Why Brands Should Sponsor TweetChats or Engage, and Be Prepared to Wow Yourself

by Mack Collier

Note from Mack: This is a Guest Post from Paper.li’s Community Manager, Kelly Hungerford.  This post is technically part of Paper.li’s sponsorship of #Blogchat last month, and I told Kelly to treat it as an opportunity to talk about why Paper.Li is awesome and to showcase the service.  So what does Kelly do?  She uses it as a chance to showcase #Blogchat instead ;)  But more importantly, Kelly used this post to try to help other brands that are considering sponsoring a Twitter chat or participating in them.  And I think that speaks to the heart of the Paper.li brand, it’s all about creating content that has value for others.  

Have you ever planned a marketing campaign expecting one outcome, and then been completely blown away by the unexpected? That’s what happened to us when we sponsored #Blogchat last month.

One of my goals moving into 2013 was to create more participative marketing experiences with our community. I thought Tweet Chats would be a great place to start. I wanted to participate with our publishers as well as the community “around” Paper.li in order to better understand the wants and needs of everyone involved in the Paper.li experience; readers of papers, site owners, content creators, the people sharing the content and, of course, our publishers.

So mid 2012 I begin researching the possibility of Tweet Chats to include in our marketing strategy. These are notes I took down as to how I thought a chat could help us:

  • Budget: affordable way to attend a (virtual) events, keeping connected to the US when you live overseas
  • Community: build awareness, trust and long lasting relationships
  • Variety: provide an diversified group of users (great way to validate user personas!)
  • Research: data collection: about the service, users, features

So why #Blogchat? 

1. Because it was the right fit for Paper.li. The Paper.li community is comprised of all types or bloggers; experienced bloggers, beginning bloggers and “would like to be” bloggers. Blogging is one of our most popular topics when it comes to sharing content via Paper.li and papers on the newsstand are made from shared blog content.

2. I had done my homework and knew that #Blogchat community was home to people who loved Paper.li, hated Paper.li and have never tried Paper.li. That’s a great place to start if you want to build relationships.

3. I’ve been a fan of Mack and enjoy learning from him and respect him as an marketing and community building authority. I knew that this sponsorship would be a win-win-win for everyone involved.

 

What was our goal? 
1. Awareness: To be present, not push product but be present

2. Build trust: Let community know were there to help and we’re there for the long-term relationship

So did it work? Yes. 

Our #Blogchat experience exceed our expectations and here were two examples that took me by surprise:

Participation: because our largest user base is located in the US, I *assumed* that this sponsorship would really only interest our US community. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We had Paper.li community members from Sweden, Germany Switzerland, and Italy waking up at 3:00am to join our chats. What does this say about your most loyal customers? They will defy all logic and rational thinking to participate in something amazing if you give them the chance. (Mack covers this in his book Think Like a Rock Star and I was ecstatic to experience it myself.)

Community engagement: within the month of December, I received more than 200 emails and tweets requesting help and offering feedback. Out of the 200, I personally helped over 50 people revive old papers, create new ones and fine tune via skype, twitter, email and hangouts.

 

If I think of that in terms of investment, in a matter of 5 hours a month, I received the same amount of qualified leads as I would attending a conference.  This was also information I could share with our product marketing and development teams and well as customer support. I attribute these numbers to the fact that selling was not one of our goals!

 

How else did Paper.li benefit?

  • as a Brand it was the opportunity to learn first hand what the community thought about our service
  • as a Marketer it was a new way to generate interest and leads
  • as a Product Manager, it was opportunity to understand what is needed to evolve the product
  • as a Social Media Manager, it was the opportunity to refine skills and better understand which channels and tools the community is using
  • as a Customer Care representative it was the opportunity to meet the community and interact without a ticket, issue, or bug between us and provide a service on demand
  • as a member of PR, it was the opportunity to be involved in the conversation where it was happening
  • as a Community Manager it was the opportunity to interact with awesome people, strengthen relationships community and build new bridges

Would I recommend sponsoring #Blogchat to another brand? Absolutely. And if #Blogchat isn’t the right fit for your community, find a Chat that is. Even if that means getting up at 3am in the morning to attend!

 

PS from Mack:  And if you want more information on sponsoring #Blogchat, click here.  And if you are a Twitter chat host or a blogger and you have the chance to work with Paper.li please JUMP at the chance!  They are amazing people, and Kelly is the best of the best ;)  And yes, she got up every Monday morning at 3am Switzerland time to attend and participate #Blogchat each Sunday in December!

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