Monday, 21 December 2015

Twitter Basics and Twitter Hours explained

Hi everyone!

A while back on my blog I posted my list of Twitter hours for crafters, creatives and bloggers. The post has been hugely popular (my most read blog post on my blog EVER!) and quite a few of you have messaged with other questions about Twitter especially about how to participate in the Twitter Hours and Twitter Chat Hours that I listed in my list.

So, in this blog post I hope to go through some of the Twitter basics and how to participate in Twitter Hours.

I hope that you find this useful. If you have any questions please feel free to either tweet me @thedorothydays or leave them in the comments section below on my blog and I will do my best to help.

What is a hashtag?

The definition of a hashtag is: "a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites such as Twitter to identify messages on a specific topic. "

Why use hashtag?

This is really useful as it means that if you are looking to read tweets on a particular topic you can search for a hashtag. And, if you are looking to post your own thoughts or join in a discussion about a particular topic you can use the hashtag in your own tweets so that more people see them.

Many big events, TV programmes etc will have their own official hashtag.

For example...

Gogglebox (a programme which is really popular in the U.K) was on T.V so lots of people were tweeting about the programme. If I wanted to read which people were saying about the programme I would type into Twitter on the search bar on the top right #gogglebox

There are different ways you can then filter the search

'Top' which means tweets by big accounts such as celebrities or Channel 4 who broadcast gogglebox , tweets which have been shared many times and also tweets by people you follow on Twitter

'Live' shows the newest tweets first

Accounts shows accounts associated with the hashtag, for example Channel 4.

Photos and Videos will show photos and videos of Gogglebox

I would then find tweets about the programme....(the tweets shown here are filtered by LIVE)

If I then wanted to write a tweet about gogglebox I could then include the hashtag and other people searching #gogglebox will then be able to see it.

This is me composing a tweet using #gogglebox

Once I have posted it it will then appear when you search #gogglebox and filter by 'live'

How can I use hashtags for my shop/ business/ blog etc?

There are many many ways in which you can use hashtags but some ways include...

1) Using hashtags to talk about big events, programmes etc which might interest your followers (for example #Gogglebox )

2) Many larger craft fairs, exhibitions and shows will have their own hashtag which you can use both if you are participating in the event or visiting the event

3) Twitter Promotional Hours and Twitter Chat Hours


What is a Twitter Hour?

Twitter hours are a way to bring people together to discuss a specific topic or to cross promote and network.

The idea is that you set up a time (normally 1 hour) for people to tweet using a hashtag and during this hour they will be able to interact and see the tweet other people are sending in using this same hashtag.

Twitter Hours normally fall into two categories

1) Promotional Twitter Hours
2) Chat Twitter Hours

However, many promotional Twitter hours have a chat element.

Twitter Hour can be on any topic. For example, there are Twitter Hours for different health conditions so people can come together and discuss and support one another, there is a Chicken Hour for people who keep chickens and there are many Twitter Hours for those who run small businesses, blog and Twitter hours for different regions.

You can find out about some of the Twitter Hours useful if you are a crafter, creative or blogger here:

How to participate in a Twitter Chat Hour?

Different chat hours are run in different ways but normally there is either...

a) No set format. You join in and start talking to other people who are tweeting using the same hashtag and there is no set theme or questions.

However, more commonly, there is either....

b)A theme/ discussion topic set for that week. For example if you were participating in a bloggers chat they might announce to say that the theme for that week is 'How to get more blog readers' and you would then talk about that topic


b) Set questions that are tweeted out by the person/ account running the Twitter Hour. So if you were taking part in a bloggers chat about how to get more blog readers the person running the Twitter Hour might tweet saying "Do you find being active on social media helps get more blog readers". They usually will number the questions Q1 Q2 Q3 etc and then you tweet back using A1 A2 A3 etc so it doesn't get confusing which question/ topic you are responding to.

Here is an example from a recent Twitter chat for Lifestyle Bloggers. The person hosting the Twitter Hour that week tweeted saying

This lady has then responded to the question by putting A4 (meaning answer to question 4)

Notice how she has also included the hashtag #lbloggers (the hashtag for the Lifestyle Bloggers Twitter Hour) so her tweet/ response to the discussion topic will be seen by others participating in the chat.

How to participate in the Promotional Twitter Hour?

These are run to cross promote products, network with other people and businesses and get the word out about your shop/ business.

They still have a chat element and it is important to interact with other Tweeters rather than just pushing your own products.

There are many promotional Twitter hours for small businesses or regions and lots for handmade products. To join in, you would include the hashtag for the Twitter Hour in your own tweet.

For example, every Monday between 7.30 - 8.30pm it is #DorsetHour (Dorset is a county in England) so to join in you would include #DorsetHour in your tweets.

Here is one of the tweets I put out during that Tweet Hour. Other twitter users from Dorset who were also participating in the Twitter hour could then see my tweet about my new items.

How do I communicate directly to someone?

So now you know about hashtags and how you can use them to interact with a group of people or talk about a specific topic but what if you want to talk to one person (or a few people or mention someone in a Tweet (and want them to know about it!)?

This is really easy to do on Twitter and can be used without a hashtag or with.

You would just type @ and then the Twitter username (also known as a Twitter Handle). Mine is @thedorothydays

If you wanted to talk to me directly you would put my Twitter handle first in the tweet

For example:

If you didn't want to tweet/ talk to me directly but wanted me to know that you had mentioned me then you might instead put my twitter handle in the middle of the tweet. This will mean that everyone will be able to see the tweet and I will get notified that you mentioned me. ((Whereas putting the Twitter Handle first will not show the tweet to everyone on the Twitter feed, but please note it is still visible))

For example:

What is retweeting and what does retweeting do?

To retweet a tweet you click the 2 arrows under someone's tweet. This is called retweeting and it means that their tweet will then get shown to all of your followers. This is a great way to make your twitter page look more interesting as you can retweet people saying fun or interesting things. If someone does this to you it is also a great way to get your tweet seen by more people (as it gets shown to all their followers) and this often will also give you new followers.

Retweeting is one of the main ways in which promotional Twitter hours work as you retweet each other's tweets as a way of cross promoting.

If you have 100 followers and I have 150 followers and I send out a tweet and you then retweet it my tweet can potentially be seen by all of the followers that we both have so could reach 250 people rather than 150 people. If you were to retweet my tweet and then one of your followers retweets it who has 500 followers (for example), it could then potentially be seen by 500 plus 100 plus 150 followers which makes 750 people rather than just the 150 followers.

Top tips for Twitter Hours

  • Interact with other people. It is a bit like going to a party or a networking event and speaking all night about yourself, other people will get bored and are less likely to tell their friends about your amazing products or want to come and talk to you! In both promotional hours and chat hours make sure you talk to other people. Reply if someone tweet you, comment on other people's tweets and if it is a promotional hour especially, make sure you retweet some of the tweets.
  • Use photographs - it makes your tweets much more engaging.
  • Find a Twitter Hour that suits you and what you want to talk about. There is something for everyone out there!
Hope this has helped explain some of the Twitter basics and the basics of joining in on a Twitter Hour.

If you have any questions or comments about this post please either tweet me or comment below on this blog post.

You can also find my Twitter Hours list here

I am now off to share this blog post on Twitter ;) !

The Dorothy Days X

P.S - You can find me on Twitter here: