A TweetChat is an organized discussion on Twitter. It usually follows a question and answer format, but it doesn’t have to—a TweetChat could be as grandiose as the President responding to citizen concerns in a virtual town hall meeting, or as simple as a celebrity fan club designating a time and place to gossip.
Typically led by a moderator or expert, the TweetChat will lead anyone following a designated hashtag (a unique term relating to the chat, such as #AskADeveloper) through a guided conversation. A hashtag categorizes and groups tweets, and searching for a specific hashtag will direct users to all of the tweets that include it. For example, searching for and using #TrackThis on Twitter during “Small Business Tracking Week” each October will not only direct users to a weeklong discussion about how to most effectively track their business, but it will also loop them into to Q&A sessions led by a number of experts in the field.
So how do I participate?
In order to participate in a TweetChat as either a host or a participant, you must first be a registered Twitter user. Once logged into your account, use the Twitter search feature to locate the specific hashtag. The results will direct you to all of the other tweets that have included it and will give you a rundown of the existing conversation. You can jump in by using the hashtag in your own tweets. Additionally, you can tag certain people (moderators, friends, other TweetChat participants with comments you’d like to respond to) so that you ensure they see your memo.
Oftentimes, a moderator will designate a certain hour or time of day to answer questions or discuss specific topics, so be sure keep tabs on what time everything is happening, and come prepared with your inquiries and ideas.
If this all still sounds a little confusing, the TweetChat website can help facilitate TweetChats and make them easier to find and follow for both hosts and participants.
How can a small business use TweetChats?
TweetChats are a valuable tool for small businesses, whether those businesses are acting as participants or hosts. As a participant, a small business can reach out to experts in different fields, from management to HR to product distribution. Nearly every facet of your business has an expert, and more likely than not they are accessible on Twitter and will host chats from time to time. And hosting your own TweetChat is a great way to market your business and reach out to existing and potential customers—you can find out what people want, display your expertise, and build up your reputation.
Here are some examples of how different small businesses could use TweetChats to their advantage:
Gather some new menu ideas from your followers
Promote any events—special dinners, fundraisers, tastings—you are having
Chat with professional chefs and restauranteurs in other cities and ask for industry advice
Chat with academics, economists, accountants, and journalists
Research and check out different investment vehicles
- Ask potential customers about their financial concerns and offer answers
Host a chat about party and event planning
Designate a certain time to do a gardening Q&A for your followers or anyone interested