How to Engage Your Audience Using a Tweet Chat with Ashley Jacobs

ASHLEY JACOBS FC RS 14

ashley-jacobs-interview

Asley Jacobs works for Wisebread.com, a very popular finance blog that covers frugal living, investing, retirement and insurance. For the last 3 yrs she has been in charge of the tweet chats.

Twitter is our #1 social network for promoting content and attracting new leads to our site. If you aren’t yet familiar with Twitter, it’s a platform you should really get proficient on.

Listen now and you’ll hear Ashley and I talk about:

  • (03:00)  Introduction
  • (05:00)  What is tweet chat?
  • (07:30)  Why should someone host a tweet chat?
  • (09:20)  How should you plan & coordinate your own chat?
  • (13:50)  What are the top 3 benefits of hosting a tweet chat?
  • (16:30)  How do you choose a hashtag for a tweet chat?
  • (20:50)  What are your best do’s and dont’s for hosting a chat?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

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Transcript

Trent:
Hey there bright idea hunters welcome to episode number 150 of the Bright Ideas podcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast where we help entrepreneurs to discover ways to use digital marketing and marketing automation to dramatically increase the growth of their business.

If you’re an entrepreneur and you are looking for proven tactics and strategies to help you increase traffic, increase conversions and ultimately increase your profits, well my friends you are in the right place. The way that we do that is we bring proven experts on to the show to share with us exactly the tactics and strategies that they used to become successful.

So if you would love to get a similar result to somebody else and you would love to look over their shoulder and see how they did it, well guess what, just listen to the episode and that is exactly what is going to happen.

In this episode my guest is a woman by the name of Ashley Jacobs and she works for a company called Wise Bread which is a personal finance blog. A very popular one. And for the last three years she has been in charge of; among other things, their tweet chats.

And I have never done an interview with anyone on a tweet chat before as a matter of fact I have never participated in nor have I ever hosted a tweet chat although now I am thinking I should take a stab at it and in this episode we are going to talk about tweet chats.

First of all if you don’t know what it is we’re going to explain it. We’re going to talk about why you might want to do it, we are going to talk about how to plan it and do all the coordination, we are going to talk about the benefits of doing it.
We are going to talk about using a very specific and unique hash tag and pretty much everything you need to know to get started on the road of either participating in or hosting your own tweet chat.
So before we welcome Ashley to the show; short announcement as always, I get a lot of emails from people saying

“Trent, what do you recommend for managing Twitter or doing social media promotion or hosting video or doing landing pages” or any of the other things that I do as a part of running my online businesses.
And you get a list of everything that use and recommend at GrabTrentsBonus.com. And as that name would suggest if you choose to use any of those affiliate links to buy other people’s stuff of course they’ll send me a little bit of a commission for directing you to them and my way of expressing my thank you to you is to offer you a bonus.

When you go to GrabTrentsBonus.com you’ll be able to see all the instructions, if you click an affiliate link to send your receipt according to those instructions. And once it’s been confirmed that you did use our affiliate link

I will give you a choice of a couple of bonuses to choose from.

Pretty cool huh? Or I hope you think that is cool.

So with that said please join me in welcoming Ashley to the show.

Hey Ashley, welcome to the show.

Ashley:
Thank you so much for having me Trent I am really excited to be here.

Trent:
Yeah, no problem, I am pretty thrilled to have you here as well because I have never yet done an interview to talk about a tweet chat and found you online, I don’t even remember where. Maybe you remember because I know I contacted you after reading the article but that escapes me just for the moment.

Ashley:
Yeah you actually contacted me through Twitter.

Trent:
Imagine that

Ashley:
It is fitting

Trent:
Absolutely, you know a lot of people ask me, “Trent, how do you get all of these guests on your show?” And I say, “Well I just send them a Tweet most often.”

So for the folks who don’t have any idea yet of who you are, before we dive into everything that we are going to talk about all things Twitter chats, maybe just take a moment and introduce yourself to my audience with a who you are and what you do.

Ashley:
Of course, like you said my name is Ashley Jacobs and I work for a personal finance blog called WiseBread and we are basically a frugal living blog so we teach people how to save money on everything and anything that they end up spending on in their day to day lives.

We cover various personal finance topics on top of that such as investing, retirement, insurance, you name it, we cover it. My primary thing that I do for WiseBread is tweet chats so that is kind of my bread and butter. I do a lot of marketing for them and some sales but I’ve been running their tweet chats for about three years now.

