Twitter is growing quickly, and with over 300 million active users it can be difficult to find a community you can connect with on the social media platform. This is where Twitter Chat comes in, a tool that makes it easy to connect with like-minded individuals over an array of subjects ranging from technology to fashion.
Houston Social Media Breakfast invited three experts in the field of Twitter Chats to come speak about what they are, how to join one, and how to start one yourself.
— Liftoff Houston (@LiftoffHouston)
Kristy Gillentine launched #ChatSnap – the Twitter Chat All About Snapchat – as a side pet project in March 2016 at the encouragement of Madalyn Sklar. #ChatSnap attracts hundreds of people worldwide, ranging from Snapchat skeptics and beginners to daily users and full-time Snapchat professionals, who gather every Wednesday at 1pm CT to share their experiences, discuss the latest updates, meet influencers and learn from one another.
Anh Nguyen, Anh Nguyen is an experienced marketing practitioner and community manager, who specializes in digital marketing. She hosts #MobileChat, a weekly Twitter chat on all things mobile on Wednesdays at 8pm CT.
Madalyn Sklar is the host of the #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat on Thursday at 12 noon CT, and podcast, and the #SocialROI chat on Tuesday 4pm CT. She blogs, creates, speaks, and teaches courses at MadalynSkar.com.
— Houston OBO (@HoustonOBO)
What they are
Twitter Chats are essentially conversations between individuals over a thread with a discussion topic organized around a hashtag. Some chats can have serious subjects, while others exist simply for entertainment. The purpose of these chats is simply to make the 300 million active users seem a little smaller and to connect individuals. Most chats follow a Question and Answer format, where the hostess asks a question, and the guest (and/or the attendees) answer the question.
How to find a Twitter Chat
Finding a chat for a specific subject is not always easy, and can, in fact, be pretty difficult. Thousands of hashtags exist on Twitter, so finding one that interests you requires a little bit of digging.
Looking at the trending hashtags for your area can connect you with people close by who are talking about a local event. If you want to get a little more specific try searching for a topic your interested in and seeing if a Twitter Chat exists. The best way to do this is with a Google Search, “Your Topic” + “Twitter Chat.” You can also check out the Twitter Chat List which lists of a number of Twitter Chats by day of the week.
If you don't find one that fits, start one!
An easy way to participate in a Twitter chat is to use a tool like TweetChat, that allows you to focus only on the hashtag being used in the conversation. It also conveniently adds the hashtag to the end of each tweet.
— Vannessa Wade (@PROCKSTAR)
Starting a Twitter Chat
While starting an online discussion with potentially hundreds of random individuals around the world may seem intimidating, remember that every Twitter Chat started with one individual. If you have an interesting topic you believe others may be interested, don't be afraid to start a chat and see where it goes.
It's important to find a group of friends who can interact on the Twitter Chat when it is first launched in order to increase engagement and allow more people to see the thread. As mentioned above, you might need one of these helpful websites to host your Twitter Chat: Tweetchat.com, or Twitterfall.com.
And speaking of tracking the hashtag during the chat, you are going to have to choose a hashtag that is unique for your chat. You don't want to use one that is popular or in use by another group. Head over to Twitter Search to see if anyone is using the hashtag you have in mind. Also, be sure to search the hashtag on Google as well to make sure it doesn't have a different meaning than you intended.
Finally, you need to give some thought to the structure of the chat. Many hosts use graphics for each question and to promote the chat. You can easily create graphics with an online graphics program like Canva or Easil. You can also use a tool like Storify to post a recap of your chat.
In conclusion, Twitter Chats can grow your brand if well-planned and executed. Do the work before and then have fun engaging your followers!
If you are looking to improve your chops on Twitter, Madalyn Sklar just opened her Twitter Smarter Master Class. We are not affiliated, and we get nothing out of this except goodwill, we just happen to think that Madalyn knows what she is talking about. Check it out!