Tag Archives: chat

Expanded chatting with Google+

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Have you tried Google+ (Google Plus) for your small business? While there are many reasons to do so this one jumps out from the others in a couple of notable ways. First of all let’s say what Google Plus is for those of you new to the name. If you are in small business marketing or simple want to market your own small business this can be a powerful, free tool.

Google Plus is Google’s new social networking division which incorporates a re-invention of some of the best of Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks. It is fast-moving like the Twitter stream or the recently modified Facebook stream but in the stream it allows videos, photos, long posts, short posts, links with thumbnails, and +1′s which are similar to Facebook Likes and Twitter re-tweets. If you don’t use those social networks I would be very surprised to find you reading this article!

With me and my readers the question always is, “how can this be used or leveraged for or by small business?” Really the full answers are yet to be determined but the chat feature is something we really have been waiting for. On Twitter you can chat with anyone. It should also be understood that everything on Twitter except Direct Messaging is completely public. To Direct Message with someone you have to be “following” them and they have to be “following” you.

On Facebook you can also send private messages and to almost anyone but you cannot chat with them unless you are “friends” or in the same group together. Being friends on Facebook is not always the most ideal situation and let’s face it, getting to be a member of far too many groups on Facebook is way too easy to accomplish.

How to host a successful Twitter chat event

If you’re average you didn’t read this article. If you’re above average you read the title and got this far thinking, “I thought Twitter was all chat”. Welcome, you’re going to love this if you read this far.

Twitter, in case you do not know, is the wildly popular global, open stream, 140 character text chat system. If you have been around long enough to remember the AOL chat room with 25 guests maximum image that with thousands of guests but limited to 140 characters including spaces called “tweets”. If you do not yet have a Twitter account here’s what I suggest:

  • Spend a minute thinking about your Twitter “handle” aka your nickname on Twitter. Mine is@thekencook because @kencook was take. The @ symbol is automatically pre-pended so you do not have to include it when registering for your handle.
  • It would be advisable, also, to keep SEO in mind and incorporate a keyword but that’s less critical than actually *having* a Twitter account. As you tweet and converse you can use keywords, especially in links, to help boost your SEO. Google does index Twitter tweets.
  • Personally, I would double check to see if there is a domain name to match your Twitter handle available. For example I have thekencook.com to go along with my Twitter handle. You may want yumacondos.com or sencondchancehomes.com if you catch my drift.
  • Keep in mind the shorter your Twitter handle the less characters your name will take up when people ReTweet (forward) your messages. My friend Jeremy Blanton has JB140 so his only takes up 5 characters. Jeff Turner has respres. I do recommend the shorter names if you can get one that works.

There is more to it that just these but for starters you should be good to go with those. (You actually can change your Twitter handle later if for some reason it is necessary like when I was employed by AmericaHomeKey and ran their account and they terminated my division – I just kept it and changed the name to RefLeads http://twitter.com/refleads for example.)

 

Twitter Chat

Now that everyone has a Twitter account, ahem, let’s look very briefly at how a “Twitter chat” is different from “chatting on Twitter” and a basic look at how to do one right.

When you chat to an individual on Twitter in the open stream, not in Direct (private) Message, you prefix their handle with the @ symbol like @thekencook would come to me. You will also see words that are prefixed with the # symbol like #smedge. Those are called hashtags and are used to set tweets apart to be followed by the #hashtag. #smedge is the hashtag for Social Media Edge.

To host a chat, let’s say for example a chat about new homes you may want to create the hashtag #nhs (keeping it short so it does not consume much of your 140 character). Prior to just creating a hashtag, though, it is important to make sure it does not already exist or is not being actively used for another purpose. One way of doing so is simply to use the Twitter search function and searching for your hasthag like so: #nhs

That hashtag, #nhs, for example, is highly active because it has something to do with Nationalized Health Care in England evidently.

Another way to check, which does essentially the same thing but includes a nice little activity chart, is by visiting hashtags.org and doing the search from there. For example doing the search there for #blogchatshows a fairly active hashtag. Pick a hashtag that has not been used for several days to help ensure you aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes.

Once you have your Twitter account and have found a hashtag that will work you need to start building community around it. Firstly let all of your friends know. Do a Plancast announcement as well if you have followers there. You should also create a Facebook page with the name of the Twitter chat and invite your friends from Facebook who would be interested.

What are hashtags “#” on Twitter?

The topic came up this morning at Social Media Breakfast Atlanta in a round about way. During a discussion about how to “organize” tweets and streams on Twitter we tackled hashtags. You know – the pound sign. Number sign. Tic tac toe sign – #

I love “mind pictures” or “object lessons” and they are most valuable when speaking of an intangible but interactive event. A la Twitter.

One of the most common ways I speak of social media in general and Twitter in specific is like going to a party or to the mall. For this example let’s use the image of a party at someone’s large home. At our party there are hundreds of people all chatting, dancing, singing … a major cacophony. Entering the mansion where the party is being held it is difficult to separate out individual conversations from all the commotion.

You see a friend with whom you would like to speak across the room. While you certainly could shout to her from across the room the conversation would likely be a very short one and details could be missed because of all the noise in the room.

You work your way across the room until you are standing in the smaller group with your friend and you can now exchange pleasantries and engage on a more personal level. Although you can hear the other chatter and noise from the party you can still converse.