Twitter hours are online networking events which have the advantage of being free to attend, relaxed and friendly. They are a great way to get your business known in your local area as there are Twitter hours in most locations. Handpicked Harrogate publishes some of the popular local hours on our website.
Some hours are more popular and lively than others so it is worth trying a few to see which you like. Harrogate Hour is hosted by yours truly. We like to think we are a friendly lot in Harrogate Hour so it’s a good one to start with. I’ll be using Harrogate Hour as our example throughout but other hours are available.
How to take part
To take part you just go into Twitter at the time when the hour is due to take place and in the search box, type in # and your chosen hour, like this: #HarrogateHour. Make sure there are no spaces between words or letters as it won’t work if you do. This will bring up the conversation relating to that hour.
Throughout the hour, whenever you want to interact with someone, for example, replying to their question, ensure that you include #Harrogatehour somewhere in your tweet. This is what ensures everyone can see your post.
To see the latest tweets and keep up with the conversations, go to the top bar on Twitter and choose Latest. Twitter will then organise your tweets so you see them as they are posted. If you think that the hour has gone a bit quiet, click your refresh button and usually new tweets will appear (unless the hour really has gone quiet and no one is posting).
But what do I say?
Well, although you are probably in the hour to showcase your business, you don’t need to stick to business conversations. It’s important to build know, like and trust in any networking or business situation and Twitter hours are no different. In Harrogate Hour we have occasional photos of pets, discussions about holidays, a lot of discussion about food, drink and what we’ve all been doing in our leisure time, alongside the serious business stuff.
What are the benefits?
In a Twitter hour the idea is to create a greater reach for everyone’s post so that more people can see it, even those who aren’t taking part in the hour. We do that by retweeting and sharing tweets.
To retweet, click the icon with two arrows below your message box. You will get a box that asks if you want to retweet with, or without, a comment. If you choose a comment then you can let someone know your opinion of their tweet.
How do I reply to that question?
To reply to someone’s question, click the little speech bubble on the left hand side.
To see all the replies to a post (you can see how many there are because a number appears next to the speech bubble), just click somewhere in the post and the replies will show below the message with lines running down the side to connect them. You can then respond to the replies to continue the conversation.
As you take part in the hour you may notice that the notifications (at the top of your screen) are starting to add up. Just click the notifications icon to see what you have missed. This can be a good way to see if you have missed anything in the hour when it is moving quickly.
HELP! It’s going a bit quick.
In some of the busier hours conversations rattle along at a fair rate with several threads going at once. This can be a bit disconcerting if you are new. However, don’t be put off. With a bit of practice you will soon be able to keep up with everyone. Just go at your own speed whilst you are getting used to things and if you feel more comfortable, lurk in the hour before you leap in.
Everyone knows everyone else… and I don’t know anyone
In any hour there will be a core of regulars who chat away at speed making others wonder if these people have known each other since infant school. They haven’t and please don’t be put off by this. The core regulars tend to keep the conversation going and others weave in and around that central conversation. Leap in and ask questions, answer other people’s questions and chat to people as soon as you feel confident. If the question was a private one the person would have used the direct message system or tweeted without the hashtag. If the hashtag is attached, it’s a public conversation and anyone can join in. So please do.
In just a few weeks you too will be a confident and comfortable regular. If you don’t know why people are mentioning something, do ask. The hours tend to be very friendly and no one ever minds a question. Remember, there are no silly questions so please ask if unsure.
Ooh, I really want to talk privately to that business.
Well, you can do that too, even virtually. To do this, click on the person's profile name at the top of their message (eg; HandpickedHgte) this will take you to their profile. You will then see an envelope icon below the picture along the top of their profile which you can click to message them if they have direct messaging enabled (and it's a good idea to do so... you don't want to miss an enquiry).
The Rules. There are very few rules, but here they are:
Chat, be present and enjoy the banter.
Don’t forget to use the Hashtag #HarrogateHour because that is how we see your posts.
Retweet, share and be supportive and others will return the favour.
That’s it. Those are the rules.
And finally, for those readers who plan to dip their toe into the waters of Twitter Hours with a visit to the Harrogate hour, I have to mention The Golden Retweeter Award. This is a Harrogate Hour specific, weekly award for the person who retweets the largest number of tweets in the hour. It is awarded at, or just after, 9pm when the hour officially ends. It’s an entirely virtual award, with no monetary value but is quite hotly contested and often discussed. You get a little graphic, a virtual trophy when I remember to post a picture of it, and some virtual dusters to keep the trophy sparkling clean.
Harrogate Hour is hosted by Handpicked Harrogate on a Monday between 8pm and 9pm.
Wetherby Hour is hosted by Handpicked Wetherby on a Tuesday between 8pm and 9pm.
You can access a list of other local Twtitter hours here
If you are still a bit nervous about Twitter, and would like our fingers to do your talking, go here.