Since i started participating in tweet chats a few years ago, I’ve become a bit addicted. Depending on my schedule, and the topics, I might jump into three or four a week. Some of them at the same time!
But I digress. Let’s back up for a moment. What is a tweet chat? A tweet chat is a group of people who come together on twitter to talk about a specific topic. A hashtag is used to identify those in the chat and allow you to connect with those in the conversation and drowns out the rest of the twittersphere so that you can focus on just that conversation during the 30-60 minutes of the chat.
Why would I want to participate in a tweet chat? There are several reasons people get involved. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to others in your industry. It can help you increase your follower base. It can provide relevant information about a topic of interest. And, it increases your engagement levels on Twitter.
How do I find these tweet chats? TweetReports published a nice list of resources here. Hashtags that include the word “chat” are also a dead giveaway, and you can click on the hashtag itself to get to the chat.
Now that you know what Tweet Chat’s are, why you might want to check them out, and how to find one right for you, a few rules of thumb to go by:
#1 is this: Treat every tweet chat like a work meeting. Think of joining like walking into the conference room.
Why? Read on…
#2 If you join late, feel free to say a quick hello, but please don’t ask “What questions have been asked?” or “What are we talking about tonight?” And don’t tweet this: “Someone get me up to speed.” Just… Don’t. Would you walk into a meeting 20 minutes late and then ask the room at large to please stop and catch you up to speed?
#3 Stick to the topic at hand. Answer the questions and try not to veer too far off course.
#4 Don’t be so concerned with answering the questions that you forget to listen. It’s a lost art! But if you stop and listen to what others are saying, you just might learn something useful.
#5 Don’t use the tweet chat space to sell your product or service. I see a lot of links being thrown out, “deals” and “offers” – it’s not the place. Stay connected, be real, be open, helpful and kind. This in turn will bring in new followers and connections, and then you can tout your wares to them directly. Later. Not now. Capisce?
#6 Don’t get discouraged if you participate in a Tweet Chat that is too difficult to keep up with. Some of them have very large attendance, which can make it hard to keep up. Apps like TweetChat can help in that they will auto add the hashtag of the chat for you. Personally, I find that they are slow to load and prefer to use the native Twitter app. Some people also find it very difficult to follow along using their smart phone and prefer a desktop. Try it a few different ways until you feel comfortable.
A side note: A good moderator is absolutely essential and can make all the difference! They are there to keep the conversation moving, to keep people on track, segue to new questions, etc. @SteveCassady and @LollyDaskal are two great ones!