Twitter is the place to join conversations around specific interests or topics. For brands and businesses, Twitter chats are an excellent marketing tactic to bring these people together, engage with their community, and attract new followers.
One brand that stands out with their innovative use of Twitter chats is @ManageFlitter.
We chatted with Kevin Garber, CEO at ManageFlitter to go behind their Twitter chat strategy.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but I have been living in Sydney, Australia for over 20 years. The first recollection I have of being inspired to start my own business was during my teens in the late 1980s. My father and his brother founded the first company in South Africa to provide computer systems to the import industry. The company grew fast and after a few years, the size of their team increased to about 30–50 people. Providing jobs in South Africa was (and still is) a big deal because of the country's high rate of unemployment. At a company Christmas party a staff member once told me, “Your father and uncle changed my life — they gave me a job and taught me how to use a computer.” I remember thinking to myself, “What a buzz that would be, changing lives by creating jobs while growing a business along the way.”
My first job out of University was working for a talkback radio station in Johannesburg. I then moved to Sydney Australia and worked for a dot-com that crashed along with many others in 2000. As an immigrant with limited contacts, limited experience, and in an industry that had just collapsed, jobs were hard to come by. So I did the next best thing — started my own business. After a few years the company saved enough money to try building our own products (angel and seed funding wasn’t a thing in Australia 10 years back), and on our third attempt, ManageFlitter was born.
Tell us a bit about ManageFlitter.
Back in 2010 building Twitter related products that used the public Twitter API was all the rage. As a frequent Twitter user, I was frustrated that I couldn’t easily see who wasn’t following me back and that over time my Twitter account was becoming somewhat cluttered with accounts that were no longer active or were no longer interesting to me. I asked a fantastically talented Software EngineerI worked with, named James Peter, to build a tool that would surface these accounts.
From the first time that I used the tool, it was evident how useful it could be for all Twitter users. I realized that the tool had the potential to evolve into a broader more feature rich product. We decided to release a publicly accessible version of the tool that anyone could use for free. People started using ManageFlitter (often in ways that we had never predicated) and talking about the product on Twitter itself. Our user numbers quickly went through the roof, we kept on building out the product and we released a paid version of the product. We had the feeling that we were onto something special. James became my technical co-founder and the wild ride began!
Now, we have paid customers from over 100 countries, and nearly 4 million Twitter users have used our product at least once — not bad for a product built by a small team without funding in far-away Sydney, Australia!
How does Twitter fit into your marketing mix?
Twitter has been critical to our success as it has driven a substantial amount of our word-of-mouth marketing. What better way for people to hear about a product that helps them with their Twitter account than on Twitter itself? We also make use of Twitter’s Promote Mode on our ManageFlitter account. Twitter assists with retention marketing by providing us with a communication channel where users can easily connect and engage with us. And of course, we use Twitter to host our own #SocialROI chat.
How did you all get started with Twitter chats?
In early 2017 we were looking for a new way to increase brand awareness and market our product. We regularly publish articles on the ManageFlitter Blog as well as put together an almost weekly Podcast — the It’s a Monkey Podcast — where we cover the latest tech news and interview tech industry thought leaders.
A Twitter chat is when people on Twitter have a discussion around a specific topic using a hashtag specific to the chat. The chat usually happens at a predetermined time and often an expert is invited as a guest to contribute. I have always enjoyed live Tweeting at events, and a regular Twitter chat seemed like would be a fun and interesting way for us to get the word out about ManageFlitter, while educating ourselves and our target market at the same time.
So we reached out to Madalyn Sklar — an experienced Twitter chat host — and together with ManageFlitter Design Lead Kate Frappell, we planned the first few #SocialROI Twitter chats. While many companies like to have their brand name somewhere in the Twitter chat hashtag, we decided to go for a more general hashtag that would reflect the topic covered.
How do you all go about planning your Twitter chats? How do you decide on a topic? How do you decide on a host?
Our Twitter chats feature a different guest each week to answer questions relating to their topic of expertise. We selected Madalyn Sklar as the host of the #SocialROI Twitter chat because of her reach and influence on social media, and because of her experience hosting Twitter chats.