Why you should attend a twitter chat

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...

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Twitter chats have become a new favorite thing of mine. In recent weeks, I have been participating in two different chats, each once weekly.

For Personal Use

The first is on social media measurement titled #smmeasure. This was the first Twitter chat I first participated in while I was on vacation back in the beginning of June. It’s hosted by Sheldon Levine of Sysomos – who was one of my ‘25 people you must follow on Twitter‘. I thought I would participate just to see what these chats were all about, as I had seen them pop up in my timeline from time to time. The chat was easy enough to participate in: you follow the hashtag, wait for the questions to be asked, and then answer the questions with #smmeasure included in your tweet somewhere. What I really realized is how this was almost just as valuable as having an in-person focus group. You answer the questions to the best of your ability, and you can engage with others all answering the same question. You share thoughts, opinions, and sometimes disagree – but hey, that’s life. Every week I attend #smmeasure I learn something new, and am able to connect with more like-minded people – not based on their bio or how many followers they have, but based on their insights as well. There is an enormous amount of intellectual capital floating around the Twitterverse, it’s really unbelievable.

The second of these chats is #SMOchat and is hosted by Crowdbooster (which is also a pretty nifty service). There is something about #SMOchat that is different, though. Instead of being hosted ON the Twitter platform itself, it’s hosted through a chatroom-like service called Stanzr. The platform itself is actually quite a simple concept – a chat room. The cool part, though, is that what you type in the chatroom gets posted to twitter with the #SMOchat hashtag attached to your comment. No need to type it at the end of your thought because the platform does it for you. When people reply to your comments, you get a little notification on the side of the page. They also allow you to ‘Like’ other peoples posts to show that you agree, as well as retweet straight from the chat (oldschool style). While the content of the #SMOchat is amazing in itself, I was more impressed with the concept of a Twitter chat. I just like the overall workflow of the platform, and the founder himself moderates or takes part in almost all of the chats – pretty cool, right?

Here’s a peek of what the chat looks like:

& how it shows up in your timeline:

Now, here’s how to use this as a brand:

I think there is a lot of potential here for brands to really connect with their customers. Not only will they gain followers on Twitter, but more importantly – you can have real, meaningful conversations with people around a common theme. Crowdbooster is a social media company – so they chose social media optimization as a topic for their chat, brilliant. More importantly, they are able to show their own intellectual capital. They answer the questions they put out, and constantly give feedback & input on others comments. Brands can provide their fans with more than just product announcements & the occasional @ mention or retweet. They can seriously connect with them – get to know who these people are, what they think about a certain topic.

A major lesson for brands here is to realize that in social media, it doesn’t always have to be about you. There’s no way you can keep your fans engaged with you if you’re constantly promoting yourself – sometimes they like to be recognized, and more importantly heard. It’s great content that you can share on your other social media properties – posting insights, recognizing key contributors to the conversation, and crowd sourcing your questions for next week. It’s a relatively simple way to get closer to your customers and the branded world of social media really needs this.

Have you taken part in a Twitter chat? What did you think about it?