In the world of PR and marketing, it’s always crucial to keep a pulse on the latest and greatest tools and technologies. Why? These present new and innovative ways to help bring your client’s or your company’s messages and strategies to market. If you’re a Twitter person, like me, perhaps you’ve stumbled onto an application called CrowdChat – a social chat platform where a crowd creates the content through engaging conversations and a gamified experience. Watch the intro video below:

I’ve had the pleasure to help organize and host multiple CrowdChats in the past, particularly for the DevOps Enterprise Summit, and I always find it so interesting in regard to the conversations that take place about a particular topic and/or industry. For example, it is amazing what common myths can be debunked, or what principles and practices get highlighted the most for a particular community. And what’s more? CrowdChat captures every social post in a timeline or up-vote format, so at the end of an hour chat on social, you have a full transcript of what ideas or questions were most important or interesting to the crowd of participants. Additionally, as an organizer, you get to select the hashtag you want the conversation to be named under, thus every post from every participant that is included has that particular hashtag embedded in the post – easy for tracking but also awesome for driving eyeballs to a particular subject or keyword.

If you’re getting as excited as I did about the possibilities that a CrowdChat can bring for a live event promotion or thought leadership campaign, stop and pause to think about what this can also mean for developing an industry narrative.

The focus of a CrowdChat is community – bringing as many people together online as possible to rally around a particular subject and have a discourse about the various aspects of said subject area. The CrowdChat itself is meant to be an informal, fun and engaging way to bring people together, but the data one can pull from one of these chats is pretty amazing. Depending on the size and scope of the audience, you’ll be able to dig down deep into some “state of the industry” messaging and positioning.

If you’re a tech marketer looking to survey people about the value of a specific technology, framework or process, you can pose questions for the CrowdChat audience accordingly. For example — “What are the most important metrics for delivering software?” or “What are the most important processes for IT leaders to adopt in the enterprise?” — are pointed, engaging (and non-commercial) questions that might help uncover some interesting tidbits and messages for your own marketing communications and strategies, beyond having to do a formalized survey.

Additionally, and this is another cool aspect to doing a CrowdChat, you can leverage a CrowdChat as a marketing tool (and not just as a means for having a conversation around your industry or focus area). If you’re trying to help get others to evangelize a particular hashtag or keyword, for example, CrowdChats are easy ways to drive a new narrative, or perhaps better yet, add to an existing narrative. We’ve often used our conference hashtags for the DevOps Enterprise Summit (#DOES16 and #DOES17 respectively) as the CrowdChat hashtag in the past and it’s been awesome to see the scale at which a conversation of this format can drive engagement.

Last, but not least, CrowdChats are a great way to bring people together. You’re not trying to sell something or promote a particular product – you’re trying to drive a conversation to produce meaningful takeaways and actions. If you want to be an industry driver/leader instead of a laggard, think of how powerful it can be to rally everyone in your industry – analysts, thought leaders, competitors, partners, media, etc. – to have a direct and expressive chat in a fun and informal manner. All ships rise with the tide, as they say, and pulling your industry together is a strategic, sure-fire way to help ensure that the size of the pie gets bigger for everyone. It also signals to those in your industry that your company is serious about continuous improvement and the next wave of innovation. As soon as you start thinking and talking inclusively instead of exclusively, and have something powerful to say, pretty soon everyone in your market space will too.