If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me occasionally post with a #B2BChat hash tag, and perhaps wondered what this was about. #B2Bchat is a weekly conversation for B2B marketers, and I’m one of the four co-moderators. The objective is to bring B2B marketing community on Twitter together while discussing topics relevant to us as B2B marketers. There are many great chats on Twitter, but none specifically focused on B2B, so the #B2BChat fills this gap.
So you’d like to try out a Twitter chat, but don’t know where to start? This primer provides you with everything you need to know before jumping in.
What is the purpose of a Twitter chat?
Consider it a virtual roundtable – discussion on topics that are of interest to you. I use Twitter chats as an extension of my professional network. Working for a mid-sized company, I have very few marketing colleagues – so chats are a way for me to sound off ideas, ask questions, share observations and receive real-time feedback.
How are the chat weekly topics determined?
The topics can either be announced ahead of time (as we do with #B2Bchat), focused on trends of the day, or based on questions submitted by the chat community over the course of the week.
How do I join a Twitter chat?
Follow the hash tag in your Twitter client, and add the hash tag to your tweets if you want to participate in the conversation. Alternatively, you can use a web application called TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com/): log in with Twitter, then enter the hash tag – without the # sign – and you’ll find yourself in a virtual chat room, where tweets are automatically filtered for the hash tag you entered. If you use TweetChat, you don’t need to add the hash tag to your tweets; they are added automatically. If the chat is busy, I also open up the twitter home page and set a search for my @handle – so that I don’t miss messages directed at me.
Any tips on participating in a Twitter chat?
Just jump in – respond to messages, share your thoughts on the questions posted by moderators, throw out additional questions. You can also ‘favorite’ tweets that you’d want to go back to, or from someone you’d like to follow after the chat. Note that some of the long-standing chats, e.g. #Journchat or #Blogchat, can be extremely fast paced, so you may want to try out a chat with a more measured pace, such as #B2Bchat (hint hint).
If you are worried that excessive tweeting during the chat will irritate your followers, use this technique: start all of your statements with the chat’s handle (@b2b_chat); that way, only people who follow both you and the chat account will see your message. Same applies when you reply to other participants in the chat. If you want to completely separate your chat activities from your regular twitter presence, you can set up a different account for chats only.
What other chats are out there?
There are many chats in the Twitterverse. In addition to #B2Bchat, I also participate in the following chats on a semi-regular basis:
- #Blogchat Sunday 9 pm ET Weekly chat to discuss blogs and best practices
- #ARchat Tuesday 12 pm ET Weekly chat focused on analyst and influencer relations
- #journchat Monday 8 pm ET Weekly chat between PR professionals, journalists and bloggers
- #pr20chat Tuesday 8 pm ET Community focused on discussing how social media influences PR
- #IMCchat Wednesday 8 pm ET IMCchat is focused on integrated marketing and communications.
A side benefit of Twitter chats is that they allow you to connect with like-minded people, resulting in a growth of your Twitter network; that’s how my personal account (@kseniacoffman) overtook Firetide’s corporate account (@firetide) in terms of followers.
With this primer on Twitter chats, I hope you will join us for the next #B2Bchat this Thursay April 1 at 8 pm ET. This week’s topic: Integrating Podcasting and Video Into Your B2B Marketing Mix. And follow @B2B_chat for updates on future chats.