Everyone loves when there’s good buzz circulating about their destination or brand. Word of mouth is essential in a company’s marketing strategy.

Few people sit on their front porches chatting it up with their neighbors, sharing stories like they did 50 years ago. Today’s word of mouth and personal testimonies happen online. Conversations are happening all over social media and blog sites. You won’t find “Word of Mouth” on your marketing budget spreadsheet, but you should find a line item for “Social Media” or “Digital Influencers.”

More and more companies and DMO’s are giving their social marketing a boost by hosting Twitter Chats. In the span of only an hour, it’s possible to create millions of impressions and reach thousands of potential guests.

“Twitter is the easiest way to reach a large number of people in a short period of time. The destinations I have personally worked with, have all experienced an increase in requests for vacation information after the Twitter Chat,” said Sara Broers, a digital influencer for the Travels with Sara website. “The destinations that are embracing social media, Twitter Chats included, are the ones being the movers and shakers in the industry.”

In 2015, Global Marketing Solutions saw a noticeable increase in requests for implementing digital influencer programs by existing and new clients. “Our clients want interactions and personal testimonies by bloggers who influence their fans, and Twitter Chats provide a prime opportunity to communicate messaging and begin conversations between brands, bloggers and destinations,” said April Boone, Global Marketing Solutions president. Boone added while results vary, one of their DMO clients have seen results with nearly a half-million potential guests reached and more than 17 million impressions in one Twitter Chat alone.

If you’re considering testing the waters and hosting your own Twitter Chat, here are a few tips to consider.

  • Vet your bloggers. If your resort markets to the family travel segment, find bloggers who fit the segment.
  • Small social numbers don’t necessarily mean small reach. Consider more than a blogger’s follower count when selecting them to host a Twitter Chat. Bloggers with a modest follower count, but a large network of influencers can be a valuable asset to your chat.
  • Be organized. There are few things more annoying to bloggers than a Twitter Chat without a defined run-of-show. Providing bloggers with a schedule of posts and topics allows them to be prepared with their information, including photography and video they can share during the chat. This also keep the chat’s topics confined, preventing rabbit trails.
  • Offer prizes and incentives to join in the chat. Your host bloggers can pre-tweet this information to gain more interest in your chat.
  • Have tracking tools set up in advance so metrics are available following the chat.

Twitter chats can be an integral part of your word-of-mouth social marketing. If you feel the organization and implementation of a chat is more than your team can take on, consider partnering with an outside agency, like Global Marketing Solutions, for assistance. We’d love to hear how you integrate this type of marketing in your plans in the comment section below.