#64: How to Participate in Twitter Chats with Debra Eckerling

#TwitterSmarter Podcast: How to Participate in Twitter Chats with Debra Eckerling

In this episode, Debra Eckerling and I talk about all things Twitter chats. You know that is one of my favorite topics! She shares really helpful advice on how to participate in Twitter chats. And she’ll tell you how to find chats and what you should be doing DURING chats. And in case you’d like to host your own, Debra shared a strategy that will help prepare you.

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This podcast episode is brought to you by the #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat. Each week, I host this chat and bring together hundreds of people in an active one-hour discussion revolving around Twitter marketing. It’s every Thursday at 1pm ET. Hope to see you there!

Guest Biography

Debra Eckerling is host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, Sundays at 10pm ET. She is also a goal coach, project catalyst, and founder of The D*E*B Method. Debra works with individuals and businesses helping them set goals and manage their projects. She’s the author of “Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals” (due out in January 2020).

Episode Highlights

Twitter chats are live one-hour conversations focused on a topic and a hashtag. A chat host asks participants – and sometimes a guest expert – questions, and anyone can answer.Here are some of Debra Eckerling’s Twitter chat tips.

How to find Twitter chats:

  • Search the Tweet Reports Twitter Chat Schedule for different topics.
  • Search The Very Best Twitter Chats for Social Media & Marketing.
  • Ask your Twitter friends for Twitter chat recommendations.
  • Post a tweet asking for good Twitter chats on particular topics.
  • Choose several Twitter chats that excite you personally or professionally.
  • Schedule several chats in your calendar. (After you participate in the chats, select the ones you like best and keep showing up.)

How to participate in Twitter chats:

  • Set a reminder for 15 minutes before a chat begins, so you won’t miss it.
  • Before the chat begins, sign in to TweetDeck or Twitter or both. By opening up several Twitter browser tabs or by adding separate columns in TweetDeck, you can create different ways to follow chat conversations. Make sure you can see the:
    • Chat hashtag (like: #GoalChat or #TwitterSmarter)
    • Chat host’s Twitter feed.
    • Chat guest’s Twitter feed.
  • Attend a chat even if you can only stay for a few minutes.
  • When the chat begins, say “Hi” and introduce yourself to the host.
  • If you’re new, say “Hi, I’m new to the chat,” so people can welcome you and get to know you.
  • If you’re shy, just “listen” (read the tweets).
  • Follow the conversation, and if you have input to share respond to the chat questions. (Many hosts suggest you use “A1” and “A2” and so on before answering question 1, 2, etc.)
  • Don’t be afraid to start brief, side conversations with people as you get to know them, starting off with “Hi. How are you? How was your week?”
  • Don’t promote yourself.
  • During or after the chat, follow the host and some participants you may have connected with.

How to prepare to host your own Twitter chat

  • Participate in different Twitter chats to learn how they work.
  • Use The D*E*B Method:
    • D – Determined your mission: Why do you want to host a chat? How is this chat going to help you personally? How’s it going to help your business? What value is it going to provide?
    • E – Explore your options. Figure out what kind of chat you want. Do you want an hour or an hour-and-a-half chat? Will you do it by yourself? Do you want guests?
    • B – Brainstorm your path:
      • Decide on your topics, the type of guests you’ll have, the value you’ll provide to yourself and others.
      • Put all your branding materials together.
      • Plan the steps needed to reach your goals.
      • Execute your plan.

My Favorite Quotes

“Twitter chats are about the connections and being able to have conversations with like-minded people at the same time every week.” – Debra EckerlingClick To Tweet
“Hosting a Twitter chat probably did elevate me as an expert, which is wonderful, but that's only a little bit of why I did it. Chats give so many people beyond just me a voice.” – Debra EckerlingClick To Tweet

Tools, Links, and Apps Mentioned:

How to Reach Debra

You can connect with Debra Eckerling on her Twitter account and she can be found on her website theDEBMethod.com. Be sure to check out Debra’s awesome Twitter chat – #GoalChat – every Sunday evening. Details below in the Call to Action.

Call to Action

Your call to action for this episode is to check out Debra’s #GoalChat every Sunday at 10pm Eastern. That’s 7pm Pacific.

After you’ve done that, tweet Debra (@TheDEBMethod) and me (@MadalynSklar) to let us know what you think of it. We want to hear from you!

