So often I hear from business people that they have a Linked in, a Facebook, or a Twitter account but don’t use it. They usually follow up with, “I’ve never gotten anything from it.” I have a news flash for anyone who has ever said this:
This is not Field of Dreams, just because you built it, does not mean that they will come!
Creating an account is not enough. Social media does not work by opening accounts and walking away. Social network users do not visit your accounts, they read, respond and react to your engagement with them. Just as in any networking situation, if you stand in the corner alone, you won’t make many contacts, so get out there and meet people!
Being social does not come easily to everyone. Engaging with complete strangers online can be even more intimidating. So, where do you begin? Twitter may be the most intimidating of all of the social networks for most people, however it offers some great tools to ease you into the process, help you connect with other professionals, and instantly become part of the conversation. The best way to begin is on a Twitter chat.
A Twitter chat is a conversation that takes place on Twitter with many participants. The chat is generally based on one topic. There is a moderator and a hashtag to follow. The most popular of all of the Twitter chats is #Blogchat, started by Mack Collier, which takes place every Sunday night at 9PM, EST. In this chat, bloggers discuss various topics pertaining to blogging. There is usually 1 topic per week. There are preplanned questions which are asked to the group and all of the participants answer, or engage other participants with words of encouragement or agreement. Every tweet must contain “#blogchat,” so that participants can follow each others tweets. This is a great way to connect with others with whom you have a common interest.
The Twitter chat that all business owners should engage in on twitter is #smallbizchat. In this chat, business owners connect with one another by discussing a different topic each week pertaining to running a business. The recurring theme of Melinda Emerson’s #smallbizchat is: “Q: What’s the focus of #Smallbizchat? A: To end small business failure by helping you succeed as your own boss #smallbizchat.” The most convenient tool to easily participate is Tweetgrid. For your first chat, you may feel most comfortable watching as it moves quickly and can be overwhelming, but have no fear, announce to everyone that you are new and you will be surprised by how many people jump to your assistance and make you feel welcome! Always remember to add the name of the chat to the end of each tweet you send, so in this case, you would add “#smallbizchat.”
There are many Twitter chats available for many industry, or interest specific topics. Chats are scheduled at the same time each week, or every 2 weeks, depending on the chat. #Smallbizchat is every Wednesday at 8PM EST. There are Twitter chat schedules, such as this one, online. Whether you are an event professional participating in #Eventprofs chat, a marketing wiz participating in #smchat, or any other professional, you will make lots of connections and grow your social media presence quickly via chats. Do not, however, discount the enjoyment and benefit of non-work related chats such as #Foodiechats or #gardenchat. Networking in person or online is the same, you never know where a key connection can be made. That is how we build relationships, which lead to success, both personally and professionally.
Give a Twitter chat a try and let us know what you think!