Twitter chats are an excellent way to catch up with your audience. You can show expertise, as well as develop and expand your community. There’s no pressure to participate. You can sit back and read the chats in real time, and join in when you are ready.
The best Twitter chats are done at a pre-determined time and scheduled on a regular basis. However, companies, brands, organizations, and individuals will sometimes hold one-off Twitter chats for special occasions. There are chats for business, health care, education, you name it! Where else are you going to find a captive audience discussing your topic or industry?
“Twitter chats are a great way to have an organized conversation between a business and consumers on Twitter,” says Erika Warren, Engineer at Your Electronic Specialist (Y.E.S.) “They can be a great way to engage with customers and ask about their needs and wants and to announce a new product or service your company maybe offering.”
Twitter Chat Etiquette
In order to get the most out of Twitter chats, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Follow the Rules. For example, some chats do not allow sharing links or self-promoting until the last 5 minutes. Others ask that you retweet questions,” explains Brittany Berger, Content Coordinator at eZanga.com. “Don’t just answer questions, respond to other people’s answers, ask them questions, etc. Remember, you’re supposed to be chatting!”
2. Stay on Topic. “Add value and insight to the conversation,” says Christopher Sardone, Marketing Analyst, TeliApp Corporation. “One should limit a tweet to an individual idea. Tweets should be concise and use correct spelling. Always be polite and never attack or insult anyone.”
3. Mention Your Sources. “If you are sharing someone else’s content, cite the author,” Sardone continues. “The same is true for retweeting; it is a crucial element of Twitter chat etiquette to identify the original source and to never steal someone else’s intellectual property.”
4. Follow the Flow of the Chat. “If you arrive 20 or 30 minutes late, don’t start answering [the first question],” suggests LaKesha Womack, Business Development and Marketing Consultant, Womack Consulting Group. “Jump into the conversation. … Not doing so is the equivalent of going to a cocktail party, walking up to a group of people, and beginning your conversation with something they were talking about at the beginning of the hour.”
Womak adds, “If you want to have a side conversation with someone in the chat, remove the hashtag.”
5. Be a Good Guest. “It’s great to acknowledge when someone has made an interesting or relevant observation,” says J. Lansing Sylvia, Director of Communications, EHL Consulting Group. “And if another user starts following your account because of your involvement in the chat, always follow back!”
Finding Twitter Chats
To find Twitter Chats, you can do an Internet search with your topic and “Twitter Chat.” You can also check out this Google Spreadsheet Twitter Chat Schedule or Tweet Chat Wiki, or search “chat” in this Hashtag Directory.