Setting Twitter Chat Goals

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If you know about #TwitterSmarter, you already know the value of attending Twitter chats. They’re great for meeting people, learning new things, and just having fun. But do you have a goal when it comes to Twitter chats? Did you even think you needed chat goals?

This week on our #TwitterSmarter chat, we invited goal setting expert, Debra Eckerling, to chat about the importance of setting goals. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Debra Eckerling
Topic: Setting Twitter chat goals
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What’s the value of attending Twitter chats?

Genuine conversations are the foundation of Twitter chats. As our guest put it, chats are a great way for you to share your expertise with others interested in the topic, meet new people, and develop lasting friendships.

But that’s not all. Jeremy pointed out that Twitter chats are also an ideal way for you to hear multiple perspectives on a topic, and connect with people outside of your immediate business or personal networks. This can help you get the most out of Twitter as a user.

Q2: Why is goal setting important on Twitter?

It’s important to set goals on Twitter because knowing what you should do and setting timelines for yourself can help you manage your time better on social media. Because a tweet’s so fleeting, you can easily spend hours on Twitter without even realizing it. Goals are good for checking yourself.

As our friends from VirtuDesk so succinctly put it, setting goals will help you find your way on social media. It keeps you stay focused on your activities and, if and when you stray, your goals will rein you in.

Q3: What kind of Twitter chat goals should you set as a host?

As the founder and host of #GoalChat, Debra has a lot of experience setting goals for her own chat. She gave us a list of goals hosts should consider setting for themselves. These include planning topics and guests well in advance, creating a list of potential guests to reach out to, sending reminders to upcoming guests, and participating in other chats to help spread the word.

Most importantly, though, as a host, one of your primary goals should be to make your chat fun and engaging for participants. To achieve this, you’ll have to constantly think of ways to evolve your chat into something your audience wants and enjoys joining.

Christine, the founder and host of #ChatAboutBrand, told us about her goals. She, like Debra, focuses on making sure people would want to come back. She also wants to make the chat inviting for new people, cultivate relationships with and between her participants, and ensure there are always new experiences or perspectives to offer.

Q4: What kind of Twitter chat goals should you set as a participant?

Most of us aren’t chat hosts. But we like participating in Twitter chats. Do we have goals, though?

Our guest suggested that as a participant, your goals should include finding relevant chats, joining chats regularly, and engaging with others frequently.

Debra also added that as you join more and more chats, you should consider setting up virtual or live meetings with people you know on Twitter so you can grow your friendship. If you’re a regular who contributes genuinely, you could also become a guest in one of your favorite chats.

Madalyn also shared another great goal you can set as a participant—especially if you’re fairly new to Twitter or a particular community. Consider setting goals around the number of people you should respond to in a chat. Enforcing this rule on yourself can help you expand your network and make great friends.

Though it’s important to reply to people, it’s also important to listen to what the other person’s saying. Don’t reply just for sake of replying. That said, don’t lurk without saying anything either. As Madalyn said, show yourself.

Q5: Why should someone start their own Twitter chat?

If you really enjoy talking about a topic, and you like talking to others who like talking about the same things as you do, consider starting a Twitter chat. If you’re a business, a chat is a great way to establish your credibility and authority, while expanding your network.

Debra started #GoalChat because she wanted to bring together other people who focussed on setting goals for productivity. She’s now formed a community and the chat meets every Sunday at 7pm. Check it out!

As Lance told us, starting a Twitter chat can also be a way of sharing your unique take on things. We all have individual perspectives, even when we agree on certain things. A Twitter chat is an excellent way to explore that phenomenon where we agree on some things even though we disagree on many things. This is also an opportunity for you to hear and respect opposing views. But of course, whether you agree or not, always be nice to people.

Q6: Share some tips for starting a Twitter chat.

As with all things, start by understanding why you want to start a chat. When you’re convinced that it’s the right path for you, it’s much easier to face any challenges you might have down the road.

Then, see that no one else has already started a chat on that topic and if they have, research to find out how yours will be different from theirs. Then, create a hashtag that aligns with your brand and your topic.

Once you’ve got the basics sorted, it’s time to think about specifics. Think it through—how often do you want to run your chat? Most people do it weekly, but there are also fortnightly and monthly chats. How much time can you commit to the chat, considering you’re also doing other things in your business and personal life?

Think about the branding of your chat—if you already have a business brand, you can translate that automatically into the graphics you’ll use for your chat. Promote, host, and have fun. Twitter chats are all about having fun while you connect with people—don’t compromise fun.

Q7: What are some challenges you may face with your Twitter chat?

It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. One of the most common problems you’ll run into is declining attendance. This is normal. Based on the season, and personal matters going on in your audience’s lives, they may be absent from your chats for weeks at a time. That’s no reason to lose motivation, though. Stick with it.

On the flip side, if you’re overwhelmed by participants, reach out to community folk and ask them to help run the chat. They could do things like welcoming newcomers to the chat and helping with questions—little, helpful things that mean a lot when you’re a host.

Be also prepared for change. Starting a chat is in your hands, but you don’t always get to control how it grows. When that happens, remember why you’re doing this and stay focussed on your goals. Evolution can be scary, but it’s not a bad thing. Just be true to your why.

Charlotte spoke about the very real challenge of spreading the word. Not all Twitter chats go viral overnight. No chat goes viral overnight. Growing your chat community is slow and hard work. Keep at it.

Q8: How do you make sure your chat remains relevant on Twitter?

By letting it evolve when it does. No chat remains the same as it was when it started—people’s wants change over time and you have to change your offering to meet their wants. Debra suggested polling your audience directly about who they want to hear from and what they want to discuss. Also, create recaps of your chat (as Twitter Moments, blog posts, Twitter Spaces conversations, podcasts, videos, and more) and tag people so there’s a continuous discussion about your chat.

Debra’s #GoalChat is a good example. She started #GoalChatLive as a spinoff of the Twitter chat. She now also does a podcast based on the chat, called #TheDEBShow. If you know why you want to do something, and why you enjoy it, you’ll find ways to continue to do it.

Our friends from GivWP also mentioned the importance of building new relationships as a chat host. You want to keep your chats fresh and interesting, and to do that, you have to constantly meet new people, learn from them, and engage with them.

Well, that’s all from me, folks. Thanks for reading through, and for more insights from our chat with Debra, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together for us. If you think this summary is pretty good, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us every Thursday at 1pm ET on #TwitterSmarter. Afterward, we also hang out on Twitter Spaces at 5pm ET to continue our chat. Catch you there!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—marketing stuff for the bills; haiku and short stories for the soul. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.

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