A “tweet chat” is a new type of social media activity that has potential to help retailers form closer relationships with their social media shopper community.
Tweet chats are organized around Twitter hashtags that identify specific topics and connect people who share similar interests. To join these chats, Twitter users can log on at TweetChat.com or just follow a specific hashtag on Twitter, such as #WFMdish. Each chat is scheduled for a set time and usually runs for an hour. These discussions work in a "give and take" manner, allowing retailers to share their offerings, while also taking away helpful feedback.
I spoke to social media expert Jessica Levin, president of Seven Degrees Communications, about the ways retailers can benefit from holding tweet chats with their shoppers.
1. Become an Authority on Health & Wellness
Tweet chats are a simple and savvy way for retailers to show that they are knowledgeable about health and wellness.
“A lot of people don’t eat healthily because it’s not affordable or at least the perception is that it’s not affordable. So, that’s a really hot topic that I think retailers could get involved in,” said Levin.
Through a tweet chat, retailers can provide shoppers with health and wellness information, such as new gluten-free products and emerging healthy living trends.
2. Solicit Feedback From Consumers
Holding a tweet chat shows that a retailer is interested in what its shoppers have to say.
“They become a resource to influencers, they are branding themselves in a way that shows that they are listening to their public,” said Levin.
A representative leading the chat is entrusted to relay the information while also identifying worthy consumer insights for the retailer.
Levin pointed out that participant feedback can potentially supply research. By listening to consumer concerns during tweet chats, retailers could get ahead of developing trends and possibly start looking at products.
“I think it’s important that whoever is participating in the tweet chat to not leave it there, but take it and bring it back to the team and say, ‘This is what we talked about, here is the opportunity,'” said Levin.
3. Emerge as Meal Planning Expert
A tweet chat is a convenient and simple setting for exchanging recipes, meal tips and ingredient suggestions. Retailers know the different products out on the market, and they have a good sense of what may foods may appeal to a variety of households. This technique can be geared toward the foodie crowd, parents or anyone looking to expand their recipe book.
Whole Foods held a few chats in June, “Summer Produce Gone Wild” and “Local Favorites,” to discuss eating healthfully while entertaining in the summer.
Whole Foods is the “gold standard” for supermarkets working with social media, said Levin.
“They are creative in their postings and really bring value and education to their audience.”
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