Twitter chats are a great way to network with other people and businesses in a given area or niche. Just like face to face networking, they enable you to grow your connections which can benefit you and your business in many ways.
If you are new to Twitter or new to business, you may be wondering what a Twitter chat is and why you should take part in one. In this post, I explain what they are, the benefits and how you can take part in your first Twitter chat.
What are Twitter chats?
Twitter chats, for those of you who haven’t heard of them, are conversations anyone can join in on that take place at pre-determined times and dates. Every Tweet in the conversation is linked together using a specific hashtag (#), meaning anyone can follow the conversation and contribute.
What are Twitter chats about?
Whether it’s about business, interests, hobbies or events, there’s a Twitter chat for pretty much everything. They are a great way to meet and engage with people who have a common interest or objective as you. For example, I host a Twitter chat for people who blog about the outdoors. We get together once every couple of months to talk about our adventures and share ideas. As a result, I have discovered so many new bloggers from around the country that have several things in common with me and now I enjoy reading their blogs. We all use the hashtag ‘#OutdoorBloggers’ in our Tweets during the chat which ensures everyone in the conversation can see the Tweets from all contributors.
I also co-host a Twitter chat called ‘#YorkshireBizHour’ which takes place every Wednesday between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, where Yorkshire-based and Yorkshire-operating businesses come together. As I host, I set 5 questions around a theme and businesses and individuals join in by answering the questions which sparks discussion and the sharing of knowledge.
Why take part in a Twitter chat?
From a business point of view, Twitter chats are a great way to discover other businesses and individuals, and to expand your network. Think of it like networking; you meet new business people and build a rapport with them, which in turn can result in business referrals, sales, working relationships and even friendships, all from the comfort of your office desk or sofa. Cool, eh?
How do I find a Twitter chat?
The best way to find out about relevant Twitter chats is to ask people you know through networking. Generally, business people who are active on Twitter will take part in some Twitter chats.
Doing a Google search will bring back many websites that have lists of Twitter chats that you can look through.
How can I join in on a Twitter chat?
The main point to remember when taking part in a Twitter chat is to use the dedicated hashtag. This is the bit a lot of people new to Twitter chats don’t realise or forget then leave the conversation disheartened when no one Tweets them back.
Although there are several tools available for joining in on Twitter chats, I recommend just using Twitter itself for your first chat, just so you can get used to the concept. Here’s what you need to do:
1. To join a Twitter chat, open two windows in your browser and log into Twitter on both of them.
2. In the first window, type the dedicated hashtag into the Twitter Search box in the top right of the window. Hit Enter or click the magnifying glass icon to perform the search.
3. You will now see a list of Tweets that have the hashtag in them. The problem here is that this list is just the ‘top’ Tweets that have the hashtag in them rather than all of them. For a Twitter chat, you want to see all Tweets with the hashtag in them and in chronological order. To do this, click ‘Live’ along the top row which is between ‘Top’ and ‘Accounts’. Now, the list will show every Tweet with the hashtag and in the right order. Easy.
4. Now you are ready to join in!
5. Use the second window to compose your Tweet. Remember to include the hashtag somewhere in your Tweet. It can be anywhere in the Tweet; at the beginning, within the sentence, or at the end.
Hi #YorkshireBizHour people, I’ve just joined in the conversation. How is everyone?
Hi everyone. I’ve just joined in the conversation. How is everybody today? #YorkshireBizHour
6. Your Tweet will then appear in the list of Tweets in your first window.
7. If you are replying to someone’s Tweet, you can do that straight from the first window. Click Reply (the icon of an arrow pointing left), write your Tweet and include the hashtag. Click Tweet. Your Tweet will be sent to the user you replied to, however, your reply will also be visible to everyone in the conversation because you have included the hashtag.
8. Continue to follow the conversation in the first window and contribute Tweets. It’s as easy as that!
What best practice guidance should I follow?
• Always use the dedicated hashtag for the Twitter chat.
• Introduce yourself so everyone in the chat knows who you are. Just like in real life, you will receive a warm response when you do.
• Be polite and positive at all times.
• Don’t be over promotional. You shouldn’t take part just to sell.
• Treat the conversation like you would face to face or over the phone.
• Scheduling Tweets can look robotic and out of place during a chat. Try to Tweet in real-time.
• Don’t schedule Tweets that are clearly just adverts for your business – no one likes them and they won’t work.
• Follow relevant people involved in the conversation. Don’t just follow people for the sake of it.
• Continue to engage with your new connections you have made after the chat. You never know, they could be a great contact to have for your business.
I hope that this article has helped you to identify the benefit of Twitter chats and understand how to take part in your first chat confidently. Taking part in Twitter chats has allowed me to make new connections, strengthen existing ones and learn tips and tools to help me and my business. There’s nothing more powerful than the sharing of knowledge and ideas between passionate people and Twitter chats provide a platform for people with similar interests to do this. To summarise; remember the hashtag, no hard selling and keep it genuine.
If you are a Yorkshire-based business, or you serve Yorkshire with your products or services, join in with the #YorkshireBizHour Twitter chat which takes place every Wednesday between 7.30 and 8.30pm. I run the Twitter chat with Rob from CreatedRed Media and we have some great regulars who join in each week. If you have any questions about joining in, comment on this post or send me a Tweet; @MissJTulip.
Good luck with your first Twitter hour!