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5 Things our Social Media Manager has learned from doing Twitter chats

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Our Social Media Manager, Sarah A. Parker, has been attending Twitter chats on behalf of the company for a few years now and wanted to share some of the things she’s learned. You can find us in #MMchat and #socialchat most Monday evenings (starting at 7pm CT) and we also frequent #CMWorld (Tuesdays 11am CT) and #BrandChat (Wednesdays 10am CT), all from @UnionMetrics. You can find Sarah at @SparkerWorks

While at first glance Twitter chats seem really overwhelming- the busier ones have tweets flying by at a mile a minute- they’re one of the best ways to connect with new people in your industry, learn more about topics you’re shaky on or share your expertise on those you know inside out, and more.

Here are five things I’ve learned participating in chats. If there’s some wisdom you’d like to add, feel free to leave it in the comments!

1. You don’t have to do every chat.

Pick the most relevant for your industry and attend a few times to feel each one out, then keep an eye on the ones that you found to be the most entertaining and informative to join in when time allows or the topic is just too good to miss!

2. Don’t talk over the guest host.

Chats are meant to be interactive and being eager about a topic isn’t a bad thing, but it comes across as very rude if you’re constantly talking over the guest host during a chat. It goes without saying that you never want to be hostile during a chat either; if you’ve got something to work out with someone, a Twitter chat is not the time or the place.

3. Do tag others you think might be interested in a specific topic.

Even if they don’t normally participate in that particular chat or are outside of the industry entirely, it can be a great way to bring fresh perspective into a chat and help everyone make new, mutually beneficial connections.

4. Do set calendar reminders.

It can be easy to forget about a chat- especially if it takes place during a busy workday- so setting calendar reminders that go off half an hour or ten minutes before a chat are a great way to be sure you don’t miss one that has an especially relevant topic or guest host you’re dying to interact with.

Also don’t be afraid to drop in late if you got caught in a meeting or have a project to wrap up. Just catch up where you can and join in the conversation!

5. Do keep in touch with the contacts you make through chats.

Keep up on Twitter, add them on LinkedIn or even follow on Instagram if it feels appropriate. There’s nothing better than making a chat connection a real life connection by meeting up at a conference etc.

Bonus: Be yourself and have fun!

Don’t be afraid to show your personality and sense of humor in chats. As long as you’re professional overall, everyone loves to connect with a real person instead of a social media marketing robot. (Unless that robot is Merle, of course.)

Extra bonus: Measure your efforts! There’s nothing like seeing the reach of your ideas in a chat. Use something like our free TweetReach by Union Metrics snapshot reports to get an idea of a conversation, or go Pro and set up ongoing monitoring of regular chats you attend or host. Want to see just what our Pro analytics can do before you commit? Check out our live demo, or watch a recording of one here. And as always you can ask us any questions below or on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Happy tweeting!


Written by Sarah

September 24th, 2015 at 9:59 am

Twitter chat etiquette: 5 rules for being the Emily Post of Twitter chats

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Cosmo didn't have anything on Twitter chats in here, so we wrote our own. [Image via Flickr; used with Creative Commons License]

Cosmo didn’t have anything on Twitter chats in here, so we wrote our own. [Image via Flickr; used with Creative Commons License]

1. Do let your followers know you’ll be tweeting a lot for the hour of the chat

It’s a common courtesy and allows your followers to mute you if they want to for the duration of the chat. Not warning them runs the risk of an unfollow.

2. Don’t speak over the guest host

Tweet chats are meant to be interactive, so feel free to share your expertise and ask questions, but it looks rude if you’re constantly talking over the person who is meant to be the expert for that chat.

3. Don’t be overly promotional

Sharing one or two relevant links is okay, but you don’t want to run the risk of being obnoxious or looking spammy. If you have more relevant links you think chatters might be interested in, wait until the chat ends and share them, or write a roundup post about the topic and share it using the chat hashtag.

4. Do ask questions

Especially if there’s something you don’t understand! Chatters love to share knowledge and resources, so don’t be shy.

5. Don’t be combative

It’s fine to be opinionated, but don’t be obstinate. Do clarify your point if someone misunderstood what you were trying to say.

Bonus: After the chat

  • Follow people you’ve engaged in conversation with, and even send some invitations to connect on LinkedIn if it feels appropriate
  • Create a Twitter list of regular chatters
  • Share resources you come across that might be relevant to the topic, before and after the chat; all you have to do is add the chat’s hashtag to your tweet
  • Invite others to join the chat you think might be interested in an upcoming topic or guest host

Most importantly? Have fun with it! Don’t be afraid to be yourself and have a sense of humor.

Want more Twitter chat resources? Check out 10 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a participant9 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a host, and learn how you can Track Twitter chats and generate transcripts with TweetReach. Related: TweetReach Pro plans start at just $99 if you want to track a recurring chat. 

Written by Sarah

April 15th, 2015 at 11:22 am

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The top travel resources on Twitter: Accounts to follow and chats to attend

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Whether you travel for business or pleasure, you want the best information possible to plan your trip. So where do you get it?

Twitter has a host of accounts that offer up travel advice, suggestions and more, from those on a budget to those who want the best possible luxury accommodations. Below we’ve rounded up resources so you don’t have to take the time to do the research yourself.

Suggested travel accounts to follow (hat tip to Mashable for a lot of these):

  • Jeannie Mark, aka @nomadicchick, is a freelance travel writer and blogger who shares advice on different destinations she’s found herself visiting through her wanderlust 

  • Wonder what things are like from a flight attendant’s point of view? Look no further than @Heather_Poole.

