As I see more and more people turn to social media channels to connect during this pandemic, I am fielding more questions from people about how various platforms “work.”
Each social media platform has its own culture, subculture, set of rules, best practices, tips, tricks, hacks, and algorithms. If you are not careful, your head will start spinning while trying to understand it all. I am here to tell you that you don’t need to be on all platforms, as that can get really distracting trying to moderate them all.
As I shared in my second TEDx talk at the University of California, Irvine, you can learn to use social media as a tool for attraction instead of distraction.
One of the things I teach my clients is the value of using social media to connect with people who can help you along your journey. So I suggest you start by picking a platform that you enjoy using. If you try to be all things to all people on all social media channels, you are bound to dilute your energies and leave little time to actually run your business (if you are an entrepreneur) or do your job (if you are an employee).
It is good to have a presence on various platforms, since building a brand is about creating and growing your online reputation by creating a digital footprint makes it easy for people to find and engage with you. But I just want to stress the importance of really diving into at least one platform to maximize your return on social media.
For me, I prefer Twitter. I like the layout, the functionality, the quick nature of it, and how I can check it without getting sucked into hours of mindless thumb swiping. Twitter is very intuitive and I enjoy testing out its native features. It’s a place to express my thoughts through words, stick figures, articles, podcasts, and GIFs.
If I want to share some random slices of my personal life, I enjoy doing it in 240 characters or less, like my project of rebuilding my 1977 sailboat engine. But most importantly, I’m on Twitter to connect with people across the globe, build community, spread positivity, and engage with my friends.
Twitter is also great for business. I have landed five-figure speaking deals and long-term clients from using Twitter. They come in the form of inbound requests, like phone calls, emails, or direct messages. Usually, when I get an inquiry about speaking at an event or putting on corporate training, I will ask how they found me. One example highlights the power of how Twitter helps them find me:
“Well, to be totally honest, I Googled ‘dynamic speakers’ and the search included one of your tweets. I clicked on it, then checked out your website. From there I watched a couple of your TEDx talks, and I shared your information with the board. They like what they see.”
Twitter also helped me share the journey of writing my book Ditch The Act, and it gives people a behind-the-scenes look at my projects. For these reasons and more, I can tell you that Twitter is a powerful tool for your personal and professional growth.
But let’s be real. Twitter can be super confusing and overwhelming. Additionally, when you are just starting, there is a good chance that you won’t get much interaction or engagement, which can be disheartening.
But before you write off Twitter, you should consider the value of participating in what are known as “TweetChats.”
Twitter is a platform, and a TweetChat is a way to leverage Twitter to build and join communities in real-time, using a single hashtag as the connection!
Still confused? I kind of hope so. Because if you have never heard of a TweetChat, and/or are not familiar with Twitter, it IS confusing.
But that is why I have reached out to the hosts of my five favorite TweetChats. I figured that they would do a better job of explaining what a TweetChat is so that you can not only understand but start to tap into the power of connecting with pocket communities on Twitter.
First step: understand what a TweetChat is.
To get you the best answer, I’ve asked the best Twitter community builders I know to help me explain.
MEET THE EXPERTS:
Michelle Garrett is the creator of #FreelanceChat. She is a public relations consultant, freelance writer, and speaker. She has been featured in outlets such as Entrepreneur, Meltwater, Spin Sucks, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, and more.
Bernie Fussenegger is the host of #Digital360Chat. Currently a Director, Menu Expansion for Papa John’s International, and has more than 27 years of marketing experience. His specialities include CRM, eCRM, social media, mobile, and content marketing. As a solopreneur, Bernie is the founder of B2The7 as a consultant and strategist, and founder of Careerbarn.com, bringing job seekers and employers together.
Madalyn Sklar is the founder of the #TwitterSmarter chat and the TwitterSmarter podcast. Her Twitter chat has reached over 12 billion impressions since its inception five years ago. Madalyn has 24 years of digital marketing and 15 years of social media marketing experience and has been ranked the #1 Social Media Power Influencer in Houston.
Chelsea Krost is a millennial expert and hosts #Millennialtalk. Chelsea is a marketing and branding strategist, global keynote speaker, author, and Forbes contributor. She is a LinkedIn Learning instructor and has created three courses with another on the way related to personal branding, digital marketing, influencer marketing, and workplace productivity.
Winnie Sun launched her Twitter chat #WinnieSun to get people talking about personal finance. Winnie is managing director and a founding partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners, a financial consulting firm. She has appeared on numerous national TV outlets, speaks at industry events, and is a regular contributor on Good Day LA, Fox News, and Forbes.