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Madalyn Sklar: Hey Deb, Thank you so much for joining the #TwitterSmarter Podcast. I am so happy to have you here as my special guest. And the question I have for you is: What are your best Twitter tips?

Debra Eckerling: Well, first of all, thanks for having me. I’m thrilled. Any chance we get a chance to talk is a good day for me. And I think my best Twitter recommendation is to embrace Twitter chats because it really is the best way to get involved in a new community – to make new friends, figure out who the movers and shakers are. And it’s awesome because you get to make – well, like I just said, you get to make virtual friends. But it’s more than that.

It’s about the connections and being able to go and have conversations with like-minded people the same time every week. And the other thing that’s especially cool about Twitter chats is a lot of people you know show up on different Twitter chats. So it’s, it’s like a check-in, especially for people who are entrepreneurs or in business. It’s just a great connection with the outside world.

One of the best things about Twitter chats is when you become a part of Twitter chats as a community, you keep seeing your friends at different Twitter chats throughout the week. So that’s a really good way to catch up, especially if you’re a solopreneur and entrepreneur. You work from home. It’s like a little watercooler break, and you can go and check in and then get,  get up on your day.

Madalyn Sklar: I love that and that’s so true. That’s one of the things I love about Twitter chats too, Deb. It’s like, you know, you, you you’re a solopreneur you work with no one else around you except maybe your dog or cat or something. And you have this opportunity to go check in and visit with all your friends and colleagues on a one-hour Twitter chat. I mean it’s … That’s pretty cool.

Debra Eckerling: And the other thing because of what you just mentioned is: Yes, Twitter chats are an hour, but if you can only pop in for 15 minutes, your chat friends are going to be happy to see you. It really does … because I do that with your chat all the time. I’ll look, and I’m like, “Oh, there’s 15 minutes left. I’m going to go say hi.”

And it’s just … It’s as if you’ve been there the whole time. It’s like coming to a party late and people embracing you and wanting to check in with you, which is wonderful. I mean, isn’t that what’s …

And I think that’s why people love my chat so much. In in this world when you connect with people who are happy for your wins and to hear what’s going on in your life, it’s just … There’s nothing better than that to keep you motivated and excited for the things that you’re working on, the things that you’re interested about.

Madalyn Sklar: Oh for sure and I … That’s such a great point though. Like, “Oh, the chats almost over,” and you weren’t there but you want to pop in at the end. That’s like OK to do. There’s not like some rule book that says you have to be there at the start of the chat and you can’t show up late.

You can’t be tardy. Like, you know, come in there when you can and there are plenty of times where with my schedule I can’t go and hang out on Twitter chats for the whole hour. I’ll just try to pop in at the beginning and say hi to everybody and hey I, I’m just stopping by for a minute, answering quick question or two and then leave. And like things like that are OK to do.

Debra Eckerling: Oh, one of my regulars – and this is the Sunday night – He actually has a standing meeting at 7:30 on Sunday nights. And a lot of weeks he comes in and then at 7:25, “Sorry, have to go.” But it’s almost like it’s part of his routine.

He’ll come to my chat for about a half an hour, and then he’ll get on with his evening. So little things like that. I’ve got another, another member who’s in Europe, and so it’s in the middle of the night, about 3:15 in the morning, her time. She wakes up and pops on the chat.

Madalyn Sklar: That’s awesome. That’s dedication. That is dedication right there.

Debra Eckerling: Well your community … First of all, you know that you were a huge inspiration to for me to start my own Twitter chat. And because I had been talking about it for years and then after we became friends and I got more into it, I’m like, OK, it’s time.

But that goes to the next point I wanted to put out about Twitter chats is: If you’re even slightly thinking about starting a Twitter chat and if you do, I’ve got tips on that. So, we’ll get to that in a second.

If you feel like starting a Twitter chat, the first thing you need to do is participate in Twitter chats. Now, where do you find Twitter chats? Well, Madalyn’s got a wonderful list, which I am thrilled to be part of, which I’m sure will be in the show notes.

Madalyn Sklar: They’ll be in the show notes, for sure.

Debra Eckerling: There’s also a site called Tweet Reports, which has like every Twitter chat under the sun. You can just put in a keyword, and it will show you where and when these chats are.

