What are Twitter Chats?
For today’s Tech Tuesday, I wanted to discuss a fun way to stay engaged with your blog’s community: Twitter Chats. These go by many names (i.e. tweet party, tweet chats, twitter party, etc) but the idea is that at a pre-determined time, your readers log into Twitter to participate in a discussion related to your blog or a topic of your choosing.
All tweets in the conversation use a chosen hashtag (#connectingwordorphrase) so that everyone can follow the conversation. For example, a Twitter chat to discuss the best way to make homemade biscuits might use the hashtag #homemadebiscuits or #scratchbiscuits. For Christian Mommy Blogger, the hashtag we use is #CMB.
Why have Twitter Chats?
Interaction. Feedback. Learning.
Twitter chats are a great way to engage with people who are reading your blog. Sometimes blogging can feel like a one-way method of communication. Sometimes if you’re lucky, people do leave comments. But its great to once in a while have a conversation in real-time. The beauty of our virtual worlds is that our blogs can connect many people from all over the world. But this means its impossible to sit down with a cup of coffee with each of these new and interesting people.
This is where a Twitter Chat comes in. Everyone sits down at a set time to participate in a conversation. The conversation can be guided with set questions and with a moderator guiding the event. Or it can just be an “anything goes” free for all. Its up to you to decide what you want to do. In addition to giving you a chance to engage in real-time, Twitter Chats allow you to understand what your readers are thinking or needing. Perhaps you recently changed your blog or website – you can ask people if they like it. After all, no matter how much you may love a given change – if the user’s experience is frustrating, that will drive readers away. Not at all what you want!
Finally, you may learn something applicable either to your blog, your personal life or your business by doing a twitter chat. This is because you are opening yourself up to the thoughts and ideas of many. This may push you out of your comfort zone or just simply allow you to see alternate solutions to an issue you were having. Either way, its a win-win!
How to Have Twitter Chats?
Ok so are you thinking about having a twitter chat for your blog? Here are the steps you need to take:
1) Choose a hashtag. Choosing a hashtag could be as simple as using the name of your blog, or you could be intentional about it and search twitter for the hashtags that your readers commonly use. Have a home school blog? Perhaps you want to use a hashtag word or phrase that tells people that.
2) Set a time and let people know. After you choose a hashtag, set a time for your twitter chat and let people know the date, the time ( including the time zone) and the hashtag that you’re going to use. Have a set start and stop time. Being true to the start and stop times are good time management for you and reflect your efforts to be a good steward of other people’s time as well.
3) Enjoy the fun! Finally, show up about 5-10 minutes prior to the scheduled time, just to make sure everything is working. If possible, have your twitter open on two tabs. One tab can be for keeping track of the conversation as a whole. How you do this is use the search box and enter your hashtag. In this way, you’ll have one window with the entire conversation. In your other window, be ready to engage. Let people know the ground rules up front. Will you have a moderator? If so, let people know who it is, and what that person’s handle is. Will you have set questions? Let people know this as well.
Considering having a twitter chat of your own? Let CMB know in the comments! In the meantime, please join in tonight’s Twitter Chat. It is from 9pm-10pm EST. CMB’s twitter handle is: @christmomblog. And the hashtag is: #CMB. Looking forward to chatting tonight!