Have you ever participated in a chat on Twitter.com? If you have, you know that Twitter chats can be a rewarding way to share ideas — and also make new connections on Twitter. And if haven’t participated in one, this is your opportunity.
On Monday, July 25th, Ramon Ray of SmallBizTechnology.com and I will be answering questions online at Twitter for an hour, between 7 and 8 pm Eastern time (same time zone as New York).
This chat is hosted by BlackBerry, meaning that the BlackBerry team will be moderating and asking questions.
This particular Twitter chat is helping spread the word about the Small Business Influencer awards we are producing, of which BlackBerry is the premiere sponsor. Voting is going on right now with the Influencer awards. As of today, we have surpassed 40,000 votes for 520 nominees (woo-hoo!) with another 20 days still to go.
Twitter has figured heavily in the awards. A lot of social activity to encourage voting is taking place on Twitter. So it seemed like a perfect fit to have a Twitter chat, where we discuss issues of interest to small businesses.
We also hope to have some of the Judges (and nominees!) from the Small Business Influencer awards join us in the chat.
Most of all, we invite YOU to weigh in, too. The best Twitter chats, in my opinion, are the ones where lots of small biz owners and entrepreneurs jump right in sharing their own tips, advice and input. Lots of participation makes the best Twitter chats — so don’t be shy! EVERYBODY is a “speaker” in a Twitter chat.
The @BlackBerry4Biz team (official BlackBerry small business Twitter account) has put together the following details about the chat:
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.
Remember — the hashtag to follow for the chat is #BBSMBchat. Look forward to “seeing” you on Twitter on July 25th! Mark your calendar now so you don’t forget.