Are Twitter Chats Part Of Your Social Media Strategy?
Are Twitter Chats Part Of Your Social Media Strategy?
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Each week I participate in multiple Twitter chats –#BlogChat, #Speakchat, #Edchat, and #LeadershipChat; every group offering something unique. Although the chats them­selves are quite stim­u­lat­ing, the more impor­tant thing to me has been the con­nec­tions and rela­tion­ships that have devel­oped as a result of my par­tic­i­pa­tion. These rela­tion­ships dis­play what is best about social media, new technologies and what can happen when like minded peo­ple who share com­mon pas­sions are able to work together regard­less of time and prox­im­ity.

Twitter chats can be invaluable to your social media success. There are literally dozens of scheduled chats that take place every week; chats on everything from strategy to design. There is something for everyone, and the benefits are immense.

In  just one chat session, you could:

  • learn – expanding your knowledge, thinking, and influence
  • connect or reconnect future clients or colleagues
  • be found by new audiences
  • display your expertise
  • position your value in the marketplace
  • have the opportunity to help someone
  • become a better question-asker
  • discover a passion or develop a new interest
  • grow the reach of your network
  • expose yourself to new points of view and perspectives
  • make someone’s day
  • HAVE FUN!!!!!

That being said, the #Twitter Chat con­ver­sa­tions can be quite over­whelm­ing; espe­cially at first. The Twit­ter plat­form is an inter­est­ing place to hold any con­ver­sa­tion because of it’s innate con­straints, it is built for speed and econ­omy. When I first started par­tic­i­pat­ing in #Twitter chats I com­pared the expe­ri­ence to being in an auditorium with passionate voices shout­ing out there opin­ions about a topic in warp speed. Now, I am able to sort the signals from the noise and hear indi­vid­u­als that I wish to engage with at a deeper levels.

Here are my tips for mak­ing Twitter Chats a more reward­ing expe­ri­ence for you and your organization:

1.  Pick a Client Pro­gram that works for you.

I per­son­ally use TweetChat and Chattagged. Oth­ers I know pre­fer Tweet­deck and Tweet­grid (here is a great tuto­r­ial) with columns set up to fol­low the hash­tag and cer­tain peo­ple. Use what­ever medium works for you, the impor­tant thing is that it refreshes fre­quently to keep up with the conversation. There are Lots of Chat Clients to choose from.

2.  Do Your Homework:

Preparation Matters. All chats are open, but jumping in cold turkey may not be the best plan. A little preparation goes a long way. Do a little research on the Twitter chat you’re joining before you show up. Some chats have rules for how users are supposed to participate; for example, you may need to send in questions ahead of time. You want to be aware of the rules beforehand so that you’re able to participate. You should also be familiar with whoever is hosting the chat and get an idea for what they’re most skilled in and what they’ll be bringing to the table.

3.  Honor the Hashtag:

Honoring the hashtag is the number one rule in a Twitter chats. It helps participants stay connected in the conversation. The hash symbol (“#”) helps keep the participants in the chat on track, but also makes it easy for anyone passionate about that topic to identify the chat, read the archives, and participate in future chats. The chat archives are invaluable after the chat and would not be possible without the commitment to the #hashtag from all participants.

4.  Actively and Strategically Participate:

  • Find and Follow The Moderators: Pay atten­tion to the #hash­tag before the con­ver­sa­tion starts to learn who the mod­er­a­tors are. Fol­low the mod­er­a­tors by cre­at­ing a search for them. The mod­er­a­tors do a great job of keep­ing the con­ver­sa­tion mov­ing by ask­ing ques­tions. When they ask a ques­tion reply directly to them with an answer.
  • Pick a Few People: Real­ize that you are not going to be able to inter­act with every­one in the “chat-torium.” Fol­low the con­ver­sa­tion an pick a few folks that you find par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing and respond to them. If the per­son who sent the orig­i­nal tweet replies to your reply you have started a con­ver­sa­tion. Like­wise if some­one replies to one of your tweets, reply back to them to con­tinue the conversation.
  • Share links conservatively: Links are great, but the speed is of the essence dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion itself and links slow the con­ver­sa­tion down. If you take the time to find a link and post it you will miss some­thing, if you click on a link dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion you are miss­ing some­thing. Save your links until after the con­ver­sa­tion is over.

