The benefits a local networking hour has to a blogger or business are as follows:-
- Increase in Twitter Followers
- Increase in business
- Increase in website hits (my blog is normally viewed 600-1000 times during or just after #NorthEastHour)
- You may discover a business of interest to you
- A quick, easy and free way to promote your own services or posts
- Interacting with and supporting the local community
Twitter can be daunting but networking hours are generally a very friendly place to be and everyone helps each other out. If you are stuck, you can find me @NEfamilyfun - just send me a quick tweet and I'll help you out.
Step by Step Guide
1 - Log into twitter at the beginning of the allocated hour. Look out for tweets in your feed using the relevant hashtag (lets just say #NorthEastHour)
2 - If you spot any tweets using the hashtag that are of interest to you or your customers (or they could be a potential customer of yours) try and reply, say hello or simply retweet. Interaction is the key.
3 - In your search bar, search for '#NorthEastHour' (or relevant hashtag). This will bring up everybody who is taking part. Scan the list for people of interest and interact.
4 - Don't forget to tweet yourself - a good mix of promoting your own business, images and general chat works well. I like to tweet once every 5 minutes. Don't forget to use the hashtag!
5 - Mark any tweets of interest to yourself as a 'favourite' (click the little star underneath the tweet). Twitter remembers these tweets and will put them in a nice list for you to re-visit at the end of the hour. To find the list, click on 'favourites'.
6 - At the end of the hour revisit your notifications - if anyone retweeted one of your tweets or marked them as a favourite, make sure you thank them and give them a follow. If anyone has followed you during the hour it's always nice to follow them back and maybe send them a little DM (direct message) thanking them for a follow with a short sentence about what your business can offer.
To send somebody a DM, you both need to be following each other. You simply click the sun shape on their profile and select 'send a direct message'.
Make sure you re-visit the tweets you have marked as a favourite too and take any appropriate action.
1- Shorten links
You are only allowed 140 characters per tweet - links can take up a huge proportion of this. I like to use bitly.com to shorten links. This is completely free of charge and bitly remembers your previous links. You can customise them too which I always do as it looks a lot more professional than a lot of random numbers and letters. Here I have shortened http://www.northeastfamilyfun.co.uk to bit.ly/NEfamilyfun
2 - Schedule tweets
There are lots of programmes around that allow you to schedule tweets - I like to schedule my own tweets prior to networking hours (one every 5 minutes) so I am free to interact with other tweeters and tweet images without worrying about my own tweets. I like to use twuffer which is free and easy. Make sure you remember to include the relevant hashtag in your scheduled tweets and you can use your shortened links too.
Twitter networking hours have been invaluable to me - I have increased my followers, increased my blog views and I have received countless opportunities due to taking part. I would highly recommend you give them a go, the key is not to be shy and to interact and support fellow businesses. The rest will follow.