The Massive Guide on How To Get Involved In & Host Twitter Chats
Everybody hears about them but nobody knows how to actually get involved in them. I've read a lot of scattered articles that refer to one aspect or another of Twitter Chats, but never really how to actually get involved!
Before I explain all about Twitter Chats, let me first explain what a Twitter Chat is. Twitter Chats came about a little over a year ago, I believe in early 2011/late 2010.
Twitter Chats didn't exactly take off right away, as nobody but the "experts" knew how to really use them.
However, as more people realized that getting involved in a Twitter Chat simply meant using the hashtag associated with the Twitter Chat, it became the next best thing!
How does a Twitter Chat work?
A specific hashtag is assigned to the chat. Say, for instance, I wanted to start a Twitter Chat for Sociable Boost. I'd use the hashtag: #BoostSocial to make it easy and recognizable. It doesn't have to be the name of your company, it can be anything.
A Twitter Chat is usually set between a specific time period (some can go on all day as people use the hashtag at random times or to communicate with other members, but rarely is as active as it is during the designated times). The host will get it started by using the hashtag and encouraging others to get involved.
Then once it's time, the host will either ask certain questions for the participants to answer or it'll be a general training session or discussion sessions based on certain topics. It's up to the host to decide.
From there, participants get involved by using the hashtag in reference to anything pertaining to the Twitter Chat. Whenever they answer a question, whenever they want to reply to a fellow member, etc., they always use the designated hashtag.
And that's it!
Why would you want to get involved in Twitter Chats?
1. The more you show up to a Twitter Chat and the more you get involved, the more exposure you'll receive to people you may never have known outside of a Twitter Chat.
2. The more you talk in Twitter Chats and the more you RT what other people say, you're more than likely going to gain several new followers. This means you're relationship building. You guys have something in common (the chat) and will talk about it and see each other often.
3. Again, the more you answer questions, the more you'll be branded as an expert. Soon you'll be asked to be guests of Twitter Chats to give advice to others; you just need to be consistent.
4. The Twitter Chat is not exclusive. Everyone outside of the Twitter Chat can see your tweets, because you're only using a hashtag to communicate with a lot of people. So if you leave a really awesome tip within the chat and your followers like it, more than likely, they'll RT it. Which brings even more exposure to you and the chat.
Ok! I'm ready! How do I get involved?
Step 1: Locate the Twitter Chats in your niche. Click here to be presented with a massive Google Doc that has every single Twitter Chat known to mankind.
Step 2: Schedule the Twitter chats in your Google calendar so you don't forget. You don't have to use Google calendar, but since Google calendar is synced to my phone, it makes it easy for me to keep track of the chats that I want to get involved with. There are so many chats and I need a reminder so that I don't miss it.
Step 3: Find the right tool to keep track of the chat. In order to really get involved in a Twitter Chat, you'll want to stay focused and be able to see everyone's replies, so you'll need a client or desktop application to do that. These two are the most common: ChatTagged, TweetChat, but there are other Twitter Chat clients out there. You can also do a search of the hashtag in Seesmic or TweetDeck and it'll open up a new column, allowing you to see the whole chat.
Step 4: Use the hashtag. If you plan to talk in the chat, make sure that every single time you say anything, ALWAYS put the hashtag at the end, beginning, middle, wherever. Just as long as it's somewhere within the tweet.
Step 5: Get involved! Don't be shy! Get involved and answer questions! Be friendly and introduce yourself! People are so very nice in Twitter Chats so the more you're involved, the more fun it'll be.
Once you've joined a few Twitter Chats, you may be interested in hosting your own Twitter Chat. It's not hard to host one, you'll just want to follow the steps below so that people actually show up:
1. Figure out the time, topic & hashtag. You'll want a consistent time & day so that people can know exactly when it is and expect it. So make it a convenient time for you. And make sure that you have a solid topic, one that can be talked about on a consistent basis. Also make sure that you have an easy to remember hashtag.
2. Add it to the Google Doc. A lot of people access that Google Doc so make sure you're on it!
3. Announce it on your blog, on your Facebook, on your Twitter, etc. And make sure you highlight the hashtag so that everyone knows how to get involved.
4. Make a video about it. Create a quick video about your Twitter Chat, talk about the things you'll discuss, talk about the time & day it's held and most importantly, the topic.
5. Blog about the highlights. After each Twitter Chat, tweet/Facebook/blog/etc about the highlights of the chat. Talk about any awesome ideas and highlight the people who got involved.
Do you have any other questions?
If you do start up your own Twitter Chat, let me know!
Have you ever participated in a Twitter Chat?