Episode 74: Twitter Chats
In this episode I talk to Twitter expert, and host of the #TwitterSmarter twitter chat, Madalyn Sklar. Personally I had great success building up publishing industry specific twitter followers by taking part in the now defunct #futurechat Twitter chat. In this show I talk to Madalyn about what Twitter chats are and how to use them.
What is a Twitter chat?
A Twitter chat is basically a conversation on Twitter for a period of time based around a hashtag. People look at the hashtag and look to engage with tweets on the topic. They usually run about an hour in length weekly or monthly. People share knowledge and have conversations about the topic in question.
How do people find Twitter chats that might be useful for promoting their books?
Madalyn did a Google search and found a whole host of twitter chats for authors. If there isn’t one that is on the topic your book is about, then you might want to think about starting your own Twitter chat. A Google search for “<subject area> Twitter chat” is a good way to find chats. Many lists of Twitter chats aren’t that up to date, as the chats do come and go, so going to Google is often the best approach.
Is there any special software people should use for engaging in a Twitter Chat?
It is hard to keep up with a chat on the normal Twitter web or mobile client. A free site that Madalyn uses is TweetChat.com. You put in the hashtag, let Twitter approve the tool, and it shows all tweets in real-time with that hashtag. Also, crucially, it automatically includes the hashtag in the tweets you create. If you forget then no one sees your tweet in the chat, which is a common newbie mistake. She also suggests using a similar tool http://www.tchat.io/.
How did you get started with Twitter chats?
About five years ago, Madalyn started to see Twitter chats on Twitter and decided to start one for her music community, Go Girls Music using the hashtag #ggchat. It was one of the first Twitter chats for musicians. About 18 months ago she started one purely for Twitter tips, which is #TwitterSmarter.
How should people engage in Twitter chats? Are there any dos and don’ts?
People are not there to sell or be sold to. Always have a really good Twitter Bio, as people virtually always look at it when you interact. The big thing you want to do is engage. If you can’t think of anything to see, then always say Hi and introduce yourself, and maybe compliment people on the information they do share. Don’t go there to sell, but to make connections and raise your profile. They are also a great way to get new targeted followers on Twitter.
How does one go about setting up a Twitter chat? How do you let people know you’ve started one?
The first thing you need to do is find a really good hashtag, ideally that no one else is using. It needs to be relevant and unused. Madalyn make the mistake of using ggchat which is too generic when she created her music chat. So with hindsight, she would call it #GoGirlsMusic rather than #ggchat. When you start make sure you have a few people ready to chat to make sure there is some interaction, even in the first chat, and spend a few weeks promoting it before it even starts. On the other hand it’s not about the quantity but the quality of the chat. Try to keep a consistent time and regime. There is no rulebook though, you can do what you want, but make sure people know what you are doing. Twitter chats are a way you can be seen as a leader in a sector.
How can people find out about you?