When Twitter rockstar Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan) agreed to host #blogchat, expectations were high. Mack Collier (@MackCollier), the creator of the successful Sunday night chat, used the proven direct marketing tactic of building anticipation to promote Chris’ appearance.
Mack started in July with a few “you aren’t going to believe what’s coming” tweets. He followed them with a blog post on July 26 announcing the August schedule, delivering on the promise. Marketing maven Beth Harte (@BethHarte) kicked the month off with her integrated marketing expertise, followed two weeks later by Brogan.
What happens when a Twitter celebrity with 150K followers hosts a chat?
Is it different from a direct marketing campaign? A good response for a promotion going to prospects from a rented list is 0.5% – 1.5%. When added to the customer results, successful campaigns pull 2.0% – 8.0% overall depending on products and promotions.
Brogan is the first blogchat host with a six-figure list of followers. If the response from his community followed typical direct marketing results there would be 3,000 – 12,000 participants!
A typical blogchat has 300-600 contributors and 2,000 – 3,000 tweets. The peak volume was 4,000+ tweets. If only 1% of the @chrisbrogan community participated, Mack was looking at tripling his peak participation.
The organized chaos of blogchat is part of its appeal. Quite often, there are multiple conversations going on simultaneously. In an effort to manage the expected overflow, Mack posted some participation guidelines for the hour that Chris was hosting.
The guidelines requested that everyone stay focused on Brogan’s topics during the first hour. Any off-topic discussion should be saved for after the main event.
The numbers are surprisingly similar to a direct marketing campaign.
Last week’s blogchat without a celebrity host had 498 participants and 2,700 tweets.
(Please note that the source is http://wthashtag.com. It compiles data for seven days. The number of participants and tweets shown includes seven days.)
During the hour that Brogan hosted, the comparable numbers were 875 participants and 4,849 tweets.
Unless we compare transcripts, it is impossible to tell who is a regular blogchatter and who came to the party from Brogan’s community, so let’s look at different options.
If everyone who participated came from Brogan’s community, it is a response rate of 0.58%. This is a number that usually represents a rented list in a direct marketing campaign. It seems low for an engaged fan base.
If the 498 from the first week were there as regular blogchatters, only 0.2% of Brogan’s community showed up. Most direct marketers hesitate before renting those lists again.
Most likely, the real number is somewhere in the middle.
Several arguments can be made about timing, topic, and lurkers, but they don’t answer the question that keeps me awake at night.
How do you get people more actively engaged?
In a quest to find that answer, we routinely run activity analytics on our clients (and their competitors) followers. We check their community to see if the members are active, resting, or MIA. If they aren’t showing up to the party, how can you encourage them to play?
Here are the results from Brogan’s community:
Active (Tweeted in the previous seven days): 81,893 or 55%
Resting (Tweeted between 8 and 29 days): 19,356 or 13%
MIA (Hasn’t tweeted in 30 days or more): 47,647 or 32%
Drilling further down, 29,779 community members had tweeted in the last 24 hours. We consider those ultra active. If we presume (I know, I know!) that only the ultra active received the promotional messages tweeted by Brogan and Mack, the response rate range is 1.7% – 2.9%.
Does this mean that a company has to have thousands of followers to get a response?
No, it’s still like direct marketing. It’s all in the quality of the list.
- Check your community member activity on a regular basis. If you’re seeing a decline in participation, your active members may be declining.
- Don’t presume that your competitors are winning the social media game because they have more community members. Their participants may be inactive or uninterested.
- Social media isn’t transparent. You have to dig through the data to find your answers.
- Go for the quality. The best community begins with your customers. Invite them to participate.