We all know by now that Twitter is more than just a fun place to talk to people and learn what’s new, it’s also a huge personal brand generator.
Whether it’s Alyssa Milano, a perennial B-list actress with in excess of one million followers and a klout score higher than Barack Obama, or Justin, the 29-year old who’s twitter account @sh*tmydadsays has now been made into a book and a TV series, stories abound of people who have become famous (or more famous) because of their twitter presence.
While you may never have a million followers, it is possible to become known on Twitter, to become an ‘expert’ in your field or even a ‘thought leader.’ I have found a simple tool that is an easy way to gain influence, grow your following and expand your personal brand: the twitter chat.
If you’re not a devotee of chats, as many are, you may have noticed from time to time that your stream fills up with hashtags such as #genychat, #mbachat or #jobhuntchat, and either wondered what everyone is talking about, or gotten annoyed that these tweets keep filling up your stream with something you’re not involved in.
Next time that happens, instead of tuning out, tune in. Search for the hashtag so you can see the tweets in real-time, use a tool like tweetchat.com. That way you will get a feel for what the whole conversation looks like rather than just a few snippets here and there. If it’s a topic you know something about, feel free to join in ~ twitter chats are open to all and generally very welcoming to newcomers.
Here’s a few tips for chats and why you might want to join:
1) Meet interesting new tweeps. Chats usually attract people from outside your sphere, so it is almost assured you will be exposed to some tweeps you have not previously been aware of. If they seem interesting, follow them.
2) Put your two cents in. Like I said, if you know something about the topic, it’s perfectly fine to add your thoughts. You do not have to be an expert on the subject. Everyone has a different level of expertise, so you don’t know who your tweet will help or appeal to.
3) Retweet people. This will give them a chance to interact with you later. It also helps your audience if you are tweeting good information at them.
4) Add a comment to a tweet. Have conversations within the chat…this is the time to engage…everyone is expecting that, they all came here for the same reason.
5) Since most chats move quickly, the more you tweet within a chat, the more likely you will be noticed and pick up new followers. Generally these are people with at least some similar interests and can become valuable new sources of information and engagement. Follow them back.
7) There is usually a digest published after the chat with select tweets, along with a transcript of the entire chat. More tweeps who did not get to participate in the chat, but who are interested in the topic will seek that out, and will find you there.
8) Tweet a link to the digest or transcript to your followers and ask them to join the next chat. And make sure to thank the moderators of the chat at the conclusion.
9) Growing a presence among twitter chatters will increase your opportunities to know and be known by influencers within a given field.
10) Twitter chats are fun!
Joining in a twitter chat is a first step level of engagement. Eventually, you may want to co-moderate a chat of your own. To get started, check out this complete up-to-date list of twitter chats. You are sure to find one that fits your interests and goals: http://bit.ly/bOTzCe.
My next post will outline how to create and host a twitter chat.