Read our 2020 take on this here.
Recently I’ve been taking part in more of the Twitter marketing hours, partly to see what happens and partly to make new contacts now I’ve moved back north. For the uninitiated, these are set hours defined by a hashtag during which people promote their business, service or product. It’s free, online networking and there’s now an hour for almost every major place in the UK and even specialist hours to cover all networking eventualities.
Choosing an hour
The main two I take part in are Leedshour and bizhour (remember to add # before using these terms). I chose these two specifically because I’m looking to make contact with people in my local area and also raise my own profile locally and on a grander scale. In the last year or so, I’ve also taken part in Whitbyhour (still one of my favs as there were endless pictures of my favourite place) and surreyhour and found both useful.
If you’re thinking of taking part in a twitter marketing hour chances are there’s already one for your local area, if not, there’s an #englandhour which takes place on Sundays from 9-10pm. Always aim for your locale first, especially if you have a physical presence such as a shop in that area. It may seem very obvious, but you’re trying to attract people to your business, it’s unlikely someone in Aberdeen would pop down to Bristol to visit your cheese shop.
Now, if you also sell your cheese online there’s an hour for that too; buyonlinehour takes place on Mondays from 8-9pm, plus if you also hand make your cheese then you could also take part in handmadehour. Like I said, every networking eventuality is covered. The only list of all the hours I could find is here, it looks fairly comprehensive but so many new ones keep popping up it may well be out of date already.
Don’t sell. Promote, by all means, but don’t sell. It doesn’t work. Don’t approach these hours with the intention of upping your sales by 15%. Neither is it a follower gathering exercise. Yes, your follower numbers will probably increase by taking part, but trying to hit targets like 1000 or 5000 is pointless, as my tweet from today reminded people.
One of the basic and golden rules of social media is engaging with people, talking with them about your business, their business or the weather. The same rule applies when taking part in these hours. Continually pushing your own brand or set of skills to the exclusion of all else will get boring very quickly, for you and for other people. RT when you can; promotions, offers, things you think your own audience will find useful just be aware of how much you’re putting out there in a relatively short space of time. Clogging up followers’ feeds is not a good idea, I’ve been guilty of it in the past and usually try to tweet a warning before a splurge but these various marketing hours can move pretty fast, meaning you can tweet as often as every few seconds.
Knowing when your hour is up
Take care who you give your twitter hour cherries to, it can be easy to get carried away and join in ALL of the hours, but be selective. Remember, these hours are meant to make marketing easier and more accessible; don’t let them take up entire afternoons or evenings. If you want to keep the conversation going with someone after the hour is up that’s fine, keep going without the # or take it off Twitter onto email or even somewhere like LinkedIn.
Twitter hours are an interesting concept, but like any networking group the challenge will always be to maintain momentum and attract new people without the veterans getting bored. Attention spans on social are short, and I hope this abundance of hours doesn’t peak the annoyance scale too early.
5 Rules for Twitter Marketing Hours
1) Be selective, find your local area
2) Don’t do the hard sell
3) Remember to have a conversation
4) Be wary of clogging up other followers’ feeds
5) Use lists to keep track of those taking part