And then the other, the other two ways to find Twitter chats is to ask her Twitter friends, tweet out what you’re looking … what kind of chat you’re looking for, or just look in the hashtags and see, “Oh, This is interesting. I’m going to pop in.”

And then once you find a few chats you like, put them on the calendar, participate even if it’s for a little bit every week so you get a feel of how these ongoing chats work.

And then, you know, go in and say hi, introduce yourself to the host, follow the host, follow the regulars, follow, like, everybody … because if it’s something you like that you want to be part of, you want to just show your enthusiasm off the bat and then after a while you’ll start little side conversations because you’ll keep seeing the same people and it’s like, “Hi, how are you? How was your week?” “Yes, This is a very interesting topic. I love it because this, I love it because of that.”

Most … most chat hosts ask questions that participants can just jump in on – especially for for Twitter chats where they have a guest. You can go, and the guest is the primary person who’s answering the questions but they welcome everybody to jump in, whether it’s the intro or the icebreaker, or really any of the questions on the chat.

So you start getting involved, answer questions, make connections, follow that sort of thing.

Then the next step is to be a guest. So seek out the chats that you like and see which ones fit with your business. Now, I am going to back up a little bit. The Twitter chats you find can be for a personal or business or just because you think something’s cool. There are really no rules for what chat’s to be on.

Yes, you’re going to spend time and energy being involved, so it should spark your interest anyway because you’re going to be a much better participant if you’re excited about the topic.

But the other thing, too, is not every chat is for everybody. So find several, put them on your calendar, go every couple of weeks, pop in, chime in, see what works for you and where it would most benefit you and the chat for you to be a guest.

And reach out and experience a chat from that part of it, from the guest’s point of view, because there is – I know you know this, Madalyn – there’s a huge difference between being a guest and being a participant in a chat, you know, semi-passive, semi-active.

Madalyn Sklar: Oh yeah. For sure. These are all great things you’re discussing. There’s like so many things to unpack and dive deeper into. I do want to say when you’re talking about places to find Twitter chats, um, one way also is, when you are in Twitter chats, you usually hear about other Twitter chats.

I’ve learned about a lot of them just by participating in them cause people start talking about, ’em. People that, that are really into Twitter chats usually participate in quite a few, I’ve noticed.

Debra Eckerling: Yes. People who are really into Twitter chats are really into Twitter chats. So that’s not to say that the listeners here, they have to. I mean, I’m lucky if I pop into, like, two Twitter chats a week, just cause my life’s a little bit, you know, busy.

But even if I … And I’ll do that too. I’ll be, like, on my way to a meeting, and I’m like – or a phone call or whatever and – “I’ve got like five to 10 minutes of downtime. I will check my Twitter feed, see what chat’s happening, go and click the hosts, see the topic,” and I’ll either reply to something they posted on there or just say, “Hey, stepped in to say hi. Hope you’re all having a great day, hashtag whatever the chat is.”

So, you can participate as much or as little as you want. It’s, it’s like with everything: You need to find your balance. So, but you have to start by finding some chats and then participating regularly to see if it jives with you.

Madalyn Sklar: Now, why did you start your own chat? Like what was the motivation. Tell everybody a little bit about your chat, first of all: what, what your chat is, when is it and the motivation behind it.

Debra Eckerling: What I host is the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. It’s Sunday nights at 7pm Pacific. And I know that’s probably a goofy time for a chat, but it’s also the best time to get started for your week.

And what happened is, and it’s, it’s both a short and a long story: I have a very active Facebook community called Write On Online. We have a Facebook page for posting and reporting on goals. And a few years ago I restarted the Facebook group, which is more community-based.

Every day there’s a different conversation starter, whether it’s networking goals, regular goals. Today is Blog Share Day. My favorite is Toot Your Horn Thursday. And then there’s Photo Friday. So there are different ways to interact on threads based on what you’re working on to make new friends, communicate, see what connections are there.

And I love it, but I also live in a world where not everybody lives on Facebook. And I really wanted to extend my community and give people who are not into Facebook a different platform where they can report on their wins and share their goals and get the encouragement and support that they need.

So it starts every week. We start with the intro and then we go into what was your biggest win last week? What was, what are your goals for the week? And then we’ll dive into a special topic.

