PR and social media Twitter chats have been around almost as long as Twitter and are one of the most useful tools for keeping up with best practices that I’ve come across this year.
Where to Find Them
There’s a Twitter chat wiki that makes it easy to find PR and social media chats by day and category. Some of them are crossed off because they no longer meet, but there are others that are thriving.
Be sure to make sure you look at what time zone they’re posting the chat from, so that you can make sure you’re there at the right time. It would be a shame to get dressed for the party just to see that you’re an hour early or an hour late.
Ragan gives you “Top 16 Twitter chats for social media and PR pros.” Try these at your own risk. You might have to try to make sure they’re still active because the article was written last year. No. 8 on the list, #socialchat, is active. I know because I’ve chatted on there twice with good results.
How to Participate
In “How to be a Twitter Champion,” Heidi Cohen gives 12 tips on how to maximize your Twitter chat time.
“Contribute to the conversation. Understand that the conversation can be very fast paced, so don’t get upset if someone’s doesn’t respond to your comment immediately, especially since everyone’s using different platforms and devices. Just jump in, the conversations are generally warm and inviting. Ask yourself if you’re adding to the conversation and the collective knowledge,” Cohen says.
Etiquette is just as important as strategy.
“Show your appreciation to the moderator and others. Acknowledge the work that the moderator has put in to help guide the conversation. Also, thank those with whom you connected. It’s good manners,” Cohen says.
Even if you don’t have much to say at first, you’ll probably still meet at least a couple of people who you might want to follow or research to chat with next time.
“If nothing else, twitter chats are a killer way of meeting fantastic new people. Fantastic new people who share similar interests to yourself,” said Kevin Fawley of Social Media Today.
How to Run Your Own Twitter Chat Campaign
Once you’re comfortable in a chat, you might want to consider going the next step and hosting your own Twitter chat for your product.
“A great way to springboard your personal brand and begin establishing yourself as a leader in your industry is by participating in twitter chats. Sharing all of your industry expertise during these chats builds brand equity and credibility,” Fawley said.
Make sure you can see the big picture before you begin, though.
“Differentiate yourself from everyone else,” said Cathy Larkin, a PR professional.
“Do research so you’re not competing with another popular chat that’s already established,” she says, adding that it’s good idea to get familiar with Twitter chats before hosting your own.