"This chat moves SO fast."
I hear this from participants joining my Twitter chat, #createlounge, just about every week. I know that my chat can move fairly quickly and I understand the struggle because it's not just my chat.
Some of my other favorite chats move at lightning speed too so how can we as a participants not get lost in the shuffle and make meaningful conversations?
It's all about participating with intention.
You're dedicating a full hour to a chat so let's stretch the value of that time investment with a few tips to help you make a high volume chat more personal (and doable!)
Go beyond your circle of blog besties
Of course it's great to catch up with your BBFFs every week in a Twitter chat, but it's also a great time to get to know new people. Send a quick hello to your besties, then break out of your comfort zone and "make the first move" by starting a conversation with someone new. Maybe they'll become a new BBFF! You never know.
Pick a few key people to consistently engage with
On the topic of connecting with new people, there's bound to be dozens of new people in the chat. Rather than trying to spread yourself too thin by trying to greet every single person (which the host should be doing already!), focus your energy on connecting with 4-7 people.
Maybe you see a thought leader in your field you've been wanting to introduce yourself to. A Twitter chat is the perfect time to do so because you can make a real-time connection while gathered in the same place. Maybe you're a coach who sees another coach in the chat. You'll want to keep an eye out for their answers so you can start a conversation that allows you both to share your expertise. Making friends in your niche is a very good idea.
Pay attention to your notifications feed
Of course it's important to tune into the the live hashtag feed of the chat you're joining, but your notifications will show the people who have replied to you or tagged you in a tweet. Invest heavily in the people who extend the olive branch first. Your notifications will also help you keep up with side conversations you're having.
Don't forget to connect with the host
Chances are if you're participating in a Twitter chat, you are interested in starting (or strengthening) your relationship with the host. Even though the host's attention will be focused on greeting guests and answering specific questions, it's always nice to interact with them throughout the chat and send a thank you tweet toward the end for bringing the community together. Take it from a Twitter chat host, we definitely notice!
One of the best ways to make more intimate connections during Twitter chats is by extending the conversation beyond the hour. It's all about the follow up! Here are a few ways to get started on making a lasting impression.
Start a Twitter list of the connections you've made
Lists have totally revolutionized my follow up process on Twitter. If you connect with someone during a Twitter chat that you want to continue connecting with, add them to a list. That way you can keep an eye on their updates without having to search through your news feed.
How do you decide whether to make your list private or public? If you want the person to be notified that they were added to your list, it makes sense to keep it public. I personally keep most of my lists private because they are for my internal use, but it depends on your preference.
Send a follow up email to say hello
If you want to connect more regularly with the person, go one step further and send a personalized email.
Not sure what to write? Start with:
- What you admire about their brand
- Any specific "quotable" advice they shared during the chat that you really connected with
- How you'd like to continue the conversation
You can usually find the person's email on their Contact page but if not, just send a simple tweet asking for their email address. Most people are happy to share it with you.
Invite a new connection to a video or phone call
After you've connected over email, ask the person if they'd like to jump on a phone or video call. There's no better way to learn about a person's story than to hear it from them. Video calls are even better since it allows you to get to know the face behind the brand.
Send a thoughtful handwritten note
Did someone really making a lasting impression after your phone or video call? Casually ask for their mailing address and offer to send them a handwritten note. This is an especially good idea if you hope to work or collaborate with the person in the future. For a few tips on how to get started with writing an online connection a personalized note, see our #createlounge recap.
These tips aren't exclusive to just Twitter either.
Facebook groups, Slack communities, Periscope broadcasts, they can all be high volume. No matter the size, there's always a way to make intimate, long-term connections. Learn more about how to make the most of your community building efforts in my community building audio series, The Power of We.
How do you ensure you're making strong, personalized connections in Twitter chats and beyond? I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below.