Yesterday, I shared five ways social media has made me a better college professor. Today, I want to dive deeper into one specific practice that has helped me tremendously to build my professional network and expand my social media and public relations knowledge: Twitter chats.
In March 2015, I had about 300 Twitter followers. I tweeted here and there, but very inconsistently. Today, I have nearly 4,400 Twitter followers, all of whom I gained through organic engagement. However, what’s more important than the number of followers is a close community that feels in some way like an extended family. Tweets like the following can always melt my heart.
Of course, my friend Bruce is exaggerating, but I truly appreciate him and the community that I have developed over time. Many of these virtual friends have become real-life friends and collaborators. For example, I met Bruce in person at this year’s Social Media Marketing World conference and was very inspired by his work at Cision.
What’s my secret weapon to developing a digital community?
Twitter chats. Participating in Twitter chats, consistently, is my secret weapon to developing a digital brand and community.
In today’s article, I want to share with you the specific steps to participate in a Twitter chat, as well as my favorite chats as a Public Relations professor.
Ready? Let’s get started.
How to participant in a Twitter Chat: A three-step guide
There are many platforms that you can use to join a Twitter chat, such as TweetChat, Nurph, Hootsuite, TweetDeck, etc. My favorite is TweetDeck, which is owned by Twitter and I will use this as an example to illustrate the three steps.
Step 1: Log into your TweetDeck page
Above is a screenshot of what my TweetDeck’s homepage looks like. You can simply log into yours using your Twitter information.
Step 2: Create a column of the specific hashtag for a Twitter Chat
As you can see from the first picture that I have different columns, categorized by different hashtags. These are the hashtags that are relevant to my field of public relations and social media, and I monitor these hashtags on a regular basis. I have at least twenty hashtags that I follow so that I can stay updated on topics and trends related to public relations professors and social media marketing.
How to create columns like the ones above? Click on the search icon on the top left corner of the screen (see the red circle in the following graph, Picture two). Type in the hashtag that you would love to follow such as “#PRProfs” and you will be good to go.
Step 3 How to live tweet while participating in a Twitter chat
See the picture below (Picture three). To compose a tweet, click on the little square icon on the top left corner (Number 1). Once you click on it, you are able to compose a tweet in the white box in the center of the screen (Number 2). Make sure that you add your hashtag into your tweet while you are participating in a chat. Otherwise, your tweet won’t show up under the corresponding hashtag column. To enrich the content of your tweet, you can add a picture (Number 3). And to make things easier, sometimes I schedule my tweets ahead of time especially if I am the guest or moderator for a chat. Scheduling my tweets allows me more time to focus on engagement during a chat. How to schedule tweets? See Number 4 at the bottom of the page.
Once you complete these three steps, you are ready to excel in a Twitter chat. It does take some practice to get used to tweeting, monitoring the flow of conversations, and thinking and typing at the same time. But, just like everything else in life, practice makes perfect. If my guide here is not clear, Buffer has another specific step-by-step guide that teaches you how to participate in Twitter chats and even host your own.
My top Twitter chats as a Public Relations and Social Media Professor
I want to share with you my top favorite Twitter chats that are relevant to communication, social media, and public relations. By no means is this a complete list. Please feel free to add your own favorite ones in the comments section below. The following chats are listed based on a chronological order, from Monday to Friday.
🔶 Tuesday: #ContentWritingChat, 11 A.M., ET; #RaganChat, 3 P.M., ET; #SocialROI, 6 P.M., ET
🔶 Wednesday: #SEMrushchat, 11 A.M., ET; #BufferChat, noon, ET; #ChatSnap, 2 P.M., ET; #WinnieSun, 2 P.M., ET; #SproutChat, 3P.M., ET; #AdobeChat, 4 P.M., ET
🔶 Thursday: #TwitterSmarter, 1 P.M., ET; #HootChat, 3 P.M., ET;
🔶 Monthly chat: #PRStudChat, 8:30 P.M., ET
Gary Vaynerchuk shared the following in an article, titled, This generation will be fine: Why social media won’t ruin us,
Technology is not undermining real human interactions. Instead, it is exposing people for who they really are.
I cannot agree more with Gary. And I want to make a similar argument to end today’s article: