A few weeks ago the twitter account @ShropshireHour started following my work twitter account. The bio read
OFFICIAL Homeof #ShropshireHour inspired by #YorkshireHour Every Wednesday between 8-9pm. A Virtual place to promote your Shropshire business!
It looked interesting. So the next Wednesday at 8pm I logged on to see what it was all about.
- The hour provides virtual speed networking, giving Shropshire businesses the chance to promote their services or products.
- It connects to potential customers and likeminded business.
- It helps put out a call for support, help and recommendations.
- It really couldn’t be simpler to get involved; tweet between 8-9pm on a Wednesday using the #ShropshireHour tag.
- Following the @shropshirehour account will also give access to the @shropshirehour supporters list of those who have taken part and shown their support. A great way of discovering new fellow tweeters.
Now I work in Localgov, so could we really take part? I didn’t want to spam the good work of the account by promoting the local council but my target audience is parents and families, and I saw it was a way of potentially connecting with very local Shropshire parents, who were in business, regardless whether I was a local business or a local gov. They seemed a really friendly bunch so in the end I decided to take part.
- I started by tweeting about the work we do and how we help and support families.
- I tweeted a link to our website, to point those who can access information on line to the sites they would need.
- I promoted our Facebook site – the number of likes that hour increased.
- I shared our blogs and put out a call for any Shropshire parents who wanted to write blogs for us – a couple said yes.
- I used it to find out more and asked how many of the businesses know what percentage of their employees have dependent children – a tricky question that many businesses don’t know the answer too, including my own.
- I used it to promote our telephone helpline number, email address, face to face channels, as well as our electronic offer.
The reaction was amazing, lots of really positive comments, several retweets, several new followers and related accounts for us to follow too. I’ve since taken part in a few #ShropshireHour sessions and they have been beneficial for my localgov service. I think there is MASSIVE potential for the localgov economic development, regeneration, tourism teams, but let’s get them on twitter first, before we even think about them working in the evening.
#Shropshirehour isn’t about increasing the number of followers, but about a local connection and building a community. I’d like to see it develop into something similar to #lgovsm where alongside the promotion there is also a discussion about a specific element of business, be it marketing, accounts, human resources, grants and funding, where best practice and knowledge is shared and #Shropshirehour offers the opportunity to learn.
Since taking part in #ShropshireHour, I’ve also noticed a hours for Wolverhampton, Harrogate, Cheshire, West Midlands. There’s clearly a need for these so check out if there is one near you – and give it a go.
20th December 2012