5.  Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up:

After the chat ends, follow the users you enjoyed interacting with and learned from. This helps keep the conversation going and strengthens your ties with those contacts. You may also want to e-mail or send a message to the hosts of the chat to thank them for putting it together or let them know you found it valuable. Twitter chats are a great networking tool, so you should use them as such. The same way you’d follow up after an in-person networking event, you should follow up here as well.

During the chat, you may want to star or mark the tweets from people whom you want to connect with later. It is easy to forget with tweets coming at you in light speed.  After the chat, follow them, send an @username reply, or send them a polite (not spammy DM with no links). Also add them to a Twitter List of people you’ve interacted with or to a list by the main topic they tweet about.

So I ask once again, “Is Twitter Chat a part of your social media strategy?”

If not, how can I help it to be?

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About the Author

Angela Maiers
Angela is an active blogger, social media evangelist , and passionate advocate for bridging the gap between business and education. She is a recognized educational leader, trainer, and author. She is the owner and Chief Learning Officer at Maiers Educational Services, a company emphasizing the creative use of technology and social media to advance learning; in and out of the classroom.
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  • Angela – Great post about Twitchats. You covered all the bases. I do go about things a little differently though. I do not lurk for too long before jumping in.
    The Chats have provided me with Twitter friends and I have learned much while engaging.

  • Angela, I appreciate your using my @twchat twitter avatar as an image within your blog post. But, I was also surprised that you found the avatar, but didn’t make any reference to the Twitter Chat Schedule which maintains schedule for over 300 chats: http://bit.ly/ChatSched

    Thanks for bringing exposure to twitter chats. They are a very valuable collaboration tool.

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  • @timolloyd

    Great post. However, I’m not sure I completely agree with your second point about preparation. The longer you wait to join in a chat, the more daunting they become. Chat communities are good at regulating themselves and will soon steer people back on track. I would suggest that any chat with too many rules probably isn’t being run in the spirit of open, inclusive, communications.

  • Great ideas. I have tried to join a few #Tweetchats, and I have been extremely overwhelmed and often discouraged when I wasn’t sure my voice was heard. Your suggestions make sense; they are practical and important. As a newbie, I had no ideas there were “rules.” I’ve often just watched; I think now I might find some way to appropriate participate. Thanks again.

  • Great article. twitter chats can be a crucial part of networking and asking questions.

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  • Hey Angela! I like the post and had to think of one I recently did trying to help people see the diversity of the chats available. Sure, you and I connect in #blogchat but I connect with other great folks in #agchat or #foodchat on Tuesdays, sometimes do #gardenchat on Monday, and have joined others as well. Here’s a post I did on some of the veritable options out there, times meet & why I think people should consider them. http://jplovescotton.com/2010/11/30/finding-communities-on-twitter-to-connect-with/

  • I knew there was a good reason I follow, respect, and appreciate you AM – ’cause you are smart, no-nonsense, and a good writer! This article sums up all the value I’ve received from TweetChats though I’ve mostly participated in one, the GrandDaddy of them all – #blogchat!

    It’s like doing your first rapids trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, which I also did!

    I’ve met sincerely fantastic people. I call #Blogchat “Brain Exercise” due to the challenge of keeping up and making smart tweets of my own. I love it and that is why I rarely miss that Sunday night hour!

    I wrote an article about it called, “Blogchat – Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” (http://bit.ly/BlogChatSallan) which may give you another perspective on TweetChats, specifically this great one.

    And, of course, Angela is referenced and mentioned!

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  • Great compilation of Twitter chat tips Angela. I’ve joined #Leadershipchat a few times and loved the conversations. Chats are a powerful way to create relevant connections via Twitter. I always leave a chat having mutually connected with a handful of great folks.

