For many businesses, utilizing Twitter can feel like stepping into a black hole. The most common piece of advice, “talk with others,” is simple in meaning, but can feel much more difficult when it comes to execution. That’s where Twitter chats can help.
The Anatomy of a Twitter Chat
In their most basic form, Twitter chats are discussions organized for a specific date and time. They relate to a common theme (business, social media, travel, etc.), have an associated hashtag, and a specific topic. They usually, although not always, occur on a regular basis — for example, every Tuesday at noon, or every first Thursday of the month.
Where to Find Twitter Chats and Understanding Their Format
A search for “Twitter Chats” on the internet will bring up lists with chats broken down primarily by theme. It’s important to check the time of the chat in relation to your time zone, and also that the chat still exists. Understanding the format is equally important. During the chat, the host will ask one question every few minutes. The exact time between questions differs from chat to chat, but tends to be about every seven to ten minutes. The question will be preceded by the letter “Q” and a number, to represent the question number. The chat hashtag will also be added.
Q2: What is the best advice you have been given for participating in a Twitter chat? #Twitter101
Participants then answer each question during the allocated time, starting with the letter “A” (or Q, as seen below) and the number of the question. They also add the chat hashtag to their answer.
A2: Don’t forget the chat hashtag in your responses. #Twitter101
Making the Most of Twitter Chats
The best way to make the most of Twitter chats is to participate in one. However, it is equally useful to start by observing one in action first. Consider these additional tips, and you’ll be well on your way to boosting your followers.
- Prepare in advance. Know the topic and what content you can share about it (including relevant photos).
- Retweet answers and questions, especially when you don’t have an answer for a specific question.
- Be a regular. The more often you show up, the more you’ll become part of the group.
- Don’t promote too much. A mention here and there is okay; anything more looks needy.
- Answer replies. Respond to users who took time to engage with you.
- Finally, find participants whose answers have not been retweeted or responded to and engage with those individuals. They’ll enjoy the interaction and you might gain a follower.
Who is Doing it Well
Sprout Social host a weekly #Sproutchat that pulls in everyone from Social Media Managers to small business owners who come to discuss everything and anything social. A great tactic to get more people involved and in touch with your brand is to invite noteworthy guests to co-host and promote your chat to their network.
Have you found Twitter chats to be a valuable source of engagement? Share your experience below!