Have you ever participated in an HR industry Twitter chat? Several exist—SHRM’s #NextChat and TalentCulture’s #WorkTrends are popular and notable examples.
They’re popular because participating in them delivers a variety of benefits, including:
- Network with HR pros and influencers
- Learn about a variety of HR topics
- Share your knowledge
- Professional improvement
- Become more visible in HR industry
- Grow HR Twitter followers
Not everyone knows how to participate in an HR Twitter chat, so we thought we’d provide a quick guide to help you get started, using #NextChat, the industry’s leading chat, as an example. The good news is once you get up and running with Twitter chats, participating is easy. Soon enough, you might find yourself chatting on a regular basis.
Q: When do Twitter chats take place?
A: Individual Twitter chats are typically held weekly, and typically last either 30 minutes or one hour. SHRM’s #NextChat, for example, is a one-hour chat held every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time. To facilitate conversation, chats are dedicated to a different HR topic each week, and questions on the topic are posed to participants to answer. Many chats also feature special guests. For example, a recent #NextChat topic was “Advice for New HR Professionals,” and SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor was one of the guests.
Q: Can HR brands participate, or is it just for HR professionals?
A: Some HR brands do participate in chats through their company Twitter accounts, although they are greatly outnumbered by HR pros. Provided that brands follow the spirit of the chat—to share HR knowledge and network—they are generally welcomed. Twitter chats are not opportunities to pitch products and services.
For brands considering whether to participate, a good alternative to using company Twitter accounts is to have subject-matter experts participate via their professional Twitter accounts.
Q: Are chat questions provided in advance?
A: Yes, for some chats, including #NextChat.
SHRM posts the topic and questions in advance for #NextChat on its blog—typically on Monday or early Tuesday. This information is helpful for determining whether or not to participate (not every topic will be a fit), and also enables you to prepare answers in advance. SHRM has a dedicated Twitter account—https://twitter.com/shrmnextchat—which provides updates related to the chat, and which publishes the chat questions over the course of the hour.
Q: Are there any technical requirements to participate?
A: The chats use hashtags (e.g. #NextChat) to make them easier to follow on Twitter itself, but we recommend using TweetDeck or something similar for performing the chat.
Below are the simple instructions for setting up TweetDeck for participating in a chat. Again, we’ll use #NextChat as the example.
- While logged in to the Twitter account that will be used for the chat, visit https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/.
- Set up two columns in TweetDeck, one for streaming #NextChat (so you can follow the chat and see the people/brands participating) and one for notifications for your Twitter account (so you can see when people retweet you, reply to you, follow you, etc., which enables you to respond).
To set up the #NextChat column in TweetDeck:
- Click “Add Column”
- Screen will pop up saying, “Choose a column type to add.” Select “Search”
- In the search box, type in #NextChat (now you’ll be streaming the hashtag)
To set up Notifications column in TweetDeck:
- Click “Add Column”
- Choose column type “Notifications”
Provided that you don’t delete these columns, TweetDeck will remember them going forward for future chats.
Q: What should I be doing during a Twitter chat such as #NextChat?
A: Three things:
- Tweeting your answers. Wait until the relevant question is tweeted by @shrmnextchat before tweeting your answer—and be sure to include “#NextChat” at the end of your tweet. To post your tweets, you can either:
- Click the “Tweet” button at the top left of TweetDeck, or
- You can quote-tweet the tweet in which @shrmnextchat introduces the relevant question, and then put your message there.
Here’s an example. The first question for the “Advice for New HR Professionals” #NextChat was: “Q1: What job search advice do you have for new graduates looking for their first job in the HR profession? #NextChat.”
You might answer: “A1: Talk with HR professionals about their experiences getting their first HR job. What worked? What would they do differently? #NextChat”
Then just keep on answering questions as they are published. There’s no rule that you have to answer every question, and you can tweet multiple answers to a single question if you want.
- Engaging with people. Chats are great vehicles for being social. Like, retweet and reply to others’ answers, and be sure to respond to people who engage with your tweets. When you have the #NextChat and Notifications columns set up, this is easy to do. Simply click the person’s avatar or name and then click the follow button.
- Having fun. While HR Twitter chats such as #NextChat often cover important industry topics, they are generally pretty light-hearted. After all, they’re vehicles for members of the HR community—from leading influencers to fledgling professionals to industry solution providers—to enjoy each other, learn from each other, and help each other and the industry grow. Keep that spirit in mind, and you should get great value from Twitter chats.
HRmarketer tracks all the HR Twitter Chats (and Event hashtags)
Customers of HRmarketer software have access to all HR Twitter Chat and thousands of HR conferences globally – realtime or from the past. See everyone that participated, tweet transcripts, shared content, and a whole bunch more. Learn more.