My favourite part job, I constantly tell my boss, do not take those chats away from me if you assign me new tasks to do for WiseBread because I love doing them and if you take them away will quit and I will be very disappointed so yeah; the tweet chats are what I am known for.

Trent:
Alright folks so listen up because you’ve got a tweet chat expert on the podcast here. Anyone who has been doing one thing for three years obviously knows what the heck they are doing.
With that said, for those people who may not be familiar with the tweet chat, let’s start there, what is a tweet chat?

Ashley:
Basically a tweet chat is a live chat on Twitter where people can discuss certain topics in real time. They typically utilise a particular hash tag so that people can keep track of the discussion and they are just kind of a way for brands and blogs, journalists, major companies and consumer to come together to discuss and learn about various topics.

Trent:
Alright and so are they particularly good for engagement, are they particularly good for audience building, is there any one area where you think that they are better than others?

Ashley:
Engagement, definitely they are a great way for companies or blogs to reach out to their readers or consumers or customers/clients and have that interaction in real time with them. They’re fantastic for engagement.

In a lot of social media you post something, it is in real time but you are not getting instant back and forth interaction whereas with the tweet chat people know that you are going to be on and know that you are chatting with them and it increases the ability to engage with your clients and readers in real time.

Trent:
Okay so why should someone host a tweet chat? For example with WiseBread; is there certain objectives that you are trying to accomplish when you host your tweet chats?

Ashley:
Yeah, our primary objective with our chats at WiseBread is to help educate people on various financial topics. This week we have a chat on with Experian on credit tips for new graduates. We’ve done chats on things like how to save on your food bill, how to save on gas, is it better to buy or lease a home.

On our end it is more of a way to help educate people and increase their knowledge level on different topics. Doing that, it kind of establishes whoever the host is as an expert in a particular field because if you’re hosting these chats and you’re sharing knowledge and engaging and giving people new insights and tips and tricks and advice that they may not yet have known about.

It definitely establishes you as a go to Twitter handler site or company for people to go to get educated and increase their knowledge base. Another benefit like I said it also gives you a way to interact with your readers and customers and build more customer relationships with them.

For example I’m trying to decided whether or not to shop at Coles or Target and just participated in a tweet chat with Target I am probably going to be more inclined to shop at target because I have developed some sort of relationship with their social media channels.

And have that one on one personal relationship with them as opposed to a business that I have never had that interaction with.

It also kind of enables you to build relationships with other companies or bloggers or journalists through cross promotion which is really important I feel in today’s world and having other companies, brands and blogs and journalist know who you are to get the word out about you.

Trent:
That actually is a great Segway to the next theme of this interview. I want to talk; for people who have never done this before let’s go through the steps that you would need to coordinate your own successful tweet chat. So let me just put a couple of questions up so you got context for the answer. If you don’t have a big following is that a problem?

What should you do to prepare? Who do you invite and how do you invite them? Talk about creating a hash tag. And that is probably enough to keep you talking for a while.

Ashley:
So if you don’t have a big following, probably the best thing that you can do to get started is attend other people’s tweet chats to get yourself out there and engaging with people who do enjoy going to chats and do enjoy having the ability to get that knowledge that they are looking for in real time.

To find these chats there are a few different ways that you can go about doing that. One of the easy ways, something that I do for everything in my life that I question about is Google it. Get on Google and search for chats in your area of interest and that tends to be a good way to find chats that are going to help you find your target audience.

Another thing that you can do is once you have found a chat that you like you can follow people that attended that chat because frequently people who attend one chat tend to go to a lot of different chats.

That is kind of another way that you can find other chats to help build your audience up. Another thing you can do is check the United States trends list on Twitter; frequently you’ll find hash tags on there that correlate with different chats.

And that is just another way to discover new chats and start participating to increase the amount of followers that you have and increase the potential engagement if you do decide to run your own chat.

Another thing you can do if you don’t have a lot of Twitter followers and you do want to start your own chat is to consider offering prizes. Offering prizes is a great way to get people excited and get them to come to your chats.

At WiseBread we offer at least two $10 Amazon gift cards every week to our chatters and that definitely increases the number of participants that we get.

If we ever have sponsored chats we end up offering upwards of $300 in gift card prizes and this just increases the number of participants. Those are some strategies that you can use to get people to come to your chat and make them aware of it.

