Are you afraid to try Twitter chats?  There’s nothing to be scared of – jump in, the water’s great!  We have just the tutorial for you.  Read on for all the tips and tricks to get you started!

How to Start Using Twitter Chats for Amazing Results

How to Start Using Twitter chats for Amazing Results

Twitter chats are an AMAZING way to grow your online presence!  They’re also a wonderful way to learn new things while connecting with other influencers. (Yes, YOU – you’re an influencer!)  They can seem fast-paced and scary, but if you know how to get started, they’re not too much to tackle.  These easy steps will get you on the right track.

Download the FREE TweetDeck tutorial!

1) Sign into TweetDeck

Super simple: just sign in, and you’re all set!  TweetDeck is an official Twitter application, so it’s safe to enter your log-in info.  As a semi-paranoid tech nerd, Jenn says you can go for it!

2) Set up TweetDeck

You’ll need to decide which columns are most useful for you.  We only use TweetDeck for Twitter chats, so we don’t use the Activity and Messages columns.  We left the Scheduled column for when we start scheduling Tweets regularly.  You can remove or leave the pre-set columns at your discretion.  They’re easy to add back later if you end up needing them.

3) Find Twitter chat #hashtag Columns to Add

The most important part of setting up TweetDeck for Twitter chats!  It’s also the fun part.

There are loads of Twitter chats out there, and each of them is best suited for certain people.  Whether you’re a creative entrepreneur, a blogger, or an artist, there’s something out there for you.  For us here at The Spare Room Project, we have two Twitter chats we don’t miss.  (We’ll add more as we find them!)

#creativecoffeehour

This will make you look forward to Mondays!  We’re not even kidding – Monday nights are the best now.  Callie Gisler covers some great topics for creatie entrepreneurs.  And sometimes she just has fun, like the #ThisOrThat chat she hosted recently!  We’ve made some great connections from this chat, and it’s always a highlight of the week!  Join us there on Mondays at 6pm PST/9pm EST for some creativity and encouragement.

#createlounge

Hosted by Kayla Hollatz, this Twitter chat covers topics for creative bloggers and entrepreneurs.  Kayla covers things like the creative process, community building, and other topics near and dear to the hearts of creatives.  You can catch up on previous #createlounge chats on her website.  Join us there on Wednesdays at 5pm PST/8pm EST!

You can also check out this Twitter chat calendar.  It’s pretty comprehensive!

Download the FREE TweetDeck tutorial!

4) Create Your Columns

There are three columns that we watch during a Twitter chat.  These columns make it much easier to follow the conversations.  After all, you want to make connections, right?

#hashtag Columns

The first column we have up is the chat’s #hashtag column.  To set up the column, click Add Column, then Search.  Type in the hashtag you want to add, then hit Enter.  At the bottom of the pop-up, click Add Column.

It’s that easy!  Now anytime someone Tweets with that chat’s hashtag, it will show up in that column.

Don’t forget to always add the chat’s hashtag somewhere in your Tweet during the chat!  Otherwise, no one will see your answers and conversations, unless they’re specifically @Mentioned.  And what’s the point of sharing your awesome insights if no one can see them?!

@Mentions

This one is critical.  If you don’t have this column up, preferably right next to the Twitter chat’s hashtag column, you’ll miss when people respond to you!

One of the best parts of a Twitter chat is interacting with the other participants.  When someone @ Mentions you, inside or outside the chat, it will show up here.  Keep an eye on it and respond.  We ended up with a bit of a trending conversation at one chat when Jenn mentioned sarcasm.  If we hadn’t been watching our @ Mentions, we would have missed some great interactions, some of which continued even after the chat!

You can respond to your @ Mentions right in this column, so that you don’t slow down the live feed from your hashtag column.  Or you can pop out the new Tweet box.  Whichever way you prefer, just make sure you take the chance to talk with your creative peers.  It’s awesome sauce, for reals! (Too much?  Sorry.)

Notifications and Home

You don’t have to keep as close an eye on these two columns, but they can be good to have.  Notifications will show you who is Liking your Tweets, following you (whoot whoot!) and all other interactions.  Home will be where you can jump if you missed a question from the host.  Just make sure you’re following them and you’ll have a LOT fewer Tweets to wade through to find that question to answer!

5) Learn How to Use Twitter chats

There are some important ways to make the most of a Twitter chat.  You want to make sure people see you, so that they’ll be more likely to connect with you.  You also want to start conversations and, of course, answer the questions the host throws out.

Make a great first impression

This is your chance to tell everyone who you are and what you do, and why they should check out your stuff!  I borrowed an awesome idea that I saw from my first Twitter chat and made an intro graphic:

Twitter Chat Bio Image

Images eat up some of your allowed characters, but they’re worth it.  A picture really is worth 140 words in this case, if you catch my drift.  You can fit SO MANY more words into that image than the 25 characters that it removes from your Tweet allowance!  It also sets you apart from the masses of people trying to fit all their awesomeness into 140 characters.  Give it a try and see how many compliments you get!  We’ll put together a tutorial to teach you how to make your own Twitter chat intro graphic soon, too.

Reach out and converse

If someone posts something quote-worthy, tell them!  Like the post so you can find it later, reply to the Tweet with a shout-out, or Retweet it.  They’ll love seeing the interaction.

If someone posts something that resonates with you, tell them that too!  Some of the most fun conversations can come from a quick response.  This is also how you make your best connections, so don’t be shy – say hi!

Keep track of the questions

And make sure you respond properly!  Most Twitter chats will add Q1, Q2, etc. to the beginning of the question.  This is how you know who’s replying to what.  It’s super duper confusing when the host is playing a quick This or That game and asks if you’d prefer a vacation from work or a vacation for work, and someone replies late to the previous question, saying they like puppies.  Prefix your answer with A1, A2, etc. to denote which question you’re replying to.  Everyone will thank you!

6) The Twitter chat Aftermath

The best part of a Twitter chat is often the aftermath.  This is when you get to connect with everyone you interacted with!  Send a shout-out to someone you enjoyed chatting with.  Follow the people you met in your niche or who you find interesting.  Add them to a list so you can keep track of them easier.  Chances are, they’re doing the same thing!  I almost always get follows from people who will be more engaged as a result of Twitter chats.

One of the best things to do is find the other bloggers or entrepreneurs who you connected with and go to their sites.  If a site is of interest, add it to your Feedly.  This allows you to stay in contact with them outside of the Twitter chat and form a deeper connection.  You can even contact them directly and see if they’re interested in chatting on Skype or Google Hangouts.  Who knows – this could lead to a beautiful friendship! =)

Have you participated in Twitter chats before, or have you been on the fence?  Which are your favorites, or which ones do you want to check out?  Let us know in the comments!

Download the FREE TweetDeck tutorial!

How to Start Using Twitter Chats for Amazing Results

Jenn
Co-Founder and Strategic Manager at The Spare Room Project
Having grown up near Seattle, Jenn is Washingtonian to the core, and believes that trees that lose their leaves are unnatural and snow is evil. Right now, though, she calls the-middle-of-nowhere Ohio home, having stayed after college. With a vastly varied background in creativity – from hosting a radio show to jewelry design to filmmaking – becoming the Strategic Manager and Wearer-of-Many-Hats for TSRP was meant to be!

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