The topic is going to be XYZ. Come and join us. Be prepared. Watch with us. More details to come.”
John: And is the client going to be hosting this Twitter chat or are they going to be participating?
Jayme: Yup, a little bit of both. So I will be. In my proposal, I proposed that to refresh, develop hashtag, and start to use that hashtag. And it's a hashtag that has never been used in the industry before, which is fantastic because that's very rare to find a hashtag that's clean. Beef up the stream, engage, engage, build up relationships, get more followers, and then go to TweetChat.com. It is a place where everyone can go into TweetChat.com with your hashtag and tweet back and forth during the broadcast. That's the ultimate goal, to sit there during the broadcast and actually tweet live during the broadcast.
And it's like a Twitter chat. If people have ever been a part of a Twitter chat where in your own stream on Twitter, you're talking as a group about one topic and there's a moderator. And those are pretty neat. I've been a featured guest in a Twitter chat before and I really love how those work and it's just really, real-time questions and real-time answers flying by.
With the TweetChat, you get yourself off of Twitter.com and you are all in your own room essentially, and everybody who is in the room with you, the “virtual room” using this hashtag, they can tweet together and the moderator can see who's tweeting and invite them in and say, "Hey, thanks for tweeting," etc., etc.
And what happens is the hashtag is automatically shared in every tweet. So for those followers of the people who are tweeting in the room with us, there might be some more folks joining in. You see? So it's a really neat cascade. You can bring in a lot of extra people. And the neat thing, too, is there is a transcript. You can actually upload, download a transcript of the actual proceedings, if you will, and have a record of who was whom, and who said what, and all the neat conversation that took place.
John: So can I ask a question? This is kind of an elementary question. Maybe the listeners might have it because I kind of have it.
John: We've talked about Twitter chats and you've also mentioned TweetChat and it sounds like there might be a bit of a difference between the two.
Jayme: Great question. Great question. So when I say TweetChat.com, it's literally a website where you go to engage with a hashtag.
John: And that hashtag is around one particular topic?
Jayme: One topic, that's right. Now, that said, you don't have to go to TweetChat.com to do this kind of engagement with folks. You can do it in your Twitter stream right there in the Twitter dashboard or your Hootsuite by also using a hashtag, John. So it's just the mechanism of how you engage around your hashtag. If you prefer to get out of the noise of your Twitter sharing platform, then you can go to TweetChat.com. You don't have to go there. I've done it both ways and it's really quite nice to get out from under the noise of all the tweets flying around you.
John: Oh, definitely. And I've learned, too, that when you use TweetChat, one of the biggest benefits of it is that it already puts that hashtag into your tweet without you having to key it in every time.
Jayme: Absolutely. That's a great, great point. Perfect, yes. That's right. So back to recapping again. So phase one, research, understand the stream, figure out how you increase your followers with relationship building. That was phase one for the proposal. Phase two, hey, we have this big media topic coming up. We want to inform you about it. We want you to put it on your calendar. Will you join us? Will you help promote the show to your own network? Here's the details. Now, one thing I haven't mentioned, John, is that I proposed that the client develop a landing page.
John: Okay, you were reading my mind. I was just going to ask if that was part of the deal.
John: So go for it.
Jayme: Yes. So if you don't know what a landing page is, it is a special page on your website, it can be on your website, it can be a page called Unbounce.com where you actually go and buy a package of landing pages that have different templates that can look differently. Unbounce and LeadPages.net, I believe, is another one. But if you want to build a landing page or build a place on your own website with information about, say, an event coming up, and you have a URL, and you use the URL on Twitter.
So let's say I was tweeting for my client as my client and I would say, "Join us April 1st for a national media story on #healthcare." Right? And then it's the URL. The short, the little bitly link, the short link shortener is added to that tweet. Well, when someone clicks on that tweet, they're going to go to that landing page and get the full skinny on the news And I encourage the client, I said, "I hope you have Google Analytics built into your website so that we can track how many clicks we get to that landing page from Twitter."
John: And do they?
Jayme: They did not.
John: I bet you went in and fixed that though.
Jayme: Yeah. That was a critical point. I said, “This would be worthless if we don't have Analytics to track our engagement success. Please, let's get the landing page built. Let's get our Google Analytics code put into for this page, and let's start using the landing page URL with the hashtag in our tweets.”
John: And I'm sure this is how they responded.
[laughing, “this is going to be cool” sound]
John: This is going to be cool.
Jayme: Oh, my gosh. It’s going to be cool. All we can do is recommend and hope that people inside the client's business will actually conform to deadlines, because I think there's such an immediacy right now of if you have an event coming up, you’ve got to have all the little bells and whistles in place in order to follow the strategy. So that's phase two. And phase three is live event. Tweeting the live event and trying to engage as many people as possible during that live event. Now, here's the wrinkle. Can you guess what the wrinkle is if there's a live media story on air, John? Imagine.
John: Oh, I don't know.
Jayme: Time zones.
John: Oh, sure. That’s true.
Jayme: Right? So the client and I are in the eastern time zone. Thank goodness because that means we'll be tweeting together. I'll be on as myself, @soulati, and the client will be on as the brand, and we'll be together. And hopefully of my 6,000 followers, maybe some of them will join in on the topic with me using the hashtag. That's the intention or the objective.
