What is a Twitter Chat?
If you’re not familiar with Twitter chats, we’ll cover the basics to get you started. Twitter chats are scheduled conversations on Twitter, based around a specific topic, bringing everyone together through a predetermined hashtag. Chats are typically recurring events, often weekly, where people participate by including the designated hashtag in each of their tweets. You can easily follow the conversation by searching the hashtag in the search box (this will direct you to the feed).
Finding the Right Chat for You
There are so many different Twitter chats out there, so how do you know where to look? Twubs has a great list of Twitter chats for a multitude of industries. Search for chats that relate to your industry and are of interest to you. Many of these organized chats have their own websites where you can learn the time and hashtag of the event, topics for each chat, and even predetermined questions. Some websites have modules allowing you to participate from their site rather than accessing it on Twitter. Remember to read the rules of the chat and double-check the time zone, since these chats usually draw a national audience.
Tips for Taking Part
Many Twitter chats announce a specific topic of discussion in advance, and in these cases it is important to prepare. This way you can have an idea of exactly what you would like to share with others and what you would like to get out of the chat. If a list of questions is provided, prepare an outline for your answers. If not, brainstorm some topics that will likely be brought up and gather supporting points from your original blogs as well as questions you’d like to ask others.
- Introducing yourself
Before you hop into the conversation, it is important to introduce yourself. Consider entering the chat five minutes early to let everyone know who you are, where you’re from and that you are excited to participate. If others are introducing themselves, reach out and make friends!
- Joining the conversation
When the chat officially starts, be prepared to join the conversation. For your first chat, you may want to just sit and watch, but you won’t want to do this every time. Twitter chats are a great way to generate new leads!
Make sure you answer most of the questions that are asked by the moderator. Typically, there will be one Twitter account moderating the conversation. They will pose a question and label it as “Q1”, “Q2”, etc. When directly answering a question, you will want to begin with “A1” (A for answer with the number correlating to the question). You will also need to make sure you include the hashtag at the end; otherwise, your answer won’t be part of the conversation.
Example - A1: We believe that link-building is one of the most important yet most difficult aspects of SEO. #SEOchat
Also, make sure you engage with others on the feed. It is okay to respond to others’ tweets and share your thoughts as well.
- Getting a feel for what others are doing
Every chat is different and it is important to know what is okay, and what isn’t. For example, if nobody else in the chat is linking back to articles or blogs, you shouldn’t do so either. This will come off as spammy.
Do not make the conversation all about yourself or your company. People are in these chats to learn more about a particular industry, not get a sales pitch. As I mentioned earlier, Twitter chats are great for generating new leads, but this is just an added benefit to engaging in the conversation, not a guarantee. If you participate well, show your knowledge of the industry, and engage with others, people will be more inclined to reach out to you.
We hope this blog will encourage you to add Twitter chats to your social media strategy in the near future. If you need help participating in a Twitter chat or handling any other aspect of social media management, contact Informatics.
photo credit: Michael Coghlan via flickr cc