So once a month, the topic is that month’s goals, and the rest of the time it’s just a variety of business or lifestyle topics which range anything from any social media platform, uh, to marketing, to promotion, to online networking, to branding.

So it’s really … And then towards the end of each month, I shout out and I say, “OK guys, What do you want to be talking about?” because unlike other chats where you have guests, on my chat, everybody is the guest.

It’s just a platform where people can, you know, shake off their, their whatevers from the week before, report on wins and get excited about everything that they’re working on the upcoming week.

Madalyn Sklar: That’s so great. I love how you’re doing a chat that’s just completely community oriented where everyone’s the guest. I used to host a Twitter chat in the music community for independent musicians many, many years ago. That was where I got my start doing Twitter chats. And that’s how I did it.

I didn’t have a guest each week. Everyone was the guest, and we would pick a topic and just discuss. And sometimes it was scary ’cause it’d be like, “I wonder if anybody even wants to talk about this.” And you know, you just, there’s that like, you know, I wasn’t promoting a guest all week. I’m just, “Here’s a topic … Go!” You know? And every week it would be an amazing conversation.

Like I’d always be like, why am I getting nervous? This ended up being amazing. Like they were always amazing chats but mostly people do it as a Q-and-A with a guest but the community also participates. So, do you feel like your chat is like, is it just like a completely different dynamic because it is done that way versus, you know, the way we do these when we have a guest?

Debra Eckerling: No. I’ll give you a longer one. No, it’s, it’s great because, first of all, I know very few people who come to my chat in real life. And I’ve got anywhere from, I think I had 20 people on last week’s chat. So anywhere from 10, 12 I think I’ve had close to 30 every now and then.

But it’s, it’s a nice core group of people, and then we get a couple of people wandering in and out. And it’s, everybody is just so happy to be there. I’m so happy to be there. It’s, and you get this feeling by just typing. It’s amazing.

You know, some people will give … Some people come in, “Oh I’m sorry I’m late. I’m here now.” I also have people who chime in the next morning because the timing’s not … Sunday is not good for everybody.

But I have people who every week they’ll go through and answer the questions cause they want to chime in. But the timing of the chat’s not good. So if it’s an … I wish I could express it better.
I’m a writer. I should be able to express it better.

But it’s just so gratifying to have created, and it’s, it’s different and similar to my Facebook community. It’s people cheering each other on and being happy for each other, which as I said before, there’s not enough of that in the world. So I’m thrilled to be able to provide it on several different platforms.

Madalyn Sklar: Yeah, that’s great. Well, you have a really great chat. Um, and sometimes I think it is beneficial to have it on a different kind of day and time. You know, everybody seems to have their weekdays during the day. That’s very common.

But Sunday evening, you know, I I think is actually really smart. It’s just like … One of the things I’ve been experimenting with is putting out my newsletter on Sundays because most people don’t get them on Sundays. So then there’s less competition for me.

So do you feel like, like your Twitter chat is the only one I know that’s on Sundays? So do you feel like that you know that … I know it can, it can be good. It can be not really good or bad. It can be helpful. Sometimes not.

Like Sunday evenings just don’t work for me. I’m so sorry. You know, it just hasn’t been a good day and time for me. But I also am a fan of going against the grain, doing some things a little different. And I think that can bring great things from it. So what are your thoughts on that?

Debra Eckerling: Everything in life is trial and error. Yeah, that’s, that’s my, my thought. And for me to do a goal-setting chat, it would have to be on a Sunday night or Monday morning. And Monday mornings are too hard, too insane for anybody.

I knew that the Sunday nights I could commit to doing this. I’ve had, I think earlier this year I had to cover an event. I’m also a freelance writer. I had to cover an event. So I loaded my questions in there, and I said to one of my regulars, “I might be late. Would you mind? You know, timing.” So I put in all the questions. I put in all my answers, timed it all … “Would you mind?”

And it was fine. And I think I got to my own chat, like last 15 minutes of it. And then I went through, and I did the recap, and it like … “This is really nice.” So I wasn’t there. But look at all these people who, who are used to … It came together anyway.

And for me, I discovered this is wonderful. I, if this ever happens again, I can do that because my Sunday night people love the chat, and I think the other day, somebody tweeted, “This is becoming my Sunday night habit,” and I’m like, great. This gets you set up for a successful week. I love it. Totally, the point. I don’t think I answered your question though.

