If you’re looking to build relationships with liked-minded business owners - and prospective customers - taking part in Twitter chats can be a good move.
But what exactly are Twitter chats, how do you find ones that are relevant to your business and how do you take part? Read on and find out.
What is a Twitter chat?
A Twitter chat is a public conversation that revolves around a unique hashtag e.g. #contenthour (N.B. for the uninitiated, hashtags group together tweets on a similar topic). A Twitter chat can be ongoing, but more commonly are hosted at a regular time and/or day (e.g. once a week or month). Some people describe it as like networking in your pyjamas (or whatever you wear when you're hanging out at home).
If you don’t have an account already, you’ll need to sign up to Twitter to take part in a chat. Fill out your profile, add a picture, and start following some relevant accounts (Twitter will make suggestions) so you can get the hang of how it all works. Here are some tips for new users.
How do you find Twitter chats that are relevant to your business?
You can find regularly scheduled Twitter chats on The Chat Diary, Gnosis Arts, Twubs Chat Schedule or Tweet Reports. Another way to find Twitter chats is to search for hashtags that interest you on a site like Hashtag.it or Hashtags.org.
How do you take part in Twitter chats?
Most hosts publish the topic of the chat ahead of time - on their Twitter page (in a pinned tweet for example), on their website, a Facebook group or wherever they hang out online.
The chat host will generally welcome participants, pose questions and keep the conversation moving along. Sometimes a guest host will be appointed to post and/or answer questions.
When you join the chat, take a moment to identify the host, the hashtag and any questions being posted. You may then want to introduce yourself.
The #contenthour chat is typical in that it centres around four to six questions, posted like this:
Q1: How much time to do you spend on content marketing activities each week? #contenthour
Q2: Which tool or app do you find most useful for promoting your business? #contenthour
If you can respond like this (referencing the questions you are answering in your answer) it makes it much easier for everyone to follow the conversation.
A1: Around 7 hours #contenthour
A2: I love Meet Edgar for social media scheduling #contenthour
Getting the most out of Twitter chats
If you ask a question or respond to someone in the chat, use the hashtag so everyone can be in on the conversation.
Retweeting the posts of another user in the chat is a great way to build relationships. It’s fine to share tweets from within the chat with your followers - by retweeting and/or adding your own comments - but don’t forget to use the hashtag so people can follow along.
Sharing relevant articles, infographics and videos can be a great way to add value to the discussion. You may even want to create specific content e.g. blog posts to share during the chat. Just make sure the focus is always on adding value; if people sense you’re just there to sell, they’ll soon switch off.
It’s fine to tweet people privately during the chat - just don’t include the hashtag.
The more activity on the hashtag during the Twitter chat, the more likely it is to trend on Twitter - which will help you connect with even more relevant people.
Apps for following the chat
Using an app that allows you to create different streams for the Twitter chat (e.g. mentions, replies will make it much easier to follow the conversation.
For more tips, listen to: how to use Twitter chats to promote your business.
Want to find out more?
Join my #contenthour weekly Twitter chat on Mondays 9pm (BST), 4pm (EDT) 1pm (PDT), for ideas and inspiration to promote and grow your business.