Q: What Is a TweetChat?
-A: A TweetChat is a conversation about a particular topic held on Twitter, usually on some sort of schedule. Each chat has a unique hashtag that participants use to follow along. – Michelle Garrett
-A: The chat’s host usually asks 4-10 questions around a topic and the participants respond to the questions. Chat communities are very dynamic and interactive. – Bernie Fussenegger
-A: A Twitter chat is a public conversation that takes place in real-time, typically over the course of one hour. Guest hosts frequently join in to share their expertise. Twitter chats are an amazing way to bring a group of like-minded people together to learn, share their knowledge, and build new relationships online. – Madalyn Sklar
-A: A Twitter chat is an hour-long Q&A like group chat that takes place on Twitter with a set topic and credible expert. – Chelsea Krost
-A: Participating in a TweetChat is like an enthusiastic family discussion over a delicious dinner, with the vibrant exchange of ideas and thoughts that you’d find within an exclusive mastermind group. These discussions help you gather insight and advice from some of the most supportive and dynamic people on the internet. – Winnie Sun
It’s one thing to understand what a TweetChat is, and, hopefully, the concept of TweetChats is getting more clear, but I want you to understand why attending and participating in a TweetChat is important.
And who better to explain than my friends who have run successful TweetChats for years, building their own communities to epic proportions.
Q: Why are TweetChats Worth Attending?
-A: TweetChats are great for keeping up on industry trends and having fun. – Michelle Garrett
-A: There is no better forum for peer-to-peer learning and sharing. I have learned more in weekly chats than I have from conferences, webinars and online training. They are a wealth of information. What is shared in chats is not some fluff, but information that is actionable and useful. Many times people are afraid to share what they are doing and how, but not in these communities. – Bernie Fussenegger
-A: TweetChats are such an easy way to make new connections. People are often afraid to reach out to others on social media, but chats make it easier. When we join Twitter chats, we’re all there for the conversation. We want to meet new people and build relationships with others. And you really have no idea what will stem from the people you meet during these chats. They could become clients or customers, but they just might even become lifelong friends. – Madalyn Sklar
-A: Participating in a Twitter chat is worthwhile if they attract your target customer and network. Sharing value in a Twitter chat can build brand awareness and credibility online. -Chelsea Krost
-A: In business, I’ve always said that it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if no one knows you exist. As professionals, we need to be out there sharing insight, building our brand, letting our next potential client know who we are, what we do, and where we are. A TweetChat can accomplish this for all types of businesses, employees, and more. – Winnie Sun
TweetChats Worth Checking Out
Now that you have a better idea of what TweetChats are and why you might want to join one, you need some examples of TweetChats to check out. Here are some of my favorite TweetChats, in alphabetical order by hashtag:
#Digital360Chat (Bernie Fussenegger)
BACKGROUND: Bernie started his TweetChat in November 2018 because he couldn’t find many chats related to digital marketing and marketing. He spent nearly a year participating in others chats, and asking lots of questions (mainly to Madalyn Sklar), to figure out the best practices of running a chat. He decided to make his chat about his guests and their careers.
AUDIENCE: Catered to digital, content marketing and social media professionals that are wanting to learn more about the careers of our guests in the creative industry.
TIPS FOR NEWBIES: Be sure to introduce yourself, and don’t be afraid to jump in and participate. Remember that it is about sharing and not selling.
WHAT TO AVOID: Don’t hijack the chat with topics that are not relevant, don’t be negative or degrading to others, and don’t sell or promote your services unless the host specifically asks you to.
TWEETCHAT INFORMATION: The #Digital360Chat is every Friday at 12pm ET. If someone has a recommendation for a guest, they can reach out to Bernie on Twitter at @B2The7 and to view his past guests https://b2the7.com/inthespotlight-with-the-digital360chat/.
#FreelanceChat (Michelle Garrett)
BACKGROUND: Michelle launched #FreelanceChat in September 2018 to support freelancers.
AUDIENCE: For freelancers or anyone who owns/runs their own business, e.g. self-employed people, consultants, solopreneurs, etc.
TIPS FOR NEWBIES: Be sure to use the hashtag so people can see what you’re tweeting. Don’t be afraid to jump in – or if you’re more comfortable just hanging out and “lurking” at first, that’s OK, too.
