There’s more to Twitter than what meets the eye. Newbies assume the community wants to know what they had for lunch today. Well, unless you’re a world-class chef sharing interesting meals on a daily basis with your followers, they could probably care less. But that’s the really cool thing about Twitter. Every user is there with their own audience in mind, and they’re actively searching for Twitter users to follow and interact with in order to build upon that niche community.
One of the coolest things about Twitter is the hashtag feature. A hashtag is a word or phrase without spaces following a hash sign, or #. The # tells Twitter to deliver the tweet to not only the author’s followers, but the users following that hashtag stream as well.
For instance, if you wanted to read about dog tweets, you might check the #dogs stream or share some information of your own there by adding “#dogs” to your tweet. Or if you wanted to know who is tweeting about Beagles in particular (this owner being a bit biased with a beagle at home) you might check the #beagles search results or add the phrase to your tweet when you’re talking about them. Ultimately, hashtags are giving you an opportunity to appear in results other than those of users who have already followed you, or search and view more results than just those people you are already following.
Since hashtags are already helping users fine-tune their searches and bring them together by way of a specific topic, you could certainly schedule a time and day for people to follow a specific hashtag and join an active conversation about one of those topics so you can talk about, and meet with, new people in your industry on a real-time basis. And that is what we call Twitter Chats.
Once an organizer creates a Twitter chat, they let people know the hashtag to follow (usually “#____chat”, ie. #blogchat, #Applechat, #luxchat) and the time and day people can join the conversation. There are so many scheduled chats that it would be difficult to know how to learn about them and when they occur. That’s why this Twitter Chat Schedule comes in handy if you’re looking for a conversation to join. You can scroll through or do a search for keywords on the spreadsheet to get an idea of some good chats you can join and grow awareness of your brand and profession.
Now that you know about Twitter Chats and have some idea which ones to participate in, you might be thinking, “Why exactly do I need to Twitter chat?” I hope I don’t have to shake you of the idea that this is anything like the AOL chatrooms of the ’90s. I can assure you no one will be asking about your a/s/l. But if you’re not sure this is a good use of your time to grow awareness of your business or that you want your brand’s Twitter account chatting, then think about a couple things:
1. Industry leaders are doing it, too
Don’t you want your brand to be a part of the cool group in your industry? I hate to make it sound juvenile, but it’s true. Nobody likes a brand page that tweets nothing but self-promotional flub. Allow a personality to appear from behind that logo and share it with the professionals in your niche that are getting together for an hour once a week to discuss relevant topics. Treat it like any other networking event, except you don’t have to get dressed up! If you knew all the “right people” in your profession including investors, industry leaders, relevant and influential bloggers, etc. were at an event very close to you, would you not go?
2. Who’s going to be your biggest advocate if you’re not?
You have to be the one that helps people understand what you do and how you can help them. You can’t assume they’re going to figure it out by just reading your Twitter profile and then visiting your website. They don’t have time and they expect you to do a lot more to get their attention. A Twitter Chat is a great opportunity to get in the faces of those people, whether they’re potential customers or possible partnerships. Act so everyone knows how cool you and your business are to interact with.
3. Host your own chat and grow awareness even faster
This one is a little difficult if you don’t already have a loyal audience, so I would suggest being an active member of Twitter Chats in your industry already before you approach this idea. But you may find there is a need for another chat to address a particular issue and propose the idea to already active chatters who will help you spread the word and join in. Once you are a Twitter Chat organizer, participants will already look to you as a leader in your niche. Which is what we’re all aiming for, right?
To learn more about Twitter Chats, check out SavvySexySocial.com.