• 5 things we've learnt from our Twitter chat

    So we have this new thing now, that was launched only a few months ago... And it's called the #ExpatWoman Twitter chat.

    Okay, I know Twitter chats aren't a new invention. They've been going around for years, and continue to prove increasingly popular for companies worldwide.

    Woman on Twitter on phone

    This is when we thought, why not! Let's try it out - because while we have and love our forum dearly, a brand new and different way of connecting with women across the world for us is by utilizing social media websites like Twitter. As a company, we should use all the tools possible and available to connect with our target audience. Makes sense, right?

    We don't necessarily get asked a lot of questions via our social media channels, and I wouldn't go as far as saying there's a demand of us sharing our knowledge to our readers... We have our website and forum for that. Instead, the purpose of us hosting our weekly Twitter chat is to engage with women across the globe using a very open, very accessible platform that a lot of expats generally engage with already.

    We all know that social media channels are a wonderful way of sourcing information, knowledge, opinions and ideas... And is suited to our aim of connecting with women worldwide. So since launching the #ExpatWoman Twitter chat, here's a few things we've learnt...

    1. You need an existing audience to tap into and engage with
    Now this, I have to admit, we did not do. Besides our usual mechanisms for promotion; our website, our Facebook page, our Twitter page and so on, we did not actively go out and encourage others in different groups, expat societies, clubs and/or information websites like ourselves to come and join in.

    We literally decided we wanted a chat, picked a date, decided the theme and came up with the questions. And while our website's audience is significantly huge, we did not take the time or make the effort to tap into the correct individuals reading our website and social media channels.

    This we learnt the hard way; because our first ever chat, and every one since in fact, has included only six people or more. We aim to increase this over time, with consistent chats and great topics to discuss.

    2. Experiment with the timing
    As our mission is to connect with and support expatriate women across the globe, finding the perfect time to hold our Twitter chat was difficult. Yes, our foundations are here in the UAE, so choosing the perfect time for this region would be easy.

    But then we had to take into consideration the rest of the world, and our ultimate aim of connecting with women worldwide. That includes those in the USA, and those in Australia. Completely different time zones.

    So we decided with Thursdays at 2pm (GMT +4) local time in Abu Dhabi; we figured those waking up in America could enjoy a morning chat, while those in Australia could settle down for the night and engage in our chat. We've had no complaints of timings so far, so we'll see!

    Woman typing on laptop

    3. Plan a structure for announcing each week's chat
    This is something we've only recently implemented, as our team sort of winged it before. Now we make sure to have at least 3 - 5 announcements throughout the week announcing the time, day and that week's topic. We then of course post the questions on the morning of, and also warn participants an hour before the chat begins.

    We've come to realise however, that there's significantly more that we can do; for example utilising Google+, LinkedIn, DM'ing our most active followers, and Tweeting new followers with a welcome message promoting the chat.

    4. Make the most out of scheduling programs like Hootsuite
    Being able to schedule Tweets is made ever so easy by programs such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, which ultimately makes our job easier when it comes to our weekly chat. We're able to build and schedule our most important Tweets ahead of the hour, so as to make sure our full attention is focused on those participating and engaging with their responses throughout.

    Planning ahead also works well with picking the week's topic and letting everyone know in advance.

    5. Ask for and encourage feedback from participants
    This is something we don't do often enough, and also something we hope to introduce more in each chat. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day and so the best way to improve your chat is to build an interactive forum where everyone can share feedback and make suggestions... Everyone loves sharing their opinion at the end of the day!

    Ask for feedback at the end of each chat, use the hashtag to ask followers for feedback and introduce polls into your Tweets!


    Is there anything you think we can do to improve on top of the above points? To find out more about the ExpatWoman Twitter chat, click here.

    Over and out, Rebecca @ ExpatWoman.com

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