John: Here's a question for you about that, Jayme. You're going to be tweeting in parallel, you and the client from two different Twitter accounts. How are you coordinating that? Are you taking them through some training and preparation?
Jayme: Yeah, I will do that. It will be something, we'll go into TweetChat.com with our hashtag and we'll do a test run. And I'll schedule that in advance of our session with the client so that they're comfortable with what was going to take place.
John: Do you have like a tag-team strategy, too, for what kind of content you're going to be sharing from the two accounts or is just going to be more free-flowing?
Jayme: So I have tweeted live events many, many, many times in the past. If I'm on a webinar, for example, or sitting in a tradeshow, I will literally take the hashtag and tweet live during that presentation because I don't sit, I don't idle well. So I've got to be doing something. I'm a multi-tasker, which I know everybody hates that word and you're not suppose to and whatever. And I'm not multi-tasking right now, John. I'm really paying total attention to you.
John: I know. It's only when I'm talking that you multi-task.
Jayme: Oh, my god! My secret's out! Shoot! How do you know?
John: No, I can hear it. I can hear it.
Jayme: Oh my gosh.
John: The papers are shuffling and it's like . . .
Jayme: When I wrinkle the papers really loud, that's when John knows he's talking too long.
John: Yes, right. Okay, time to turn it over to Jayme.
Jayme: Oh, my gosh. I'll try to be better. Oh my gosh, I'm blushing. I'm so sorry. Oh, that's terrible. Actually, can you hear this?
John: I can.
Jayme: Those are my bracelets. Those are my bracelets.
John: You're going to have to take them off from now on when we record.
Jayme: I have them steady. I've been still right now, they're still. So for the live tweet event, it'll be a free flow because I'll be watching TV and actually putting into Twitter what I'm hearing. So I don't know what's being stated. I don't know what the story actually is going to show. So I'll be tweeting live as much as I can and it's going to go really fast.
John: Just stream of consciousness ...
Jayme: And I don't think the client will be able to keep up, frankly, with me. But I do want to put as many tweets out as I possibly can that are relevant to the topic at hand, and have a record of that engagement, and then have somebody else. . . One of my colleagues from the team is going to also help monitor the stream to see if there's any questions and what-not. So it should be a neat event.
Now, the time zone issue, I do not know what to do at all about the time zone issue. I may have to, oh gosh, I do not know. Because my kid has a soccer game that night. So I don't know. So that's going to be fascinating. I'm at the soccer field trying to tweet as central time zone or mountain time zone with what's going on, so I don't know.
John: Oh, my. That's what you call multi-tasking right there.
Jayme: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Well, we'll see about that. I'm not real clear on how that's going to work. So anyway, that is a Twitter strategy for you.
John: Very cool. What happens at the end of all this?
Jayme: Of this program? What I'm really hopeful for is that they keep us on board and find new budget for maintenance because once you've had such engagement and such success with the channel that way, to go back to dormancy would just be horrific. This is not recommended at all.
John: You got to keep consistent, right?
Jayme: You do.
John: That's really one of the main keys to success with anything, with blogging and social media. And especially Twitter, you've got to be out there everyday, consistently.
Jayme: You do. And I think it's harder for brands to understand the value of Twitter. They just don't get it. But more and more, Google is really pushing the envelope of consistency on all the channels. And they're starting to index tweets and Facebook posts as well, which means that the things you put on Twitter and Facebook are being seen by Google, and I think it's important that you don't go dormant after your stream has been a little bit more lively.
John: Well, Jayme, this has kind of whet my whistle a little bit about Twitter and I'm thinking we should have another episode where we talk about Twitter and do some really tactical tips for success on Twitter.
Jayme: I love it. Twitter is my pet. I've been on Twitter since March of 2009 so exactly six years. And as a matter of fact, I probably have a thousand. . . So 6,000 followers, so that's a thousand per year. But I did not ever go and buy followers. I did not go after followers. I let them come to me and then I would follow them. And I was telling you the other day, John, in one of our discussions about Twitter's law of relativity. It's a tit for tat, reciprocity.
John: It's reciprocity.
Jayme: You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. If you don't engage back with someone who has shared your content, kiss them goodbye. And you know what? People just need to be recognized. I still thank people for following me or for sharing my content and I have always done that. And I have written many, many, many blog posts about Twitter so we can probably resurrect some of those from back in the day, John, and see which ones still apply.
John: Well, let's do that. I think that the listeners could benefit from all of that experience and I might be able to throw a few things in there because I'm no slouch myself. I love Twitter.
Jayme: No, you're not. I didn't mean to suggest that. I was not suggesting you were a slouch though. No, you're not, no.
John: No. I didn't hear that. I just heard about how awesome you are.
Jayme: Oh, for Pete’s sake! I did not say that! I just said I'm a Twitter-holic. I can't get enough, okay? It's my … whatever.
John: I was reading more into it, I guess.
Jayme: But I am awesome, but I am awesome, John.
John: Well, we should leave it off on that note. How I could argue that point?
Jayme: Oh, my gosh. Well, John, listen. Hey, thanks for listening and go be rock hot. Thank you so much.
John: Yes, till next time. Remember: go for the heart, you won't go wrong.
Man 3: Thanks for listening to the heart of marketing podcast with Jayme Soulati and John Gregory Olson. Don't miss our next program. Subscribe to The Heart of Marketing Podcast today.