What is #NorfolkHour?

#NorfolkHour is a tweetchat — a real-time conversation that takes place between Twitter users. Tweetchats can be pre-arranged to commence at a set time, or they can happen spontaneously.

The beauty of tweetchats is that Twitter makes it easy to group and view all conversations belonging to a particular tweetchat using hashtags. This makes it possible to gain an overview of all the separate conversations happening in the tweetchat at the same time by using the Twitter Search functionality.

To take part in #NorfolkHour, all you have to do is add the hashtag to your tweets. Your messages will then appear in the #NorfolkHour search feed, where everyone else taking part in the tweetchat can see them.

When is it?

#NorfolkHour runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 8:30pm and 9:30pm. Come rain or shine, there’s normally a fantastic bunch of people taking part, from local business owners, individuals, local voluntary groups and honorary Norfolkians from further afield.

It does take place outside of office hours, so if you’re keen to take part, you might find it helpful to set a reminder on your phone or calendar until you get into the routine of taking part and realise you can’t live without it any longer!

What do I do?

To take part, simply wait until a session begins, add the #NorfolkHour hashtag to a tweet, and introduce yourself to everybody. It’s a very friendly and supportive atmosphere, and we’re always happy to welcome newcomers.

You’ll also need to keep an eye on what others are saying too, so that you can join in with the conversation. There are three approaches to monitoring the flow of tweets during #NorfolkHour:

  1. Run a search for ‘#NorfolkHour on Twitter. This will bring up a page listing all the tweets that contain that hashtag. You can use this technique to find tweets tagged with anything else you like too. The drawback of this approach is that you’ll need to continually refresh the page to view new tweets, and tweetchats tend to move too quickly for that.
  2. Do the same thing on the twitter mobile app – you’ll still have the same problem of having to refresh your feed, but it is a lot easier to do so with a touchscreen phone.
  3. Use a social media management platform like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

Personally, I’d only recommend going with the third option. Social media management platforms can be a little tricky to get to grips with at first, but if you’re serious about using social media for your business (and I’m prepared to have stern words with anybody who isn’t) then you’ll need to master one of these platforms sooner or later.

Both are free (although Hootsuite has paid upgrades). I’d recommend Tweetdeck for beginners, it is easier to use but doesn’t come with so many useful features. Hootsuite is ideal if you manage more than one social platform for your business, but has a sharper learning curve.

Either platform will let you set up ‘columns’, which will allow you to monitor certain feeds. For example, you can set up a #NorfolkHour feed which will then be updated in real-time. This makes keeping up and engaging with tweetchats much easier.

But I still can’t keep up!

If you join in on a busy night you’ll find it’s a real struggle to keep up with the flow of tweets.

The best advice I can give applies to Twitter in general: don’t try to read everything! If you’re an experienced web user then you’ll probably already be quite good at skim-reading text.

The key to survival in the information age is being able to pick out relevant notes of information from an echo chamber full of noise.

 

Pick out tweets from those you already follow, look for conversations that interest you, and once you’ve established yourself as a regular contributor, seek out #newbies and welcome them to the meeting.

The key to survival in the information age is being able to pick out relevant notes of information from an echo chamber full of noise. It’s a skill that comes with practice…

How to get the best out of #NorfolkHour

  • Say hello to people (but don’t forget to include the #NorfolkHour hashtag in your tweets). At the start of the meeting I normally say hello to everyone, but will then start chatting with specific people by @mentioning them (adding their Twittter handle to the tweet too).
  • And of course, say hello to me if I’m around — I’m normally tweeting as @EggCupWebDesign
  • Ask questions, and invite feedback and opinions
  • People love pictures — for a great talking point share a photo of what you got up to at the weekend. Pictures also stand out more in feeds than plain text alone.
  • Retweet other people’s tweets — if you help others they will help you in return
  • Don’t just follow without engaging with the person too — they’re much more likely to follow back if you connect with them emotionally, rather than just by virtue of technology
  • Steady on with the sales talk. #NorfolkHour is largely made up of small business owners, and we love helping each other out. But don’t jump straight to selling your wares — get to know people first, and establish whether they have a need for what you sell.
  • It is however fine in my experience to introduce yourself to the group, say what you do and provide a link to your website. But others will definitely be put off talking to you if you try to corner people with a sales approach
  • Don’t just tweet and run. We have to put up with the usual spam-junk on #NorfolkHour — dumping a link on our hashtag and then scuttling away isn’t going to get you a sale! Always engage first
  • Don’t give up — it really is worth persisting with #NorfolkHour and Twitter in general. At EggCup Web Design we’ve won a lot of new business through the platform and also made some fantastic connections too. We’ll look forward to connecting with you…

Conclusion

Of all the social platforms I’ve used, Twitter is probably one of the least intuitive and most off-putting at first. But once you ‘get it’, you’ll be amazed at the elegance and simplicity of the platform. Tweetchats really bring Twitter to life, and make forging new connections for business or pleasure easy and cost-effective.

And finally, yelp if you need help. We’re always happy to give free advice at EggCup Web Design, let us know what you’re struggling with and we’ll see what we can do.