Madalyn Sklar: Well I, I think it’s smart, though. You know, what you’re trying to do is get people set up for the week. So what better time to do it on Sunday evening? I mean it, it seems like it wouldn’t make as much sense to do it, like, on a Tuesday afternoon, you know, because a lot of Twitter chats are on Tuesday.

You know, like it’s, it’s almost like on one sense you’re being different, so you have it on a day in time that’s not common so that you don’t have a lot of competition. But also you have a very specific thing you’re doing. You’re trying to get people set up to have a successful week. So what better time to do that than Sunday evening? It’s very smart. It’s very strategic, Deb. That’s how it comes off for me.

Debra Eckerling: Okay.

Madalyn Sklar: Like you really planned it out. Maybe you didn’t. I mean, the thing is: Too many times the things I do, I fly by the seat of my pants. And I remember when I started #TwitterSmarter, here’s what’s … There’s a funny story.

So my musicians chat, I used to run – I ran it for about seven years. And I did it on Thursday evenings, and at the time I, I, I just, I picked a day and time that worked for me ’cause you got to make sure if you’re hosting a chat it’s gotta worked for you so you can be there consistently.

And you can always change it, but not, but if you’re gonna change and do it early on before people are too set with remembering the day and time. But it worked out well. It was a successful day and time.

And like you, I was getting people in Europe coming, and it was really … It was like three in the morning for them, as well. And there … And I started getting a lot of, “Hey, could you do this earlier because we want to come too.”

So the kind of person I am, instead of just changing … It was pretty well established, probably a year and a half before that happened. So I just added a second time. So, I filled in my evening. But then I also did one earlier in the day.

So I did it twice every Thursday. But with my schedule I was able to do that. So I did it, and that went really well. I was catering to two groups of people in different parts of the world, and it was great.

Um, then when I started #TwitterSmarter, I was still running those two chats, and I thought, why don’t I just make Thursday chat day and my new #TwitterSmarter chat I’ll do on Thursdays also. That way my Thursdays are devoted to Twitter chats day and night, you know?

Um, so that’s what I did. I started #TwitterSmarter at one o’clock Eastern. So, basically I had one o’clock … It was 12 p.m. for me in Central time, so it was 12 p.m. Central #TwitterSmarter.

My afternoon musicians’ chat was at, it’s either two or three in the afternoon. I think it was three in the afternoon Central time. And then the evening one was uh 9 … 8 or 9 p.m. God I can’t even remember. It’s been years. But, but it’s what worked for me.

And then over time it worked for everyone else because if you’re consistent with the day and time, people will start showing up and they’ll remember.

When people say, “Oh, I’m going to do a chat every other week,” I’m like, “People will not remember every other week.” You confuse them when you do that because they’ll never know is this the right week? Is this the week on or the week off.

So I feel like it’s gotta be weekly or monthly, but I, I’m very strong about if you’re going to do it, do it weekly. Be very consistent. That’s how you get people to show up. What are your thoughts on that?

Debra Eckerling: And I completely agree with you. And for me: Sunday nights, they just work. Not only does it make sense with my brand, it just works for people and it gets people really excited about the week.

The other thing … Well two things. First of all, I was going to dip my toe in the water in the chat. So originally I was just going to be open office hours, and here I am if you want to talk goals.

And I had such a strong response after actually the first week that by the second week it was, “OK, let’s, let’s see if this was a fluke or if people are really interesting, interested.” By week three it was a new format; it was the check-in, the set goals, the special topic.

And I only do about five or six questions, which really gets people interacting, and it inspires a lot of side conversations. So it really started as “I’ll be around Sunday nights, I can be available on Twitter to chat,” to jumping in with all my clothes on really excited to have this chat.

The other thing. I have to remember what, what I was talking about that you, that you asked me. … We’re talking about the timing and the whole consistent… We were talking before about trial and error. I do on my Facebook group, I was doing check-in on goals … This is kind of funky.

I was doing checking in on goals at the end of the week on my Facebook page, and no one was responding. So I started doing it on Sunday, and Sunday afternoons were getting a good vibe.

One Sunday I was at an event all day, and I forgot to post “How did you and your goals last week?” And so I post it at like 11 o’clock at night, and I got so many responses from posting the question late.

