Twitter chats. I am a huge proponent of Twitter chats, because they make it incredibly easy to find and connect with smart people, and have them discover you. There are now well over 100 regularly-scheduled chats on Twitter (most of them are weekly), and the topics are varied from social media to dog lovers to stay at home moms. So there should be at least 1 or 2 that appeal to almost everyone.
Why are Twitter chats so important? Here's 5 reasons:
1 - They let you connect with people that are on Twitter to interact. One of the biggest complaints about Twitter is that you can follow people, but its sometimes hard to really connect with the people on Twitter. Twitter chats are perfect for this, because if you are participating in a Twitter chat, the odds are that you are wanting to...well....chat. Sure there are lurkers to every chat, but there's a much higher chance of actually having a conversation with people, during a chat.
2 - They give you the chance to get noticed. This is one many of us struggle with when we first join Twitter. You have no followers, and no one knows who you are. So your tweets go out to....no one. But if you join a Twitter chat, then your tweets go out to the participants in THAT CHAT, if you add the appropriate hashtag to your tweets. So if you tweet every day about social media and it goes out to your 5 followers, that might not help you get noticed very much. But if you join #blogchat and talk social media with us there, your tweets will be going out to several hundred people. So your exposure level skyrockets. Which means you gain more followers during #blogchat, that you can reach afterwards.
3 - Joining new chats means new connections. I typically gain about 15-20 new followers during each week's #blogchat. But last nite I participated briefly in #IMCchat. I checked afterwards and found I had gained about 30 followers in the 45 mins or so that I participated in #IMCchat. Why? Because the network that follows #IMCchat is different from the one that follows #blogchat. So by joining #IMCchat, I was getting exposure to a new group of people. And likewise, I found some new people to follow!
4 - They give you access to industry experts you might not have otherwise. One of the big reasons why I wanted to join #IMCchat last nite was because @SouthwestAir's @ChristiDay joined the chat to give us some insight into how Southwest internally handled the recent Kevin Smith bruhawhaw. This coming Sunday nite, #blogchat will be co-hosted by Dell's Chief Blogger, Lionel Menchaca. So as certain chats become more popular, they can attract participants and hosts to a very interactive environment.
5 - They give you the chance to start your OWN chat! Simply pick a topic that you are passionate about, or that ties into your business, and create a chat to discuss it! And it doesn't have to be a weekly chat, start off with a monthly format and see if demand warrants bumping it up to bi-weekly or weekly. And doing so is an EXCELLENT way to draw attention to yourself! Let's say one of my hobbies was collecting Victorian antique furniture (it isn't, but bear with me). If you were to start a chat about finding and appraising Victorian antique furniture (or maybe just antique furniture), you better believe I would LOVE to join that chat!
And this is something I have seen for months firsthand from #blogchat. When people join your chat and get value from it, they will go out of their way to promote it to others. Every single day on Twitter now I see people helping others get more information about #blogchat. They are answering questions about what it is, when it is, and how to join. Every single day. When I first started #blogchat I had to promote it almost every day for the first couple of weeks, now I only send out 1 or 2 tweets a week reminding everyone of when/what it is.
So if you are looking to build your network on Twitter, and get noticed, I really think you should investigate Twitter chats. They are a terribly underutilized way to meet smart people, and have these smart people meet YOU. And we'd LOVE to have you join our next #blogchat on Sunday nite at 8pm CT, which will be co-hosted by Dell's Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca! Here's the Facebook fan page for #blogchat which has some more information!