#LouthChat & I
Recently (May 2020) I was delighted to be invited to be the Starbiz by #LouthChat one of Irelands busiest local business Twitter support Networks. Here is what I discovered when Preparing for a Twitter Storm.
Twitter can be a very powerful tool for marketing your business and growing your network, it’s a great way to tap into local business groups and support matrixes. Living in Drogheda, Co. Louth I began following #LouthChat back in 2017. They have always been a great bolster for business in the area and whenever I could I would join in on their #LouthChat hour which is hosted every Tuesday evening at 8pm (on Twitter obviously). Like many though when things got busier for me I dropped off a bit in my participation until it got to the point where I was no longer active in the community.
The Storm Before the Storm
In March 2020 COVID19 hit all our shores and the whole business landscape changed so I found myself revisiting a lot of the networking tools I had let slip over the years, all of a sudden it became more important to me to be art of a community, to feel less isolated and alone on this journey through extraordinary times.
#LouthChat burst back into life on my radar, I became increasingly active on it over a number of weeks and was delighted to be asked to become the Starbiz for Tuesday 26th May 2020. After participating in the Twitter storms over the previous weeks for other businesses I knew how intense that hour could be, what I didn’t know was just how intense it was to be the Starbiz and what was required in order to prepare yourself for this magic hour, where your business had the spotlight turned on it.
Maureen and Mary are two exceptional women who run #LouthChat and do great work in preparing people for their Starbiz slots. They were great and told me what I needed to do, arranged my hashtag and got the ball rolling with regards to what to expect. From there I set to work getting all things in place. They advised to have about 30 prepared tweets for the hour itself but that I should also start tweeting about it and promoting my hashtag in the week run up to it.
Learning from my peers is very important to me and I took on board the advice I got from social media marketer Michael Gerrard who told me that none of this should be about the hard sell but instead should focus on the value that I and my business bring to the community.
Advanced Storm Warning
The following week became consumed with preparation for this one hour, it really did become a full time project. First I had to work out what message I wanted to get across. For me this was simple, I wanted to inform my audience that when they work with me, they work only with me, that I don’t outsource any work and that I never fob them off on someone else. Essentially my business is run with the emphasis on customer/client support with a personal touch. I plan, design, build and support websites for my customers making myself available to them the entire way through the process and to date this has been one of the things my customers have been most happiest with. So there it was, my “focus” for this hour and everything that lead up to it would be about my clients their websites and their work and most importantly, their experience of working with me on their projects.
For the weeks run up to the #LouthChat hour I posted about some of my favourite projects highlighting a specific business every day for the first five days. Each day I posted 3 tweets about my featured client and shared a link to their website. I also tweeted screen shots of their Google testimonials where I had them and where I didn’t I quoted directly from the testimonials they gave me for my website. On the sixth day I tweeted about a cluster of other clients but instead of three tweets per client I posted just one per client, with a number of testimonials sprinkled in between.
Along with the tweets about my clients and their testimonials I created a series of countdown tweets, one for each day, this is the tweet for the day before.
“Only one day to go until I will proudly host #LouthChat Starbiz. Please do your best to join me and all the other great people in this community, Tuesday 26th at 8pm and please use the hashtag #create108design.”
These tweets were also accompanied by the same graphic (See above) each time to reinforce my association with the brand. On the actual day of the twitter storm I changed this graphic up along with ramping up the message and did a series of three tweet counting down to the hour starting at 5pm, then one at 6pm and the final one at 7pm. (see below)
The Storm Cometh
For the #LouthChat hour itself I had to produce 30 tweets worth of content. Some of this content got recycled from the content I had posted over the previous week.
Again I shone the spotlight on my clients and their websites, freshening up the message from the previous tweets and adding new supporting graphics of the featured images from my website portfolio.
The testimonials also got a facelift by designing them into a graphic template which I had previously used for my Top Tips posts. Now instead of them just being black text on a white background, they sat on my branded background which gave them a big lift off the screen.
I created six Top Tips tweets, just some simple but very helpful tips about best practices when building a websites. These were graphically rich (see above) and engaging and as they used the same template background of my testimonial tweets they further re-enforced my branding for the night. I tied these top tips so relevant blog posts and pages on my website so the audience had a place to go to find out more information.
Over the last few years I have written a number of blog posts on the subject of web design best practice, including a number of posts about the importance of GDPR compliance. I wrote a specific article on COVID19 and the LEO Online Trading Voucher being made available to businesses. The information in these posts were very useful so it was important to give them some space in the hour also. In total I tweeted about 7 of these.
Gratitude is something I always try to cultivate and express and so it would have been a real wasted opportunity to not share around some of the joy. I of course expressed this gratitude through the promotion of my clients websites, I also tagged a number of other #LouthChat participants whose services complimented my own but I reserved my biggest gratitude for Mary and Maureen without whom none of it would have been possible.
I’m only one person and as you can see there were a lot of tweets that were produced that needed to go out at specific times, so all of this would have been pretty impossible without some form of scheduling app. For me the weapon of choice was tweetdeck, its no fuss interface made all of this so simple and mostly painless.
Do Not Fear The Storm, Be The Storm
In a future post I will write about the impact that being the Starbiz on this hour had on my business, for now at the time of writing this post I can already tell you that it was a fantastic exercise to just be part of it. It helped me to focus my vision, to see my business how others see it, to capture what it is the essence of who I am and what I offer to my clients.. and for that I am most grateful.
If you ever get the chance to be the focus of one of these twitter storms then grab it with both hands, they are a great experience and if you prepare diligently and professionally then they can give your business a massive boost.
Time to get a move on
The LEO Trading Online Voucher is available for businesses in any industry and the good news is it’s not too late to get a grant application in to access this funding, however as it is a competitive application it is better to get your application in sooner rather than later.
With increased demand for this schemes, We recommend to get in touch with us as soon as possible.