So now on Sunday nights I post the question about checking in on goals, and Monday nights I post the “What are your goals for the week?” on the page. In the group I change up. But most of that content goes up in the afternoons because that’s when people, they want to take a break if they’re in L.A. or if they’re back east, it’s like after dinner and it’s a good time to check in.

There, there’s really no right time for anybody other than you. So you just have to, to play with what works and do it.

Madalyn Sklar: Yeah, I love that. That that’s the way to do it for sure because listen, if you’re not showing up, there is no chat. It’s always gotta be first and foremost what works for you. And if you’re really flexible, then start polling your community to see what works for them.

Um, but there’s nothing wrong with just picking a day and time that works for you and going from there. Now people listening maybe going, “I should start my own chat cause this, this sounds really cool and this could be a great way to build my community or start a community.”

What tips do you have for someone that’s like, “You know I wanna … I want to start this. I want to start one. This is really cool.”

So you, earlier you had mentioned people in general should just like be going to Twitter chats. So cause that’s a great way to learn about them if they’re gonna, if they’re gonna start one for sure. What are some other tips that you can share?

Debra Eckerling: The first thing that you should do before going on, on any endeavor, and this kind of goes into my business, which is The D*E*B Method is determined your mission, which is the “D.”

Why are you doing this chat? How is this chat going to help you personally? How’s it going to help your business? What is … What value is it going to provide? And you start with that. So that brings you the “D.”

The “E” – Explore your options. Figure out what kind of chat you want. Do you want to do an hour? Do you want to do a half an hour? Do you want to do a solo? Do you want to do a guest? Look at all the different elements that would go into creating your, your Twitter chat.

And brainstorm your path, brainstorm it out. Figure out what kinds of topics and things you want to discuss, what kind of guests you want to have, anything and everything that you think can, can put together, create a wonderful chat which would not only serve you, but also serve your community because let’s face it: There’s a ton of things out there distracting everybody in their life all of the time.

You need to provide value for yourself and provide value for others in order for it to be successful. It’s got to be a need. So look at all of the different parts, figuring out how it plays in together, figuring out how it plays into your life.

That is, I don’t say that that is the secret, but that is where you’re starting point for figuring out your Twitter chat. Put all your branding together, your creative elements. Figure out how you’re going to do it. Make a plan. Get it done. Easy.

Madalyn Sklar: That’s great. And it is. It really is easy, but you got to map it all out, and you gotta you know, fall … I love your D*E*B Method, by the way. We’ll talk about that in a moment. But how … Tell me how #GoalChat has helped your business ’cause you’ve been doing this successfully for … How long have you been doing the chat now?

Debra Eckerling: The chat will be two years old in January. So I started in January 2018. And a huge thing that it has done is expanded my community. Do I get a ton of clients from my chats? I get some. Do I get a ton of clients from my group? Some.

But I also have a book coming out, and I believe that my community development probably … well some of … You know, everything kind of works together. So now, I have a book being released by Mango in January so people can join my chats and join my groups, and they can figure out their road map through my books. So I get to, I get to help more people.

Madalyn Sklar: Which is what we all want to be able to do. So. I … that’s great and smart. Um, you know, me looking at you and your chat, I, I, what I’ve seen it do for you is help elevate you as an expert. And I think that’s one of the best benefits of hosting a chat ’cause people will see you as the expert in your field. What do you think about that?

Debra Eckerling: I wish I had said that because that’s a way better, more streamlined answer than I gave.

Madalyn Sklar: You gave a great answer, but I’m just saying that, you know, when I, I already thought of you as an expert in, in all of this before with the things that you teach and your online communities. But it seemed like running this chat is a good way to elevate how people see you in business.

Debra Eckerling: I, I think so. I really … First of all, I’m a firm believer that if you, that if you don’t love what you’re doing, you should really reevaluate your life and at least put something that you love into it.

And what I think my chat does for my audience and probably for me as well is it gives them a forum to explore new ideas, to share their own tips to … It gives so many people beyond just me a voice.

And as this goal-setting expert, I am thrilled to have built this kind of a forum where people can come together and be comfortable and look forward to it every week. It’s wonderful. So, yes, I … it probably did elevate me as an expert, which is wonderful, but that’s kind of, that’s only a little bit of why I did it. I really, really …

Madalyn Sklar: That’s more of the byproduct. It’s more of the byproduct.