  • Independent travelers (@TravelEditor) share travel tips and travel news from the editors of

  • Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) will keep you up to date on the luxury side of travel

  • Melanie Nay of @chic_travel also shares luxury lifestyles and travel experiences through her account.

  • Stacy Small, better known as @elitetravelgal, rounds out your high-end travel as a luxury travel planner

  • On the other end of the spectrum is @BudgetTravel, working to make traveling accessible to all

  • @FlightView brings you real-time flight information, which can be a lifesaver

  • Kristin Luna (@lunaticatlarge) is a guidebook author for Frommer’s; look to her account for travel experiences mixed in with her other interests and pursuits

  • Brendan van Son (@Brendanvanson) is a travel writer and photographer, and will take you with him on his non-stop adventures

  • For pictures in motion, look to travel writer and videographer Robert Reid (@reidontravel), who has written for a number of large travel publications

  • If you want more intensity in your travel, check out @Intrepid_Travel 

  • Sustainability and travel don’t have to be mutually exclusive, as @STI_travel tweets

  • Chris Christensen, the @AmateurTraveler, brings you an online travel show that highlights not only destinations, but the best ways to travel as well

If you want more than just reading the advice and resources provided by travel experts with occasional interaction, check out some tweet chats! Tweet chats give you the ability to weigh in with your own opinions and experiences, as well as ask questions of hosts, guests, and your fellow chatters. You can read through a past chat by looking at the hashtag for it, or feel free to introduce yourself and jump right in on your first one. Tweet chats are meant to be open, friendly and interactive. (Read more about how to get the most out of a tweet chat as a participant here.)

Try these out (hat tip to Travel Bites for these recommendations):

Written by Sarah

October 17th, 2013 at 11:27 am

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9 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a host

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Interested in Twitter chats? This is the second in our two-part series about Twitter chats. Check out the first one here, and get some tips for participating in a Twitter chat as yourself or a brand.

Hosting a Twitter chat? It can feel overwhelming, so here are some tips to help you get started and stay organized:

First things first:

  • Check that the hashtag you want to use isn’t already in use elsewhere, and isn’t common enough that your chat will be flooded with irrelevant chatter (you can do this by checking the spreadsheet in the next point, or simply utilizing Twitter’s search function).
  • Check the master schedule of chats and schedule yours at a time that won’t compete with another established chat in a similar topic vein (if there’s a time you want and the other chat is completely unrelated, go for it).
  • Add your chat to the master schedule, so interested parties can find it.

Promote your chat:

  • Announce to your Twitter followers that you’re starting up a Twitter chat, and be sure to include the time and hashtag.
  • Reach out politely to influential followers to help you promote it, if it seems like something they’d be interested in.
  • Reach out to influential followers and/or industry folks who might be interested in being a special guest. An intriguing or high profile guest can spark more participation.


  • Keep the conversation flowing with prearranged questions, but don’t be afraid to throw them away or save them for later if the conversation picks up on its own
  • Don’t be afraid to block someone if they’re being consistently rude to other chat participants
  • Welcome newcomers: most will proclaim themselves, so give them a warm hello and follow them if you feel its appropriate

Got any tips we missed? Add them in the comments!

Written by Sarah

February 21st, 2013 at 10:22 am

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10 tips for getting the most out of Twitter chats: As a participant

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Interested in Twitter chats? We’ve got a quick two-part series of posts about them! Here’s the first. Check back tomorrow for the second. 

If this spreadsheet is any indication there are a lot of Twitter chats out there; no matter your brand or area of interest, there’s sure to be one you can benefit from joining. But where to start? Check out these tips for maximizing your Twitter chat experience.

First things first:

  • Identify the chat or chats you want to join in on, and schedule them on your calendar with a pop-up reminder. This way they won’t sneak up on you and if you get busy, you won’t forget about them.
  • Lurk before you jump in: most chats are completely welcoming of newcomers, but if it makes you more comfortable just to sit back and observe a few times, do it.
  • Read over a transcript of an old chat session before joining in. Searching a chat hashtag will show you if they have one, and allow you to discover if it’s a good fit for the type of chat you’re looking for, and you can learn the conversation style.

When you tweet:

  • When you do join in, tell everyone that you’re new! Many will go out of their way to welcome you, and encourage you to join in on the conversation.
  • If you’re planning on tweeting for your brand, consider joining in on a personal handle first. That way you can get a feel for the way the conversation rolls in action, without any potential harm to your brand from a misunderstanding. 140 characters is short, especially when you’re adding a hashtag!
  • With that said, keep your tweets short and sweet: other chat participants can more easily add their own thoughts and retweet you if you keep it as succinct as possible

Chat étiquette: 

  • Don’t be afraid to respectfully disagree with someone else’s opinion on a strategy or tool, etc, but keep it courteous; it goes without saying that you don’t want to be contentious enough to get blocked from the chat
  • If you think someone misunderstood you, clarify your meaning and intent. If they’re determined to be upset, apologize and drop it
  • Don’t talk over the host or special guest, if there is one meant to be answering prearranged questions. Add your thoughts or expertise and share resources, but don’t dominate the conversation when you’re not the special guest
  • Some chats won’t have special guests and the hosts act more as roundtable moderators, moving the conversation along. Chime in freely here.

Joining in on Twitter chats is a great way to connect with people in your industry, learn more about a topic or facet of an industry you’re new to or want deeper knowledge of, and to pick up new tools of the trade recommended by others.

By making regular twitter chat connections, you’ll potentially find yourself with more meet-ups at the next conference you attend, an online mentor to ask tricky industry questions to, or simply some new and wonderful Twitter friends.

Got any tips we missed? Disagree with one? Talk about it in the comments!

Written by Sarah

February 20th, 2013 at 9:23 am

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