WHAT TO AVOID: Forgetting the hashtag is a big one. Without it, no one can see you’re participating and no one will interact – which may leave you feeling discouraged. Another no-no is being “mean” (for lack of a better term!) to other attendees. You want to be supportive, or at the very least, constructive. You know what they say – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
TWEETCHAT INFORMATION: #FreelanceChat is every Thursday at 12pm ET. Guests need to have expertise that would be of interest to freelancers – could be related to the financial or administrative side, marketing, sales, legal, pricing, websites, etc. You can tweet guest recommendations to Michelle at @PRisUs, to discuss details via DM if they’re a fit.
#Millennialtalk (Chelsea Krost)
BACKGROUND: Seven years ago when hosting her radio show, The Chelsea Krost Show, Chelsea would invite people to engage with her on Twitter. She saw an uptick in engagement on the platform during her live radio show, and it was clear that people wanted to join in the conversation. She was able to take the Q&A style formatting and translate it to a TweetChat.
AUDIENCE: Entrepreneurs, small business owners, coaches, thought leaders, creators and freelancers are welcome. Relevant industries include marketing, entertainment, content creation, public relations, sales, technology, finance, e-learning and wellness.
TIPS FOR NEWBIES: Always participate in a Twitter chat on a desktop computer, and open one tab with just the host’s handle so that you can easily keep track of the chat questions! Also use a tool like Twubs to follow all TweetChat tweets. Twubs allows you to adjust the refresh speed of Tweets and pause your feed when needed.
WHAT TO AVOID: Do not post too many links or videos in a Twitter chat, as you want to keep people engaged in the feed without the need to click into a different window. Also, only retweet quality posts and don’t engage only by retweeting – share your own content, value, thoughts.
TWEETCHAT INFORMATION: #Millennialtalk is every Tuesday at 8pm EST. Always looking for guests. If you have topic and/or guest that you would like to see on #Millennialtalk, contact Chelsea here: https://chelseakrost.com/contact/.
#TwitterSmarter (Madalyn Sklar)
BACKGROUND: Madalyn has been hosting a variety of TweetChats weekly since 2011. She launched the #TwitterSmarter chat in 2015 to complement her #TwitterSmarter podcast. Her chat is a destination for people to connect, learn about and share Twitter tips.
AUDIENCE: #TwitterSmarter is for anyone looking to improve their marketing skills, and attracts mainly marketers and business owners. The conversation isn’t just about Twitter; it’s for other social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more.
TIPS FOR NEWBIES: Take time to engage with other attendees in the chat. It’s not just about sharing your expertise, but about learning from others. You can use TweetDeck with a column for the chat host, one for the guest, and one for the chat hashtag. Also, if you find a chat you love, make sure to put it on your calendar and set a reminder so you don’t miss out!
WHAT TO AVOID: Don’t self-promote; you’ll come off as spammy. Focus on adding value with the responses you share to each question and build new relationships.
TWEETCHAT INFORMATION: The #TwitterSmarter chat is every Thursday at 1pm ET. DM guest suggestions to @MadalynSklar.
#WinnieSun (Winnie Sun)
BACKGROUND: The #WinnieSun TweeChat started four years ago because Winnie knew that personal finance and money were very important topics, but that for many, can also be very intimidating. She wanted to provide value by sharing relatable financial insights in a non-judgmental, friendly, and kindness-driven environment.
AUDIENCE: Small business owners, social media enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, but most importantly–the nicest people on social media!
TIPS FOR NEWBIES: When you join, say hello and let them know you’re new to the group. Introduce yourself and get ready to make a whole lot of new friends! Don’t overthink your answers, don’t worry about the typos, turn on some music, and get comfortable!
WHAT TO AVOID: Don’t push yourself too hard when just starting out, and don’t be disrespectful to others in the group when you have a different opinion.
TWEETCHAT INFORMATION: The #WinnieSun TweetChat is every Wednesday at 11am PT. If you have a guest recommendation or want to sign up, complete the guest form at the bottom of the page: http://winniesun.com/tweetchat/,or DM Winnie at @winniesun.
I hope I’ve convinced you that TweetChats are really just conversations that can help us become better professionals and stay connected with one another on a regular basis. They’re not scary, and they can help you focus on using Twitter as a tool. Remember that you can use Twitter as a tool of attraction and not distraction!
Thank you to all of my Twitter community builders for sharing your advice and insights on TweetChats.
I’d like to challenge you to carve out time to join at least one of the TweetChats I mentioned. And when you do, tag me in one of your replies in the TweetChat, and I’ll join in on the conversation!
Also, if you know of a TweetChat that is looking for expert guests, feel free to send them my way by sending an email intro!