What is #SBSchat?
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 to participate in a Twitter chat
Assuming you have a Twitter account (if not, go to www.twitter.com and it will walk you through the few easy steps to set one up), log in and type #SBSchat in the upper right-hand corner search bar. You’ll see a blue horizontal bar with ‘#SBSchat’ in white. Below that, you’ll see a horizontal menu with ‘Top’ ‘Latest’ ‘People’, etc. Click on ‘Latest’. This is where you’ll see the conversation happen in real-time.
I like to have a few tabs open: the page mentioned above (‘Latest’) and another tab with my Twitter Notifications page open so you can view/manage both simultaneously, if you want. (For example, people may reply only to you in which case it will show up in your notifications.)
The questions we’ll be discussing are scheduled to appear approximately five minutes apart. It’s easiest to draft your answers in a Word doc so you can just copy/paste your answers into Twitter as the questions appear. This not only makes it easier (less panic of trying to think of something clever on the spot!), but frees you up to watch the rest of the conversation and retweet, comment, or like a tweet.
The first few minutes of the chat consist of tweets that cover ‘housekeeping’ items: welcome, topic, guests, how to structure your responses, etc.
How to tweet your answer under the #SBSchat hashtag: From the ‘Latest’ page, click on the blue ‘Tweet’ button in the upper right-hand corner. This will open a box in which you can paste your answer and it will already include the hashtag.
Questions will appear as follows: Q1: What critical #skills will #youth need to succeed in the future world of work? #SBSchat
Your answer should be formatted as follows: A1: [ your answer in a 280 characters or less ] #SBSchat
If you don’t use the option mentioned above (where it pre-populates the hashtag for you) don’t forget to add it to your tweet. Otherwise, your answer will not show up in the live conversation stream. For example, if you happen to be tweeting from your Twitter home page, it will not prepopulate the hashtag.
Feel free to include links to interesting, relevant resources (especially anything that links to CEDEC’s work!) in your tweets. You’ll want to use a tool like bit.ly to shorten up your URLs (Remember, you only have 280 characters in Twitter.)
How you can engage & spread the word
Prior to the chat:
- Watch CEDEC’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds (promos will appear more often on Twitter) for promo posts and share with your network.
- Copy/paste the event page info+ URL and share via email with your network. (www.cedec.ca/events – then click on the appropriate event link and it will bring up another page, thus a unique URL you can share that leads directly to that event.)
During the chat:
- If you’re not comfortable with tweeting, the next best way you can help us out is to retweet any tweets you find interesting and/or valuable to share with your followers. When you retweet, you’ll see you have an option to add a comment of your own. This is the place where you can add in a few relevant hashtags even if you have nothing further to add. (See the hashtag list below). For example, if you like a tweet that provides a link to a great article with tips on finding a mentor, you could add the hashtags #mentor #smallbiz #smallbusiness #entrepreneur, etc. Your tweet will then show up in the stream of conversations around that particular hashtag.
- Don’t be shy! If you’ve never participated in a chat before, you’ll see how easy and fun it is – and, like many people, you’ll probably become hooked! If you are at all unsure, have questions or want me to walk you through any of the above, just give me a call! (April Stewart, Social Media Marketing Agent)