One of the best ways to network on Twitter is by participating in Twitter chats. For those business owners who haven’t yet tried this social marketing strategy, it’s simple. At a pre-determined time, you log into Twitter to participate in a discussion related to one specific topic by using a chosen hashtag so that everyone can follow the conversation and interact in real time. Because of the diverse group of users that a Twitter chat can bring together, there’s a lot of room for open dialogue and discussion.

For example, each Wednesday at 8PM EST you can follow and participate in #SmallBizChat by logging into your Twitter account and typing #SmallBizChat into the search bar at the top of your Twitter page. You will then see all of the other people who are tweeting about the night’s topic in order of the most recent tweet. The moderator asks questions, usually with a designated guest host answering, but anyone can join in on the conversation by composing tweets with your comment or question followed by the hashtag #SmallBizChat.

This is a great way to get your name out there in front of your peers, find new people to follow and maybe even offer some advice that will get you retweeted, thus expanding your influence and reach on Twitter. Another benefit is that you can use the hashtag to review what was discussed later if you can’t attend the chat at the designated time.

Some of our favorite Twitter chats include:

  • #InnoChat – Conversations about technology innovations every Thursday at 12noon EST
  • #SocialMedia – The business of social media every Tuesday at 12noon EST
  • #Ideachat – A salon for Twitter networkers, followers, thinkers and entrepreneurs every second Saturday of the month at 9am EST
  • #IVAA – A coffee chat for the International Virtual Assistants Association on alternative mornings an afternoon

Of course,  active participation is the key to success in making your Twitter chats beneficial. To get the most out of the experience, ask and answer questions, add insight, discuss.

You can always start your own Twitter chat, too. What hashtag would your industry love to Tweet about?