How to take part in a Twitter chat (and promote your business for free)

A Twitter chat is an excellent way to grow your following on Twitter and promote your business for free.

You may think you don’t have time for yet another social media commitment, but I’ll show you how to make Twitter your preferred online networking platform.

In this blog post, we’ll explain in detail what a Twitter chat is, how to take part in one, and the secret sauce to promote your business effectively.

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But is Twitter still relevant?

Twitter is often overlooked when it comes to social media marketing in the interiors industry. You’ve been told many times the place to be is the visual-focused platforms. The most popular being Instagram and Pinterest. That’s how you’re meant to be showcasing your products or services to your potential customers, right?

Well, yes, if you want to put all your eggs in a couple of baskets.

Why not take advantage of the untapped power of Twitter to promote your business too? Twitter has a whopping 330 million active users, and their views keep going up month after month. Twitter is growing strong and it’s here to stay.

Here’s the thing.

You don’t have to spend hours on Twitter to see results. If you can’t dedicate much time to the platform, all it takes is an hour now and again. A single hour – that will go so quickly – you won’t even notice. You will learn, have fun with like-minded people and have the chance to put your brand in front of a targeted audience.

Welcome to magic of Twitter chats.

What is a Twitter chat?

A Twitter chat is an open conversation. They usually take place at a particular time every week or month. These conversations are always centred around a specific topic. A host or moderator tweets questions for participants to answer and interact with each other. Sometimes, Expert Guests are invited to share their insights and expertise.

Even though the conversation is structured around a topic and specific questions, interesting subtopics and valuable content are shared as a result.

And how do you keep track of it with all the noise on Twitter?

Hashtags.

Each Twitter chat has a branded hashtag to identify it (e.g. #interiorschat). By using the same hashtag throughout the chat, participants ensure they can read all the relevant tweets — even if they don’t follow each other. That’s because you can search for a hashtag and read the latest tweets that include it (both on desktop and mobile).

There are some clever hacks to make following a Twitter chat even easier. We’ll show you all the tips and tricks later. But first, business.

How is a Twitter chat going to help promote my business?

Two words: exposure and connection. Let’s tackle exposure first.

Twitter chats gather a lot of momentum with some tweets getting thousands of views. The conversation is usually amplified by the high level of engagement in Twitter chats. Replies, likes and retweets all contribute to the dissemination of content. 

That could be YOUR content.

And don’t forget about the connection factor. Twitter chats are essentially online casual networking events without a tie or uncomfortable shoes. Everybody is welcome to join: from your peers, people in relevant industries and your potential clients/customers. It’s good fun!

Whether you have a B2B or B2C business, you’re likely to stumble upon people who’ll love your products or services. Or perhaps fellow business owners who’d happily recommend you when the opportunity arises.

Remember, Twitter chats are online networking, but there’s always a person behind the screen. Every connection you make is an opportunity.

Before you join a Twitter chat…

Obvious but necessary. Make sure you have a Twitter account ready:

  1. Sign up for free
  2. Choose your display name and unique Twitter “@” handle
  3. Upload a profile photo
  4. Add your bio description and a link to your website
  5. Follow relevant accounts (like @InteriorsChat)

If you want to dig deeper, here’s an article to help you get started. And if you’re already an active user, check this awesome in-depth Twitter guide.

How to take part in a Twitter chat

Now that we know the “why” let’s talk about the “how”. It’s easy.

1. Find the right Twitter chat for your business

You want to participate in the most relevant chats for your business. Tweet Reports has a comprehensive list of Twitter chats around the world. You can filter them by day of the week.

If you’re in the interiors industry it’s worth checking #interiorschat, #kbtribechat, #upcycledhour and #handmadehour. Popular chats in other topics include #ethicalhour, #UKBizLunch and #B2BHour.

Danielle Bayes has compiled the best list of UK-based Twitter chats. In this list, you’ll also find plenty of hyperlocal chats. Ideal for those wanting to focus on a regional audience. 

2. Prepare for the Twitter chat

Check the time and date of your Twitter chat of choice. Does it run weekly or monthly? The host usually has a pinned tweet at the top of their feed with all the details.

Next, add it to your calendar noting the hashtag name. You don’t want to miss a chat if the topic fits your business. Don’t forget to set up a reminder on your phone too. 

Share the chat details with your current audience on Twitter. Retweeting the host’s reminders is an easy way to invite your followers and bring the community together.

3. Start chatting

Once the chat begins the host welcomes participants to the chat and, sometimes, guidelines are shared. Make sure you respect them as every chat is different. Shortly after, you will have the chance to introduce yourself and your business in the Ice Breaker. This is a tweet designed to get people chatting. 

IMPORTANT: Always make sure you include the relevant hashtag in every single tweet and retweet you post. This will ensure all participants (and beyond) can read your content. Otherwise, you really are talking to yourself.

How to follow a Twitter chat as a beginner

Use the Twitter app on your phone/tablet or the Twitter website on a desktop to follow the conversation. Simply type the hashtag in the search bar (e.g. #interiorschat) and sort the results by “Latest” tweets. Here, you can see a reversed chronological list of the Twitter chat (most recent on the top).

How to follow a chat as an advanced Twitter user

If you’re comfortable with Twitter, try the free web app Hootsuite to follow the chat. Sign in with your Twitter account and create three columns (called streams): your own home feed, your mentions (replies), and the hashtag of the Twitter chat. You can choose how often the page refreshes to be on top of the conversation.

4. Engage with the questions

The chat’s questions are posted at regular intervals (every 5 to 10 minutes). For every question (Q1, Q2, Q3, etc.) respond with your answers (start your tweets with A1, A2, A3, etc.) That way everyone knows what question you’re replying to.

You will find that each participant goes at their own speed. Get involved in as many questions as you can, or sit back and read the conversation. Share your views and experience. There is no right or wrong. 

Always reply when people engage with you, like other participant’s tweets and retweet useful content to build relationships. People will be more likely to follow you and continue to engage with you in the future.

5. Provide value and share your products or services

This is the secret sauce to boost your business with Twitter chats. You have to provide value, be helpful and share your honest experience.

Don’t force every reply and interaction by pushing links to your products or services. You don’t become an authority in your field by spamming people with no strategy. Instead, get used to sharing useful ideas and tips regularly, whether they’re yours or not.

That’s how you become the go-to person in your field.

Then, when you tweet promotional content it will sit nicely within your pool of value. People will pay more attention to it because they know you only share “the good stuff.”

Join us at #interiorschat

Are you ready to give Twitter chats a go? Join us for our very own #interiorschat, where we talk about everything from interiors, decor, inspiration and business. We usually meet on the first Thursday of the month at 20:00 (UK time, UTC+1).

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and join our new Facebook Group to be the first to know about topics and Expert Guests! If you have any questions get in touch and we’ll help you out.

Have you ever participated in a Twitter chat?

Let’s keep the conversation going! Join our new Interiors Chat Community on Facebook.