Guest post by Jason Scott, one of my co-workers at Social Fresh, and @jlscott13 on Twitter.
You stumble around Twitter blindly. You follow random users with the hope that one will follow back, and you struggle with barely getting over 50 followers. Cursing the fates that your blog is not getting the readership you had hoped, you are on the verge of just packing it in and moving on. But, what a minute, how is your Twitter engagement going? Are you actively engaging with other users and contributing quality content?
Twitter is worth far more if you engage and contribute. In little over two months, I have learned how to actively use #twitterchats to further my personal brand. If you have not participated in a chat, you are missing out on a great networking and sharing opportunity. A year ago, I had failed to understand the importance of Twitter, much less known what #twitterchats were. I was lost trying to find followers worth following, and I barely had over 50 followers. However, a few months ago I began actively participating in chats to find worthwhile connections.
Quite simply, #twitterchats are this decade’s answer to chat rooms. As a twitter user, I’m sure you are familiar with hash tags. These have been developed to categorize content, but have transformed into something more than just a clever cap on a tweet.
#Twitterchats are online networks of individuals discussing a specific topic with a specific hash tag at a specific predetermined time. Most are weekly, but others are once or twice a month. Here is the master Google document of #twitterchats. (Link to: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AhisaMy5TGiwcnVhejNHWnZlT3NvWFVPT3Q4NkIzQVE&hl=en#gid=0)
Personally, I have a wide range of interests and passions, so I regularly engage in a slew of chats. These include #writechat, #storycraft, #internchat, #u30pro, #mbizchat, and #celebchat, just to name a few. I have found that the more times I participate in these, the more they surprise me. New followers are the obvious payoff, but it is about much more than that. These chats have opened up a whole new world of networking to me.
I am able to connect with industry professionals, fellow bloggers, PR companies, avid Carrie Underwood fans, and even industry magazines. I am able to share what I know and learn from what they do. My interactions have led to a clearer understanding of how to develop a personal brand and improve my skill set. We can all learn from each other. This is what Twitter is about. Sure, you can tweet about what you had for breakfast or how your boyfriend dumped you, but…how interesting is that?
Conversation and engagement is far more interesting. The sharing of ideas, concepts, and information allow you to be open and learn from the best. Put yourself out there, and you will be surprised at what you learn.