Twitter Chats: Online Networking

By November 21, 2016 No Comments

Do you hate networking? Wish there was a way for you to meet potential contacts without leaving your house? Twitter chats could be the answer you’re looking for.

What is a Twitter Chat?

If you’ve never heard of this before, the title is obvious, but you’re probably wondering what it really means. A Twitter chat (or tweet chat) is a way for a group of people to meet on Twitter at a pre-determined time to talk about a certain topic. Twitter chats typically happen the same day/time each week. Twitter chats can be run by anyone, but you should join one before deciding to start your own. The host or moderator of a Twitter chat will use a designated hashtag (#) for the entire chat, and each tweet that is part of the conversation (from the host/moderator and participants) must use the hashtag in order to keep the chat consistent and easy to follow. The host or moderator will pose questions about the topic using the format “Q1. Question,” “Q2. Question,” etc. to start and direct the conversation. Participants are encouraged by the host or moderator to respond and interact with each other. Participants will respond with “A1. Answer,” “A2. Answer,” etc. No matter the topic of the Twitter chat, they typically last for one hour and then they are wrapped up by the host or moderator. You may decide to continue chatting with some of the participants, or follow other participants on Twitter to continue talking another time.

An example of a Twitter chat is: #BufferChat hosted by Buffer and moderated by representatives or guest speakers.

Buffer uses branded graphics for their chats to make it easy to follow along and recognize questions from the host vs participants.

The question format using an image could look something like this:

Why Participate in a Twitter Chat?

Twitter chats offer a unique opportunity to network with others in your industry or areas of interest despite geographical distance. They can be used to grow your network with relevant connections, share knowledge about certain topics, brainstorm ideas, discuss interests, etc.

Tips for Participating:

Since Twitter chats happen online, you could be in your pajamas if you want.

Even if you choose to dress relaxed, remember to stay professional with your responses and provide value. You should also be polite and treat a Twitter chat similar to a real meeting; introduce yourself when you arrive at your computer ready to chat, and say goodbye when you leave (even if you have to leave before the chat is over).

Open multiple tabs for Twitter. Use one tab to search the Twitter chat hashtag (and look at the most recent tweets), use another tab to open your notifications (so you can easily respond to direct tweets), and use another tab to view the Twitter Chat host’s profile (where they will be posting each question). If you have a second monitor, that will make the whole Twitter chat experience a lot easier.

If you’d like, you can use TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or TweetChat as platforms to enhance your Twitter Chat experience. If you don’t have a second monitor, or you want a cleaner experience, these platforms will help you by splitting tabs into sections that you can view easily on one screen.

The biggest tip is to actually participate! Introduce yourself, answer questions, ask other relevant questions, add insight, and reply to tweets directed at you. You may also choose to retweet the Twitter chat information for others to join, and/or certain tweets you want your network to see.

Before attending your first Twitter chat, just be warned that they can happen fast. If there are a lot of participants you may miss out on seeing all of the conversations. Take a breath and focus on learning from your first few Twitter chats. Once you get the hang of it, it will be easier to keep up with conversations and contribute your own answers.

How to Find a Twitter Chat

Look for an influencer in your industry on Twitter to see if they participate in or run a Twitter chat. Typically, hosts or moderators of Twitter chats will have the information in their bio or pinned to their profile. If you find an influencer and they participate in or run a Twitter chat, participate in that chat as much as possible. There will most likely be other top influencers and people you have things in common with who participate in the chat, which gives you a great opportunity to stand out and start making connections.

Twubs is a website with a list of Twitter Chats sorted by date; there are a lot on this list so it may take some time to find relevant chats. You can also search by hashtag.

Tweet Reports is another website with a list of Twitter Chats sorted by hashtag, topic, description, moderator(s), day, time, and website. You can also click on a day to sort “Chats by day of week,” but you cannot search for specific hashtags.

You can also search Google for a Twitter chat in your industry or area of interest.

How to Grow a Twitter Relationship

So you participated in a Twitter chat and have new followers. Ideally you would have tweeted directly to these people throughout the chat, and that is why they followed you, but if not you should look at their responses to the Twitter Chat questions. If you think one of their answers was interesting, or want to learn more, tweet at them to discuss.

Later in the week, you could tweet your new followers from the Twitter chat to learn more about them. Remind them that they met you during a specific Twitter chat and see where the conversation takes you. Creating connections online via Twitter chat isn’t hard, but turning that connection into a contact will take some time. If there are people you really want to connect with, make the time to get to know them, and provide value to them.

Overall, Twitter chats provide a fun and easy networking opportunity that you can participate in from home! Perfect for introverts and extroverts alike.

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