Northern Ireland Twitter Hours

There are a huge number of business-focused Twitter hours in Northern Ireland. Briefly, a Twitter hour is an online networking session organised at a specific time. Organisers post to get things going sometimes there is a set topic or questions and answers, to prompt discussion, sometimes not. Tweets are aggregated using a hashtag. People view and respond using tools such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

This is a list of (mostly) Northern Ireland Twitter hours, listed with GMT starting time. We’ll expand it as we discover more Twitter hours.

Monday

18:00 #NewBizHourNI

20:00 #AntrimHour, #DownHour, #DerryBizHour

21:00 #NorthernIrelandHour #FoodNIHour

Tuesday

20:00 #NBelfastHour

20:30 #Export_Hour

21:00 #NewryHour, #MagherafeltHour, #FermanaghHour, #DerryHour, #NIStartupsHour #CastlereaghHour

Wednesday

20:00 #BallymenaHour

21:00 #CookstownHour, #LisburnHour, #NIWeddingHour, #LegenDerryHour, #IrishBizParty #BeautyHour #CausewayHour

Thursday

20:00 #ArdsNthDownHour #WestBelfastHour #NewryBizChat

21:00 #BelfastHour

Friday

None

If we’re missing an essential Northern Ireland Twitter hour, get in touch.

If you run a Twitter hour or are thinking about it read our blog, How to Run a Twitter Hour.

Image credit: leppre.

How to Run a Twitter Hour

I’ve participated in many Twitter hours. Some are local. Some are niche (and often international). All do things differently. Here are the key things to think about when planning, establishing and refining a Twitter hour.

Based locally, and want a list of Northern Ireland Twitter Hours?

Create a Profile

  • Think about why you’re doing the chat. Once you figure that out, write it into the Twitter account profile. It would make sense if you’re using it to raise your profile or promote a local area or develop an online network of professionals in a certain field.
  • If you’re going niche, it will harder to engage enough people to get going at the start, but the benefits for each participant will be greater.
  • Also, ensure you write in ‘tweets by @yourregulartwittername’, so people know who’s running it.
  • And, add in the time it runs.

Establish a Twitter account for that hour.

  • Use something short, obvious and simple.
  • Try to get the matching username. So, if your Twitter Hour is called #CakeHour, see if you can get @CakeHour as your username.

Schedule Tweets in Advance

Scheduling in obvious tweets you know you’ll have to send is a great idea! It leaves you much freer to respond, retweet, answer questions and otherwise enjoy your own Twitter hour.

  • Schedule reminders that it’s happening: the day before, an hour before and 5 minutes before.
  • Schedule a ‘hello and welcome’ tweet (or two) for the start.
  • Schedule a ‘cheerio and thanks’ tweet (or two) for the end.
  • Schedule any themes or questions (see Have a Structure).

Have a Schedule

  • The clue is in the name! A ‘Twitter hour’ that runs 24 hours a day is just a hashtag (and is much less useful the more general or international it is).
  • Announce the start and the finish. If people want to run on afterwards, let them ‘tear away’ as we say in Northern Ireland, but don’t feel the need to be there yourself. That way lies madness.

Have a Structure

Many Twitter hours are without structure. But, people like to know what the point is. And why they’re there.

  • The easiest way to add it is to ask a series of questions, 3-4 is sufficient to get a conversation going for one hour. Announce a question with ‘Q1’; answer with ‘A1’, etc.
  • You could also try making statements and asking if people agree or disagree, or have suggestions for solving a problem.

Reminders!

  • Remind people (by tagging interested, local, obvious or relevant people via Twitter) it’s happening.
  • Tweet to reminder everyone during the Twitter chat to use the hashtag. It’s so easy to click Reply, type a response and forget.

Retweet Useful Stuff

  • Retweet tweets that will appeal to many at the time of the chat if you have time.
  • Also, retweet them during the week.

Reply

  • Reply to people to thank them for joining in. Yes, do try to gradually get around every new person once as soon as you notice new people joining the chat.
  • After that, don’t feel the need to reply to every single tweeter. Reply only to those that are of interest to you personally. Someone will reply to the rest. It’s not your job.

Be Clever and Recruit Hosts

  • It’s not likely that you will be available every single week to run your Twitter hour. Recruit hosts to run it when you’re not there.
  • Hosts will be delighted, as it raises their profile.
  • And, they may also offer prizes (something any Twitter hour attendee can be encouraged to do to help profile their business).

I hope this observation and information has been useful. If you’ve anything to add or indeed (more fun!) something you’d like to debate add a comment.

And if you need Twitter training or coaching for your team, get in touch.

Image credit: rosauraochoa.

12 Great Online Locations to Promote Your Event

The following list is compiled from ways in which we have used online tools to help promote a key event. (Don’t forget the offline stuff too. Blog post in the making…)

Twitter

It makes sense that if you’re using Twitter already, you tweet information and links to events you’re running or helping to promote.

