Next Monday July 25th, we will be hosting our very first Twitter® chat! #BBSMBchat will be hosted by @BlackBerry4Biz and will be held between 7 and 8 PM EDT. The BlackBerry for Business Small Business Chat will be a unique opportunity to share stories, swap advice, and network with other small business owners. It will focus on the issues that small business owners face, how they stay current in an ever-evolving world of technology, and what inspires them to succeed.
If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat, don’t fear! We’ve put together a “How To” guide and a few suggestions for best practices:
What is a Twitter chat?
A Twitter chat is an online conversation that takes place among a group of people on Twitter about a specific topic of interest. A hashtag, created by adding the # symbol to the beginning of any word, is used to keep track of the conversation. In this case, we’ll be discussing small to medium business related topics with business owners, and the hashtag we will use to track the discussion is #BBSMBchat. You’ll need a Twitter account to participate. If you don’t have one, you can sign up at Twitter.com.
How do I participate?
We’ll be asking a list of questions from our @BlackBerry4Biz Twitter handle. Our guests of honor, judges of the 2011 Small Business Influencer Awards and small business experts Anita Campbell and Ramon Ray, will be there to answer questions and help guide the conversation – but it’s up to you, the participants, to really get the chat going. Answer any of the questions that motivate you. If you have an opinion, a story, or advice, we want to hear from you! Twitter chats can become a great source of knowledge when people like you share their experiences.
Choosing the Right Tool to Track the Chat
You may want to choose a tool to help you keep track of the chat all in one stream. We recommend using TweetChat, and have set up a page to track our dialogue: http://tweetchat.com/room/BBSMBchat. From this site, you will see the real time conversation of all tweets with #BBSMBchat. If you are logged in with your personal Twitter account, you will also be able to post all of your tweets directly from the site. Another way to track the chat is by searching #BBSMBchat in the search bar at the top of the Twitter homepage.
Before the chat:
- Make sure to follow the host, @BlackBerry4Biz, since we’ll be asking most of the questions that you don’t want to miss!
- For this chat, we have two guests of honor, Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) and Ramon Ray (@ramonray). You’ll want to follow them too since they’ll be sharing their expertise about small & medium businesses.
- Feel free to join and leave the chat at any time you’d like! Don’t worry if you’ll be a little late, or need to leave early. Join at your own convenience, we’re happy just to see one tweet from you!
During the chat:
- Make sure you use the hashtag #BBSMBchat in all of your tweets. That is how others will know that you are participating in the chat, and it will also allow your tweets to be aggregated into the chat stream.
- We will be asking designated questions throughout the chat. Our questions will start with a “Q” and the question number. Question one, for example, will start with “Q1”. Our questions will also be IN ALL CAPS, so that they are easily distinguished from other tweets in your stream.
- Remember that tweets are only 140 characters. If it seems a little difficult at first, don’t worry – all participants are condensing their thoughts too.
- Be respectful of other participants and remember that all Twitter rules still apply.
- Retweet great comments and engage with other participants.
- Have fun!
Differing opinions are always okay, but express your feelings in a courteous manner, please.
After the chat:
- If you still have more information to share or questions to ask, we’ll post a link to a discussion on the BlackBerry for Business LinkedIn group where you can continue the discussion.
- Make sure to follow people you connected with or found interesting. Remember, your peers can also be your best resources.
- Check right here at the Inside BlackBerry for Business Blog afterward for a recap of the chat, highlights, and a link to the transcript!
- Keep following us on Twitter for updates and information on upcoming chats.
- Stay in touch! We’re always here to help, so feel free to ask us questions or share resources!