Twitter Chat #SBAchat

What is a twitter chat and why should I participate?  Twitter chats have been around many years, as this 2013 article “Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Tweet Chat” recently appeared first on my google search.

It offered this explanation:

A tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation. Sep 30, 2013

There are YouTube videos, blog posts, articles in top journals and books on the topic of twitter chats.  For example, a consulting firm in the UK, in 2015, posted “A complete list of twitter chats.”, which is one of many up-t0-date catalogues for twitter chats.

As a less technologically informed, and a rather new twitter, I have not had good experiences until now, in twitter chats.  Some of the chats I’ve seen were not organized for optimal participation.  And in fact, the participation was low, resulting in less affective sharing.

I stumbled into a twitter chat once by using a hashtag that was also being used during the live chat. Of course, that is the beauty of using the hashtag because anyone can reread the chats.

I personally don’t need to be present at the live tweet chat unless I were offering comments or had specific questions I wanted answered at that moment. I can just return to the hashtag after the live event.

Though I mentally know this, I emotionally forget that Twitter is not a platform even when used for live events, that requires a participant or viewer to stay on top of the conversation as it unfolds, unless the conversation warrants immediate response.

But for all its chatter, the recent twitter chat #SBAchat accomplished what the 2013 article said would happen: it filtered through all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation. In the end, the #SBAchat, moderated by @SBALinda, produced a positive experience for me and resulted in some one-liners that offer business pointers from experts on the several topics covered in the chat: women in business, attracting customers, keeping customers, using social media, researching your customer base and responding to customer issues.

Here’s a review of the hour-long twitter chat. I counted about 8 questions asked by the moderator in the chat.  I collated some of those responses I believe offer the new entrepreneur some tangible advice. I’ve kept the twitter handle next to their comments, if you want to follow up with any of them.

On Attracting Customers

@Brandon Schaefer:  Put yourself in their shoes.

@Brian Wallace:  People think they can throw money at the situation instead of putting themselves in the shoes of the others, and

@jansen communication added: Meeting them where they are most comfortable – online? In person?

A final great piece of advice by @nicole Reyhle:  New businesses should create a buzz before their doors even open to get local customers excited with anticipation.  (Some interaction on this comment focused on the dangers of creating anticipation before the business opens.)

On Keeping Customers

@BigIdeas offered a link to strategies for customer retention, published by NG Data and linked here. The information comes from a panel of customer service professionals and offers pointers from a variety of industries.

@Rieva offered a comment that addresses several questions posed in the chat. She writes: Don’t be scared of using big data.  The more you know about your customers, the easier the sale [and retention].

On the Use of Social Media

The following comments remind us that not everyone uses the same social platform, emphasizing why it is important to understand your target market and understand how to reach them through their medium of choice.

@SSCompServices stated:  Social media is great for most biz but the best thing to do is make sure you pick the right platform for your target market.

@SBECouncil wrote: Social media needs to be social.  Depending on the platform (Inst, Twitter, FB, LI, etc) the purpose behind a post may be different.  Find out what your customers use.  Test platforms to see what works for your #small biz (photos, surveys, special deals, etc)

@MyCorporation suggested: host a twitter chat!  Make it on a topic relevant to your audience, share news about the chat through newsletters, and engage with customers responding to your chat’s questions.

The question regarding women entrepreneurs garnered the funniest gifs and the most intense comments.  Here’s the best gif which sums up this part of the discussion:

This following remark really sums up what everyone was saying about the topic around women during this particular chat:

@LouGirl502 said: Framing the question this way betrays an old way of thinking where women needed to prove ourselves.  We’re already hereJ

On Responding to Customer Issues and Complaints

@WBC_nova answered: Don’t invalidate their experience.  Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Do ask for suggestions or improvements.  Do thank them for their business.

@cflofinancial added: I would acknowledge and attempt to resolve the issue.  It’s not about who’s right or wrong.

Check out all of the speakers who offered comments and advice and be sure to add them to your feed.

To see all of the comments just search #SBAchat on Twitter.

And for more detailed information on some of these topics, check out the “Am I an Entrepreneur” 3-part series, as well as the resources on the Silver Founder Academy website.

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