Brands Leveraging Twitter Chats for Engagement- From Toyota to CasaSugar

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Twitter is becoming a strong influence and front runner in many strategies that companies are utilizing when working on engaging their fans/followers in social media.

The thing is, you have to get creative now. You can’t really just maintain a page and expect that you’ll rope in new fans or have people coming back.

True, you can have an awesome Twitter personality on your profile and keep your followers, but Twitter chats (with a unique spin) seem to be coming up more and more- and more brands are using this technique to answer questions or just get opinions from their loyal customers. What are some brands that have been using Twitter to get their fans/followers talking?


The Toyota USA President, Jim Lentz, loves using social media as a channel to really get in touch with Toyota lovers. You may have seen him before doing a Digg dialogue and even in Twitter chats before. You may have missed the live streaming of the Toyota Prius reveal today, but you’ll have plenty of chances to catch up with Mr. Lentz tomorrow. He’s actually holding a Twitter chat 1/11/11 (11a EDT) on @Toyota or following the hastag #PriusDetroit.

He also does these chats in front of a screen with questions and replies, so he’s really thinking on his feet and being a great representation for Toyota.

You may also recall when Toyota was having a back and forth with the GM CEO on Twitter about the Prius being called a geekmobile. I don’t know what you think, but in my opinion that started a huge train of great publicity for the Prius-even responding to negative tweets is great for any brand on Twitter- Toyota understands that.

Aside from Twitter chats, Toyota is giving the Prius its chance in the limelight again on Wednesday- where Toyota will be asking social media users and Toyota lovers to take a poll (on Twitter, their Facebook page, and other destinations) and weigh in on what the official plural name for “Prius” should be. They’re a happy little family now.


The founder of Freshome, Micle Cristian, is guest hosting a Twitter chat tomorrow as well, on 1/11/11 (must be a popular day, huh?) with the hashtag #IntDesignerChat under his @Freshome account.

Freshome started in March of 2007, and is still a fairly young brand. It started gaining popularity the past year or two and it really has some awesome images and articles on the site- and by being a guest host to an interior designer chat, he’s leveraging his expertise and possible reaching a whole slew of users that could convert to possible readers. He’ll be able to really talk and engage with those in the home decor, furniture, interior design or interior architecture industries.

Guest hosting a Twitter chat is almost equivalent to guest blogging- you get the exposure and the audience, and can hopefully leverage all that for new fans.


CasaSugar is on the Sugar Network (I’m a big fan of GeekSugar as well as CasaSugar) and they’ve been diving into the Twitter chat phenomenon as well. They held one last week hosted by @CasaSugar using the hashtag #ANewCasa that encouraged users to chime in about what their resolutions for 2011 would be to keep their life and house in order.

Since CasaSugar is focused on interior and home stuff, it only makes sense to see what their readers are interested in. Not only is this useful to get them all in one place, but it can also help when planning out their editorial calendar.

One follower may mention something that they resolve to do which could lead to an interesting article on CasaSugar- even some kind of how-to. It’s an unobtrusive way of getting into your reader’s brains.

Alpha Consumer

Alpha Consumer (@alphaconsumer) also had a Twitter chat they held last week. Their incentive to get users participating? They gave away a copy of “Generation Earn” to a random participant. Giveaways are a nice compliment to any kind of social media engagement (but not always… it’s not a golden rule so don’t go giving away your left arm and anything in your office, haha.)

The idea with their Twitter chat was to get those interested in being financially responsible to join in, using the hashtag #alphachat to talk about personal financial goals, ideas, financial questions, etc. that you may have, spawned from the article  50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2011. The article is on and so was the Twitter chat announcement- see how that ties in there? Leveraging a large site and its content to get others participating with your brand.

Brands that are taking advantage of Twitter are slowly learning how to move with the industry. It’s not a matter of putting great stuff out there (even though that’s important too) but it’s a matter of giving your fans/followers the chance to talk to the real you, one on one.

Selena Narayanasamy
Selena is a "many-hat-wearing" digital strategist, consultant, and President of Orthris. She loves taking ideas from creation to execution, and owns multiple publication websites in... Read Full Bio
Selena Narayanasamy
Selena Narayanasamy

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