Conversations are happening. Every Wednesday from 8 to 9PM small business owners from across the United States are getting together to hash out common issues (#smallbizchat). At 9 PM on Tuesday customer service is the topic on hand (#custserv), while on Sunday the discussion turns to the intricacies of writing a blog (#blogchat).
Real people getting together to discuss the most current problems and innovations- what kind of conversation could be better for a small business owner? If you don’t interact with other entrepreneurs and business professionals on a constant basis, you are probably missing out on the constantly evolving savoir-faire which is so crucial to your business’s survival.
And even if you are well-connected and well-informed, nothing can compare to the wealth of knowledge which flows across the internet every day and is concentrated into highly focused conversations on Twitter chats.
Twitter chats like #smallbizchat, #custserv, and #blogchat are designated as such by their hashtag. To participate you simply need to “show up” in front of your computer or smart phone screen at the scheduled time and search for the hashtag, which also needs to be included in any tweets which you would like to contribute to the conversation.
— Melinda Emerson (@smallbizchat) September 18, 2012
Participating in these chats will give you a chance not only to meet the expert, but to be the expert as well. While passively listening to what people are saying will ensure that you are staying on top of the latest developments in your area of interest, it is important to look for opportunities to make useful comments of your own. You will gain in respect among your targeted online community and establish yourself as an expert in the areas you know best.
As a small business owner you may sometimes feel isolated from the larger corporate community in big cities. Participation in the online community is not only a way to bridge this gap, it is the way of the future.
The communication which goes on every day on the internet is much more informative than water cooler chats, lunch meetings, power breakfasts, and conferences combined because it pairs the knowledge of large numbers of people with the selectivity of personal conversations. Cultivate your online presence as carefully as you cultivate your relationships with clients, suppliers, and neighbors.
There are a number of applications out there to help you manage your Twitter chats. TweetDeck is a fantastic way to organize your Twitter experience by creating columns focusing on targeted topics alongside your timeline and interactions. Once you’ve set up the application just type the name of the Twitter chat you are looking for into the search bubble at the top of the screen and a column dedicated to the chat will be added.
If you are looking for a simpler service which has faster refresh times, try TweetChat or Twubs. The latter has more options and also allows you to embed the chat into your website- a great tool if you want to start your own chat. Of course there are many other Twitter tools out there, such as Monitter which allows you to narrow in on a specific geographical location.
When you are ready to get started, you can check this Twitter Chat Schedule for a schedule and description of many of the chats out there. Don’t wait- conversations are happening with or without you.
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