Joining a #TwitterHour

By David Massey (A previous version of this article was published on Blogger as Getting Your Business or Charity involved in a TwitterHour in September 2014.)

There are many twitter hours each week across the UK, and they vary from being national or regional to town and city based. #EnglandHour at 9pm on Sundays, or #MidlandsHour on Wednesdays at 8pm, are examples of these.

The other main style is about a specific subject such as #WeddingHour on Wednesdays at 9pm, or #CraftHour on Sundays at 7pm. Mostly aimed at business, they are a chance for businesses and charities to promote themselves, and join a larger conversation.

1. Prepare
Have a think about what you want to say and how you are going to say it. You have the full space of a single tweet to get your message across. It might not seem like a lot of space but it is a sentence or two’s worth.

Tweet example: “Good Evening #BrumHour I’m David from @SirHiltons I’m a social media and events consultant based in Birmingham”

You are not joining the hours JUST to sell something. You are there to demonstrate your business or product. This will in turn demonstrate your business values and support your networking efforts.

Be direct! don’t be afraid to sell yourself and talk about your previous successes. Consider how you say it, and how people will respond. Try to keep each tweet as self-contained as possible, as spreading your message across more than one tweet might mean that only part of it gets shared. Keep your message positive, as people will respond to it.

2. Save drafts of content
If you are preparing from a phone or tablet, you can save drafts of your tweets ready to send during an hour. Write the tweet out in your phone or tablet and add the photos to it. You should be able to press the “back” button and this will give you a saving option.

3. Add an image
Get more people to look at your tweets by adding a photo. Your followers will take the time to look at an image rather than plain text. You can also add some writing to the image to increase engagement. Staying Cool launched their #RoutundaSelfie photography competition for September 2014, and used this image to support their tweet.

Example of image tweeted by @Staying_Cool for their photo competition #RotundaSelfie
Example of image tweeted by @Staying_Cool for their photo competition #RotundaSelfie

Their tweet said, “Don’t forget, we still want to see all your pics. You could even win a night for two @staying_cool“.

4. Which hashtags to use
A hashtag is the part of a tweet that can be clicked, opening a search.

Clicking #BrumHour will open a search, for all tweets that use BrumHour as one word

Not all of the hashtags for each hour are monitored at all times. Some will only be seen if you post during the hour, where as others get picked up and retweeted. Try to limit the number of hashtags you are using to two.

Write Capitals At The Start Of Each Word in the Hashtag When You Can. #LikeThis. It won’t look like a #jumbleofwordsotherwise, this will make each word more visible.

5. Using @
Using the “at” symbol at the start of your tweet means only the account you are “atting”, and the mutual followers you have them can see the tweet:
@brumhour Hi this is my first time on #BrumHour” will only be seen by the @brumhour account and people that follow both.
But “#Brumhour Hi this is my first time on @Brumhour” will be seen by EVERYONE who follows you.

6. Shoutout about other businesses
Just like in real life, people you show great service to will show great service back. Tell a twitter hour about other businesses that you support; maybe your friend has a great coffee shop.

"Great Afternoon Tea at @cdcoffeelounge"
“Great Afternoon Tea at @cdcoffeelounge”

You could write, “Great afternoon tea at @cdcoffeelounge I love their little milk bottles too! #BrumHour”. When people retweet this about the coffee lounge, they will be retweeting you and see your business too!

7. Stay fresh
Make your content look new, even if it isn’t. It will be new to the people reading it. Like this blog. I’ve only edited small parts of it since it was published last year on blogger. Have a set of images rather than use one or two images.

And above all else. Enjoy NETWORKING!