Get your fingers stretched because you’re really going to need them. For those unfamiliar, a Twitter Chat is a moderated discussion on a specific topic. It’s the social media equivalent of a short conference. They are an amazing place to keep up with new trends, get useful tips, and meet new and interesting people. Some examples and popular chats include:
#SBizHour – My favorite chat focused on all those Social Business and Social Selling – Mondays 4-5pm ET
#cmgrhangout – Talking about things community managers deal with – Fridays 2-3pm ET
#NostalgiaChat– All things great about blasts from the past – Sundays 10-11pm ET
How to Find a Twitter Chat to Join:
As with all things, be where your customers are. Check what chats your prospects or colleagues are engaging in and join those. For an overall list of Twitter Chats in the social space, I would recommend checking this website run by @. If you’re a bit sneakier, find your competitive counterparts and join the chats they’re in as well. If you’re still not sure if a chat is right for you, check the hashtag and view the previous discussions.
Twitter Chat Basics:
Chats are usually done using a Q&A format with moderators posting questions by starting with Q1 (example) respondents then post using the Twitter Chat’s unique hashtag and by starting with A1 (example) to indicate they are answering the first question. The community goes back and forth for a set time, usually 1 hour. Keeping track of the questions can be a bit difficult and this is where a tool like Hootsuite can help.
Filtering Down Twitter Chats:
I highly recommend using a Social Media Management tool, to keep track and filter down everything that happens in a chat. There are 6 streams that I always keep open when I’m in a Twitter chat and they are below. The first 3 are search streams. Customize #HASHTAG to be the one for your twitter chat and fill in “your company” name.
- #HASHTAG AND (Q1 OR Q2 OR Q3 OR Q4 OR Q5 OR Q6 OR Q7 OR Q8 OR Q9 OR Q10 OR Q11 OR Q12 OR Q13 OR Q14 OR Q15) -RT
- #HASHTAG -RT
- #HASHTAG AND “your company” -RT
- My Mentions
- My Tweets Retweeted
- My Sent Tweets
Booking a Meeting from a Twitter Chat:
You made a great connection in a chat and found someone you really want to speak with….now what? Your first step should be to follow the person. Maybe give their comments some love. RT what they are saying or reply adding on to what they said. After the chat ends (you don’t want it to get buried) send them a DM, if they follow you back saying something like, “Great connecting today at #Hashtag. I’d love to chat more about your social selling work at apple. Have a few minutes?”
If they haven’t followed you back (wait 24 hours) you have a few options: 1) Send them a tweet asking the same thing as above. 2) Send them an e-mail 3) Engage again in the next chat and see if they follow you then.
Important things to Consider:
- Make sure you provide useful information and add value to the discussion. People join Twitter Chats to keep up-to-date with best practices, not to be sold to.
- Book a solid hour in your calendar and find a quiet place. Twitter Chats can get very fast and hard to keep up with, even for me!
- You don’t always need to Answer a question, instead you can reply or RT what other are saying. A simple “Well said Amy!” goes a long way.
- Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Start with 1 or 2 chats and add more if you have bandwidth from there.
- Shop around. Not all chats are created equal. Find the ones that are most relevant to you and your network and stick with them.
- It might not always be appropriate to reach out right away and request a meeting. Use your judgement and remember you are building a relationship.
- Thank the chat moderators and speakers for their time. I’m a fan of being polite and think it’s always important to thank those that help you achieve success.