Twitter Chats 101
Written by Anne
Adam and I participate in the Community Manager Twitter chat every week (#cmgrchat, every Wednesday at 11 PST), and I’ve written up a basic guide to the new “meeting” online. This post was inspired (and encouraged!) by Sam Fiorella at The 12 Most. Check out his post, 12 Most Helpful Tips for Conversing in a Twitter Chat, to see our inspiration. Thanks Sam!
Here at Livefyre, the community management team participates in the weekly #cmgrchat on Twitter. If you’ve never joined in on a Twitter chat before, you’re missing out — they’re a wealth of inspiration, networking opportunities, and just plain fun. In fact, the 11 am (PST) #cmgrchat has to be one of my favorite parts about Wednesday in general. Even before I officially started my internship at Livefyre, Jenna and Jeremy pointed me toward the weekly community management chat just to observe and learn. The first time I peeked in on the chat, I think I tweeted once — “Hi, Anne here from @Livefyre, soon-to-be cmgr intern” or something of that sort, and I was met with a chorus of greetings and welcomes. In case anyone was wondering, community managers have to be one of the nicest groups of people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, though that may or may not come with the job description!
As an intern, participating in the weekly community manager chat on Twitter has been a fantastic learning experience. I’ve met other community managers, learned so much from the differing topics (anywhere from tools such as video and management software, to discussing the Cloud, to tips and tricks for success as a community manager in general), and laughed and chatted with other members. I’ve grown my LinkedIn network, my Twitter following, and my readership. There’s support nearly everywhere I look, and I meet new people every week. So, are you interested in checking out Twitter chats? Here are a few tips and tricks for success:
- Know how to follow the chat. Currently, I use TweetDeck for all of my work-related Twitter needs. I can track my own Twitter streams, @ mentions, Livefyre mentions, and follow the #cmgrchat, all at the same time. For more casual Twitter use, I usually use Twitter for desktop. I rarely use the website itself, just because I find software like TweetDeck to be much more organized and efficient. It’s ideal for following a live chat because it’s real-time, complete with pop-up notifications if you’re trying to multi-task.
- Put yourself out there. Like I said, I was a little nervous to jump into the conversation at first, but I quickly found that it’s beneficial to do so. Say a quick hello in the beginning, and expect people to be kind and say hello right on back. These chats are amicable and everyone’s there to learn — don’t be shy! If you want to expand upon a question put out there by the chat moderator, do so. RT good responses, and continue the conversation. It’s normal, and more or less expected.
- …but not too much. Remember, this is more or less like an academic setting on Twitter: people are there to discuss topics respectfully and thoughtfully. Do yourself a favor and don’t be “that kid” you remember from your college or high school days. Don’t dominate the discussion, don’t pick fights, and respect the teacher (aka the moderators). Being kind and courteous will get you far.
- If you fall behind, don’t worry. If the topic is broad and interesting, you can almost always count on your stream moving very, very quickly. Last week’s #cmgrchat was hard to follow, simply because the stream was refreshing itself too quickly. If this happens, don’t panic! There’s a magical little site called TweetChat that lets you search for any hashtag to follow on Twitter, and also offers smart pausing to slow your stream down. Moderators also usually provide transcripts of the chat to read afterwards — don’t be afraid to read it over and see if you missed anything, or to jot down names of people you want to connect with later on. Speaking of…
- Network, if applicable. Twitter chats are a fantastic place to start a dialogue with professionals. If you talk with someone over a chat and can connect with them later on in a meaningful way, you’re well on your way to creating lasting connections. I know I’ve added people to my LinkedIn network after chatting with them a few weeks in a row at #cmgrchat and having more dialogue with them outside of the chat. Use your good judgement for this situation — don’t try to add someone on LinkedIn and Facebook after RTing them once in a Twitter chat.
So, don’t be afraid to join in on the next Twitter chat you’re interested in. They’re fun, they’re fast, they’re informative, and there’s so many people to meet.