A Tweet Chat is a real-time chat, often scheduled on a regular day/time that are focused around a certain topic. It started from the use of hashtags (the pound sign # plus a word, like #socialbusiness) which is how Twitter users signify the topics they are talking about. Given that the most popular handle on Twitter today is Justin Bieber, why would you want to bother with a Tweet Chat as a professional? Here are some of the key benefits.
1. Right platform for B2B conversations
Facebook and YouTube may have the most users, but Twitter and LinkedIn rule the B2B space. While LinkedIn does offer forum type discussion posts within targeted business groups, it is a fairly limited with respect to live chat interactions. Twitter’s open platform makes it easy for businesses and marketers to host regular live chats on business topics to a broad audience (currently 500M+). The openness of the platform also means there is a plethora of tools available to help you participate, host, promote, moderate, and track your Tweet Chats. So if you have a business type topic, such as technology, marketing, career advice, leadership, Tweet Chats are your best bet for a live chat model.
2. Follow, not friend – public is the name of the game
On Twitter, you don’t have to ‘friend’ anyone to participate in the chat or reap any of the other benefits noted below. Simply put, you’re on a social network that’s essentially public, so you can read anyone’s tweets by going to their profile, choose to follow them – or not, and participate in Tweet Chats on topics that interest you anytime without any participation barriers such as registration, approval by chat moderators, etc. Twitter does provide a function whereby users can restrict their tweets only to an audience that they approve, but it is rarely used since it kind of defeats the purpose of being on Twitter, which is a public social network for all intents and purposes.
3. Gain new insights
Tweet Chats done well will bring together influencers on a given topic space, so it’s a great opportunity to learn from other influencers, encounter new ideas, and gain insights on the major trends. People often post links to valuable resources, such as white papers, infographics, and tools related to the topic as well, which can expand your thinking in new directions. Tweet Chats are also one of the best ways to learn who the influencers in a topic space are.
4. Connect – build your network and extend your reach
Since a Tweet Chat is essentially a gathering of thought leaders on a given topic, it’s also a great way to expand your network and deepen relationships with your target audiences. You may get new followers simply by showing up to Tweet Chats, but you certainly will gain new advocates if you contribute to the Tweet Chat in ways that are meaningful and relevant to the other participants. The bonus here is that anytime someone else in the Tweet Chat likes what you say and re-tweets it during the chat, then you’ve also just been exposed to THEIR Twitter followers as well, potentially expanding your reach beyond just the Tweet Chat event. You’ll come away with new followers who won’t just see your links and posts everyday in their Twitter feed, but they are more likely to re-tweet you after engaging with you in a Tweet Chat.
5. Learn how to stand out
Even if you just watch a Tweet Chat without participating, you’ll quickly learn what type of Tweets are picked up and re-tweeted multiple times. You can test it yourself by seeing which of your 140 character attempts at insight, advice, factoids, or reference links gets picked up by the crowd. If you take note of which of your tweets earns the best reactions and which are ignored, you’ll gain insight on how to make your tweets and content as eye-catching as possible. As you apply this both to your regular Tweets and to any future Tweet Chats you participate in, you’ll start to build your realm of influence as people will see how often you are re-tweeted.
6. Build your authority and loyal advocates
Scientists have discovered that it really only takes 10% of the population to sway the popular opinion. A Tweet Chat is a great way to share your expertise and thought leadership, build your authority and start engaging with that top 10% of influencers and thought leaders. As you dialogue and build rapport with them, you will earn their respect and advocacy over time if you demonstrate consistent intelligence and expertise about your topic. The more original and sound your insights are (as opposed to just re-tweeting others or pushing product), the more you will gain recognition as being a thought leader in your own right. And, as you grow your network of loyal advocates, your own authority and expert status (influence) on the topic space will also grow because they will listen to what you have to say.
- IBM Tweet Chats
- Google doc listing of all Tweet chats
- Tweetchat schedule of all Tweet chats
- Tools to make participating in Tweet Chats easier – Tweetchat and Twubs
– By Julie Yamamoto