Oh boy, another “how to grow your Twitter following” post! If you came here looking for an easy way to get thousands of followers without lifting a finger, move on. You’re in the wrong place. If you really want to grow a Twitter following that has any value as a network, there’s no way around it. You’re going to have to work for it. That’s OK though, because what I’m going to tell you here is really the fun part. You grow your network organically by talking to other people who really care about the same things you do.
What’s a Twitter Chat?
Before I get ahead of myself I should define this thing. Twitter chats (AKA Tweet Chats) are simply a group discussion that takes place on Twitter. Generally at a set time and around a set topic. The idea is to find a topic that everybody wants to discuss. Sometimes it’s an interview with a celebrity or professional who is willing to answer questions and share their expertise for about an hour. Sometimes the questions are selected in advance by a moderator, who poses 3 or 4 questions to the group or to the guest being interviewed. Before you hold one of your own, it’s a good idea to join some chats and see how to effectively participate in a Tweet chat.
Why a Tweet Chat?
Let’s say you’re building a business in the food or wine industry Participate in a few chats as a brand representative, or sponsor some chats and you’ll see your followers increase with people who actually care about the topic. Invite the right Twitter influencers and you can easily see mentions of you and your brand dramatically increase. This gives you an opportunity to deepen your relationship with these influencers through conversation and invite them to engage in other ways.
If you’re an author and you want to learn about how to market your book. Go hang out in the #Bookmarket chat. Even if you miss the chat itself, you can learn a lot by clicking on the hashtag and reading past posts to get a feel for who is driving the conversation and people you’d like to engage. Want to know who is using the hashtag? You can go to Hashtweeps and find out who is using that Hashtag the most and learn more about them. It’s likely you’ll want to get to know them better and strike up a conversation.
If you’re in PR and you want to network with your peers in that industry? Then you’ve got to hang out in #PRChat, one of the older and best run chats there is. Productivity experts, and those of us who learn from them, participate in #ProdChat .
There are a lot of chats out there, you’ve just got to find the one that fits you. Here’s a list of Twitter chats to browse. I can’t guarantee they are all active, but go look and see what’s there. Something will strike your fancy.
What do Tweet chats have to do with business?
That’s where it gets really interesting. When a business sponsors a tweet chat around a tropic relevant to them they can get a lot of interest going about their Twitter account. It is customary for the sponsor to post 1-2 (no more) promotional tweets during the chat and for those tweets to be shared by the participants out of courtesy. If the chat is well run and you’ve done your influencer outreach well in advance you can see your hashtag reach into the millions, and that’s just during the chat itself! All of those tweets related to the hashtag end up being indexed and shared, sometimes dozens of times and the relevance of your brand to the topic of the chat grows quickly.
Frequent Tweet chats encourage people to identify the brand with the subjects of the chats, and before you know it you’ve got regular discussions going on with your brand before, during and after the chat. That’s a win for everyone.
Locating the right influencers
Obviously that starts with doing some listening and some influencer research. Who talks around the same topics? Do they participate in chats or hold chats of their own you could join? If you are joining somebody else’s chat be respectful and just chat without putting forward your own agenda. Be a part of the community, engage people and move the conversation forward. Then if you feel you’d do a better job or talk about it differently, you can schedule your own chat and invite some of the people you’ve gotten to know. Please do that in a different time slot on a different day. It’s bad form to hijack a tweet chat, people will be more receptive if they don’t feel like you’re competing.
Need help? Tatu Digital Media offers influencer outreach and chat moderation. Contact us to see how we can help you build your community through Tweet chats.