You share on Twitter everyday, tweet to other people, sometimes direct message them. But do you know you can have a real-time conversation on Twitter with dozens if not hundreds of people at the same time? Meet the Twitter chats. If you are looking to engage with other Twitter peeps on topics that matter to you, it is time to join one of the many conversations that happen online everyday.
How does it work?
Every Twitter chat has its dedicated hashtag. This is how you will be able to follow the feed of tweets, as everyone posting during the chat will use the specific hashtag in all their tweets. There will be one Twitter acount (sometimes 2 or 3) leading the discussion by welcoming the participants and launching and moderating the debate.
Twitter chats usually happen on a wekly or monthly basis, and last about an hour.
Follow the etiquette
1. Follow the rules of the chat. They will usually be explained in a link tweeted by the main leading account. It sometimes requires you to RSVP before, and also gives you the topic.
2. Before the chat begins, it is useful to warn your followers about an upcoming unusual number of tweets, so they are not surprised and don't unfollow you.
3. Be polite and respectful, especially if/when disagreeing.
4. When you answer a question (Q1), tweet with the appropriate number (A1) so people know to what you are answering.
5. Don't go off topic. If you want to start a different discussion with a member of the chat, do so separately.
6. If you answer to a specific tweet, tag the original author.
7. Don't hesitate to favorite and/or retweet posts that you find interesting, smart and useful.
8. And of course, always use the hashtag!
Don't stop there!
Twitter chats are a great way to share your thoughts and insights about a specific topic with the community and other professionals from your industry. They are also a place to make new connections and gain followers. Follow the leader of the chat so you are aware of the next ones coming. During the chat or afterwards, direct tweet to people you found engaging and with who you wish to continue interacting. Thank for retweets.
I personnally gained several valuable followers since I have been participating in Twitter chats. I learn from their tweets every day and keep virtually meeting new people every time who either share or challenge my own views. My favorite Twitter chats about social media are #smxchat, #smchat, #adweekchat, #Luv4social and #cmgrchat. I also follow #filmcurious directed towards filmmakers and film industry professionals. Join me there!