How to Host A Successful Twitter Chat

Hosting a Twitter Chat is an excellent way to build avid followers, elevate your social media engagement, and position you and your company as an expert in your field. Once you have set up your Twitter profile, established a following, and are actively tweeting, retweeting, and replying with relevant content within the Twittersphere, take your Twitter account to the next level by hosting a Twitter Chat.

Social Media icon image

Ten Steps to Twitter Chat Success

  • Participate. Before you host your own chat, participate in others. Take a backseat approach, familiarize yourself with the structure and see how others are doing it in your industry. To find relevant chats, comb through your news feed or search via relevant keyword hashtags and keep a log of what chats are occurring and when. Jump in. Examine how the Twitter chat works by paying special attention to how chat participants respond to each other and how the host engages with the attendees. You may also wet your feet by co-hosting, sponsoring, or being a featured guest on another party’s Twitter chat.
  • Theme. Determine your objective. Your Twitter chat theme sets the stage on how you want to be positioned in the industry and helps you identify the key components to a successful chat. Who is your target market? What days and times are most optimal to your attendees? What topics would they like to discuss versus what you want to focus on? Make sure the theme is enticing to the audience you want to attract.
  • Hashtag. Develop a concise hashtag that resonates with your audience, conveys your overall chat theme, and, ideally, is not already in use. Research existing Twitter chats to determine the optimal hashtag. Then BRAND it as your own. This hashtag reinforces your brand and can minimize the instances of Twitter chat crashers who may inadvertently attend your chat thinking it’s another.
  • Save the Date. Based on your ideal attendees, determine how often you’ll host your chat, and whether a specific date and time of day works best. Will it be weekly or bi-monthly? Will each chat be 30 minutes or 60 minutes? Does it coincide with other popular chats? Once a date and time has been determined, schedule your chats with consistency to better establish a loyal Twitter chat following. Other questions to ask are: What will be your format? Will you be the sole host or will you have co-hosts or guest hosts?
  • Schedule. With your overall theme in mind, create and schedule topics for each session to create an overall calendar. This will better enable you to flag and piggyback off key industry events, holidays, and company news. Draw from past, present, and future experiences and trends. If you’re tackling a challenging subject, consider whether it could make for a good Twitter chat topic. Chat audiences often are grappling with similar issues and your chat could provide an opportune time for both parties to brainstorm and find new solutions. Schedule your topics with your internal team.
  • Promote. Promote, promote, promote! As great as your topics are, people cannot attend your chat if they do not know about it. Promote your chat via all channels: Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks, email, company website, blogs, and more. On Twitter, create a Twitter chat “preview” by teasing your audience with the subject theme. In addition, develop a list of top industry experts and invite them via a direct message (DM) or “@” reply. Encourage retweets of your chat invitation. To boost your promotion, create a Twitter chat invitation image that provides an overall branding for your chat with more visual appeal.
  • Plan. Once your overall schedule has been defined, it’s time to delve into the details. For each topic, draft eight to ten questions that will engage the audience. Create lively questions that illicit more than a yes/no response and can spark valuable discussions. Post your hashtag, chat image, and questions on Facebook for cross promotion.
  • Lead. Effectively host your chat by making sure that you and your audience use the #hashtag. Utilize a service, such as TweetChat, which automatically adds the hashtag and creates a running stream of the chat conversation. Keep attendees actively tweeting. Ask follow-up questions and comment positively. Reply, retweet, and favorite their tweets. Pay close attention to newcomers and those who are not tweeting as much as others. They may need a helping hand. Don’t let them sit on the Twitter chat sideline. Like a grand party, the host makes everyone feel welcome.
  • Thank. Everyone knows the phrase “time is money.” Your participants are taking a chunk out of their day to chat with you and fellow chat participants. Make sure to recognize their time and contributions. Invite them to the next chat and tweet to them often! Consistency and two-way engagement are key in developing a loyal following.
  • Assess. Analyze your chat, attendees, strength of questions and answers. TweetBinder is a handy platform that encapsulates your Twitter Chat statistics. Identify areas for improvement. Tweak your next chat as needed. Repeat these steps for each new chat.

ZirconTools hosts its own #diytrends chat every other Thursday. Catch our upcoming one on Thursday, May 21 at 11 a.m. PST. You’re invited! Learn, share and engage with us!

