Your Guide for Small Business Twitter Chats

twitter chat hashtag sign

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Twitter chats are a great way to connect with other small business owners and learn from their experiences. This guide will help you make the most of them!

My Twitter Love Story

Since 2008. I’ve been a Twitter addict. I’ve run two successful Twitter chats so far and been hired to host and be a guest on many others.

There was just “something” about Twitter and Twitter chats that appealed to my shyness. I could be connected and chat whenever I wanted to, but I didn’t feel that pressure to network like in-person events or even LinkedIn.

When people ask me to describe Twitter, I say that it’s like a bar. You walk into a very loud confusing place. You find your people and you can chat with your small group. You can also listen in on other people (that’s participating in a a Twitter chat), you can host your own party or you can ignore everyone and just follow what’s on TV.

Overall, the reason I love Twitter so much is that you can curate your own conversation by searching for and following conversations based on hashtags. And that’s basically a Twitter Chat.

What are Twitter chats?

Twitter chats are a way to connect with other Twitter users who share your interests. They’re typically moderated by a host, and participants send tweets using a designated hashtag. This allows everyone in the chat to see each other’s messages and respond.

Are Twitter Chats Still a Thing?

Twitter chats are TOTALLY a think — yes! They’re a great way to connect with like-minded people and learn from their experiences.

How Twitter chats can benefit you and your business?

Can you see FREE advice?

Whenever someone asks my why I think Twitter Chats are so valuable, I tell them that it’s the best way to get FREE advice from people that you’d never be able to engage with face-to-face or you might have to pay them $10,000 a day.

Twitter chat hosts are often industry experts and influencers and, while they may NOT want to engage with you via email or phone call, a Twitter chat is a guaranteed way to get their attention and advice.

How do I find Twitter Chats?

Check out our list of the best small business Twitter Chats

It’s not as easy as you might think. While there are some Tweet Chat directories – there aren’t many and they aren’t kept updated.

The best way is to simply search google for Twitter Chat + your industry or topic.

Another great way to find chats that people love is to search Twitter for #TwitterChats

twitter chats

Another great way to find out about chats is to simply ask your friends and followers on Twitter to recommend them.

How can I participate in Twitter chats?

Once you find a list of Twitter chats that you’re interested in, your best bet is to simply show up. Here’s how.

At the appointed date and time, jump onto Twitter.com — or you can also you TweetDeck.com (that’s my favorite).

In the search bar on Twitter, type in the chat you’re interested in.

On TweetDeck, it’s even easier

Just login to TweetDeck with your Twitter account, search for the chat you’re looking for and TweetDeck will create a column of the latest Tweets so that you can easily Tweet and respond to the live conversation.

The next thing you want to do is make sure you follow everyone on the chat. Why? Because most Tweet Chat participants are chat addicts and they participate in lots of different chats during the week, so that’s a great way to learn about new chats that you might be interested in.

How do I host my own Twitter chat?

Hosting your own Twitter chat is a great way to build an engaged community! There are actually two types of Twitter chats you can host; a traditional Twitter chat and a Twitter Spaces chat.

In this article, I’m going to only talk about the traditional Twitter Chat — on Twitter.

Here are the basic steps in hosting a Twitter Chat.

Participate in plenty of chats first

I always tell people to do their research on a variety of Tweet chats before you host one.

Before I launched #BizapaloozaChat, I researched the top 50 chats I could find in my industry. Then I did some analysis (using Brand24) to see what type of engagement and reach they got.

I selected the top 10 chats for a month and attended each and every one for about 6 months. Just to see which ones I liked and why.

After the first few months, it was clear to me that I had some favorite chats that I didn’t want to miss. I liked the host, the chat was easy and fun to participate in and I learned a lot.

Then, based on what I learned I moved on to the rest of the steps

Choose a hashtag: Make it brief and clear

  1. My recommendation is to pick a hashtag that is as descriptive as you can make it about your topic.
  2. Make sure that your hashtag is UNIQUE and not used by any other brand or conversation. The best way to check your hashtag is to type it into Twitter and see what comes up. I also use Brand24 to check the popularity of any hashtag and to see what type of conversations are going on around that hashtag.

Create a brief description of who your chat is for and what it’s about

This is another important, but often forgotten element of a good chat. It doesn’t matter what your topic is about, as long as you’re clear about what type of audience you want to attract.

In fact, if you want your chat to be really popular, focus on the audience FIRST and then pick a topic that will get that audience talking.

Set a goal for your chat

Most chats aren’t money-makers. But they are great brand builders. Be very clear about what your goals are for the chat and why you’re willing to commit time to hosting your own chat.

Topics and questions: Plan in advance

Creating topics and questions is more of a skill and an art than a task. Remember that your chat is there to get the audience talking and having fun.

Your goal with topics and questions is to help your audience both share their expertise as well as learn from other audience members and get to know them well.

Another characteristic of great topics and question is to use the chat as a virtual focus group – Tweet chats are a great way to create back and forth conversation and learning for the community.

Consider special guests

You can have featured guests on your chat — like a talk show. Pick a topic and find an author, expert or community member who gets to share their expertise with the group.

We recently tried this with some “boring” topics and were blown away by how engaged the audience was. We learned that just because a topic isn’t sexy, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important.

Schedule your chat: Consider your audience, time zones and location

Next, you need to pick a date and time to run your chat.

My recommendation is that you run your chat WEEKLY! This is because anything other than a weekly chat is way too hard to follow.

Check out our list of the best small business Twitter Chats

Some days of the week are really busy, and others aren’t. You might have to try several days before you hit your groove.

Consider what audience you want to attend your chat – if they are across the world, you may need to consider a time that works for them.

Ultimately, the time has to work for YOU. Because I’ve learned that people are up at all hours of the day and night and are happy to jump into a Tweet Chat as a water-cooler break.

Engage

If you want to host a chat, you have to be a host. That means that you want to welcome everyone to the chat. Just like you would at a party, ask them about their day or week.

Lots of the best chats start with a fun icebreaker and often this starts off a side conversation – and those are always the best.

Commit for the long-haul

The most important thing in hosting your own Tweet chat is to be consistent and run it for the long-haul.

It can take more than a year for a chat to gain traction, so hosting your own chat is a BIG decision.

If you want your chat to run for years, you’ll need a team. So keep that in mind.

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