Debra Eckerling: I really wanted to get more people involved in, figuring out in … in how … We live in a, you know … We live in a crazy world. There’s so much crap always going around everywhere. Doesn’t matter. We have control over some of … Some of …

We might not have control over all of our life, but we can make a choice to pursue something that makes us happy even if it’s not the thing that we do all the time. And people can come in to #GoalChat and say, “Guess what. This happened?” And there’s gonna be a whole audience of people really excited about them and holding them accountable to work towards their goals for another week.

Madalyn Sklar: Yeah, that’s great. Well, I definitely urge our listeners to go check out your Twitter chat every, every Sunday. What’s the time zone? What time is that? Gives us the time and time zones?

Debra Eckerling: It’s 7pm Pacific, 10pm Eastern.

Madalyn Sklar: Okay. So definitely what … And I think that’s gonna be a good call to action for our listeners is, oh, you know, we’re talking about Twitter chats in this episode. Everybody knows how much I love and believe in Twitter chats.

And uh, I, I love … I, You know, I usually have you come on the #TwitterSmarter chat to talk about Twitter chats ’cause I’ve really seen you becoming this Twitter chat expert through your years of running this, you know. You’ve been doing this for quite a while now. I’m excited that you’re coming up on two years, uh, on this. And uh, you do it well. You do a really good job, and you go to other chats. You’re always participating in chats.

Debra Eckerling: I try to put it in my, in my networking goals in the group to go to at least one chat each week, which doesn’t sound like a lot. But some weeks one chat is a lot. So it’s, it’s just a nice fun way to pop in and visit with friends, take to take a little break.

Madalyn Sklar: Yeah.

Debra Eckerling: And thank you for, for your kind words. That was really, really nice.

Madalyn Sklar: Yes. It’s coming from the heart. So, uh, I want to close this off by having you share with us some of your favorite tools and apps that help you with Twitter or with, with any aspect, whether it’s, you know, the way you, you run, you know, post on Twitter, schedule, run things, your Twitter chat – uh, whatever tools and apps you want to talk about. Tell us, tell us what helps you.

Debra Eckerling: So I used it… I wish there was a really good Twitter chat tool. Unfortunately there really isn’t one right now, but what I use and what I recommend is I use TweetDeck. And I’ll have a column for the chat, and I’ll have a column for my notifications so I can keep track of each.

Makes it really easy to to like and reply. And that’s really … If you are watching a chat, I think it’s really much easier to … Or if you’re watching … If you’re participating in a chat, you can use TweetDeck, or you can use native Twitter and you have one tab where you’re following the latest of the hashtags and then another tab where you’re following the host.

And then I find TweetDeck is really easier for replying. So those are just ways to track some of the content that’s coming through.

The other tool is not really a Twitter tool, it’s your Google calendar. This is my other tool recommendation. After you’ve done your search and found some good Twitter chats, put them in your calendar. Make it ongoing for four weeks, six weeks. Pick like five or six chats.

Test them out. The ones you like, keep in there. Filter out, maybe, some others and then introduce some new ones. So that’s a really good way to get introduced to a lot of different chats, a lot of different styles, a lot of different people and a lot of different communities.

Madalyn Sklar: I love that you mentioned the Google Calendar or some kind of calendar to keep track of those chats because uh, it’s easy to like go on a chat, “Oh this is cool,” but then forget about it and not ever go back ’cause you don’t have any way of reminding yourself.

You know, we’re all so busy, you know, day in and day out, who can remember all the different chats to go on. But just having some kind of reminder in a calendar can do wonders. I love that. It’s a great tip.

Debra Eckerling: Well it’s, I help people figure out the projects and actually do them. And you can’t do anything without a calendar. I live by, I have appointments with myself to work on my projects.

I’ve got an ongoing one day a week on that. I’ve got like five or six chats. Like I said before, if I make it to one a week, I’m really proud of myself. But every time it …

Oh and this is the other little trick: So in my calendar appointments for Twitter chats, I do a 15-minute reminder. For other … all other appointments, I do a half an hour reminder. So if I get a reminder that’s a quarter til the hour, I know it’s from a Twitter chat. That little differentiation makes it really easy. If I have time to, “Oh, it’s almost chat time. What chat is it? Great. I’m going to jump on in. It’s perfect.

