Ten Easy Steps on How to Effectively Participate in a Twitter Chat

If you’re a Twitter regular, chances are you’ve probably noticed a hashtag reoccurring every week or every two weeks. You may have asked yourself, what makes a hashtag ebb and flow during somewhat predictable time frames? Well, it may not be a trending topic per se, but rather, a hashtag that is the central part of a Twitter chat.

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A Twitter chat is a live discussion marked by a #hashtag. As an example, #decortrends and #DIYtips are two hashtags used by @ZirconTools to identify chat tweets. By participating in a Twitter chat, you can elevate your company or brand. If you’re wondering how to join one, here are ten easy tips to get you well on your way to be an expert tweeter.

  • Sign in and set up. By making the most of your free Twitter account with a short bio, optional link to your website, and a bio image, you’ll be ready to go.
  • Find your experts. Identify and follow Twitter influencers within your industry that will help you understand which Twitter chats are most relevant for you to join.
  • Find applicable Twitter chats. You can find relevant chats by searching popular chat sites, such as Tweetchat.com. Once signed in, available “rooms” are listed and by clicking into a specific one, you can see the most recent tweets for chats of interest. Note the date and time of the chats.
  • Join the chat. There are multiple ways to log in and sign into the chat. Although all you need is a Twitter account to participate in a chat, it is often helpful to sign into Tweetchat or Twubs which are both cloud-based apps that specialize in Twitter chats. The advantage of signing into either app is that a live stream of tweets is automatically displayed for the specific chat and the hashtag is also already included.
  • Listen. Once you’re signed into a Twitter chat take a few moments to listen and view the chat dialog. By first monitoring the chat, you’ll become familiar with the chat lingo and the way the chat is orchestrated. Each chat has a host or a moderator. The host usually has the duties of posting chat questions.
  • Tweet. At the chat scheduled time, participate. It’s fine to take a step back, review, and listen to the online conversation before tweeting; however, if and when you feel compelled, jump into the conversation. Tweet questions are usually designated with a “Q” before the question number and will appear as Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. For others to see your tweets, make sure to include A1, A2, A3, etc. in your tweet and always remember to also include the chat #hashtag.
  • Share and retweet. When you find a tweet that you find particularly interesting, share the tweet or tweet directly to the person who posted the specific tweet. When you retweet, you’re acknowledging the other person’s idea and this can help build your own thought community as well.
  • Ask questions. While chatting, you may want further clarification. Often, the question is to be directed to a specific chat participant. Ensure you use the @ with the participant’s Twitter account, so the individual will know that the question is directed to him/her. Keep it brief and to the point.
  • Stay on topic. As proper chat etiquette, be focused on the chat conversation rather than straying toward commercial messages about your brand or tweeting about other topics that are not relevant to the chat.
  • Deepen the Relationship. The objective of the chat is to engage and share on-topic information related to the subject or theme. After the chat, enhance the relationship by following your new-found chat friends. Also, this will be a suitable time to expand the conversation to other topics of interest to you.

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Let’s exchange Twitter chat ideas. Please follow us @zircontools, like us on Facebook, or visit zircon.com. Interested in hosting your own Twitter Chat? Please read our blog, How to Host a Successful Twitter Chat for timely and useful tips.

Join us each Thursday at 11 am PST for #decortrends #DIYtips. Learn, share and engage.

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6 Amazingly Simple Headline Tips to Transform Your Existing Content

It’s springtime, a perfect time to review what’s in your closet and see what existing pieces can make a new outfit or a new look.

The same principles apply to Content Marketing.  With a few headline changes, you can change the appearance of your content to be brand new. Much like a wardrobe has essential components, there are six distinct components to a headline. An outstanding headline should be explicit and have at least three of the six components. And, just as some outfits work better for certain occasions, some headline words and components are more optimal on diverse social platforms.

1. Emotional

The headline should include an emotional trigger word using a superlative.  Examples are amazing, humorous, electrifying, stunning, inspiring, extraordinary, and successful.  Know your audience and speak to them, carefully choosing the words that will most appeal to your target customers. For example, the word “successful” is much stronger on LinkedIn than on Facebook or Twitter.

Creating a clever headline can also appeal to the humorous side of the reader and intrigues the audience to click into the blog. One of Zircon’s most popular blogs, “A Wall is a Wall is a Wall” tells a simple headline narrative that beckons the reader to find out more.

We used the superlative, amazingly, in our headline. We could easily change it to “6 Successful Headline Tips”, or “5 Effective Headline Tips”, depending on our target audience.

2. Content

Use a word or phrase to indicate the type of content the reader should expect. A picture or video can be useful in demonstrating to the audience how a tool works; Zircon, for example, often embeds video content into a blog via our YouTube channel. Other examples of content words within a headline include charts, quotes, facts, tips and tricks, habits, warnings and mistakes.

“Tips” works well across most networks. We used the word tips in our headline.

3. Topic

Hot topics can be trending topics found on Right Relevance, Buzzsumo, Hootsuite, Buzzfeed, Twitter, Facebook and more. Within the DIY world, hot topics include the words DIY, home remodeling, tools, kitchens, bathrooms and more. Select a topic that resonates with your audience.

Our topic is content.  (The word headline in our headline is a descriptive word. The headline would work with or without it.)

4. Format

Content Format reveals the style of your content.  Ever notice the numerous examples of a “Top 5 list of” or the viral impact of a quiz or the special interest people pay to personal stories? These examples, plus research reports and how to posts work effectively throughout social media.

The number 6 is in our headline to indicate a list post.

5. Promise

What happens if the reader clicks into your headline? What can they expect? This is what the promise should deliver to the audience. Perhaps they’ll receive a how to guide in home improvement or practical tips of how to install shelving and lighting or a way to create a larger space within a smaller dwelling.

Our promise is to transform your existing content with some simple headline changes.

6. Number

The headline length makes a difference and lengthier headlines spur increased clicks. Experiment with the number of words that are ideal for your target audience.

Our headline has 10 words, not too short, but not so long that is it is not catchy.

Did our headline live up to your expectations?

What’s in your content closet that can be refreshed with a new headline?

At Zircon, we’re continuously looking for ways to help solve end user problems and communicate our solutions in the most effective manner. We would love to hear from you about your content ideas and invite you to share your marketing experiences with us. Please visit us at zircon.comlike us, or follow us.

Please join us the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month for #diytrends. Engage, learn and share. We would love to hear from you!

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Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Sharon image