As Twitter becomes more and more popular, its users keep coming up with new ways to better interact and engage with each other.
One popular way is through Twitter chats. A Twitter chat is a live discussion via Twitter on a specific topic. There is usually one host, who moderates the chat, by tweeting questions. It’s a virtual water cooler and a good place to meet people, deepen friendships, and exchange information.
Participants keep track of the “conversation” by following and using a hashtag–a pound symbol (#) followed by a word. For example, #prinpajamas is a hashtag.
Twitter chats allow participants to discuss a topic and have their own questions answered.
Some Twitter chat organizers even allow each participant to mention their business and tweet a link to their website.
You’ve got to agree, Twitter chats can be an excellent PR opportunity. They’re an easy way to get in the radar of Twitter power users, meet potential partners, and even get some leads.
Here are a few tips to make your Twitter chat experience a positive and fruitful one:
1. Pick a relevant Twitter chat.
To meet the right people, you need to join the right Twitter chats. Be conscious of the hashtags your favorite Twitter friends use. Or check out the list of Twitter chats here.
2. Use a Twitter chatting app.
A third-party site, such as tweetgrid.com or tweetchat.com, makes it super easy to follow a chat. Otherwise, you’ll have to rely on your Twitter app’s search function, which may not be robust enough for a chat.
3. Be interested.
Don’t be so focused on getting exposure for your biz. Instead, be genuinely interested in the topic. Respond to the chat questions. Throw in some of your own. When appropriate, respond to other participants. Be on the lookout for opportunities to offer good information or a solution, when another participant needs it.
4. Be consistent.
Twitter chats tend to happen once a week. Choose one or two you can join as often as possible. That way, you make real connections with the organizers and the other regular participants.
5. Go beyond the chat.
Part of the value of Twitter chats come from what happens after the chat. Follow the people you connected with or found interesting. If it’s relevant, you can continue your discussion even after the chat. And if the organizer provides transcripts of the chats, download them, file them and use them to find people you can connect with.
Another thing: If you feel you have something valuable to share in a Twitter chat, offer to be a guest. That will bring you and your biz tons of exposure.
Interested in joining a Twitter chat? Join me when I guest in #SmallBizChat on Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 8-9 pm Eastern. I’ll be giving tips on PR for small business owners.
I hope to see you there!
Image from Yuri Arcurs Website
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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