    I am not sure if you shared this in your post Angela, but there is a public Google document that has all of the major chats that happen on Twitter. It shows the topic, times, etc. Take a look at that here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AhisaMy5TGiwcnVhejNHWnZlT3NvWFVPT3Q4NkIzQVE&hl=en

  • Twitter chats are vital to building real relationships online and are a part of every social strategy we create for brands. Thanks for reaching out via twitter Angela. This is a great post that will be added to our resources page!

  • There is no doubt that the internet has forever changed the world in which we live. So it can only be expected that it would change the way we sell and marketing our businesses globally.Twitter has become part of business these days and thanks for this great post.

  • There is no doubt that the internet has forever changed the world in which we live. So it can only be expected that it would change the way we sell and marketing our businesses globally.Twitter has become part of business these days and thanks for this great post.

  • Angela- great post, and timely. Sounds like speed dating but I can see the benefits, as you outlined. Wonder what mistakes newbies are making as they go into these-not interacting, asking off beat questions, etc> (hey–may be your next post: 7 deadly sins of Twitter chatting…what not to do in a chat?) Anyhow, thanks for sharing this rich info.

  • I just discovered Twitter Chats a few weeks ago and try to get in on #blogchat whenever I can. The tips you pointed out are really helpful. I usually do just jump into them cold turkey and it’s extremely overwhelming. Next time, I’m going to make sure I get a little more organized before jumping in. It is a great place to make connections though.

    • Hi Brittany-
      It is a whole new world isn’t it! Each time you participate, things will get more comfortable. It is hard to keep up when the tweets come flyin’. I am glad you found the tips helpful!

  • We love having you take part in LeadershipChat, Angela! And here’s one of the unexpected “side effects” of being a regular part of a Twitter chat – you just might find yourself becoming part of a little community!

    • I love it when that happens, Steve. I consider myself the lucky one and just want people to understand the power of Twitter is more than letting the world know what you like in your coffee!

      Thanks for making me feel so welcomed and at home at #Leaderchat

    • I love it when that happens, Steve. I consider myself the lucky one and just want people to understand the power of Twitter is more than letting the world know what you like in your coffee!

      Thanks for making me feel so welcomed and at home at #Leaderchat

  • As usual, Angela has nailed the value proposition … today, the “Twitter chat.” Aside from discussing a specific topic that’s relevant or interesting to you (professionally and/or personally), leveraging social media chats focuses on what I think Twitter is all about: forging relationships and interacting. From the many I’ve been invited to take part in or others that I’ve come across sporadically, the real benefit has been incredible information by people that I might have never connected with. Now that we’ve come together, I look forward to meeting them in real life too. Good luck to everyone and feel free to reach out if there’s anything I can try to answer for you.

    • Ian,
      That means a great deal coming from you. You are spot on, Twitter is about forging relationships, interacting, and I would add discovery. There is so much I have “discovered” in conversations with new communities and tribes. Things that would have never been discussed or presented by just “chatting” with people in my field.

      I look forward to our chats to come! I’m @angelamaiers on Twitter

    • Ian,
      That means a great deal coming from you. You are spot on, Twitter is about forging relationships, interacting, and I would add discovery. There is so much I have “discovered” in conversations with new communities and tribes. Things that would have never been discussed or presented by just “chatting” with people in my field.

      I look forward to our chats to come! I’m @angelamaiers on Twitter

  • Angela,

    Excellent post and very deft handling of the comments! Are there any chats for small business owners that you recommend? I saw your link to the very helpful spreadsheet but wondered if you had personal recommendations.

    Thanks,

    Vince

    • Hi Vince-
      That question is getting harder and harder to answer as so many new chats are popping up. I think that #blogchat and #leaderchat are good places to start as they attract a variety of small and large business. I will be sure to send the question out over Twitter, and see if I can return with some suggestions for you!

    • Hi Vince!

