How and Why to Join a Twitter Chat
It’s no secret that Twitter chats are my jam.
I’ve been participating in them for almost three years. Heck, I even host one, but earlier this week it occurred to me that there are still bloggers and entrepreneurs who haven’t been introduced to the wonderful world of Twitter chats.
I’m a little embarrassed it took me a year of hosting #createlounge before I wrote a post on the basics of how and why to join a Twitter chat, but no time like the present, eh?
Let’s start from the very beginning.
What is a Twitter chat and how do I join one?
Essentially, it’s a group of like-minded people who gather on Twitter on a consistent day and time to discuss specific themes. To join, you simply search for the chat’s dedicated hashtag on Twitter or a third-party platform (I recommend TweetDeck) and voila! You’re ready to start chatting.
When you’re participating in a chat, remember to:
- first say hello and introduce yourself (we’ll touch on this later in the post)
- state that it’s your first time at the chat so the host can welcome you
- use the hashtag in ALL of your tweets so everyone can see your tweets/replies
- have a different tab open for your notifications and the live hashtag feed so you can switch between the two tabs for efficient browsing and interacting
Why join a Twitter chat?
You can connect with like-minded creatives
Instead of having to spend hours scrolling through your news feed and hunting for cool people to follow, you can simply join a Twitter chat and quickly meet those people all in one place.
It’s arguably the best way to build a community on Twitter
Regularly posting and interacting on Twitter is great, but people pop in and out of the platform so much that it can be hard to have an actual conversation. Twitter chats allow you other incredible creatives who are all dedicating the same hour of their day to the same gathering. It’s real-time engagement gold.
You can listen to your audience and discover what they really want
When I first started participating in Twitter chats, I naturally used them as a way to connect with new friends, but chats became a total game changer when I treated them as a research platform.
Just think about it, you’re able to regularly get an inside look into what your people need because they share it through their answers and interactions. This can especially help new bloggers and entrepreneurs who don’t feel they have a big enough audience to survey quite yet.
Twitter chats are for talking, yes, but when you listen for these cues, magic happens.
Which Twitter chats are worth participating in?
There are hundreds of Twitter chats that have been developed from a wide array of interests, but don’t let that overwhelm you. I’ve already done some of the heavy lifting for you by putting together a list of great Twitter chats for creativepreneurs, but there may be others you want to participate in.
You’ll want to participate in chats that:
- have participants that fit your ideal reader profile (aka your target audience)
- feature topics you can show your expertise in
- work with your schedule (darn international time zones)
- are consistent, whether that means weekly, biweekly, or monthly
- are hosted by someone you want to connect more with
What can I prepare before a Twitter chat?
This is one of the most important elements to have nailed down before participating in chats. People want to know (1) who you are, (2) what you do, and (3) who you help.
Yes, there is a way to package all of that up in an 140 character friendly way. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few thought starters to help you craft your intro.
- “I help [target audience] with [what you do] by [how you help them]”
- “I’m a [your title] who helps [target audience] do [what you do]”
- “I believe in helping [target audience] to [what you do] through [core values]”
If you’re not sure what fits, try various intros in different chats. See which intro people reply to the most and say they want to learn more about what you do. You’ll also find what feels right to you.
Some chats (like mine!) allow you to preview the chat questions before the chat starts. You can use this opportunity to prep your answers so you can use more time engaging during the chat rather than staring at your blinking cursor trying to come up with something to say on the spot. We’ve all been there.
A full hour of your time AND attention
In order to get the most of Twitter chats, it’s important to dedicate your full attention to the conversation. If you’re trying to write a blog post and schedule social media posts at the same time as participating in a Twitter chat, it will not yield the best results.
Instead, leave your phone on silent, shut off app notifications for the hour, and just immerse yourself in the Twitter chat community. Use your time to craft epic answers and, more importantly, have conversations with people you really connect with.
Ready to participate in a Twitter chat?
See you around Twitter!
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any additional questions as I’m happy to answer them.
Additional reading on Twitter chats:
- How to Make a High Volume Twitter Chat Feel More Intimate. Click here to read.
- Best Twitter Chats for Creativepreneurs. Click here to read.
- Twitter Bios: Describing What You Do in 140 Characters. Click here to read.
- Twitter Chats: To Host or Not To Host? Click here to read.
- One Year of #createlounge: The Stats and The Stories. Click here to read.
Level up your Twitter Chat skills
When you enter The Lounge, you'll get instant access to a 10 episode audio series called The Power of We with two interviews focused on Twitter Chat community building. Pretty good trade for your email address, right?