Okay, so I may have fibbed a bit the last time I posted. I underestimated just how busy I would be with my recent move and didn’t quite make it to posting a Social Solutions post last week…sorry!
The good news is, my new apartment is finally in order, which means I can actually focus on writing! I promised a post on Twitter Chats, so here’s an FAQ:
First of all, what is a Twitter Chat?
Just as it sounds, a Twitter Chat is a live event on Twitter, usually hosted by one or two accounts. They’re typically scheduled at the same time every week and users can join the conversation by using the custom hashtag created for the chat. Most chats take a Q&A format, where the host(s) pose a question and their audience tweets their answers.
Also known as a Tweet Chat, it’s a great way to find users in your community and interact with them. This is because the conversations are moderated with a focus. For example, Everyday Health (@EverydayHealth) hosts the chat #HealthTalk (a broad topic) and sets a specific topic for users to discuss every week.
Where can I find a good Chat for my business?
Honestly, the simplest way is just to google “Twitter chat [insert business industry here]” or by noting if anyone in your industry is tweeting about a chat, but there are also legitimate resources you can use. Tweet Reports has a slew of chats archived that you can view by day and time, industry, hashtag, or moderator. ChatSalad is also a great source for chat lists. I’ve also found a few goodies by searching topics on the BufferApp blog.
How do I participate?
Simply stated, tweet using the chat’s hashtag during the appropriate time (note which time zone the chat is in). You can follow the conversation by searching the hashtag in the Twitter search bar.
If you actually want to dig your nails into it, I’d suggest starting by following the moderators to show your support, if you don’t already. Make sure your tweets add value to the conversation and don’t hesitate to retweet/favorite/respond to others throughout the chat, even if they’re not the host.
This seems like a lot of work.
The rate at which chats happen can be hard to keep up with at times, so I’ve definitely found myself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but in the best way. There are also some pretty cool tools out there that you can organize to help your focus during chats. Personally, TweetDeck is my favorite, but other scheduling tools like Hootsuite and BufferApp work as well.
Are there rules I should know about?
Technically, no. But like all corners of life and social media, there are practices that are considered to be faux pas on Twitter, like tweeting too many times within a short period of time. For this, many experts suggest tweeting a warning to your followers to let them know that you’re going to be posting a lot for the next hour or so. The BufferApp Blog has a great infographic with Twitter Chat tips, and frankly, I couldn’t say it better myself:
What if I want to create my own Twitter Chat?
This is a great practice for any business! Like I said, it’s a great time to interact with your existing followers as well as reach out to new ones. My first suggestion would be to start by participating in a few chats before going off on your own, meanwhile thinking about topics you’d like to focus on. You’ll also want to begin brainstorming a creative hashtag for your chat as well.
Coming Soon: Starting Your Own Twitter Chat