Twitter, if you’re completely oblivious to the web right now, is one of the greatest, free marketing tools available to affiliate marketers. Twitter gives you the instant connection to followers and interested parties which, in all, has the potential for incredible opportunities for your business growth.
When it comes to Twitter: consistency is key. Twitter may seem random but there is a method to the madness if you know how to tap into its unlimited resources (aka. users). This article will share a technique that very few affiliate marketers have not truly understood nor have leveraged into their business: Twitter chats.
What is a ‘Twitter Chat’?
Twitter doesn’t work in the same fashion as instant messaging because it places all transfer of information into a public forum that allows others to comment and engage. There is, however, a work-around to the disorganization that is built within the platform and that’s through the clever use of hashtags (#).
Unlike direct messages and mentions using the DM and @ feature of Twitter, hashtags are like ‘categories’ that anyone can use and track for conversations. A simple example would be using the hashtag: #Freelancing, if you wanted anyone that follows #Freelancing to see.
People have begun to use these hashtags to create chats on the platform but the difference is that it’s not exclusive to people within a “room” but anyone that wants to tune in and join.
A classic example of a ‘Twitter chat’ was the #FollowFriday (#FF) that was meant to show and discuss new people you were following each Friday. People not only mentioned the people they followed but would kick up discussions about the movement that lead to very heated debates and new information from millions of individuals that joined in on the chat each week.
The #FollowFriday example is only one of many; it was a very public chat created within the subculture of Twitter – you too can create this opportunity within your own followers that has many great benefits mentioned in the following section.
How to Create a Twitter Chat
To get started, you’ll first want to develop an engaging subject for your Twitter chat; this can be something as simple as talking about a product or the industry as a whole.
A few examples, randomly thrown out there would be:
- #AMBiz (Affiliate Marketing Business)
The name of your Twitter chat goes great lengths when you keep it constant; it becomes a brand in itself and will have other individuals buzzing about the next chat session.
In my example, I’ve decided to use #AFFChat.
The second part of developing (and growing) a Twitter chat is to have a general direction for your sessions. The chat can be sporadic at times but it’s always great to have some form of moderation to keep participants on track and within the general realm of discussion.
For my #AFFChat, I want to have people discussing ‘Affiliate Marketing for Offline Businesses’
From my example, I would host a Twitter chat around the central theme but later sessions may be completely different; you can come up with multiple ideas for each chat session and have them planned out which works into …
Growing your Twitter Chat
Now that we have our Twitter chat name, theme and subjects in order, it’s time to get people to participate. Like any online campaign, participation comes down to entertainment, information and getting the word out.
The following are a few suggestions for getting the ball rolling with Twitter chats:
- Alert your Community on your Blog. Create a new blog post to specifically mention that you’re kicking up a new platform to discuss topics; your readers are always looking for additional access to your knowledge which will definitely get the ball rolling in the early stages. In this post, share how users can get started with Twitter (for the newbies), join your chat (with examples) and inform them on the days you wish to run your Twitter chats (including the time).
- Place Call-Outs on your Website. When a Twitter chat is about to begin (or in session), jump onto your website and place a notice somewhere at the top of the page so visitors know when the chat is in session. Your loyal readers will probably already know the timing but new visitors could certainly get a lot of great information when they bounce between your blog and chat; this does wonders for building a brand and eventually converting these individuals into buyers.
- Update your Social Networks. Jump right over to your social networking accounts and post that you’ll be hosting a chat (do this a day earlier and a few hours before things start). Once the chat is up and running – jump back over to your accounts and keep things up to date while asking others to join in to the fun.
- Keep it Consistent. Always try to keep your chats around the same time and day of the week so that people can be accustomed to regular participation. Set it during the day when your audience has time to participate such as during down time at work or later on in the evening when people are lurking the web.
- Condense and Re-Share Information. Once a Twitter chat is all said and done, take full advantage of all the information that was being passed around by creating a transcription of the chat and posting it back onto your website, blog or social media accounts. Link to the individuals that had great information; this shows your appreciation, gets them to come back and it’s a small reward that gets people to like you. This transcription is also very helpful for building up content on your website and letting people glimpse into what goes on during your Twitter chats which may have them joining in the future.
The foundation of running and growing a Twitter chat basically comes down to getting people involved; the only way to do this is to get people on board with the concept and then blow them away with fun and interesting discussions.
Sometimes these chats can become heated but always keep your head on and be open to what people have to say; they’re going to say it anyway so use it as fuel to kick up lively discussions.
Want more? Check out this post on how #Blogchat operates, which can give you plenty of smart ideas for your own Twitter chat.
Leveraging your Twitter Chat for Business
Now let’s talk about the juicy details of why we’re doing this Twitter chat thing in the first place: to increase our bottom line.
Twitter, like other social platforms, is a hotbed for incredible market research and opportunity for creating on-the-spot sales; affiliate marketing greatly benefits from this platform, too!
As mentioned in another article here on AffiliatePrograms.com called, 5 Steps to Twitter Advertising, your involvement with your Twitter chat has many great rewards from pulling in new followers to directly advertising your business during chat downtimes.
Here are a few strategies you could be using with Twitter chats in your affiliate business:
- Tap In for Affiliate Research. Use each topic as a method to research ideas and direction for your affiliate business; listen to what people have to say (especially their problems) and then take note of potential products you could promote on your own website.
- Subtly Promote Affiliate Products or Programs. Pay attention to the flow of your Twitter chat for when people ask direct questions about the type of programs and products each others use; inject the conversation with an affiliate link to a product you truly recommend or over to a review on your own website – this may lead to an affiliate sale.
- Build New Followers. Of course, you should always be using your Twitter chats as a way to find new followers and subscribers to your business. Thos that participate will probably be your existing followers but you know how social media works – more will come. Slowly add people to your follower based and have them coming back for the next session by recording a separate spreadsheet of active chatters.
- Establish a Stronger Brand. Gain a better position in your niche by freely sharing information with participating members in your chat. The Twitter chat is meant to keep information tied together but everything gets passed around through feeds so you’ll not only be able to wow the people in the chat but also those that may just be listening in.
- Network the Networkers. Become the “middle man” in your Twitter chat by introducing others and opening up the opportunity for networking; it’s like that friend that set you up for a hot date – you remember the person and the karma comes full circle. Be that dinner host that keeps the party going.
Your entire involvement, in essence, is to facilitate a moderate role that will always keep you in the center (but not necessarily in the spot light).
You’ll always be there to inject and moderate the chat when you need which brings up opportunities for you to turn the chat into a lead generating tool; however, it’s also vitally important that you’re not too overly promotional else the “party” is over.
Twitter chats can become one of many marketing tools worthwhile to implement into your affiliate marketing; give it a try and test it out, see if it fits your model.