Madalyn Sklar: That’s smart. I love it. You’ve got great ideas, Deb. I love this. These are really great, and I love how you mentioned TweetDeck. I for Twitter chats, I used to use tweetchat.com which was a very popular free website that a lot of people used to participate on chats. And it was popular because it would put the hashtag in for you, which is always the hardest thing to remember when you first start getting into Twitter chats.

I always stress to people, like, you’ve got to put the hashtag into every tweet during that hour conversation because that’s all the participants are looking at are tweets with that hashtag. And if you forget to put the hashtag in, they’re not going to see it. And tweetchat.com would do it for you.

But I’ve been ha … since it’s gone, we’ve had to find replacements, and I’ve been using TweetDeck. And I like TweetDeck, like you. I like it for replying. Um, but I will still have … I have a whole bunch of things up during a chat, whether I’m posting or participating.

But like you, I also want to have a tab open to the guests. I want to have a tab open to the host. So I just have different Twitter tabs. I’ll have TweetDeck open.

Uh, but instead of doing columns for all of that, I’ll have, of course, a column for the hashtag, but I just find it’s easier and faster for me if I have an actual Twitter tab open for the guests and the Twitter tab open for the host. Is that what you are doing too when you mentioned that, or you doing it all within TweetDeck?

Debra Eckerling: No, I do what you just said.

Madalyn Sklar: Oh, OK, so I’m not the only one. That’s good.

Debra Eckerling: Oh yeah, no, I’ve got one for my notifications. Then the big problem with Twitter is with the new design, the tweets for the hashtag do not come in real time as it does for TweetDeck.

So that’s why it’s really important to use TweetDeck for interacting. And I like to keep an eye on the notifications to catch those newbies who don’t remember the hashtag. And I’ll just like retweet what they said with a reply with the hashtag. So it still ends up in the feed.

But again, we go back to trial and error. Figure out what works for you. And, and even your first couple of chats, if you just want to go in and say, “Hi, I’m new to chat.” First of all, you’re going to have, like, at least a half a dozen people if not more, saying “Welcome, congratulations, Yay. You’ve discovered chats.”

And if you’re lucky, by the end of the chat, you’re totally addicted and you have a really welcoming community. Or you can just watch.

I have had people tell me, you don’t know this Deb, but I go on your chat every week. I just don’t talk. And I’m like, “OK, if you get that same accountability and motivation from watching, far be it from me, I, I’m thrilled that you told me.”

And I’ve had more than one person say that to me. So you can start by just watching, dip your toe in a little, then jump and then just enjoy it. And that’s the thing that I don’t know if we mentioned nearly enough that I have to add: Chats – like everything you’re doing for your business, for your passion, whatever – it should be fun.

And that’s what’s going to come through in your tweets. Go introduce yourself. Don’t, um, don’t be that promote-y person. Just watch what’s going on and reply appropriately. And you may make some friends that you reconnect with whenever we do a, um, a different platform like we did LinkedIn.

And then at the end of it, “What’s your LinkedIn? Who wants to connect?” Facebook: “What’s your Facebook? Who wants to connect?” There are lots of opportunities to make friendships and business connections and gather resources just from chats. So, just slide into it and and have fun.

Madalyn Sklar: These are all just such great tips you’re sharing in this episode, Deb. I just, I’m so glad I had you on to impart all your wisdom with my listeners. What are some ways people can get in touch?

I’m sure we have listeners are just loving everything you’re saying. They want to get to know you better. They want to follow you on Twitter. They want to come on your chat. So what are ways people can, uh, learn more about you and reach out?

Debra Eckerling: You can find me on LinkedIn and Facebook. Just search for my name, Debra Eckerling. You can also … I’ve got accounts for both The D*E*B Method and Write On Online. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you’re interested in learning more about my book, it’s called “Your Goal Guide, a Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals.” And you can find that at yourgoalguidebook.com or find me on my website. Reach out, send me an email, go to TheDEBMethod.com.

Madalyn Sklar: Awesome. Thank you so much for being here with us, Deb.

Debra Eckerling: Thank you so much for having me, Madeline. This has been so much fun.