Once you’ve got yourself set up with a Twitter account, the next step is to grow your following, after all, tweeting to no followers is akin to shouting to an empty room – nobody will hear you!An effective way to gain followers is to make the most of the various #hours which run on Twitter throughout different times of the week.  There’s a #hour for pretty much everything, if you take the time to search for them – networking groups, geographic locations, hobbyists ….. but how, and when?

  • Getting married?  Have a product or service to sell into the wedding industry?  Advice for bridezillas?  Try #weddinghour which runs every Wednesday from 8 – 9 pm.
  • If you’re the crafty type, there’s #crafthour, which occupies a cosy 7 – 8 pm slot on Sunday evenings.
  • For the gastro-tweeters amongst us there’s #foodhour every Tuesday, 8 – 9pm (warning: don’t go there on an empty stomach!)
  • Busy working mums, maybe #mumpreneurhour is the one for you – every Monday from 9pm, just after you’ve got the kids off to bed.  Genius.

#Hours are a great way to raise your brand awareness, and can act as a knowledge-sharing platform and even be an effective online networking tool.

As with all social media, there are elements of etiquette to follow:  be engaging, be courteous, re-tweet others ….. and don’t just sell, sell, sell!

Back in October 2013 I was shocked to learn that there was no such thing as #CannockHour – so I created one.   We’re up to 228 followers now and it’s slowly gathering pace – you can follow us @CannockHour and please, join in from 7 – 8pm every Thursday.

My own (@VirtualTao) following has grown significantly since joining in with the #hours.  My favourites are #BforBHour (I’m a member of the BforB Rugeley group), #WestMidsHour, #StaffordshireHour and #MidlandsHour.  There’s also #LeedsHour, #HarrogateHour, #YorkshireHour, #LondonHour …… go on, search for your own geographic #hour.  If you can’t find it – create it!

One final thing to share with you that no small business can afford to ignore:  are you taking part in #sbs?  Run by ex-Dragon Theo Paphitis, #sbs runs every Sunday from 5 – 7.30 pm.  Just tweet MrP (@TheoPaphitis) your small business in 140 characters, including the hashtag #sbs.  Of the hundreds of tweets he receives every week, he re-tweets his 6 favourites at 8pm on Monday evening.  I was successful on behalf of one of my clients in 2012 and overnight their Twitter following went through the roof.  The successful winners also get their own presence of Theo’s SBS website, and invited to #SBS events to network with other winners.