  • Tweet often. People who are online at 07:30am may not be online at 3pm, or 10pm. Experiment, to see which times get the best results. You can measure this in simple ways, by engagament (i.e. Replies, Mentions and Retweets) or by using a URL shortener for example, such as Ow.ly (an URL shortener and link visit tracker).
  • Experiment with different phrases. As people expand the number of Twitter users they follow, things become unmanagable. This is where tools such as Tweetkdeck and Hootsuite play a role in helping users filter tweets for keywords. As you might expect, not everyone follows the same keywords as may be obvious to you.
  • If you’re not already on Twitter and open an account solely to promote a single event, don’t expect too many bookings. People like to get to know you first.

Also, take a tour of Twitter for Business, to learn about other promotional tools.

Your Own Website

There is no better place to promote an event than your own website.

  • Twitter aside (in our case), it is probably the source of the majority of visitors to your event booking page.
  • Remember to use Google Analytics, or some other website statistics package, to record the source of all visits.

Facebook

We’ve already blogged How to Use Facebook to Promote an Event, but there’s no harm mentioning this again. (Remember to come back once you’ve read this post.)

Eventbrite

The three best things about Eventbrite are:

Event invitation, booking, payment, reminder and notifcation management

OK, that’s five. 🙂 But, this (almost free) application is worth its weight in handbags. See Eventbrite pricing for further details.

  • Automate sending of invitations, notifcations and reminders (including complimentary tickets) to a pre-existing list of contacts
  • Take bookings – with multiple payment options – online

Tracking links

  • Would you like to be able to see which online marketing effforts are sending most links to your booking page?
  • Would you like to identify which affiliates are sharing your links more effectively than others?
  • Would it help focus future marketing events if you could see which tracked links were ineffective?

Customisation

There are buckets of customisation options in Eventbrite. One of my favourites is the facility to create ticket forms, widgets like this one, calendars and links to promote your event with a clean, professional look.

WhatsOnNI

Register and add your event (free) to WhatsOnNI.com. Events are uploaded along with an image and approved on the same day.

Email Newsletter

Using a legitimate email contact list, sign up to Mailchimp today. I’ve surveyed the best of the rest, and this is the one that was consistently easy to use and written with non-tecchies in mind.

Advantage NI

Advantage shares Northern Ireland news and events and has a Business Directory that you can add your details to. Register with Advantage NI to being making use of the website’s promotional facilities.

InvestNI

NI Business Info is an InvestNI webiste where you can read crucial business information and view business events in Northern Ireland. Register with NI Business Info, to begin accessing information and sharing events.

SyncNI

SyncNI publishes a Northern Ireland business calendar listing varying types of events, though its focus is business, technology, science and innovation. Register with SyncNI (for free) to list business events, post news, share press releases and blog posts.

Addictive Creatives

Addictive Creatives lists news and Northern Ireland creative events. Contact Addictive Creatives with details of your event.

LinkedIn Events

You can add LinkedIn Events as long as you already have a LinkedIn profile. Like Facebook, you, attendees and other interested parties can add their name to the list. You can also send invitations to anyone in your contact list.

Business Events Hub

The Business Events Hub Facebook page is added to regularly by business people sharing and promoting events. As long as you already have a Facebook profile, you can Like the Page, then share links to events.

We Don’t Care What Dress the Customer Wants

This week, I was contacted by someone looking for training in sales and customer service. She told me I was the first supplier of training to mention the ‘tailoring’. Everyone else she had made enquiries with had told her she’d be getting a standard course, with no effort to match up with what they particularly needed. Imagine a bride walking into a bridal gown boutique to be told that there’d be nothing there to fit her? (She I walked out.) Why wouldn’t the assistant search the earth, to help find me the dress? And, then get it tailored to fit? Bridal boutiques aren’t selling dresses. They’re selling insults glamour. Unfortunately, many brides tell the same hurt tale. And, they aren’t going to make an expensive purchase after being harangued for not being the perfect size ten. They’re going to cross the road. Continue reading “We Don’t Care What Dress the Customer Wants”

Why the Smart Vultures are Picking Off Your Clients

The smart vultures are circling your network and you don’t even know it. These pretty ugly, maligned creatures have their focus on your clients and the end will be so swift, you won’t see it coming. What can vultures teach us about clients? Do read on…

Vultures Have Amazing Senses

Are you waddling around like the dodo (stubby-beaked, grounded and docile), putting your single egg in a nest on the ground, hoping the predators won’t spot it? Are you deliberately not seeing opportunities in front of your eyes?

A new SME we spoke to recently was deflated as she contemplated an opportunity for her business that was financially out of reach. But, tenacious as we know she is, her mind soared above the seemingly-impossible. She researched, she read, she looked at pictures and websites, she scratched around for ideas and inspiration. And, finally, she sniffed the whiff of an opportunity to conduct some impactful market research (and marketing at the same time) without spending a fortune, and came up with a clever solution.

