In June, Melyssa introduced #NectarChat, a biweekly Twitter chat for bloggers and entrepreneurs. So far, #NectarChat has discussed a vast array of topics ranging from “branding your blog and business” to “creating an engaged audience.”
I’m going to be totally honest with you, #NectarChat was the first Twitter chat I’ve ever participated in, and I was nervous and overwhelmed. Participating in your first Twitter chat can feel a lot like being the new kid in school. People are rushing by you super fast and you’re just standing there watching everyone pass, trying to get a word in. Now that I’ve gotten over my first day of school, *ahem* first Twitter chat jitters, I’ve found a serious appreciation for chats and the opportunity they provide for me to grow and interact with other creatives.
If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat, but yearn to check ’em out, or even if you’re a seasoned Twitter chat participant, here are a few tips you might find helpful when you’re joining in on chats. I’m also sharing some of my absolute favorite Twitter chats for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs. Woo!
1. Prepare your introduction.
If you’re participating in a Twitter chat, chances are there will be tons of other bloggers and entrepreneurs joining in on the same conversation. Don’t get lost in a sea of “Hi, my name is Susie and I write a DIY blog.” Jazz it up and be more specific! This is your elevator pitch, if you will, and you want to make a lasting impression. There are plenty of DIY bloggers out there, so focus on what makes you unique. (This is a great tutorial to get started!)
Try introducing yourself by saying “Hi, my name is Susie and I write a DIY blog called I Like to DIY, where I chat all about my love for do-it-yourself projects and encourage people to get out there and expand their creativity through crafts.” I started keeping my little snippet in a note on my phone so I can copy and paste it when the chat first starts. This takes the guessing game out of how to introduce myself, and it frees up a few seconds to say hello and chat with other participants before the chat gets going.
2. Be present and try to engage on a deeper level with at least one or two other participants.
The first time I tried to participate in a Twitter chat, I made the mistake of trying to multitask. That was seriously the worst idea because Twitter chats move fast. Make it a point to participate in chats when you can be fully present and you aren’t working on 20 other things or have a ton of distractions around you.
Consider this chat your time to sit back and catch up with new and old friends! Sit somewhere peaceful, have yourself a drink, maybe even light a candle, whatever helps you focus. When you take the time to be present, you’ll realize that there are tons of people you really click and connect with. Don’t be afraid to respond to people’s tweets, even if you’ve never talked to them before. Twitter chats are ALL about making connections with new people — it’s not weird, promise.
If you find someone who catches your attention, follow them and follow up with them after the chat. Aside from the serious dose of knowledge you can gain from Twitter chats, you can also gain potential friends, readers, clients, and customers.
3. Don’t underestimate your own knowledge.
This may be a general life rule, but it’s important — you have so much more to offer than you give yourself credit for! Don’t be shy if you have the answer to someone else’s question or you can further elaborate on someone else’s answer. Maybe you’ve read a book on the chat topic, or have a post on your own site that relates to it. Share what you know! If other participants feel like they’re learning from you, they may be more intrigued to checkout your site and products.
Also, try to flush out the idea that your tips or experiences are too “basic” to share and that everyone already knows what you want to say. Chances are, that’s not true and there would be several people who could benefit from your particular expertise.
4. Remember to use the hashtag.
This might seem like an obvious one, but always remember to use the hashtag that goes with the chat you’re participating in. I’ve written a few Tweets and sat wondering why no one was interacting, only to realize 5 minutes later that I never used the hashtag. Those 5 minutes are really valuable, especially during a 30-60 minute chat. Make sure you’re being heard and you’re using your time wisely by adding those little words that will connect you with everyone else!
To make things easy, just copy the hashtag so it’s easy to paste at the end of your tweets.
5. Use Tweetdeck to keep yourself afloat.
A great source to keep yourself organized and ensure you won’t forget something as simple as using the hashtag is TweetDeck. This site eliminates the grunt work out of having to search for the chat you’re participating in. The site is divided into different, customizable columns of your choosing.
During Twitter chats, I recommend setting up at least two columns: The “hashtag”, and “@ mentions.”
The hashtag column, like the middle #NectarChat column in the image above, shows all live tweets containing “#NectarChat.” This is really useful, since it will automatically filter out all other tweets and only show you the ones being shared by the Twitter chat participants.
The “@ Mentions” column will show you all of the tweets where someone mentioned your handle. This is useful because Twitter chats can move quickly, so you may not always see when someone asks you a question or responds to your tweets. Being able to look in the “@ Mentions” section will show you every time you’re mentioned.
Overall, TweetDeck is super handy because it shows you who is sharing what, and allows you to quickly join in and participate in the discussions.
6. Practice makes perfect.
Like most things, being consistent and participating in Twitter chats will help you feel more comfortable and confident as the time passes. We’re certain you’ll find your groove the more you join in on chats! Below, you can find a handy list of a few of my favorite chats.
When: Wednesdays at 7 PM Central Us Time
Join this chat if: you’re a creative blogger or entrepreneur looking for a supportive community to share your passion projects with. #CreateLounge covers blogging, branding, social media, and much, much more.
When: Sundays at 8PM Central US Time
Join this chat if: you want to improve your blogging results. This chat is particularly informative because co-hosts frequently join in and share their vast knowledge on popular blog topics and questions. #BlogChat is also a popular chat that streams at live events.
When: Thursdays at 7PM Central US Time
Join this chat if: you’re a blogger, graphic designer, or freelancer. If you already love all things Elle & Company, you will love this chat packed with tips and knowledge on blogging and business strategies to help you grow.
When: Wednesdays at 9PM Eastern Standard Time
Join this chat if: you want to expand your knowledge on all things Pinterest. This chat covers best Pinterest practices, new uses, and tools to help you use Pinterest to its fullest potential.
#NectarChat (hey, that’s us!)
When: Every other Wednesday at 6pm PST
Join this chat if: you’re already an avid TNC follower and love being a part of our community! This chat is geared toward bloggers and creative entrepreneurs who want to stand out, grow their audience, and make connections. Want to be notified by email when the next chat is? You can sign up here!