Questions and comments are encouraged to keep the chat going. Twitter chats seem to be popping up all over Twitter. If you are asking yourself, “What is a Twitter chat?” Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! Most social media users still doesn’t participate in Twitter chat because they don’t even know it exists. Take my hand as I open your eyes to the world of Twitter chat by explaining what a Twitter Chat is, tell you why you should participate in one, and show you the easiest ways to participate. What is a Twitter Chat? Twitter chats are public, which means anyone who has a Twitter account can participate. Each chat is aimed at an audience and has a different topic or subject each week to keep the discussion interesting and worth your time. The chats typically happen once a week with one hour of live discussion. Each Twitter chat has its own unique hashtag associated with it. This hashtag needs to be included when tweeting something that contributes to the chat. (For examples of Twitter chats and their unique hashtags, check out: 20 Game-Changing Twitter Chats) What are the benefits of a Twitter chat? There are several benefits of Twitter chats, some more obvious than others: 1. Build your network: Twitter chats are a great way to meet and network with other people who are passionate about the same things you are. When you participate, people will most likely want to follow you to get your future tweets. This gets you loyal followers more likely to retweet and/or comment on your future tweets. People interacting with you is great because each interaction is sent out for all their followers to see. This could make one of your tweets reach hundreds of people and even possibly go viral. 2. Get expert advice to your questions: The main purpose of a twitter chat is to communicate and share knowledge on a certain subject. Questions and comments are encouraged to keep the chat going. There are others out there who were once in your shoes and can give great advice along with examples. 3. It doesn’t cost a thing: Most chats have different guests each week who are experts on that week’s topic. These professionals usually cost lots of money for their time and advice. Twitter chats, on the other hand, are usually free, and offer top-notch advice without costing you an arm and a leg. The only thing you have to sacrifice is your time but it is well worth the knowledge you gain in return. 4. Knowledge is power: When you participate in a Twitter chat you are walking away smarter than when you started. You can take the Twitter chat insights you gain and apply them in the real world. As you learn more, the chances of you succeeding increase, especially when that knowledge is gained from experts who are successful at what they do. How do I follow and participate on a Twitter chat? There are multiple ways to participate but, here two of my favorite ways to follow and participate in any Twitter chat: 1.TweetDeck TweetDeck is an online or desktop application and is owned by Twitter. This app helps you better manage and monitor your twitter experience. It is highly customizable. One way you can customize your TweetDeck is by creating columns where you can easily follow and participate in multiple Twitter chats. Video: How To Use The Newer Version Of TweetDeck 2.Twubs Twubs is an online application that is dedicated to following one twitter chat at a time. It is very easy and simple to use. The advantage of using this is that it automatically includes the hashtag in each tweet you send out. Video: Using Twubs.com These applications are my personal favorites because they are easy to use, customizable and free. Don’t miss our Twitter chat every Friday Business Fuel Chat – 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET - #BusinessFuel – If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, business advocate or having anything to do with running a business, you don’t want to miss this weekly chat! Each week we have a different expert ready to answer questions about an aspect of running a business. This Twitter chat will help fuel your American dream. Mike Alder is a University of Utah business marketing student and marketing specialist at Lendio. Passionate about entrepreneurship, small businesses, and inbound marketing. Mike shows his passion by sharing stories of successful entrepreneurs and companies with small business owners on the Lendio blog. He makes these big success stories easy-to-apply in simple and easy to read language for the everyday small business owner and entrepreneur.