Our data marketing specialist and social media lover Lianne Marie takes explores whether Twitter hours are still worthwhile.
Promoting your business effectively can require a significant investment of time, particularly when operating within the ever-changing, fast-paced sphere of social media. There are so many portals to choose from that are applicable to different types of businesses in varying ways. Establishing and measuring the impact of your communications can also be challenging, particularly for micro and small businesses who usually run their own accounts. An event that’s been popular for a while is the Twitter hour but with the platform saturated with #hours are they still worthwhile for small businesses?
Twitter hours – the power of the hour
In the case of Twitter, one of the most utilised tools in recent times is the Hashtag Hour or Twitter chats. There are Twitter chats dedicated to almost every conceivable topic and industry (yes, there’s a #teahour) and they run across the day – from #elevenseshour to #latehour there’s a Twitter chat you can join. However, like all good marketing initiatives once an idea catches on it can run away and become a very different beast. This is exactly what’s happened with the hashtag hour so here’s InFusion’s summary of the good and the bad of 60 minutes of hashtags
Twitter hours – the good
- They’re less time intensive than attending physical networking events which require a commitment of time away from the day-to-day business, attendance or membership fees and travel or promotional materials costs.
- They’re often convenient for micro businesses and sole traders to pop in and out.
- They can expose brands to new customers, those who they might not have captured any other way.
- They provide a human element to social media – when used correctly – to spark conversations.
- It’s possible to build up virtual relationships which can then be taken into the real world.
Twitter hours – the bad
- The sales pitch hijacking is unstoppable. This is a biggie and perhaps the biggest negative of most Twitter hours.
- The most popular hours are crowded and noisy making it tricky to generate anything meaningful.
- Businesses can join in any hour they like. This is not always good thing. Remember – focused and targeted.
- Breaking into well-established hours can be tricky as many relationships are already formed, and though we hate to say it, some of them are quite clique.
Make the most of Twitter hours for your business
Profile your customers to establish which Twitter hours would be relevant to your business. If it’s gender specific then #TwitterBrothers or #TwitterSisters might be of value, or perhaps #MumpreneurHour. The beauty of Twitter is its infinite capacity to search for very specific subjects or demographics and Twitter Hours harness this. A huge variety of industries and skill sets are represented from #WeddingHour, #EventHour or #CreativeBizHour to #DentistHour but there are plenty of generic options such as #YorkshireHour, #SpeedNetworking #B2BHour or #1pmLunch.
Set goals for what you want each hour to achieve and plan your communications accordingly. Don’t just share the same old sales spiel. Do you need advice? Do you need to find a resource? Try to connect with people on a human and non-sales focused level.
If you are sneaking a few promotional tweets into those 60 minutes try scheduling them ahead of time using tools such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Buffer to support your marketing campaign. That way it leaves you free to participate live and respond to tweets, retweet others or find and follow contacts, and help others with their requests.
These tools are also helpful to compartmentalise your feed and aid focus during your chosen hour. Depending on the popularity of the feed, it can be quite an intense experience to participate so work smart; create list columns for your feed:
- One for the live feed for the relevant hashtag.
- One for your Twitter List of people you already follow for that hashtag such as prospects you particularly want to engage with, competitors to research or businesses you particularly want to champion by retweeting.
- One for your replies/mentions and one for DMs.
Don’t forget to monitor the impact. Ensure that your CRM system records the source of new contacts for future reporting and measure the time spent versus the volume/quality of responses. There are plenty of Twitter hours available to support a robust communication schedule, but if it isn’t a return on investment, don’t flog a dead horse.
So are Twitter hours a bust?
There is definitely a saturation of Twitter hours and a higher proportion of sales tweets to quality advice tweets or conversation, not to mention the ever present spam and trolling. Plus, for the people who follow you that are not interested in the particular hour you’re engaging with, it can be frustrating to be faced with irrelevant tweets so try to limit outgoing messages to no more than one every five minutes. Finally, don’t be greedy – participating in dozens of hours will only dilute the quality of your overall output.
Our verdict: as long as you’re selective, focused and remember you’re talking to humans not a faceless audience of potential ‘customers’ there’s still some merit in getting your hashtag on.
Lianne Marie Mease specialises in Data Marketing and CRM at InFusion.