Being slightly more of a social media expert than a commercial real estate maven, I easily forget that not everyone in the industry spends half their day on Twitter. (And trust me, I wish it were to be reading funny articles, but that’s absolutely not the case.) So what is it that I do  there? I share our content, build community and connect with industry folk to increase contacts, position GlobeSt as a reputable, newsworthy brand, and expand its reach. That’s the Cliff’s notes version, by the way.

I’ve seen lots of weird and wonderful things on this platform – many of which I will not share here – but one of the most interesting is found this blog’s title: the TweetChat. Being that we have an upcoming student housing-themed conference (a sector in which commercial real estate and social media are married well) we will be hosting GlobeSt’s inaugural TweetChat on April 24. In a recent article, I explained how professionals can participate in this “event” and ask questions of a pre-selected authority. Here, I want to go a little further and highlight just what a TweetChat is, and what it is most certainly is not.

For starters, a TweetChat is:

  • A public forum for interested parties to post questions to someone knowledgeable about the topic on the table. For our TweetChat, we’re highlighting whether student housing professionals find Facebook or Twitter more useful for networking, connecting target audiences, and conducting research.
  • A learning opportunity. Whether or not you ask a question during the TweetChat is up to you. But anyone who searches for the related hashtag can see the discussion. And hopefully learn a thing or two.
  • The chance to see who else in your group is on Twitter, and maybe find a couple of new relevant accounts to follow.
  • The chance to display your expertise, depending on the TweetChat format. Some allow for open comments from participants. If this is the case, you can hop in and share your experiences with a given topic. However, even following the conversation can lead to new ideas and insight.

On the other hand, a TweetChat is not:

  • A place to self-promote. While your company and account may gain some visibility, don’t go into a TweetChat expecting to gain followers or push your agenda.
  • An opportunity to sell. A TweetChat basically takes an interesting discussion to a different format. If you want to reach out to new clients, push a product or otherwise look for revenue, this is not the place. However, if you think that there is another Twitter account – and related company – that may be interested in something you have to offer, send them a direct message after the chat, or send them an “@”  reply describing your interest.
  • An instant message-like conversation. There is plenty of opportunity to participate and ask questions, but don’t expect real time responses. Moderators often have several participants to which they have to respond, so just be patient and enjoy reading the commentary as you go.

Hopefully this presents a little more insight into what constitutes a TweetChat. Personally, I encourage first-time TweetChatters to follow our discussion on April 24th on the aforementioned topic. The chat will run from 2 to 2:30 pm EST and anyone can ask questions or follow along with the tag #FBvsTw, being that we will focus on which social media platform is better for student housing professionals.

Readers: Have you ever participated in a TweetChat? What are your tips for making the most of the experience?