Twitter chats provide a fantastic opportunity for you to network with your ideal customers… but how do you make the most of the Twitter chat experience?

A Twitter chat is technically a hashtag (#) conversation that happens in a particular time slot ona particular day each week.

Here are a few examples of the Twitter chats we attend ourselves and on behalf of our clients;

#SurreyHour – Tuesdays 7.30pm-8.30pm (businesses in Surrey)

#SussexHour – Thursdays 7.30pm-8.30pm (businesses in Sussex)

#WiltsHour – Tuesdays 8.30pm-9.30pm (businesses in Wiltshire)

#WightHour – Mondays 8.30pm-9.30pm (businesses in Isle of Wight)

#NorthantsHour – Thursdays 8pm-9pm (businesses in Northants)

#WoofWoofWednesday – Wednesdays all day (dog lovers)

#MeowMeowMonday – Mondays all day (cat lovers)

#4NHour – Tuesdays at 9pm (4Networking members)

There’s over 900 different Twitter chats taking place each week, and you can see the full list by following @TheChatDiary on Twitter or visiting thechatdiary.com – the latter having a search function to make it easier to find the Twitter chats that suit you best.

How to participate in Twitter chatsTwitter chats

Search for the # in the Twitter search box. The results will show you every tweet that includes that tag. These are the tweets you can begin engaging with

Effective networking with Twitter chats

#1: Schedule (or post live) your tweet that includes the relevant Twitter chat hashtag, to post within the first 10 minutes of the appropriate time slot

A lot of people use these Twitter chats to try and sell… so they post a “buy my stuff” type of tweet.

These Twitter chats are online networking events, so remember that most people that you connect with here will not have engaged with you previously. Just like in an offline networking event, they aren’t going to buy from you just because you’ve shown up at the event and said “hello”!

When we participate in Twitter chats, our tweet is always an invitation to download our Lead Magnet – the free eBook, audio or video series that prospects can opt-in to your list to download.

Think of this as your business card – and by tweeting your free Lead Magnet in a Twitter chat, you are effectively placing your business card on the table so other attendees can pick it up if they wish.

#2: Show up live

If you want to make the most of the networking opportunities provided by Twitter chats, it isn’t enough to post a tweet, you also have to show up in the hour and participate. There are a few etiquette rules of participating;

Etiquette #1: Re-tweet (RT) other attendees’ tweets

The idea of Twitter chats is to increase exposure for the participating businesses. You will find that your own tweet will be RT’d several times by other attendees – return the favour by RT’ing theirs too

The reason I recommend scheduling (or posting live) your tweet early on in the Twitter chat is that it will benefit from the extra time within the hour for sharing

Etiquette #2: Engage

As well as RT’ing tweets, get involved in conversations. By showing an interest in the other attendees, you are beginning to build the emotional connections that will drive people to take a bigger interest in you.

If your objective is to attract more leads from Twitter chats (if it isn’t, it should be!) then you will need to put the time into building relationships

Etiquette #3: Don’t be late!

Twitter chats have allocated times, and showing up 30 minutes after it has ended will not endear you to the others… nor will you find many people willing to engage in conversation with you.

Some Twitter chat hosts manage multiple chats… often running consecutively from each other… so they will likely have moved on to their next chat by then too.

Please remember that the entire Twitter chat is public, and public tweets you send that include the hashtag, will also appear in the newsfeed of everyone who follows you. Respect their Twitter experience. If they’ve “endured” a newsfeed full of a Twitter chat they have no interest in, they won’t thank you for starting it up again outside of the allocated time.

A word of caution/warning:

When you participate in Twitter chats, your Twitter activity will increase as you interact and RT – you’ll be sending a huge volume of tweets within a short space of time.

This can lead to you reaching your “Twitter Data Limit” – otherwise known as being put in “Twitter Jail”. You’ll know if you’re reached your limit, as when you go to tweet, you’ll see a pop up message with the warning “Twitter data limit exceeded. Please try later”

Don’t panic… it’s only a temporary block. It will mean that you will be unable to tweet again for an hour or so, which will likely impede on your ability to continue participating in the Twitter chat, but when you try later, you’ll have full access to Twitter again.

So this week I invite you to check out @TheChatDiary or thechatdiary.com and investigate which Twitter chats your ideal clients are participating in… then get involved and start meeting new people.

Have fun!