Twitter chats are an engaging way of talking to people with the same interests as you or talking to people who live local to you. They are an excellent way of promoting your business or interests. You may not be aware of them or what Twitter chats are so let’s look into the what and how in more detail.
What are Twitter chats?
These are live events that happen at a set time and they usually have a set date. The date could be once a day, once a week or once a month. These events have a moderator and they can also have guest speakers and hosts.
These are ‘typing’ events and not actually voice chats. You type your chat through Twitter.
If you have a local business selling locally then these chats are a great way to let other people in your area know that you’re out there.
How do I find them?
UK – Digitia have compiled a fantastic list of UK based twitter chats.
Global – Tweetreports.com have a huge list of global twitter chats.
You can also look through other hashtags in your field or locality. As an example if you search the hashtag #SocialMedia you may find a tweet promoting a live chat for people in that field.
The ones I’m most often on are #TorbayHour (every Monday at 8pm), #DevonHour (every Wednesday at 8pm) and sometimes #BoostTorbay (Every Friday at 7pm)
What are they like?
Some can be quiet with a few minutes passing between each tweet, others, like #DevonHour, can have one or two tweets a second.
You can get a lot of new followers through the busier events. If you mention you’re new the host of the chat, they may even promote you to others during the event and ask them to follow you.
This is the important part; those that do follow you are real people with real interests which is great for your business.
What do I do once I’ve found one?
This is really simple. You just use the hashtag for the chat in your tweet. Here’s an example:
Let’s say I want to get involved with Devon Hour. This is on every Wednesday at 8pm (GMT/BST) and I know the hashtag for it is #DevonHour. If I wanted to say hello at the start I would simply wait for 8 o’clock and tweet…
By using the #DevonHour hashtag everyone involved in the chat will see my message.
If you quote a tweet during the live chat and you want everyone to see it, simply include the hashtag, just like you would above. Here is an example of me being cheeky with someone on Devon hour…
As long as you use the chat hashtag everyone in the chat will see your messages.
Useful tips for Twitter chats
- Observe a couple before you start if you want to. Another option is to search for the hashtag and read through previous events so you know what to expect.
- Watch how others are using the chat.
- You do get more engagement with images, gifs and videos.
- Don’t forget the “Social” part of the Social Media.
- Don’t just spam links to your business.
- The more you engage with others, the more brand awareness you create.
Having software like TweetDeck can make it much easier as you can create a column for the chat. This will update in realtime and it will only display the tweets using the events hashtag.
I see quite a few people who stack up tweets for the chats and don’t even bother sitting there through it. I get a LOT more followers and more awareness of what I do because I ENGAGE with other people.
If you take pictures then local chats can be a really good way of getting a massive awareness. I’ve tweeted a photo of local scenery which was then retweeted dozens of times. The result was over 250,000 impressions… from a single tweet!
How do I start my own chat?
If you’ve been using them and you think you have an idea for a new one then there are a few things you need to consider:
- Make sure the hashtag you use is totally unique. You can search Twitter to make sure it is a new tag.
- Try to make it easy to remember and keep it short.
- Avoid hashtags with dashes, underscores and so on. #DevonHour is much easier to type quickly compared to #This_is_Devon-Hour
- Try to avoid having your chat when other, possibly conflicting (and busier) chats, are going on. Both #SouthHamsHour and #NewtonAbbotHour start half way through #DevonHour which is a pretty bad idea in my humble opinion.
- Get help – if your chat takes off quickly you’ll need help managing the chat. It is easier if you have someone helping you welcome new folks, retweets good posts and so on.
- Add your event on websites with lists of Twitter Chats
- Promote the event on Twitter.
Creating a twitter account for the chat is also a good idea. As an example #TorbayHour has a @Torbay_Hour twitter account. In their profile they list all the relevant information…
This helps promote the chat and you can also clearly see when the chat moderator is talking and tweeting during the event.
I hope you will give it a try and see for yourself how powerful a twitter chat can be for you and your business. I may even see you on the chats I engage in 🙂