Twitter chats are becoming a useful way for people with shared interests to participate in discussions from around the globe. All it takes, is to be on Twitter at a certain time and to be following the assigned hashtag or person. Participating in a Twitter chat allows you to gain knowledge and increase your network just by offering your opinions. Plus, you can do so from anywhere: the office, a coffee shop, your bed, or if you’re really economical with your time, the toilet.
Where do we start?
Finding the right Twitter chat can help you boost your visibility and authority in your respective field. Luckily, many sites are dedicated to providing a database of chats. Here are some good places to start: Chatsalad.com, Tweetreports.com and Twubs.com.
If you’re unable to find one that suits your interests, a simple Google search of “[Insert your interest/field]” AND “Twitter Chat” will turn up good results.
Often Twitter chats will be structured as Q&A’s, with the moderator beginning every question with a number so participants are able to send corresponding answers. For example:
Here’s a not so great example:
This question was too specific of an answer and won’t allow for further discussion. But dang it if it wasn’t it’d be hilarious!!
Why are Twitter chats the next big thing?
Participating in a Twitter chat is a great way to find the right people to follow as well as to gain followers of your own. Answering the moderator’s questions directly is all well and good, but don’t be afraid to engage other participants, even if it’s just a matter of saying, “@twitterguy I agree! #BizChat.”
“Building communities” is number one on AdAge.com’s list of 7 trends that are changing the way brands market to consumers. Twitter chats are just as good for a brand as they are for the individual. If your brand offers thoughtful responses and is thoughtful and humble in a Twitter chat, potential consumers will remember this. The focus in this case should not be marketing, it should be building relationships.
How can I do it?
First off, only market when a natural opportunity to do so comes up during the chat. And even if you’re just marketing yourself, participate in a Twitter chat as an active member of that community. It won’t go unnoticed. If you return to the same Twitter chat each time it’s held, you’ll build relationships, begin to establish yourself as an authority, and the moderator of the chat may just ask you to appear as a featured guest.
The next step will be to try your hand at hosting a chat of your own. Step 1 is to pick a hashtag. It should be as concise as possible to leave participants enough characters to properly answer your questions. You will be using this hashtag every time, so if you make a rushed decision, you’ll have to live with it and so will participants.
Next you’ll want to decide how long to dedicate to each question or topic. An easy place to start is 6 questions at 10 minutes a piece, totalling one hour. Any shorter than this and participants will feel like they’re just getting warmed up. Any longer than this and participants may lose interest.
Twitter chats take very little effort and the connections you can make through them can open doors for you in the future. All you’ve got to do is find the hashtag that’s right for you.
This guest post was written by Reed Parker. Reed writes about nothing in particular. He just wants to feel better about getting an English degree.
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