Trent:
If you’re going to host your own, do you need special software to do this?

Ashley:
No, actually there is quite a few tools online that you can use to track the chat. The one that I tend to use the most is Tchat.io and basically what you do for that is you just go to the site and you enter the hash tag for the chat.

Typically each chat has its own hash tag to help you keep track of the conversation. A service like Tchat.io will help you monitor that hash tag by inputting the hash tag into the system and then creating a live stream of users who are talking using that hash tag.

I know other blogs and chats use Twabs and there is another one that is called TweetChat.com. There are various tools out there that can help you see the whole discussion of that particular hash tag in real time.

Trent:
Have you guys ever published any blog posts that we should be linking to on how to plan or how to run your own Twitter chat?

Ashley:
That is a good question and we actually have not. I have done interviews on it, I have spoken at a couple of FinCom events on how to create a tweet chat but we have never actually posted anything about how to run your own tweet chat.

Just because the majority of our audience that reads WiseBread are mostly consumers and stay at home moms or people who are looking for information on retirement or personal finance topics.
So they are not necessarily the type of people who are looking for information on how to run their own chat so sadly we don’t have anything quite like that on our site.

Trent:
Well, that is what Google is for.

Ashley:
Exactly, just Google it.

Trent:
I’ve been Googling it as Ashley has been talking and there’s as you might guess no lack of blog posts explaining in detail how to do this stuff.

Next one on my list is what are the top three benefits, in your Experiance, of hosting a tweet chat?

Ashley:
I’d say the top three benefits of hosting, I kind of touched on this a little bit but establishing yourself as an expert in a particular field. If you are running weekly chats on a personal finance topics or whatever your area of expertise is.

And you become that go to Twitter handle to find the information that people are looking for and you are hosting chats on those topics you end up becoming peoples’ expert that they tend to go to when they are looking for information on a particular subject.

It helps to set you apart from the rest of the field in regards to being that site people can go to for information because you’re interacting with them in real time and you are developing that relationship and establishing yourself as an expert in that way.

Again, having the opportunity to interact with your readers and customers builds more personal relationships with them. It is just another benefit, there are so many big companies out there that aren’t necessarily responding to their customers in real time.

It is almost like talking to a logo if you are trying to get a response from major company. So if you are a big company and you are looking for ways to engage with and develop those personal relationships with your clients or your customers this is a good way to do it.

Because your actually taking the time to set aside an hour of your week and talk to them and just have that interaction that they might not normally get with other companies.

The third one; it allows you to build relationships with other companies and bloggers and journalist, just to get your brand out there more. It is basically just a tool to help brand yourself.

Trent:
I went to Tchat.io and I just typed in #inbound marketing and hit the start chatting button. Obviously people are using that particular hash tag all the time, all day. So that isn’t necessarily a tweet chat by the definition we are talking about. Is that correct?

Ashley:
Right, basically; and I guess I will Segway into what goes into choosing a hash tag for a chat. There are a few things that you should keep in mind if you are thinking about starting your own chat. The first thing is you are going to want to make your hash tag original.

Don’t use a hash tag that tons of other people are using for general commentary for example inbound marketing or let’s say if you are hosting a money chat you should probably stay away from using just hash tag money.

Or hash tag finance because there is going to be so many other people using those hash tags just for random conversation or article promotion and it is not necessarily a hash tag that is going to differentiate you from the rest of the conversation.

Another thing to keep in mind is when you are choosing a hash tag you are probably going to want to choose one hash tag and stick with it through all your chats. That way people know exactly which hash tag to look for if they are looking for your chat. If you are constantly changing up your hash tag people are going to have no idea how to find you from week to week.

Or if you are doing it every two weeks, every two weeks or so; it is important to pick one hash tag and stay consistent with it. For example if you are going to be hosting a chat on topics that revolve around technologies. Something like #techchat might be a good option.

I know Experian hosts a weekly chat, they are our company. Their weekly chat hash tag that you can always find them under is #creditchat. Or if you want to make it more about your brand as opposed to the topic that you are planning to talk about you can choose a hash tag that will present your brand.

For example WiseBread uses #wbchat which is just a shortened version of WiseBread chat. There is another site out there called Money Crashers and they do a weekly chat and they use #mcchat which is you know short for Money Crashers Chat.

Those are the things to keep in mind when you are choosing a hash tag and using hash tags to help people track your chats.

