When Facebook rolled out the ability to reply to comments on Facebook, my immediate reaction was ... indifferent. Actually, I thought it was more likely it would complicate conversations and give spammers additional ways to pollute comme...
When Facebook rolled out the ability to reply to comments on Facebook, my immediate reaction was ... indifferent. Actually, I thought it was more likely it would complicate conversations and give spammers additional ways to pollute comment sections.
But then I changed my tune when I saw the potential for a fun marketing activity -- Facebook Chats! Similar to a Twitter Chat, a Facebook Chat is a scheduled time to, well, "chat" with a group of people about a particular topic on Facebook. With the introduction of the new Facebook reply feature, users could actually have conversations in the comments of a post. Users could reply to comments, Like comments, and make it immensely clear who they were responding to and which point they were addressing.
Shortly after this light bulb went off, we hosted four Facebook Chats -- we wanted to get the kinks out before we shared it with you -- and now we're ready to explain how you can host your own. Settle in to learn how easy it is to host a Facebook Chat for your business.
One More Time ... What's a Facebook Chat?
A Facebook Chat is a virtual gathering of Facebook users to discuss a common topic. For example, during the first chat we posted a photo of our Social Media Manager and told folks they could ask her anything about social content, and for the rest of the hour, questions came flooding in. Our social media expert was then able to respond using the Facebook reply feature on comments. Here's a wireframe of how this looked during our promotion of the Chat:
Four Key Components Needed for an Effective Facebook Chat
Now that we're on the same page, let's review what you would need to host an actual chat.
Goal: Why is this chat taking place in the first place? Are you trying to increase engagement on your page? Are you looking to grow your Facebook reach? Do you want to help promote a particular campaign you're running?
Topic: What will people be discussing in the chat? Will it need a subject matter expert to moderate and answer questions, or will your social media manager suffice?
Call-to-Action (CTA): Your chat should have a clear next step. Whether that's following your page on Facebook, reading a blog post on more relevant content, downloading an ebook, or accessing a discount code to an event, make sure you're giving those who engaged with you a destination to head to next.
Tracking Token: If you include any links in your chat, they'll help you gain insight into the success of your chat if you include a campaign-specific tracking token. This will tell you how many visitors, leads, and customers were driven over time with your chat as their first touch, or influencing conversion event. Our tracking code was as follows: /?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook &utm_campaign=facebookchat
8 Simple Steps to Hosting a Facebook Chat
With that in mind, here's how to host your own Facebook Chat.
Pick a topic. You'll obviously want to pick a hot topic that your audience cares about. At HubSpot, we're asked about our content creation process often, which is why we held our first Facebook Chat on that subject.
Pick an expert. Ask someone at your business, or in your network, who has deep knowledge on the selected topic, to be your chat expert. This person should be able to quickly respond to the questions that emerge. Facebook Chats are live, which means scripted responses won't fly.
Promote the date and time. Give your fan base at least a day's heads up as to when the chat will be held. Unlike a workshop or webinar, there's no form to fill out or ticket to purchase with a Facebook Chat, so folks can just jump right into the conversation.
Create a dedicated web page. This page should host information relevant to the chat, whether that's just relevant chat information, or a specific content offering you want to give attendees. If you want to provide a content offering to help generate leads, you'll want to make this page a landing page with a form.
Create a campaign tracking token. As mentione