(originally published via LinkedIn)
If you want to increase your following on Twitter, you need to get your account in front of as many eyeballs as possible. You could mass-follow a bunch of other accounts, but maybe you want to start connecting with users that have similar interests.

Enter the Twitter Chat, one of the best tools you can use to get yourself in front of like-minded people and even your target market.

What Are Twitter Chats?

Twitter chats are conversations, hosted by one account, which revolve around one topic. The conversation uses a unique hashtag, which makes them easy to track. Not only can you have fun participating, but you can easily find and follow other participants by tracking the hashtag.

Twitter chats are scheduled on a regular basis, typically once per week or twice per month, so by participating in multiple chats you can build up your recognition and reputation. Users will start to click through to your profile and follow you.

One example of a Twitter chat is the hashtag #bufferchat, hosted by the Buffer social media channel about social media marketing, every Wednesday. Literally hundreds of accounts each week follow these chats.

How to Find and Participate in a Twitter Chat

Twitter doesn’t have a native way to find a Twitter chat, because they’re all based on hashtags. Luckily, several websites exist such as Tweet Reports and the Open Twitter Chat Directory which list the hashtags, the host’s account, and scheduled chat times.

In most cases, all you need to participate is to be online and start answering questions using the Q&A labels and twitter chat hashtag.

For example, here’s an example of a Twitter chat question:

Here’s an example of how to answer. Note the “A1”, which denotes that it answers “Q1”, and the #bufferchat hashtag:

Each topic is often represented by multiple Twitter chats, hosted at different times throughout the week. So even if you can’t make a certain time, do some upfront research and you can find one (or several) which work to get you in front of more people!