      This seems to be the place to be as a small business owner looking to strengthen their connections and grow their network power: #smbizchat

      You will have to let me know what you think after the first chat! @angelamaiers

    • Hi Vince!

      This seems to be the place to be as a small business owner looking to strengthen their connections and grow their network power: #smbizchat

      You will have to let me know what you think after the first chat! @angelamaiers

  • Angela,

    Honored that you included #LeadershipChat and the post I created following one of our typically mind-exploding chats full of chocolatey goodness. :) It’s such a pleasure to have you as part of our Leadership Chat Family and you did a beautiful job of helping others understand the value these chats can truly create!

    All the very best and looking forward to meeting you in a few weeks at SOBCon!
    Lisa Petrilli

    • I feel the same! Looking forward to seeing you very soon!

  • Hi Is there anyway I can get notified when these chats are about to start. I am in Australia so the timezone difference means I can’t always participate. Would love to get actively involved in them.

    • Jason,
      Here is great list of current Twitter chats happening each week, times, and dates: http://bit.ly/cnTcc7
      I know you will be able to find something here! :-)

  • Social media marketing is a new trend in the world of marketing to promote services and products through various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I found this post pretty interesting. Twitter chat can be a very good way of interacting with your existing and potential customers. With the ever increasing rise of the internet, uncountable numbers of companies are utilizing these marketing strategies to generate more profit in their business.

    • Hi Ashley,
      Great perspective. I had not looked at chats from a marketing perspective, but it is a fantastic way to see in real time what is on your customers and future clients minds. It would be a smart strategy for any company wanting to forge deeper connections and further reach in their market. Thanks for sharing.

  • Social media marketing is a new trend in the world of marketing to promote services and products through various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I found this post pretty interesting. Twitter chat can be a very good way of interacting with your existing and potential customers. With the ever increasing rise of the internet, uncountable numbers of companies are utilizing these marketing strategies to generate more profit in their business.

  • Excellent post. We run a bi-weekly CSRChat and I plan to share this info with all our participants.

    • Thank you Susan. I would be thrilled if you would share. Please feel free to add any additional tips or resources to the list. Each week my ease and understanding of the Chat culture evolves!

  • Yes definitely no need to ask, twitter is one of the top priority for me

  • Yes and No..I more less focus on making a couple conversation and network..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Yes and No..I more less focus on making a couple conversation and network..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Yes and No..I more less focus on making a couple conversation and network..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Sorry to hear that. Each week I find new conversations, and my network grows as a result. Hope you give chats another try.

  • Great breakdown of Tweetchats Angela.
    I love them myself. I participate in a bunch and also moderate the #smmeasure chat. I don’t push our company in the chats (most of the time, but every once and a while the situation calls for it) and more use the experiences to connect with people. If that helps bring attention to my company than that’s great, but if it doesn’t that’s ok too because I get to have interesting conversations with great people.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos (http://sysomos.com)

    • Thanks for sharing Sheldon.
      I will definitely check out #smmeasure chat. I am amazed at how many are available to everyone. I love exploring new chats and communities.

      • We’d be more than happy to have you join us. We do the chat every Thursday at noon(EST).
        Stop in whenever you can.

        Sent from Sheldon’s iPhone
        (Please be kind and ignore any spelling & grammar mistakes)

  • Thanks Angela for including us #Speakchat. You also have been a great participant-always paying attention to topic and engaging with relevant questions & conversation.

    Love that you have created a post helping people with being aware before they participate. As much as we want to be helpful as host/moderators catching late comers up when they ask “What are we talking about?” is as simple as taking a minute scrolling down and reading tweets.

    • My pleasure Michele. I have learned and grown so much from participating in powerful and organized chats such as yours. You run a great conversation on Monday nights; it is a must attend for anyone who is or is wanting to be a speaker.

      Please let me know if there is anything I am missing in the post. There is so much to share, but I did not want to overwhelm by putting it all in one post.

  • Twitter make the things viral in a minutes and definitely it will be the one of the best social media strategy

    • The power of the network indeed! What are your best chat tips?