Twitter Chat 03-05-15

What do you want to read or chat about next? Leave a comment below.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.Sharon image

Advertisements

Flooring it! Stand out Merchandising Tips for Your Brand

Within the retail setting, companies are challenged on how to stand out among the competition. Marketers need to differentiate their brand from dozens of other products that line retailers’ shelves.

Companies only have a few seconds to grab the customer’s attention. In addition to aesthetically appealing, functional and informative packaging (please click here for our “It’s All in the Packaging” blog), what entices a customer to pick up and purchase a product? In-store merchandising is an effective vehicle to engage the customer to help make the purchase decision. As an accompaniment to packaging, merchandising works hand-in-hand at the point-of-sale (POS) to elevate a company’s brand presence and sales.

Zircon Merchandiser

Vibrant graphics and consistent messaging on this Zircon merchandiser entice customers while reinforcing the brand.

Retail merchandising activities encompass in-store displays, shelf talkers, and product demonstrations just to name a few. A focused and engaging point-of-sale display that delivers on the key benefits of the product can increase the number of packages sold. Ever notice how the home center floors are covered with displays during the back-to-school or holiday seasons? Manufacturers and retailers alike understand that a stand-out display practically beckons you to take a closer look, pick up the product, and ultimately, make the purchase.

At Zircon, a point-of-sale display is often part of promoting their brand new stud finders and scanners into the marketplace and to distinguish their unique product advantages. Informational display graphics are integrated with colorful packaging visuals to compel the customer during the pivotal buying process. Merchandising is an effective marketing tool for Zircon and other companies. As products technologically advance, increased education from the manufacturer to the customer will be pertinent, further emphasizing merchandising’s focal role as part of the marketer’s plans.

And even after the sale is made, customers continue their quests for information, advice, and instructions on how best to use their new products. Companies have an opportunity to deepen their customer relationships by providing thorough how-to’s and stellar customer service. Excellent tips on how to meet after market service needs can be found in the blog, “Buy Today, Gone Tomorrow“.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.

Sharon imageFor more info, follow us on Facebook or tweet us @zircontools.

Product Innovation: The Customer is Always Right!

Marketing image

Each year, companies beef up their product lines with new innovations. What drives ingenuity? How do businesses engineer the next big hit, time and again?  Is it simply the passionate pursuit of one creative pioneer or do several experts brainstorm the next wave of technological wonder?  Does the company pour through mountains of research to determine what products will invigorate, revive, or launch the next new brand?  Or do they just use their core competencies to reengineer a prior product line into a sleek, updated version?  The next product launch could be the brainchild of a singular individual or many think tank professionals.

Oftentimes, the most successful companies evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, current product line, and wants and needs of their customers to provide the greatest genesis for new product inventions. Feedback from jobsite professionals, distributors, the retail network, and experts in the field provide vital insight. Each online end user visit, email, phone call, social media interaction or click through the company’s website provide even more key data of how customers relate to the products.  Each real-life application gives a company, such as Zircon, new information of how the products are applied in the construction or home environment, the problems still to be solved, and the new products that would be the most helpful for everyday work or personal use.

The StudSensor™ HD35 stud finder features the latest design innovation by Zircon.

The StudSensor™ HD35 stud finder features the latest design innovation by Zircon.

With idea generation, creativity is key.  What hasn’t already been tried? What has been tried, but may not have worked? Some product ideas do not reach fruition; however, even these ideas can lay the groundwork for a new product that actually will materialize and prove to be successful.  Zircon uses customer preferences, analytics, and design and process evaluations to determine which new tools will solve DIY and professional sensing and scanning problems.

To meet the company’s mission of delivering innovative, easy-to-use technology to the world’s toolboxes, a new product goes through a rigorous evaluation process. How does the product fit within the current product line and how does it expand upon the existing key benefits and features already promoted by Zircon? Of course, the product must be cost effective and provide real value to the end user as well.  To progress from concept to manufacturing, the potential customers must rate the product with high marks.  How will it help the end user?  Will it make his job quicker and simple to perform?  Will the product be more accurate than comparable products in the marketplace?  Is it intuitive and easy to understand?

The company reviews the product to assess its viability in terms of engineering, manufacturing, and budgeting.  At the jobsite, environmental testing is performed to ensure that the product meets stringent everyday use.  Product science and art converge to produce the next big innovation. The crossroads from idea to manufacturing to marketing is not always a clear cut path. What is clear, however, is that the customer is the leader in this product innovation process.

