Twitter Chat Basics

Twitter chats, or tweet chats, have been something that, until recently, I have tried to steer clear of. Sure, I’ve tried to use them at work and use way to many hashtags in some of my tweets. But actually sitting down and following along with one as it happened? Never. The thought of how one would be beneficial to me or how they worked was beyond my scope of focus.That all changed last week, after realizing I was missing out on a world of advice, knowledge and relationships because I didn’t think I could handle the unknown. Here is some basic information about Twitter chats and how you can get involved.

What is a Twitter chat?

It’s a conversation on Twitter between users about the same topic using a specific hashtag that allows you to follow along. The most well organized chats are held at a specific time and often repeat weekly (or bi-weekly) and are hosted by a moderator who poses questions to prompt responses and interactions among the group. Most are only an hour long, but sometimes conversations that start in a twitter chat continue afterward.

Why would you participate in a Twitter chat?

They provide a chance to network, to grow your list of followers and those you follow. There’s a host of tools, tips and great people out there to connect with and learn about.

How do I get started?

1. Make sure you have a Twitter account – sign up at www.twitter.com. It’s key – because you can’t participate unless you have an account.

2. Find a topic that appeals to you…there’s a few sites that lists hundreds of Twitter Chats including this site. Here are just a few that I think are interesting…

  • #MillenialTalk – Tuesdays at 8:00 PM EST
  • #BrandChat – Wednesdays at 11:00 AM EST
  • #BufferChat – Wednesdays at 12:00 PM EST

3. Use a tool to follow the chat; I personalize use Tweetchat and Tweetdeck during a Twitter chat and then use Storify to get everything in one place to review.

4. Start tweeting, answer the questions posed by the moderator and use the hashtag!

What tips do you have?

Buffer recently shared 10 tips for Twitter chat participants that I think are very important. (Source: https://blog.bufferapp.com/twitter-chat-101)

  1. Give your Twitter followers a heads-up before you join a Twitter chat (“High tweet volume warning”) and share an invite to join the chat if it might be of interest to your followers.
  2. Reply directly for targeted conversations with one or two people.
  3. Include a “.” in front of an @ if you want your tweet to show up in all feeds.
  4. It’s OK to dip in and out of a Twitter chat. Drop by for the time you have and don’t feel guilty if you can’t stay for the whole thing.
  5. Be polite and positive!
  6. Don’t be afraid to contribute and jump in! It can be intimidating, but trust me, the moderators and participants will be glad to hear from you!
  7. When answering a specific question or comment from another participant, use Twitter handles to identify who you’re speaking to in order to avoid confusion.
  8. Remember Twitter chats are about connecting and learning, not selling your product. Use the time to provide as much value on the given topic as possible and show your expertise without over-promoting.
  9. Always include the chat hashtag in your responses.
  10. Follow up with people after the chat! Keep the conversation going or get to know fellow participants on a more personal level. You never know what new connections you can make!

Those are some of the basics of Twitter chats. I hope, that unlike me, it doesn’t take you awhile to jump in and start enjoying them!

Have you participated in a Twitter chat before? What tips do you have for someone diving in for the first time? What are some of your favorite Twitter chat topics?

Social Selling 101

Let’s begin this post with a definition of social selling. Or better yet, what it’s not.

Social selling is not this…

  • John Doe follows me on a social network
  • I decide to follow John Doe back
  • John Doe follows me on another social network…and another.
  • John Doe is soon messaging me to let me know that he has a product (service, tip, trick, etc) that would help me with my website (service, product, etc.) – if I want to learn more I should email him.
  • John Doe’s behavior shows me that he connected because he wants to sell me something. The thoughts that go through my head include “I don’t know you,” “You’re spamming me,” and “I should just unfollow him.”

LinkedIn has defined social selling as “leveraging your social brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships.”

According to research from Social Centered Selling and A Sales Guy, 72.6% of salespeople who incorporated social media into their process outperformed their colleagues. In addition, socially savvy reps beat their quotas 23% more often.

It’s not about blasting your product or services to anyone you find – it’s building relationships, answering questions and getting insight about the people who need your product or service.

Here are some simple steps to take to get started with social selling.

Optimize your social media profile.

For Twitter, this means posting a professional photo, linking to your company’s Twitter account, listing your LinkedIn profile and using hash tags in your bio.

For LinkedIn, using a current, hi-res picture (not a selfie taken on your smart phone), make your headline more than just your job title, edit your summary to three paragraphs with three or fewer sentences each, post a few pieces of visual content and seek recommendations.

Get engaged.

This can be as simple as joining LinkedIn Groups or following relevant Twitter accounts. But to take it a step further, you should be sharing content (whether it’s original content or actual shared content is at your discretion), liking LinkedIn posts or favoriting Tweets and the easiest of all – commenting or replying to a post.

Work social selling into your day.

Yes, as a sales person you are suppose to be out there selling. But if you have time to read this post – you also have time to keep up with your buyers on LinkedIn and Twitter. Ben Martin created this infographic that provides you with 12 easy steps to build a social selling routine in 30 to 60 minutes per day.

  1. Find content to share
  2. Share it to social networks
  3. Check on who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile
  4. Send a connection request to any target buyers who looked at your profile
  5. Look at who liked or commented on your posts
  6. Send connection requests to people who engaged with your content
  7. Review LinkedIn alerts
  8. Organize “hot” buyers in a LinkedIn folder
  9. Share content with hot buyers
  10. Review any additional trigger event alerts
  11. Respond to messages
  12. Create a handful of new conversations

These three tips can open up an entire new world to you. Many people intrinsically understand that selling is a relationship based process – but there are far more people who are doing the exact opposite. Social selling is something that will open new relationships, deepen existing relationships and create a new level of trust and respect.