Host Twitter Chats to Generate Real Estate Leads
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Social media engagement is much, much more than sending a “thank you” to everyone who commented on your Facebook post. It’s about truly connecting with your core audience — reaching out to those who can turn into leads and clients. One of the best social channels for real estate lead generation and audience engagement is Twitter.
From publishing your blog content to keeping up with the latest housing news and trends, Twitter has quite a bit to offer real estate agents. A common way many brands and professionals use the social platform is to conduct a Twitter chat: a conversation held with fellow peers, experts, and Twitter users that uses a branded hashtag related to the subject of your chat — making it easy for users to track the insights and answers shared. This strategy offers several unique benefits for agents.
Holding a Twitter chat means you have the opportunity to broaden your brand awareness and meet (well, digitally at least) buyers and sellers, and even fellow real estate agents and industry insiders. Not all chat attendees will be new to you, as past clients and colleagues can join in as well, but the chat will help keep those existing relationships strong. Ultimately, though, the prime benefit of hosting a Twitter chat is it’s an ideal real estate lead generation tactic — when done right, that is.
To ensure your Twitter chat is a success, you need to plan well before the actual chat takes place.
How to Prepare for Your Twitter Chat
Identify the topics for discussion.
The main point of a Twitter chat is to discuss a specific topic and pose questions and thoughts related to that topic that spark conversation. Spend time researching what trends, news, or tips you want to talk about during the chat. Identify issues that buyers, sellers, and homeowners commonly search for online, and then narrow down which ones you feel you could discuss intelligently and in-depth.
Create insightful talking points.
Once you have specific topics chosen for the chat, lay out some talking points you want to hit on so you can easily guide the conversation. How many talking points you develop will dictate how long the chat is likely to take. It’s best not to go on for too long: Consider a half-hour or so for your first one so you don’t end up with dead air and nothing left to talk about. And, to keep the conversation from slowing down too much, prepare some questions for those participating in the chat to solicit their thoughts.
“You are not believable until someone else endorses you.”
— Patrick McLean
Find an expert or peer to join you.
Next, you can focus your energy on finding the right person or people to join your chat. For instance, if you plan on discussing the mortgage market, find a home loan officer or expert who can offer their professional insights. If multiple real estate matters will be chewed over in the chat, consider getting an experienced industry veteran, like a long-time broker, who can shed some unique light on the subject.
Set the date and time for the chat.
After you’ve secured some company to join you, set a date and time for the chat. Consider your audience when setting a dedicated period to hold the chat. Buyers and sellers likely won’t want to join during the weekends. Same goes for early mornings and evenings. Find a time during the middle of the day, when most people are typically using Twitter the most.
Develop a short, unique hashtag.
No one will be able to keep up with the chat or find out about it afterward if a unique hashtag isn’t used. Think of a short, snappy, memorable hashtag that isn’t currently in use and that’s relevant to your topic and business. For instance, a quick search of the hashtag “#RealEstateChat” in Twitter shows it really hasn’t been used since the end of July. A short, simple phrase like this could work for a variety of real estate-related conversations. If you prefer one that’s more specific to your subject in question, then do that. Just be sure it relays the whole point of the subject.
Promote, promote, promote.
The final preparation task is letting people know the chat is taking place. It’s vital to promote your chat as much as you can. Do so on Twitter, of course, but also on your other social media accounts: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest are optimal places to spread word of your chat. Also, consider sending a few emails in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the chat to keep it fresh on your leads’ minds.
The Keys to a Successful Twitter Chat
After your preparation, the only thing left to do is to actually conduct the Twitter chat. There’s plenty to be mindful of during the chat to ensure it goes smoothly and mistakes are avoided. One of the core aspects of the chat is to monitor the flow of the conversation.
Keep the conversation moving along steadily.
Even pausing on your tweets during the chat for a couple minutes can derail the conversation and cause users to leave. This means that maintaining a steady flow of tweets throughout the chat is important. If you’ve said all you can about one particular subject, move on to another one.
“The people who know, like, and trust you are your advocates.”
— Carol Farrar
A great way to have your tweets ready to go for each topic is to write them out in a Word or Google document so they can be copy-pasted into Twitter. Scheduling your tweets in advance is likely fine for the first few tweets in the chat, when you initially present the topics, but since users will chime in with comments and questions during the chat, don’t schedule too many before it begins.
Be ready to answer questions and make comments on the fly.
Speaking of fellow users, expect to receive several queries and remarks from those following along with the chat. To avoid being caught off-guard or finding yourself speechless, prepare to answer questions and add commentary to new points. This goes back to selecting topics you’re knowledgeable about. If you choose one or more you’re comfortable with, this shouldn’t be an issue. Select ones that are somewhat foreign to you, though, and you could end up hurting your chances of becoming a thought leader in the eyes of chat attendees.
Expect the chat to go a little longer than planned.
If you do get lots of users who add to the discussion and bring up new topics, chances are your chat may go on a bit longer than initially planned. That’s why you should plan accordingly and ensure you’re free for an elongated conversation. If the chat goes on too long for you and your guests, set up a time to speak with those who want to learn more about the matter at-hand or talk with you further to learn more about your real estate business.
What to Do After Your Twitter Chat
When the chat’s all said and done, there’s still work to do. Specifically, you need to engage further with those who participated in and monitored the chat.
For those who engaged with you during the chat, reach out to them after and thank them for following along with the conversation. If they appear to be a prospective buyer or seller, ask to speak with them in person, on the phone, or via email to learn more about their housing situations and see if you can start them on a lead nurture campaign. Thanks should also go out to those who helped provide commentary for the chat. Offer these folks help with any marketing endeavors they may have coming up.
At the end of the day, take a close, hard look at what worked well for the chat, what didn’t, and how you can make the next one even better.
Discover other ways Twitter can help your real estate marketing by checking out our own Seth Price in the video Marketing Academy Secrets: How to Use Twitter to Build Your Brand.
What are some interesting ways you’ve engaged with users on Twitter and other social channels? Share your marketing insights with us in the comments below.
Published on August 25, 2014
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.