Success Story: Eventful Tweets Create New Business Opportunities

7 Aug 2016
Alan Martin

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As usual I was on the lookout for the best business success stories to share with you, when I came across the amazing story of a local business woman that managed to get her business to trend nationally on Twitter resulting in over 2 million views of her content. Naturally I was extremely curious to find out exactly how she had managed this impressive feat and what we can learn from the experience.

With this in mind I have great pleasure in introducing you to Janet Torley whose success interview proves that it is still possible to have a significant impact without the need to spend money on social media advertising.

Q. Hi Janet, I was intrigued to hear about your amazing successes with Twitter and the Twitterthon event you were telling me about, but first can you tell us a little bit about your business, so we can get a feel for what it is your company does?

A. Yes, no problem Alan! I started ‘Events for Business’ 8 years ago and we create, organise, manage and deliver events aimed at small businesses throughout Scotland. We run business shows as well as workshops and seminars covering a whole range of business-related topics. I work alongside a team of associates – most of whom have been with me since the start.

A more recent venture for me has been ‘Business 50‘, which is a membership based business group that delivers support, growth and promotional opportunities for its members through high impact key events and online promotional assistance.

Q. What social media networks do you use?

A. The networks that we spend the most time on are Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook but we also dabble with Google+, Instagram, YouTube (*update – channels unavailable) and Shoutomatic.

To help us manage all of this we use TweetDeck as our dashboard and Buffer app to easily share content on our various networks.

Q. Ok, I can’t wait any longer, can you tell us about the Twitterthon event?

A. Well firstly we aligned ourselves with a reputable cause, one that we felt would have sufficiently wide interest; in our case it was Small Business Saturday in December. If you are not familiar with Small Business Saturday, it is an initiative aimed at encouraging people to buy from a local small business on a particular day just before the Christmas retail rush, and this tied in very well with our mission to help local businesses.

Around this event we planned a 24hr Twitter event, that was to take place over 12 hours per day, over a two day period. We divided the time into hour-long slots and allocated a ‘Champion’ to take responsibility for each hour. Each champion would have a theme such as ‘recommend your favourite shop’ hour etc and each tweet used the hashtag for the cause, which was #SmallBizSatUK as well as our own hashtag #B50.

We managed to get buy-in for our event from the people behind Small Business Saturday in the UK and they helped us promote the event to bloggers and other interested parties.

Q And what effect did the event have on your business?

A. In the space of 24hrs we were able to get our hashtag trending nationally, which resulted in 2.5 million impacts (an impact is the number of times that the hashtag was potentially seen).

This created a massive amount of brand awareness for us and increased exposure within our target audience. When we are speaking to potential new clients now, many of them are aware of us through this initiative.

Q. Wow, that’s certainly very impressive Janet! When it comes to getting leads and sales then, what do you think has been the best network for you?

A. We love using Twitter for our brand building and to engage with our community in real time but for actual leads and sales I would say that LinkedIn has been the most effective social network for us in the past.

Q. What type of social media updates have worked well for you in the past?

A. That’s a good question and you know what, it is often the posts that you least expect to go viral that do! I would say that posts with an element of humour or a motivational quote, made into a picture work very well for us.

Q. How often do you post on your various social networks?

A. Well on average I tweet 4 – 5 times a day, post twice per day on Facebook and participate in some kind of LinkedIn activity (comment in a group, status update etc) 3 – 4 times per day. I will also jump on Google+ a couple of times a week.

Q. How do you build your fanbase on social media?

A. On Facebook we have tried a number of things to get fans including targeting like ads at our key geographic areas.These have been quite successful for us. We build more followers on Twitter just through engaging regularly and on LinkedIn I regularly look for connections in common and then send them an invitation to connect.

When we attend networking meetings we’ll gather business cards and then later, like their Facebook Pages, follow them on Twitter etc and often many of them will reciprocate when they see that we are connecting to them.

Q. How do you measure/monitor your success on social media?

A. Well, we have created an Excel spreadsheet and every Monday we take a health-check on all our social media channels by recording some key headline analytics such as number of Facebook Fans, Followers on Twitter, No. of tweets sent, No. of followers of our LinkedIn Group etc. We also measure the engagement that we are getting, such as re-tweets, Facebook comments. We use a nifty tool called Tweetbinder to monitor the performance of key hashtags we are interested in.

Q. What advice would you give other businesses that are not
having success with their social media marketing?

A. Often business owners are active on the channels that they have an affinity for themselves, not necessarily the platforms that their customers are active on; so you need to stop everything you are doing, take a step back and look at your business. You need to be asking who your customers are and where they hang-out online.

Once you know which networks your customers use, focus on one key platform until you build up an active community.

Q. Thats great advice Janet, what do you think is the best way to find out what social media channels your customers are active on?

A. That’s easy Alan, just ask them! It sounds simple but next time you are having a conversation with a client or customer, just ask them what social networks they are using. You can scale this too by sending out customer surveys using SurveyMonkey or another such tool.

Q. Are there any other words of wisdom or tips you would like to share?

A. Yes, you need to do something on social media! You can no longer ignore social media and hope that it’s going to go away. If you are not active with social, you are going to be missing out big time and now that more mature networks like Facebook are moving towards a pay-to-play model, you are going to get left behind or forced to spend a lot of money on advertising to catch up with more active competitors.

I would also suggest that you try to tailor the tone of your posts to whichever network you are using; so for example you should aim to be light-hearted on Twitter, social on Facebook but keep it strictly business-like on LinkedIn.

Q. Well, thanks very much for your time this morning Janet and the insight that you have given us into your social media marketing strategy and I very much look forward to hearing about your future successes.

Key Takeaways

1. Use tools such as TweetDeck and Buffer app to manage your activity

2. Organise an online event (like the Twitterthon) to build brand awareness

3. Create a hashtag for your business and use consistently in your tweets

4. Humour and motivational quotes work well in posts

5. Update your main social channels daily

6. Use Facebook ads with geographic targeting to grow your ideal fan base

7. Regularly look for connections in common on LinkedIn and invite to connect

8. Gather business cards from events then connect to their social channels (Facebook, Twitter etc)

9. Monitor your social media performance by creating a spreadsheet and recording social media benchmarks on the same day each week

10. Ask your customers what social media networks they are active on then focus on building your online presence in these areas

11. Tailor the tone and style of your posts to the particular network you are using

Originally Published on the Chat Marketing website – 02/02/14

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