Trent:
So the most important thing is make sure nobody else is using that hash tag.

Ashley:
Exactly

Trent:
Okay, I was typing in #bichat BI for bright ideas and sadly, can’t use that one because somebody else is already using that in their thread so I’ll have to come up with something more original.

One of the things that I wanted to go back to was how to find these Twitter chats. Because that was something else that I typed in while you were talking; I was trying to find tweet chats and of course I’m trying to multitask so maybe that is not the best way to do it. But I wasn’t really having any luck.

Are you saying to just go to Google and type in; let’s say that I wanted to find a chat about inbound marketing. Are you saying just type in the phrase inbound marketing tweet chat?

Ashley:
Yeah you could try doing that, inbound marketing is definitely more specific so you may even want to look for just basic marketing chats; just kind of to broaden the horizons. If you can’t find a chat out there that you are looking for, that is probably a great opportunity for you to fill a need in the space that hasn’t already been filled and start a chat on it.

But yeah, using Google to just find chats that you are interested in, if you Googled finance chats you’ll be able to easily find chats that come up; marketing chat, same thing. I know that there is a few different websites that; I believe that they have calendars of when certain chat are happening and when you can find them.
I believe that TweetChat.com is one of those that has a long list of chats that are out there so definitely check that out and see if there’s anything on their calendar that is of interest to you.

Trent:
Okay terrific, that clears it up. I guess the first search that I did was a little too vague but as soon as I took the inbound out and did marketing I found calendars and all sorts of things. So as to anything it comes down to the search phrase that you are using.

Ashley:
Exactly

Trent:
Obviously with Google the details that anyone needs to make one of these happen is readily available to anyone who wants to do a little bit of homework. Before we sign off is there anything that we haven’t talked about that with your three years of Experiance you would say, “Hey don’t do this or make sure you do this.”

Ashley:
Yeah, absolutely, I guess the first thing on my list would be definitely make sure to have fun. These are supposed to be fun, they’re supposed to be interactive and if you are running a chat and you are not having a good time with it, you’re doing something wrong.

So many of our chats like; we are talking about a certain subject but we’ll totally get off topic sometimes. We actually run our chats at noon pacific time so all the west coast chatters are on their lunch breaks and what not.

They’ll start randomly talking about what they are having for lunch and how hungry they are so be willing to kind of go where the direction of the chat is taking you and have fun with it and interact with people.
Another thing to keep in mind is obviously your chat is important for your branding but you don’t want to come across as someone who’s just in it to overly promote themselves and put themselves out there.

So a good way to avoid coming across as super self absorbed is to find other articles or other company recommendations or just whatever it is that you can share from other sites or other journalists or bloggers or companies within the chat to help do some cross promotion and promote other people as opposed to simply promoting yourself and coming off as super spammy.

Being super spammy is not good. Definitely try to avoid that.
And another thing to try to do is if you are planning on doing a chat try to make it at a time where it is convenient for people to attend. So think about your audience, think about when they are going to be available to be on Twitter and participate in your chat.

For example say that you are looking to run a chat where your target audience is single moms. You’re probably not going to want to schedule it for dinner hours when they are trying to get dinner on the table. It is probably better to schedule for times that the kids are in school.
Those are just a few things to keep in mind in regards to do’s and don’ts.

Trent:
Alright and Ashley if people want to be able to reach out to you I imagine Twitter is a pretty good way to do that; what is your Twitter handle?

Ashley:
Yes, our Twitter handle is @wisebread.

Trent:
Okay, Ashley thank you so much for making some time to come here on the show and enlighten me and the audience on what a Twitter chat is and why we might want to consider using one. It has been a pleasure to have you with us.

Ashley:
Oh thank you so much Trent I really appreciate you having me on, this has been wonderful.

Trent:
No problem at all, take care.

Ashley:
You too

Trent:
Alright to get to the show notes for this episode go to BrightIdeas.co/150 and if you enjoyed this episode and would like to help me spread the word please go to BrightIdeas.co/love.

So that’s it for this episode, I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid thank you so much for tuning in to yet another episode of the Bright Ideas podcast look forward to have you back for another one soon.

Take care. Bye-bye.

About Ashley Jacobs

Ashley Jacobs is the Director of Marketing for Wise Bread. She runs Wise Bread’s weekly tweet chat that frequently trends on Twitter and tweets from the award-winning Twitter handle @wisebread.

 

 

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