As a small business owner, you hear time and time again that you should be using social media to promote your business and connect with customers. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest—there are so many different platforms for you to explore and get acquainted with.
Twitter is one of the giants of social media marketing, and there’s not much question as to why. With 255 million active users sending out over 500 million tweets per day, Twitter is a force to be reckoned with.
One unique way to use Twitter for your business is through Twitter chats. A Twitter chat is a public conversation that focuses around one specific hashtag. Because all members of the chat use the same hashtag, they’re able to view the conversation in real-time either through the Twitter search function or through 3rd-party apps like TweetChat or Twubs.
So how can you use Twitter chats to your best advantage as a small business owner? Here are a few tips that will get you going.
Find the right chats
Twitter chats exist for practically every topic imaginable. It might take some searching, but see if you can find a few chats that are applicable to the industry that you work in. There are many Twitter chat schedules available, so take some time to search around and see if you come across anything. Here’s a schedule from TweetReports to get you started.
Don’t just marry yourself to one Twitter chat, though. There are a lot of factors to determine whether a Twitter chat is right for you, so try out several and see if you like the community you find there. Which brings you to the next step…
Join the conversation
Nothing better than hopping right in! Find a few chats that interest you and then mark your calendar for the date and time. Remember that Twitter chats occur around the world, so make sure you know when they begin in your specific time zone.
Depending on the chat, you might be asked to introduce yourself at the beginning of the session and tell a little bit about what you do. Don’t be afraid to jump in and start meeting people; networking is half the reason you’re doing this!
As the chat progresses, stay involved by asking questions, responding to others, and using Twitter features like the “Retweet” and “Favorite” buttons to show your appreciation for the conversation. Everyone is usually quite friendly in these chats, and doing this will help you fit right in.
Once you’ve attended your first Twitter chat, evaluate how it went. Did that specific chat seem valuable to your goals as a small business owner? Remember that value can mean a lot of things: important industry knowledge, networking opportunities, potential clients, and so forth. If you find a chat that you enjoyed, keep attending it. Whether it’s weekly or monthly, make an effort to show up and consistently participate. Twitter chat communities are often tight-knit, so it’s in your best interest to make yourself known.
To better stick with these communities, follow some of the users that you noticed were particularly active during a given chat. You might even consider making a Twitter list of members from a specific chat. That way you can organize them all into one place to easily keep track of and network with them.
Hold your own Twitter chat
Feeling good about your Twitter chat participation? Consider holding your own. If you can get it to catch on, a Twitter chat can be a huge boon to your small business. Think of all the exposure that a successful, informative chat will get you; those who participate will automatically start seeing you as a thought leader in the industry because you took the initiative to organize a discussion online.
If you’re interested in hosting your own Twitter chat, check out this guide from Social Media Examiner. It goes more into depth about how exactly Twitter chats work and how you can plan and execute your own.
With the wide variety of Twitter chats out there, chances are that you’ll be able to find a few that will help you further your goals as a small business owner. If you don’t get the hang of it right away, don’t give up! Attending the occasional Twitter chat can be invaluable to you as you market and network through social media. You just have to take the first step and give it a shot.