Another (experienced) SME we spoke to dismissed an opportunity we presented out of hand. Short-sighted, quite literally not seeing beyond her home town, despite (futilely) talking of expansion.

The smart vultures are circling your prospects, sensing a deal, a break, a new product line or direction, and going in for the kill.

Vultures are Scavengers

Vultures are scavengers. With the capacity to spot an opportunity lying just waiting on them, from four miles away, they simply zoom in on it with powerful vision.

Are you searching out every opportunity? Are you able to detect what will make you money and what won’t? Let’s not be coy. This is really the only consideration for an entrepreneur. If something proves not to be worth the distance, drop it mid journey. Entrepreneurs aren’t in it for the journey; they’re in it for the nourishment at the end. In this hunt, winning is more important that the taking part; don’t be hoodwinked by the equal opportunities doves.

This Summer, we’ve encountered business owners who offered the following reasons for not zooming in on crucially important opportunities we suggested (to reinforce offline the online marketing we provide):

  • “it’s too far away” (an eye-wateringly common response on this tiny island);
  • “no-one I’d want to see to would be at that seminar” (what, incase they provided you with a lead, or incase you’d be obliged to send out a quote?);
  • “I couldn’t get a babysitter in time” (for an event in six weeks’ time, when it’s obvious the partner is glued to the TV every night and could at least pretend to babysit his own children);
  • “but, my customers will all see my on Facebook, sure” (this from someone whose customers are likely to be mostly offline and not computer literate at all)
  • “no, I don’t have customers outside the town” (aghast at the very idea, the reason why this will never be more than a hobby for you, luv!)

The smart vultures are picking up the opportunities you’re too short-sighted to (even want to) see.

Vultures are Everywhere

Except for the Antarctic and Australia and areas that surround it, vultures are to be found right across the inhabited world, much like some seasoned networking friends we have. And, yet they (the friends, not the vultures) are derided and made fun of, compared to slebs who turn up to garish launches of small boutiques in medium-sized towns across GB.

But, in terms of raising awareness of your name, business, brand, service or product, networking is key. The vultures, networking friends, and yes, the slebs, have it spot on. (Targeted) visibility is a crucial part of driving interest, visitors, bookings, sales, and revenue. If you’re present and active, people will remember you, refer business your way, make connections and introductions, put opportunities your way, or simply become curious and look you up. If you’re silently sitting in your office waiting for that phone to ring, I suggest you cancel the trendy office. 😉

The smart vultures are getting to know your clients at Open Coffee Ballyclare, BizCamp and Business Networking East Antrim for example.

Get out there, scour the landscape and hone those business senses!

Setting Out Your eStall on Social Media

Libraries NI is holding an event for entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs across Newry, Ballymena, Belfast and Omagh from January to March this year. “Setting Out Your eStall on Social Media is a seminar designed to help you see if you’re suited to entrepreneurship. During this event, Dawn will tell her personal and business story. She will also consider the practicalities of getting started, using online tools to help you research potential buyers, how to brand yourself or your organisation on the web and where to find additional, start-up and growth funding.”

Admission to each event is free and everyone is welcome. Booking is advisable. Contact Newry City Library (79 Hill Street, BT34 1DG) on telephone 028 3026 4683 or email newrycity.library@librariesni.org.uk to book a place at the first event. For details bookings for other locations, go to the Libraries NI website www.librariesni.org.uk.”

Image credit: crabchick.

Profitable Online Marketing Strategy

10 Early Bird tickets have been released for our September event, Create an Online Marketing Strategy. Follow the link for further details and registration information.

Key Points:

  • All attendees will be subscribed to a follow-up Creating a Profitable Online Marketing Strategy email course (value: £150).
  • Two complimentary tickets will be issued to two charities, not for profits or social enterprises who contact us before Wednesday 10th July.

5 Ways to Set Out Your Manifesto on LinkedIn

Gordon Brown has this week pledged to spread excellence. And, many Northern Ireland politicians are spreading promises of excellence via Twitter. We shall see. But just think, are you spreading your excellence across the web too? Here are five ways you can use LinkedIn to Set Out Your Manifesto, just like the big boys and girls. Except, they’re not using LinkedIn. Continue reading “5 Ways to Set Out Your Manifesto on LinkedIn”

Questions I Get Asked About Getting Business Through Twitter

People are asking me the following questions – an awful lot – so I thought I’d write a blog post to redirect everyone to, when these issues come up again. This blog post is directed at new Twitter users who are tweeting about their occupation or business.

How do I get more followers on Twitter?

  1. You must tweet. If you don’t tweet, people won’t know you exist nor what you do. Don’t expect people to approach you in Twitter. It won’t happen. And, when you click to follow people, some people will be put off if there are months between tweets.
  2. You must interact with others, as described below, under What should I tweet about? Continue reading “Questions I Get Asked About Getting Business Through Twitter”