Twitter: Hashtag recommendations for small business networking
Bio: Having written for a range of trade and consumer publications, Victoria brings her love of all things local to the role of HugoFox News Editor.
By Guest author Beckie Holmes, freelance Virtual Assistant and Director of Occasional Assistants.
Everyone has a task they dread. Mine is bookkeeping and, as I’m sure my husband would add, housework. The first is easy to solve, I simply pass my own accounting headaches on to another member of the Occasional Assistants database – an experienced freelance bookkeeper, who loves nothing more than a number-crunching afternoon. The housework is a different story, but I maintain that the odd cobweb never hurt anyone!
Outsourcing is the perfect way to avoid the tasks you dislike and concentrate on the ones that you enjoy and excel at. There are so many ways that a virtual assistant can help you in your business and home life. Take for instance social media: Many small business owners are either too busy or too wary to invest their time and energy in this new and effective form of marketing. However, having gained plenty of experience in this field, I’d like to pass on some of the knowledge I have acquired along the way. I hope you’ll find some of these Twitter hints and tips helpful!
#SBS is a Twitter competition run by @TheoPaphitis – Send Theo a tweet about your small business (including #SBS in your tweet) between 5:00pm – 7:30pm on a Sunday. He retweets his favourite 6 entries to his 320k followers and places the winners on the www.theopaphitis.com website. Last year all winners were also invited to a networking event with Theo in London.
#WOW is a competition run by @Jaqueline_Gold – Business women send Jacqueline a tweet about their small businesses (including #WOW in the tweet) between 1:00pm– 3:00pm on a Wednesday. She retweets her favourite 3 entries to her 33k followers. The top 3 #WOW winners of 2012 have just been invited to join Jaqueline for a mentoring lunch at The Ivy, including fellow Berkshire-based small business, Juniors Pantry. I believe that Jacqueline also runs #MOM, a version of the same competition for men on occasional Mondays.
@purpledognet run a #purplebiz business of the day competition. Look for the #purplebiz tweets and retweet them regularly for your chance to be promoted as their featured business of the day.
@TeamFreddiePig run a ‘showcase of the day’ competition. Network using their #FPSBS hashtag on a regular basis to be in with a chance of being chosen to have your business showcased / promoted for the day.
Small Business Networking Hashtags
#bizitalk was launched as a hashtag to help small businesses network. Simply add #bizitalk to your tweets and the Bizitalk A-team (@bizitalk @bizitweet @bizitrade @bizishop @promptpayer), plus other participating twitterers, will retweet.
#FPSBS is another small business networking hashtag that seems to have become prominent in the last few months. Add #FPSBS to your tweets and @TeamFreddiePig and other participating small businesses will retweet.
@ukbusinessnet often offer to RT to their 24k followers if you send them a tweet including the hashtag #UKBN
@thisladyloves encourages people to use the #speednetworking hashtag to network with other businesses between 6pm – 7:30pm on a Saturday evening.
In addition, there are many location-specific networking hashtags that are currently in use at different times throughout the week; #southeasthour #northwesthour #cumbriahour and #essexhour to mention just a few, plus industry specific versions; #wedchat (wedding suppliers), #adminchat (administrators) #watercoolermoment (home workers). Simply use the Discover tab within Twitter to find the ones that apply to you.
Don’t forget to acknowledge retweets, offer your thanks and actively participate in the networking by RTing other interesting tweets. As a good friend of mine maintains, manners cost nothing and you can travel the world on good will alone (I’m still waiting for her to prove the latter part of that statement, but I see her point!).
Other hints & tips
Look into using a Social Media Management System such as HootSuite to schedule the bulk of your tweets. However, time still needs to be put aside every day to check in and ensure that you are replying personally to all interactions.
Think about using a Curation Platform such as paper.li, which will compile a personalised roundup of Twitter and web content into your own online newspaper to be tweeted to your followers on a daily basis.
Set up Google Alerts on subjects that are of interest to you and your business. These alerts often highlight articles that may be of interest to your followers and that you can then share with them via Twitter. Most articles will include an option to share on Twitter, but where this does not occur, recognition should always be given to the original author of the piece within your tweet.
If you already use Twitter for your small business, why not make this an interactive post and make further networking hashtag suggestions in the comments section below. Our winning comment takes home an M&S voucher at the end of each month.