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By NPR intern Ellie Wood

The NPR team gets involved in #ShropshireHour and #MidlandsHour most weeks so it seemed like a good time to talk about Twitter business hours (and why there are so many of them).

Twitter is all about cracking content and gaining contacts, so the way to succeed is definitely networking with other people and businesses alike, but the huge amount of #businesshours available takes it to an extreme.

From #BrumHour and #BhamHour (why there is two for one place we will never know) to #EastMidsHour and #BlkCountryHour, business hours are taking Twitter by storm. We counted 74 just in the Midlands, and then there’s chat hours for the UK, chat hours for Wales, chat hours for weddings, chat hours for food, the list is long and exhausting!

One of the common mistakes in participating in one of the many business hours on offer is to constantly plug your own business. The odd tweet whilst your settling in so that new people can see who you are and what you do is great, a constant stream of self-promotion and zero interaction is not. Better to share achievements and activities that the other people in your chosen #hour can interact with and relate to.

We have stumbled upon a few really good business relationships over the past few weeks and really enjoy hearing what people around the do.

But be warned, the one thing we’ve found is the sheer amount of national businesses that use several different business hours to promote themselves. Last week we discovered someone we were chatting to was from Peterborough yet they were tweeting away using #Shropshirehour. Rude!

We understand you’re out to promote yourself, but we use #ShropshireHour and #MidlandsHour to meet local people, not national businesses with a base in the Lake District. It feels like a dating site where someone isn’t being wholly truthful about their age!

The idea behind local business hours is to meet local people, isn’t it? If you want to reach a wider audience there are hundreds of #hours for that too – as we work with clients across the country we use these too (appropriately!). Try #1pmlunch, which is a great national forum for businesses on their lunch break- a fab place to meet likeminded people in a time that suits you. We use #TwitterSisters too, a great one for women in business wanting to network.

But do try your local #businesshour, it’s a great way of meeting similar businesses, getting a better idea of what goes on in your local area and even stumbling across businesses that complement yours and who you could team up with in the future.

Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of every UK business hour. Try a few and let us know how you get on, not too many though, we don’t want to get blamed for getting you #addicted!



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