What are SBSChats?
CEDEC Small Business Support (SBS) hosts a monthly Twitter chat centred on a variety of topics that affect your small- or medium-sized business. It’s a virtual venue where business owners and entrepreneurs from around the world can gather to explore challenges and opportunities, share insights, and enjoy support from others who have ‘been there, done that’.
How do these chats work?
Login to Twitter (or sign up for an account).
You will be able to follow the chat stream using the hashtag “#SBSChats”.
Chats begin with 5-10 minutes of networking where attendees introduce themselves and/or their business/organization.
The next 50 minutes or so are centred on a basic question and answer format (the theme of which will vary each time) where the moderator* asks questions and participants answer and engage in conversation. (Don’t forget to use the #SBSChats hashtag in your answer so it will show up in the conversation stream.)
The final 5 minutes is reserved for “pitching.” Participants can plug their site, product or ask for feedback on a business-related idea.
Anyone on Twitter with an interest in business-related topics, tools, and resources.
Are there rules to a Twitter chat?
The only real rule we ask you abide by is that you act in a professional manner, as you would at any physical networking or conference event. We will request that you introduce yourself in order to participate in the conversation or post replies. For example, “Hi #SBSChats, I’m Jane Doe in Trois-Rivieres. I own a SME & want to hear more about how I can grow my business.” If you haven’t seen someone’s intro, don’t be afraid to ask them for it. If you notice a participant acting inappropriately, please flag the conversation/tweet to us. (Twitter chats can become high-paced on the moderator’s end so there is a chance we may miss some tweets.)
How do I get started?
- Visit Twitter.com and open an account, if you don’t already have one.
- In the Twitter search field, enter the hashtag #SBSChats. You will then be watching a stream of tweets which include the hashtag #SBSChats.
- Begin by clicking on the blue button with a white feather on it located in the upper-right hand corner of the web page. You’ll craft your tweets in this space. Introduce yourself and where you’re from.
- Always remember to include the hashtag #SBSChats in your tweets so other participants will see your tweets.
- When answering questions (which the chat moderator will tweet out periodically), always use the question number (i.e.: Q1, Q2…) in advance of your response; this makes it easier for others to follow since chats can happen rather quickly at times.
A few tips to optimize your SBSChats experience
There are third-party apps and sites such as TweetChat, TweetDeck, HootSuite and Twubs.com which can also be used to participate in a Twitter chat. These apps/sites allow you to see the very, fast-paced conversation happening in real time. We recommend participating in a few chats before exploring third-party apps.
Stay on topic or ‘respect the chat’ as some like to say.
Aside from those tips, your best bet is to follow the rules of conversation. Engage, listen and ‘talk’ (that is – tweet!). If you really like what someone else says, RT their info so your followers can see it – and maybe some of your followers will jump into the chat this time or next as well!
If you need clarification, ask for it, as long as a ‘side conversation’ isn’t distracting to others using the hashtag.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to let us know you’re new to SBSChats.
What does the moderator do?
The moderator’s job is similar to a physical, on-site event facilitator: they guide a meeting to a specific point. The moderator will use @CEDEC_QC to post guidelines at the beginning of the chat, announce the topic, pose the questions and sometimes asks for clarification. Topic and question suggestions can be submitted by the community by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Moderators help organize and ensure a productive chat that creates new ideas, shares best practices, promotes collaboration, and highlights opportunities. Our current moderator is CEDEC Small Business Support’s Social Media Marketing Agent, but if you’re interested in moderating a future chat, please reach out to us at email@example.com.