Green Connect is an organisation that links parks professionals and volunteers to share best practice. In March 2015 it started the first #parkhour on Twitter. The second #parkhour created a 1000% increase in visits to their website.
Viper’s Jim Hardcastle is an associate of Green Connect and hosts their Twitter hour. He said, ‘Twitter is a fantastic awareness tool if used properly. The social media platform can drive lots of traffic to your website if the content is helpful and engaging. A Twitter hour gives you the chance to create a community, and be the at the heart of it, if the subject is seen as helpful and not just a reason to sell or promote your business.’
A Twitter hour is a promoted and managed session with a particular subject. A predefined hashtag is used so that people can search Twitter to find the content, join in with the conversation if they want and connect with other Twitter users who are interested in the same subject.
A hashtag is the symbol # placed before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces though) in the Tweet to categorize those Tweets. This helps them show more easily in a Twitter search. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword. Think of the labels on the hanging folders in your filing cabinet, the hashtag is written on that tab so that Twitter can put all the Tweets in the folder for anybody to have a look at. Hashtags are now used across a wide variety of social media platforms.
How to manage a Twitter hour:
- Choose a subject where people can perceive a benefit from joining in. There are very successful business hours based on the county or city for example.
- Create a hashtag that is descriptive and simple to remember. Do a quick search on the hashtag first to make sure no-one else is using it.
- Promote the hashtag, date and time of your Twitter hour and include the Twitter addresses of key players you would like to be involved.
- Create a pot of content following Viper’s Social Media Rule of Thirds to be used through the hour.
- Schedule the content at regular intervals using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck or similar prior tot he event in order that you can be more responsive to conversations and requests.
- Create a searched list in Twitter or Hootsuite based on the hashtag so you don’t miss any Tweets.
- Retweet good content from others and Like everyone that gets involved.
- If this is the first Twitter hour bear in mind a lot of people will just watch and not get involved until they see a caring and sharing community. The second time will be much busier.
To visit the Green Connect website click here