Twitter chats are an excellent way to connect to industry peers, learn for free, establish yourself, and share information.
I’ve loved Twitter chats for a very long time, and have joined in with them often in the past. I’ve always wanted to host one, but never had the time. But I’m making time for one now, I’m launching my new Twitter Chat #COSchat. It’ll take place every other Tuesday, and it begins on August 16th at 6pm PDT//9 pm EDT. If you’re interested in getting a reminder sign up here.
Twitter chats are super easy to join, but there’s a few things you should know up front if you’ve never done one. I wanted to share tips and suggestions for joining engaging, and why they’re a great way to connect and learn for those of you who might be new to the Twitter chat experience.
What is a Twitter chat?
A Twitter chat is a public scheduled discussion that takes place on Twitter around a specific topic. The chat is grouped together by a hashtag that all of the participants use within their tweets. Anyone can follow along or participate.
My Twitter chat is #COSchat, and it’s dedicated to discussing everything around building a solid, professional online presence. COS stands for creative online strategy.
Why join a Twitter chat?
Twitter chats offer a lot of opportunity. They’re a great way to meet people within your industries or certain niches. They allow you to digest a bunch of information quickly in a short time span (most Twitter chats go no longer than 1 hour). They
Plus they’re super fun, and they take basically no commitment or real work. You just show up and chat and engage!
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Joining a Twitter chat
Because Twitter has a little bit of a learning curve, I wanted to share some suggestions and tips on how to join a Twitter chat so you can get the most out of one if you decide to join. There are a few moving parts when it comes to joining a Twitter chat, and those not used to the platform may be confused as to how exactly to “join”.
In order to join a Twitter chat, you’ll want to follow the predetermined hashtag of the chat (in my case that would be #COSchat). You can do this a few different ways. Below are a few ways to join or watch a Twitter chat.
TweetChat: is a 3rd party platform to follow along and engage in Twitter chats. What’s great about it is you can just hang out on TweetChat and focus on the chat you’re involved in. It’s really easy to set up, you enter the hashtag for the Twitter chat, allow TweetChat to access your Twitter Profile and you’re in. It brings up a page with all of the activity happening, and you can tweet right there. The best thing about TweetChat is it inserts the hashtag immediately, so you don’t need to worry about forgeting to add it. Learn more here.
Twitter: Twitter’s interface makes it pretty easy to follow along from your desktop or your mobile phone. Just click on the Twitter chat’s hashtag and it’ll open up a search area where all of the tweets with that hashtag. Pro-tip: Hit the letter N on your keyboard when you want to answer or respond, this’ll bring up a module for you to tweet right in.
Hootsuite or Tweetdeck: Both of these scheduling platforms offer the ability to save Search criteria columns. You’ll need to search the hashtag first, save the column, and then watch the tweets render before your eyes.
Etiquette & how to engage
Most Twitter chats are hosted by someone or a business. But there is almost always a host. The host shares questions and prompts, usually formatted as Q1., Q2., Q3., etc. Often but not always there is an image with the question, so it’s easy to read and very sharable.
When the host tweets the question you can retweet it to your audience (which is a nice gesture to get others to join and show support for the chat) or you can simply answer.
A few things to remember:
- Include the hashtag in every answer you contribute, otherwise it will not show up in the discussion!
- Start your tweet with the corresponding answer number examples: Q1. = A1., Q7. = A7.
- Depending on how much you want to flood your feed you can reply to the host so only those within the Twitter chat will see your answers/responses. Or you can simply send out a tweet with the corresponding answer and hashtag, this way your whole feed will see the tweets (reasons for doing this are to show support and share your information)
- If you choose to tweet answers instead of responding to the host, make sure you let your feed know prior that you’ll be engaging in a high tweet volume due to a Twitter chat. This is considered thoughtful, and will curb lost followers.
- Don’t share your products, blog posts, or services during the chat unless asked. This is spammy and considered tacky.
- But don’t be afraid to share your expertise! Twitter chats were created to help people learn and connect. Remember you’re there to learn and educate (not sell).
- Do retweet other’s answers and respond to them too (don’t forget to add the hashtag). This is one of the best ways to build relationships within your industry and establish your expertise.
- If your conversation with another member of the chat becomes longer than one or two tweets, continue to reply directly but remove the group hashtag. Twitter chats are community conversations, and having 1 on 1 convos for long periods isn’t the object. If you find you get along well with someone, wait until the chat is over and follow up after.
- Be polite and give people the benefit of the doubt. Most people are good, if someone comes over as rude or weird just ignore it or respond calmly. Twitter begs for brevity and not everyone is good at it.
- Don’t be afraid to just dive in and share your answers!
Now you can get started learning, networking, and establishing yourself in your next Twitter chat! I hope to see you for my Twitter chat, #COSchat. I’ll be hosting it every other week with a focus on building and sustaining a successful online strategy. If you are interested in learning more sign up here.
Did I miss something? Have a question or your own experience you’d like to share? Leave it below or tweet at me.
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