Networking Hours and #BelfastHour


Friday Night MashUp Christmas Party Invitation

Last night Friday Night Mashup ‏@FNMashup cleverly jumped on the @BelfastHour networking session to promote their Christmas Party (5 December at T13 Get your tickets and more info here  

#Belfasthour was set up “to help Belfast businesses promote each other & connect.” The Twitter only event takes place every Thursday between 9pm and 10pm. It’s hosted by @Edwardsandco_

@CrawfordDorcas of @EdwardsandCo_ tells me via Twitter, “#Belfasthour starring everywhere – started just 5 months ago & already winning major awards!”. Edwards & Co is in the part of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter where you are more likely to find creative businesses and digital start-ups – it has (by this morning 21 November 2014) 3344 followers and follows 2609.

#BelfastHour is one hundreds of Networking Hours that have sprung up. Bee Social Marketing @BeeSocialUKhave compiled a pretty exhaustive list here along with some of the back story and etiquette.

Twitter Scheduling as Radio Programming


Suddenly there was too much to Tweet.

My main intention with the @BledSlovenia Twitter was to create a community of passion. People come to Slovenia and fall in love with it (yes, it is the only country with LOVE in its name). When people come to Bled they almost always leave with fond memories and a promise to return. Part of the role of the Twitter feed is to sustain that longing.

It was the height of the summer. There were events to be promoted – public service announcements rather than direct marketing. There were Tweets and photos and videos to be sent and retweeted. There was the distinct possibility I would be sending out too many messages and dominating followers’ feeds. And as we know, the only thing worse than Tweeting too little is Tweeting too much. It is worse to drive people away than to fail to attract them in the first place.

And there were marketing messages, too. Every event deserved to be promoted properly and fairly.

And it all had to have a personal tone of voice.

How could I make this coherent and consistent? Then I remembered my days in radio and the playlist used to manage and balance the weekly music output. Would it work for a busy Twitter feed? This was my first one:

A list – start the day must haves

B list – the week’s theme

C list – today specific not already in a or b list

C 2 list – This evening specific

Priority 2 – User generated Images

Priority 3 – User generated Video

Over the weeks, I developed to optimise the Tweet List. It gave every tweet a fair share prioritising those that were important and giving the community room to engage. And left time for RTing good content and having conversations with the audience.

I don’t know if there is a magical number of daily tweets. Publishers with rolling news can put out more than I could. Big names can and should put out fewer. The only test I could apply was measuring followers: the following grew and there was a very small number of unfollowers.

First thoughts on Tweeting for a holiday destination

First published on LinkedIn 

Balloon over Lake Bled on Monday morning

I have spent the last 5 months working on @BledSlovenia and@SlovenianAlps Twitter feeds – and loved it. Not only because there is so much – for want of a better word – “fan” content on the web, but I have the ability to compare and contrast performance of Tweets for an international audience in two different types of “Brand”.

Just do a search for “Lake Bled” on Google, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and Twitter. The result? Thousands upon thousands of photos, videos and blogs, largely not “professional”, but put there because people who come here love this place. Then there are the daily RTs, conversations with the community and it leads to a very active feed with strong commitment by a surprisingly large percentage of the “Followers”. In this instance I think “Followers” is not the right word. “Followers” implies passivity; this is not a passive group. A very good number get involved sometimes every day.

@SlovenianAlps is a bigger geographic area than Bled taking in a number of towns and villages in Gorenjska (Upper Carniola). It is popular during the summer but comes into its own as a winter destination. I have found it harder to build the community during the summer, but I have been able to research and plan a winter campaign to hand over to my successor.
Now, we are not talking about big numbers here. When I took over @BledSlovenia it had 555 followers. Next week it should reach 2500. @SlovenianAlps was in mid-double digits in June and should reach 1500 next week. I fully expect it to get to 3000 by the end of the winter. OK it’s not Coke or Justin Bieber, but compares well with others in the area such as @VisitLjubljana and @SloveniaInfo.
[Incidentally if there was a paid advertising campaign (which we can’t do on Twitter in Slovenia – it is not a qualifying country), there would be 5 or 10 times more. But what I know for sure through personally building the community that the “Followers” are indeed interested and will participate when they want to. And I have got to know several hundred of them.]
I am gathering lots of information about good practice using Twitter which I hope to publish later. For example, afternoon is supposed to be the best time to Tweet. Well, if you have an international audience

  • speaking around 10 languages (English, French, Spanish, Serbian, Russian, Arabic, Croatian, Italian, German and oh Slovenian) using at least 4 scrips – Roman, Gregorian, Japanese and Arabic)
  • stretching from West coast USA to Japan

then there is no afternoon. (And you get to use Google Translate a lot!)
I can also confirm is content is king then the Image is an Idol.
This was just intended as a quick note – getting a bit long. But I shall add more to this another time.

Done properly you only have 93 characters

93The question was “What can you say in 140 characters?”. In reality, you only have 93 characters. Not every tweet is perfect and tweets really should not be uniform, but …

A Tweet, well done has a Hashtag, Link (I use to help count clicks-through) and a photo. I schedule on Tweetdeck (Hootsuite is fine, I schedule RTs on Hootsuite. I must give Buffer another go. I was using it just after its release).

All the elements in place together will allow you only 93 characters. Choose them – and your link and your photo – carefully. And hone your editing skills.