I’ve pondered over the relevance and usefulness of Twitter chats for years.
Is it just noise? Is it worth the energy? What’s the point of them?
Hopefully I can find out the answers to these questions in this experiment today.
You may not be familiar with Twitter chats, eventhough they’ve been around for a very long time.
According to Social Media Examiner:
“A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with these interests. ”
Twitter users connect using whatever the particular Twitter chat hashtag is.
For instance, Twitter Smarter hosted by Madalyn Sklar is a widely popular Twitter chat that also uses great images to let users know what the chat is about:
Many of the chats will create images to go along with that week’s topic and guest — such as the Twitter chat I was recently the guest of with Express Writers on #ContentWritingChat
Typically 1 user will be the “host” and ask questions of either the audience following that chat or a guest.
It looks like this :
The host will ask the question using this sort of text: “Q1: How can Twitter…?”. Changing to Q2, Q3, etc as they ask questions.
Those following the chat will then answer: “A1: I think Twitter…”, etc. Most Twitter chats stop at 8 questions.
Throughout the Twitter chat it’s crucial that you use the corresponding #hashtag with every reply/answer.
Not doing so means you’re not part of the conversation and others may not see the response.
Here’s how it looks live on Twitter:
— Madalyn Sklar 🚀 Ranked Houston’s #1 Social Media (@MadalynSklar) March 22, 2018
Some choose to reply directly to the host, some send a new tweet — ensuring the #hashtag for that Twitter chat is used each time.
Now you know more than most when it comes to Twitter chats!
Due to the live nature of Twitter chats keeping up with the questions, answers and other replies can be daunting.
If it’s a slower chat you could keep up with it simply by following the hashtag on Twitter, such as with #TwitterSmarter .
The downside to that is you will likely miss mentions, answers, etc. Plus it makes it a manual process to remember to put in the #hashtag every time you tweet.
Most these days tend to use Tchat:
You could also try and use Tweetdeck to keep up with the conversation, but due to the smaller column size it’s a bit more difficult IMHO.
This is even with the widest column possible above.
Tchat seems to be the most common and is real-time.
I personally would engage as much as I could using Tchat, then after the chat was over make sure I replied to every reply within Agorapulse, and thanked anyone that retweets me. You can’t do this very well in the other tools at all.
One of the other things I do after a chat is go follow everyone that mentioned or retweeted my account, great way to gain followers.
I’ve had many conversations with Twitter chat expert Madalyn Sklar and through those I decided we needed to run a test to see if there were positive results of running a Twitter chat.
Or is it just a waste of time?
Hypothesis: Conducting a Twitter chat will increase Reach and Impressions, especially compared to non-chat days.
Diving into data from 9 Twitter chats — focusing on number of Users, Reach and Impressions — we’ll get a really great data set to evaluate.
There are 1000s of Twitter chats out there in the Twitterverse — some are very active, some not so much.
To get data worth looking at I picked mainly social media related chats, along with a few non-social media.
*Update 2/7/19: Some of these chats are no longer active.
Gathering the data was super easy using Socialalert — hat tip to Madalyn Sklar for that find!
Basically I signed up for an account that allows 10 campaigns and began having Socialalert track the data:
For this study we’ll look at 4-6 weeks worth of data from each Twitter chat to determine our conclusion.
Socialalert will show you a summary of the data in various graphs based on the date filter you set for the campaign:
As you can see the TwitterSmarter chat has a ton of users engaged and gets high Reach/Impressions.
You can also see on the “Timeline Distribution” chart 6 peaks, this correlates with the 6 different Twitter chats Madalyn conducted during this 6 week time frame.
While there is some engagement on a Twitter chat in between chats, the vast majority happens during the hour long chat. Which makes complete sense.
In addition to the graphs by Socialalert you’re able to export all of the data into a spreadsheet and really dive into the numbers.
I’m able to see the following (again based on the time frame I selected in the filter):
For our purposes much of this data was not important. I mainly wanted to see how many users were engaged, how many posts about the Twitter chat were made, and what was the Reach and Impressions.
I averaged the 9 Twitter chats together and found this data:
The numbers are pretty damn impressive if you ask this long time social media blogger.
That’s 68 MILLION Impressions!!! And over 7 million Reached.
But this data is an average of all chats looked at, and some had just 3 chats during the study, some 6. So let’s average out the numbers for each chat to really see if Twitter chats are worth the effort or not.
TwitterSmarter: Average of 6 Twitter chats
ContentWritingChat: Average of 6 Twitter chats
ContentChat: Average of 6 Twitter chats
SproutChat: Average of 4 Twitter chats
SocialROI: Average of 6 Twitter chats
BufferChat: Average of 4 Twitter chats
RunChat: Average of 5 Twitter chats
EdTechChat: Average of 4 Twitter chats
AlEdChat: Average of 3 Twitter chats
As you can see each one of these Twitter chats gets a great amount of user engagement — the lowest amount of users was on Sproutchat with 98 users. But they still had an amazing Reach and Impressions per chat.
The high Impressions and Reach are a product of having users engaged in the Twitter chat that have a large following — along with tweeting multiple times during the Twitter chat.
Watch our recent Social Media Lab LIVE as we discuss our findings with Madalyn Sklar and Owen Video.
Ok so that was alot of numbers/data. But does it mean anything for you and me?
I’d say a resounding YES!
Taking the average numbers for each Twitter chat and then averaging together we get this:
Based on this data I am going to confidently conclude:
Running a Twitter chat will result in a high amount of Reach an Impressions. And should be highly considered as part of your social media strategy.
Even if you saw half of the results the lowest performing Twitter chat saw you’d have a great chat that builds community and gets your message to more people.
In addition to running your own Twitter chat I would also recommend being active in a few chats in your niche.
Using the @Agorapulse Twitter account I’ve been active in a few chats recently — albeit sporadically.
Taking a look at the reports in Agorapulse I can see the most interacted hashtag I used during this time period was those from the Twitter chats:
These interactions are a mix of replies and retweets.
Being engaged with Twitter chats will produce results for your account — followers, replies and retweets. All of which help you get more exposure of your product/service/website.
You’ll notice the #ContentWritingChat had 533 interactions for me, this was because I was the “guest” 1 week on their Twitter chat. So I was answering the questions posed by the host.
Which lead to loads of interaction. I would encourage you to be a guest on a Twitter chat once per month, different chats of course. Greatly increases your exposure.
It’s not that hard to start your own Twitter chat.
You need a Twitter account obviously and a “hook” of some sort (appealing subject matter).
Below are 4 tips from Social Media Examiner that make this simple:
I hope you enjoyed this look at Twitter chats. If it inspires you to start your own chat I’d love to hear about it.
Part of my goal with the Social Media Lab is to find out what’s working and not working so I can help our readers/listeners have success faster.
Along with that I run the social media for Agorapulse, which means when I see data that proves a theory I should act on it.
I’m tossing around the idea of running a Twitter chat for Agorapulse in the Fall.
Let me know in the comments if you prefer chats that are weekly or monthly…
To get a solid roadmap on starting your own Twitter Chat check out this training from Madalyn Sklar called “Twitter Chat Playbook“: