Chats on Twitter can be an effective way to grow your brand
I was Tweeting out a series of tips on how to get more out of participating in a chat on Twitter during #MackCollier’s #BlogChat 9-10 pm ET, Sunday night. As I started to send out #ChatTip #4, I thought – this needs to be a blog post. Right Then @ConnieReece sent a tweet/message asking if I’d done a blog post – as she’d like to tweet out a link. So here it is. I also solicited Chat Tips from other friends who participate in chats on Twitter, so I may be adding more to the post, and I’m sure others will add their tips to the Comments too.
Twitter Chat Background:
If you are familiar with Twitter chats – skip this paragraph. Twitter Chats are mostly informal gatherings on Twitter at a preselected day & time, often weekly, when individuals who want to talk together about a topic all use the same #hahstag (a word or phrase with no spaces, preceded by a # symbol) to talk about that topic for a hour or more. For a list of more than 120 chats (and counting) check out this online chart of Chats and info: Http://bit.ly/ChatSched. Some folks just use Twitter search and type in a Hhashtag, I use @Tweetgrid, others use @tweetchat (some use @Tweetdeck) to read the tweets and participate in the chat (these last three append the chat #hashtag onto your tweets for you. I have participated in numerous chats on Twitter and am the co-host of @SmallBizLady’s weekly #SmallBizChat Wednesday’s 8-9 pm (the chat started it’s second year in April 2010 – update I was co-host through Nov. 2010).
Now for my top Twitter Chat Tips:
- Chat Tip: Star or mark as favorites, tweets from people who you want to connect with later so you don’t forget. 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’e interacted with or to a list by the main topic they tweet about. @markalves had another similar idea: #ChatTip: Create a Twitter list named after the chat to keep track of new people you decide to follow. For more info on how to use Twitter lists – click here or or here to read a couple of interviews of me talking about some ways you can use Twitter lists.
- Chat Tip: Before you participate in your next chat – find out the topic and a link to the chat info in advance – and share it with or invite someone who needs to learn about the chat’s topic that week. If they’ve never participate in a chat – show them how it works. Often times other experts or knowledgeable people join in the chat; but you can learn a lot by listening in and/or asking questions about the topic.
- Chat Tip: If you DO attend a chat to learn (but don’t want to ask a question, or if the chat is just moving to fast) please pipe up and say hi; chat hosts love it. Its hard to gauge the audience if they are silent during the chat, then follow the account afterward, but never introduce themselves. Just don’t make that 1st tweet too promotional – some chats leave that until the end. But a quick “Hi all, I’m listening in and learning today” or if you retweet the chat topic, either lets them know you are listening in.
- Chat Tip: Some chats have hosts and/or co-hosts, some bring in guests to answer questions. Some chats have registered a Twitter account in the name of their chat to help promote weekly topics or guests. Be sure to follow that @accountchat if a chat promotes it – so you can get the weekly details and the transcripts of the chat that some hosts tweet out after a chat. For example #journchat, run by @PRSarahEvans (One of the first popular chats) also has the @JournChat account. Sarah even tweets from that account during the event on Monday nights.
- Chat Tip: I often hear folks say – darn I missed #XYZ chat again. Try and set up recurring calendar reminders for your favorite chats. Gmail and Google Apps both allow you to create a calendar item and send an email, pop-up or even send a SMS/text message to your cell phone whenever you set it.
- Chat Tip: Why Twitter Chats? These Chats provide a time and a place for people to share & learn in hour-long “meals” made up of 140 character “bites” (the maximum length of a tweet). You can grow your following by participating with useful tips, ideas and questions, or you can simply listen and learn, or do a bit of both.
- From @KseniaCoffman Chat Tip: www.TweetChat.com or @TweetChat allows you to block people, in case they are spamming the hashtag (tweeting things not related to the chat, but using the #tag); click on ‘person icon.’ My addition: both that program and www.tweetgrid.com allow you to retweet, reply and mark a tweet as a favorite.
- @DanRMorris’s Chat Tip: “Thanks for the RT. There’s a tip right there, Retweet and you’ll surely have the compliment returned.” My addition: Retweeting and replying are part of how chats work. Be selective, but retweet some useful tweets from others that your followers can learn from. This exposes your followers to the chat topic info, and those you RT might @reply or retweet something of yours – which allows their followers to see who you are and what you bring to the party. You also might want to warn you followers that you are participating in a chat, an that you may be tweeting a lot.
Enjoy your next Twitter Chat – I hope these Twitter Chat Tips were helpful.By the way – If you are curious about various Chat’s on Twitter – here is a link to a site where many chats are listed with dates, times, and who runs them: http://bit.ly/chatlist
If you have a #ChatTip of your own, please leave it in the comments. Also, I encourage interaction and community on my blog, so please feel free to include your Twitter @Username (with the @ sign) in your comment. I use a plugin that turns your Twitter @username into a hyperlink to your Twitter profile.