5 Tips For Navigating Your Way Through A Twitter Chat

tweet_chatI’d like to reveal a slightly embarrassing tidbit about myself.  I didn’t perfect the art of riding a bicycle without training wheels until I was the ripe age of seven.  That was not for a lack of trying either.  It just took me that long to understand the concept and put all of the elements together.

So when I liken participating in a Twitter chat to riding a bicycle, you have a better idea of where I am coming from.  In a Twitter chat you are trying to keep up with a fast-paced barrage of tweets posted by people, some of whom have written a book on the subject.  The mixture of trying to keep up and not sound stupid makes for a fun experience.

I recently had the pleasure of hosting the weekly ICMI chat (Click here for a recap) which discusses all sorts of issues pertaining to contact centers, customer experience and customer service.  Fresh off this recent experience, here are five tips to help you charge into your next Twitter chat without fear.

1. It’s all about the hashtag- Every Twitter chat will have a distinct hashtag (i.e. # or the pound sign) so that the other members of the chat can see your tweets.  I personally use Hootsuite where I create a stream dedicated to that hashtag.  This allows me to read every tweet.  Also be sure to include that hashtag when you post a tweet in the chat.

2. Focus- In order to keep up, you will need to focus.  The messages arrive fast and furious.  Do your best to focus and read each message so you can formulate responses that will contribute to the chat.

3. Tweet, Retweet, Reply, Favorite, Repeat- The name of the game is posting messages that contribute to the discussion.  If the host tweets a question beginning with “Q1” you should begin your response with “A1.”  Be sure also to retweet and favorite the messages you particularly like, and don’t hesitate to reply to others with comments and questions.

4. Learn something new- In these chats it’s really easy to get into a mode of talking about what you already know with a bunch of people doing the same thing.  I approach each chat with the goal of not only sharing what I know but also taking something away that will help me do my job better.

5. Make friends- Twitter chats are an amazing way to network with other socially-minded experts in your industry.  Participating in the #ICMIChat has connected me with some amazing people and given me a terrific connection with them when I attend ICMI conferences.

If you are a socially-minded individual with a desire to learn and network, seek out Twitter chats that apply to your industry or areas of interest.  I just happen to love customer service.  If you’re looking for a couple terrific Twitter chats, try #ICMIChat on Tuesdays at 10am Pacific time and #Custserv chat on Tuesdays at 6pm Pacific time.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Head of Quality at FCR, the most respected outsource provider. He has more than 15 years of experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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