Extending Your Reach with Social Media Challenges

#TwitterSmarter Chat: Extending Your Reach with Social Media Challenges

Once you’ve been to a number of social media conferences and collaborated with hundreds of industry leaders, you can expect to know a thing or two about expanding your social network. Except in some exceptional scenarios, you learn so much that the only way to share it is to write a book about it.

That’s what Tim Lewis did. Tim, founder of Stoneham Press Limited, is a socially renowned speaker, author, and podcaster. He’s a regular in our regular Twitter Smarter chats and also the host of the #IndieAuthorChat on Twitter and the @beginpodcast show. We couldn’t have found a more ideal person to ask about leveraging social media!

Here’s a quick run down of how the chat went down.

Chat topic: Extending Your Reach with Social Media Challenges
Format: 8 questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1. Who should participate in social media challenges?

As a long-term Twitter user, I know the obvious answer is everyone. But when it comes to Twitter challenges, there’s something specific to everyone. In other words, not everyone needs to participate in every challenge.

The more you relate to a challenge, the more you’ll want to participate. When you’re not forcing yourself to do something, not only will you enjoy doing it, but you’ll also seem like a natural at it. As Tim so well put it,

“[Social media challenges] are by definition very social activities and will boost up your profile on social media and help you make new connections, especially if it matches your own ethos.”

Q2. What’s the selfie challenge all about?

We had to know. The #SMMWSelfieChallenge that happened at #SMMW19 (Social Media Market World hosted by Social Media Examiner), catapulted Tim’s reach beyond even his wildest imagination. And the best thing? He had much fun participating, and made a real impact, too because the challenge resonated with him. Which establishes that you shouldn’t do something irrelevant to you.

Q3. Can you participate in a challenge if you’re not at the event?

Ok, so the #SMMWSelfieChallenge came about because Tim and the other participants were live at the event. What if you’re not at the event? Should you feel left out, and deal with it?

As Tim says, no. It depends on the event’s host, of course, but there’re plenty of challenges you can participate in from home. Our community had some wild ideas…

A great way to be included in events, as Nathalie points out, is to follow the hashtag and ask questions—rigorously! Be so active that attendees will want to engage with you and keep the conversation going.

Besides, hey, in this age of technology, you don’t necessarily have to be there to be there—what else are photos, videos, and audio messages for? Like Tamara says, go crazy and use technology to your advantage.

You could even create your own hashtag on the side—perhaps a #TIL with snippets you learned from conversations in the hashtag.

Q4. How do you choose a hashtag for the challenge?

Let’s say you’re initiating a challenge. That’s what Tim and his friends did at #SMMW. While the whole conference was focused on the official event hashtag, Tim needed a new, albeit relevant, one for his challenge. Something that’d pair well with the event hashtag.

Now, Tim chose #SMMWSelfieChallenge. Although that rings a bell and incorporates the official tag, it’s still pretty lengthy. And when you’re on Twitter with space limits, you need to come up with something snappy, memorable, and easy to type out.

Kami made an excellent point about making sure the hashtag you choose is relevant and available on all social platforms you’re using. And of course, don’t shy away from bragging about it. The more widespread the hashtag, the easier it is for people to find it and jump on it.

Another handy tip is to make sure your hashtag is easily readable. Of course Twitter doesn’t differentiate between lower case and upper case, but remember, #CheersToTwitterSmarter is still easier to grasp than #cheerstotwittersmarter. Oh, and even though underscores help bring clarity, they’re often a pain to type. #Bitter_Truth

Q5. What are the benefits of participating in a challenge?

So, now that we’ve talked about how to strategically participate in a challenge, let’s talk about the benefits you’ll get from all that effort.

Tim’s right on point. When it comes to a selfie challenge, you have no choice but to go up to people and talk to them. Not only are you breaking away from your own bubble, but you’re also finding new ways to interact and meet interesting people. And guess what, the conversation doesn’t end there. Since you’re tagging them on a tweet (never forget to tag them!), you’re instantly connected on social media and have a photographic proof to jog your memory when you’re back home jet lagged and scratching your head.

Gaby of Bentley University put it so well:

Simply said, taking a challenge gets you more profile views, clicks, friendships, witty replies, and establishes you as a more fun and approachable person both on social media and offline.

Q6. How do you measure your success after the challenge?

Success is a subjective term.

However, the greatest thing about social media challenges is that everything’s a link. Hook up the hashtag on Twitter Advanced Search, filter the dates and accounts, and bam—you’ve got yourself a comprehensive run down of all tweets and engagements, inclusive of the GIFs.

Of course, as Tim points out, you can also export the data and come up with colorful charts to use on your blog posts, or slides when you’re presenting to your boss explaining why you should attend the event the following year.

Whether or not you dissect that data, you will, soon enough, realize that you identify more people on social media, that you’re on first-name basis with people you’d never heard of or known before participating in the challenge. Now that’s a win.

It all boils down to what Elena says—if you’ve met your goal, you’ve succeeded.

Q7. What are some ways to compile your tweets for a challenge?

An excellent tip from Tim. When you’re so excited and in the middle of a challenge, it can quickly get tiring to type out the hashtag every time. Making shortcuts on your keyboard can help you stay more focussed on the tweet and less on getting the spelling right.

You can also always use one of Twitter’s under-utilized features: Moments. Twitter allows you to add a tweet directly from your feed to a Moment so you don’t have to worry about searching and adding them later. It’s instantaneous and accessible. What’s more, you can embed the Moment on a blog post to repurpose all that wonderful content you already generated.

Beware though, Twitter apparently drops out tweets if you hit the 90 mark.

Just, break it down, as Gene says.

You can even make each tweet a reply to the previous one so you have one gigantic thread that’s easy to follow. Numbering tweets is also a good way to keep everything in line.

Kami shared some great tools like Hashtracking and Tagsleuth that helps her track wayward tweets and compile them in one place. Twitter’s own Advanced Search also does this pretty well.

Q8. What are some popular social media challenges?

Yes, we all heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge and witnessed how social media helped nonprofits grow exponentially. Challenges like these can be instrumental in scientific research and technological advancement.

Plus, it was so fun watching Benedict Cumberbatch drenched and shivering.

Tamara also shared some less-popular yet more fun challenges.

So, tell us. Have you come across any exciting challenges on social media? How was your experience participating?

About me, Narmadhaa:
I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.


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