Sharon imageSharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. For more info, follow us on Facebook or tweet us @zircontools..

Marketing Innovation

Marketing image

Each time Apple makes a new product introduction, it makes me think of innovation and how new product development promotes sales growth, enhanced productivity and a corporate sense of well-being.  Product innovation sets the stage for manufacturers, retailers and service providers, enabling sales growth and foray into new markets.

Innovation breeds passion for the product and for the brand.  From concept to tooling to final production runs, the new product creates bold energy that existing products cannot compete with.

As a marketer, each time the newly minted product packaging ships from the factory to its final retail destination, I feel a wave of anticipation.  It is one thing to see 3-D renderings and quite another sensation to actually feel the tooled product in your hands.  And even before the package sits on the store shelf, I do a spot check.  How well will this new product be received?  Does the point-of-sale display highlight the products’ differentiating features and benefits enough?  Have we effectively leveraged online and offline marketing medium to successfully tell the product’s useful applications?  Is our message enticing and does it compel someone to pick up the package and buy it on the spot?

When new products roll out from Zircon Corporation, customers can try the tools for the first time, retailers increase their assortment mix, and developing markets can jump into a new product line.  Zircon recently unveiled the new HD series and L series products.

MultiScanner® HD900 OneStep® is a 4-mode wall scanner that  locates AC, Metal, studs, and deep studs up to 1 ½ inches deep.

MultiScanner® HD900 OneStep® is a 4-mode wall scanner that locates AC, Metal, studs, and deep studs up to 1 ½ inches deep.

With the new product launches, the excitement was heightened with each step forward in the new product development cycle.  Engineering and product design created a one-of-a-kind tools that are remarkable in functionality, simplicity, and design.  It is the innovative spirit of the product, brand and company that reinvigorates marketing to continue to scan for new opportunities.

Making a lasting brand impression is vital within customer service and other areas of the organization. For a personal viewpoint of this idea, visit Zircon in the Real World’s blog, “Brand Recognition in the Everyday World“.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image

Creating Lasting Marketing Value

Marketing imageMarketers strive for ways to attract and retain loyal customers and one way is to create lasting marketing value.  Companies want passionate brand advocates — you know the type?  They are the dream customers who write engaging reviews, generate exciting word-of-mouth endorsements, and purchase the very latest company brands.  Because a brand impression can last for days, if not months or years, marketing must trod out of the starting gate, bold and efficient, armed with marketing muscle and data.

shutterstock_91912871 (2)

I strive to make a strong tie with the customer from the inception.  How best can we expeditiously and effectively communicate with our product users?  Short term, why does the customer pick up the package?  What graphics, tone, and text conveys the brand message?  Long term, how do we cultivate this relationship through email, social media, advertising, promotions, and other tactical elements?  At Zircon, we want to create “stickiness”.  What is the glue that will hold us together with our customers?  We want to captivate their attention for not just mere seconds, but for hours while the tool is in the customer’s hands and have our admirers tells their friends about their positive Zircon experience.

Marketers are constantly testing the results of a campaign.  Leads are quantified from the latest industry tradeshow, media hits are counted, email open rates are examined, sales are tallied, return on investment is calculated and more.  These marketing statistics point to success or areas for improvement.  What sticks out to the customer, retailer, and consumer’s mind about the campaign and will the brand effect have legs to continue onward well past the campaign’s expiration date?  Through the years, the Zircon brand has taken different twists and turns, but all in response to customer needs.  For example, when asked for smaller, more nimble tools, Zircon responded with ergonomically designed stud finders that work well at any angle.

Creating lasting value begins with the customer.  From a strategic and from a tactical viewpoint, when the customer is front and center in the decision making processes, then, we’re heading in the right direction.  Beginning with the key marketing concepts, the customer is the star of the show.  Other companies may go astray and put only the product front and center; unfortunately, disconnected companies blindly float out of focus from the customer’s eye.  My goal is to lead the value discussion, put it on each marketing deliverable, and make it last for years to follow.

As a real life example of how Zircon is passionate about our customers, please take a look at our blog, “The Dog Ate My StudSensor“.

It’s invigorating to think of the customer – we anticipate his needs, we act upon them, we measure our results and we start over again.  With anticipation, each new campaign brings an opportunity to further solidify the customer bond.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image