One of the biggest hurdles for the new blogger is how to get traffic to your blog and build an audience.
Last week, I shared with you that one of the best ways (besides creating amazing, useful and/or actionable content) is to build up a network by connecting with other bloggers.
That’s when we talked about the right way to participate in Facebook groups (hint: it’s not all about self-promotion) and this week I want to talk about another strategy that’s been incredibly helpful in building up my own network and audience: Twitter Chats.
Participating in Twitter chats is one of the funnest ways to make friends and build up your followers. Here’s why:
- They’re fast paced which makes them exciting and fun
- You start getting to know others bloggers in the big blogging network out there
- You learn a lot
What Is a Twitter Chat?
A Twitter chat is a conversation on a predetermined topic that takes place on Twitter at the same time, same day of the week either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. They usually last about an hour and are open for anyone to join in.
A Twitter host is the one that starts up a chat (usually about their niche), schedules it and chooses a hashtag that everyone must use to participate. The host chooses the topic for the chat and helps navigate the conversation by posting 5-7 questions over the hour that people then answer in 140 characters or less.
Everyone follows the conversation by using and following the hashtag which must be used in every tweet related to the chat. The fun begins when people reply to other participants’ questions and start side conversations around the main topic. It’s not uncommon for participants to be in the middle of three or four conversations at once!
How to Participate in a Twitter Chat + Get Traffic to Your Blog
There’s no sense in watching it all go by. Jump in and join the conversation! And don’t be shy. Sometimes it may seem like everyone knows each other in the chat, but not everyone! There are newcomers every week that are always welcomed with open arms. And the more often you attend and participate, the more you get to know the other regulars.
Use a Good Chat Tool
Did I mention chats are fast paced? I mean REALLY fast! You won’t be able to use the Twitter app and keep up. You’ll want to set up one of these tools beforehand so that you’re ready to go when the chat starts:
- Create a free TweetDeck account by signing in with your Twitter account
- On the left, click the “+” sign to add a column
- Click “Search” and type in the chat hashtag and click “Add Column”
- Add another column, click “@Mentions” and select your account, so you can see when someone replies to you
- Add another column, click “User” and enter the username of the host(s) so you don’t miss the question prompts
- Create a free Hootsuite account and add your Twitter account to it
- Create a new tab and name it “chats” or something similar
- Click “Add Stream” then “Search” then type in the chat hashtag
- Add another stream and click “@Mentions” so you can see when someone replies to you
- Add another stream to follow the host(s) so you don’t miss the questions. Unfortunately, you can’t do this directly in Hootsuite, but thankfully I’ve come up with a work-around: Create a new list in your Twitter account, add only the host to your list, then go back to Hootsuite and add a new stream and select the list you just created.
Repeat these steps for each chat you’d like to participate in. You may find it easier to create a new tab for each chat in Hootsuite which I find to be the advantage of Hootsuite. I haven’t figured out how to manage lots of chats in TweetDeck like this. If you know how, please leave a comment!
Keep refreshing the columns as needed to keep up with the latest. And don’t worry if you get behind. We all are!
Retweet the Question When Answering and Begin with A1…
It’s always best to retweet the question when answering it so that people (both in the chat or not) have context for your answer. And always begin your answer with “A” (for Answer) followed by the question number. Just like this example:
Don’t forget the hashtag!
So important! You can be answering questions and chatting away but no one in the chat will see your tweets if you don’t use the hashtag!
If you forget, don’t stress. Just tweet it again with the hashtag!
More Twitter Chat Tips
And because great minds think alike, my friend Kayla Hollatz (host of #createlounge, one of the biggest creative chats around) just published a post on Twitter chats last week. It’s a quick read and worth checking out!
Twitter Chats for Women Bloggers
I like to schedule my favorite chats in my Google calendar so I get reminders of when they’re on and if I’m free, I can jump in. I recommend you do the same if you’re interested in joining some new chats. And by the way, it’s perfectly acceptable to join in late or leave early. The more the merrier!
Here are the best chats I’ve found for creatives, designers and solopreneurs:
6pm PT/9pm ET #creativecoffeehour
Hosted by @calliegisler
Chat about creative solopreneurship
5pm PT/8pm ET #sidehustlechat
Hosted by @soasidehustle
Chat about growing your business on the side.
6pm PT/9pm ET #fireandwindco (formerly #fireworkpeople)
Hosted by @ashleybeaudin
Chat about empowering and uplifting others.
***** HEY HEY HEY 😉 ******
7pm PT/10pm ET #brandhour
Hosted by @marianney (that’s me!) + @DreBeltrami
Chat about blog design and branding. 1st Tuesdays of every month and one lucky winner wins a trivia prize every month!
4pm PT/7pm ET #beingbosschat
Hosted by @braidcreative
Chat about being a creative boss with the brilliant minds at Braid Creative
5pm PT/8pm ET #createlounge
Hosted by @kayla_hollatz
Chat about blogging tips and blogging for business.
6pm PT/9pm ET #socialstudiochat
Hosted by @social_studio
Chat about audiences, communities and relationships in the online business world
6pm PT/9pm ET #nectarchat
Hosted by @nectarcollect
Chat about branding your blog + biz. Occurs every other week.
6pm PT/9pm ET #PinChat
Hosted by @EducatorsSpin + @tribe2point0
Chat about Pinterest best practices, new uses, tools, highlight brand usage, personal/professional use and share our passion for Pinterest.
11am PT/2pm ET #Luv4Social
Hosted by @Luv4Social
Chat about all things social media & marketing! For professionals, students & enthusiasts!
6pm PT/9pm ET #owschat
Hosted by @OneWomanShop
Chat about the challenges of being a solopreneur. Occurs once a month.
7am PT/10am ET #SITSBlogging
Hosted by @SITSGirls
The Sharefest Twitter Party. Chat about your favorite blog post of the week and find other great posts.
So, have you participated in a chat before? What are your favorite Twitter chats? I’d love to know!
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