Participating in Twitter chats is an easy way to chime in on topics you’re interested in and a less intimidating way to network with other bloggers. Here are my top tips for participating in Twitter chats:
#1. Calendar the chat. As soon as you learn about a Twitter chat that you want to participate in, add it to your calendar. I can get forgetful during the week, which is when most Twitter chats happen. So that I won’t forget, I make a note of upcoming #BGBChats as soon as Candice announces them. I jot it down in my planner and set a reminder in my phone.
#2. Check the time zone. Candice announces the #BGBChats in Pacific Standard Time (PST) and Eastern Standard Time (EST). Since I live in Chicago (Central Standard Time), I use a time zone converter to make sure that I’m on time for the Twitter chats. I highly recommend doing this so you won’t miss a minute of the chat. They go by fast!
#3. Charge your phone/laptop before the chat starts. If you know you’re going to participate in a Twitter chat, remember to charge the device you’ll be using beforehand. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of typing a tweet and getting notified that your device is about to die.
#4. Use hashtags. All Twitter chats have a specific hashtag. We use #BGBChat. When responding to questions during chats, it’s important to include and spell the hashtag correctly so that the moderator and participants can see your responses. Also, it’s best to number your responses so they correspond to the questions (ex: Q1 = A1). This keeps the chat organized and makes it easier for people to follow along.
#5. Brainstorm responses before the chat. The most thrilling aspect of Twitter chats is that they happen in real time and you only get 140 characters to respond. Which means participants have less time to craft their responses to the questions and have to do so in fewer words. As soon as you learn of a chat’s topic, I suggest spending some time brainstorming possible responses to the questions so you won’t be scrambling to think of stuff to tweet when the chat starts. For instance, our last #BGBChat was about audience building. To prep for the chat ahead of time, you could’ve given thought to what an audience means to you, the benefits/drawbacks of having a small/large audience, what you’ve done to build your audience, etc.
#6. Keep the conversation going. #BGBChats are scheduled to last for half an hour, but they almost always spill over because most of us have a lot to say and want to keep the chat going. If you want to engage with other bloggers, it’s probably not a good idea to dip out as soon as the chat ends. Instead, you should find a couple bloggers whose responses you enjoyed during the chat and engage them some more either on Twitter or via email. You never know what may come of it.
What are your tips for participating in Twitter chats? Have you participated a Twitter chat before? If so, what was your experience like?