This is a story about twitter
I do realise that I am writing this on a blog post and many of you reading this may not be on twitter and words like tweet and re tweeting sounds very silly - it did to me too I just had to look past the silliness of the words connected with twitter and now I tweet every day, some may say too much, but I am beginning to see the benefits of it, my connections have increased as have my orders as a direct result, and then #sbs came into my life....
This is the story of my #sbs journey so far, I can't say where it will lead only report on what has happened so far.
What is #sbs well it stands for small business Sunday and I first came across it around May last year I had seen people tweeting to Theo Paphitis on a Sunday evening and then realised that some of them were being Re tweeted by Theo Paphitis later on. so i decided to give it a try.
The idea is to send a tweet to Theo Paphitis about your business and include #sbs, on a Sunday evening between 5 and 7.30pm. Theo Paphitis then selects 6 to Re tweet later on. For more detailed information on #sbs please visit Theo Phaphitis small business Sunday.
It took many Sundays until finally my tweet was chosen, 10 months of tweeting and I think I probably missed about 3 in all that time, but yes persistence does pay off in time - my tweet had been re tweeted several times in those ten months, but not by Theo Paphitis but by many very supportive followers, if they were re tweeting, they were noticing and they must have thought it was worth re tweeting so it gave me the encouragement to continue. Unfortunately if your tweet does get re tweeted by other tweeps it is less likely to be Re tweeted by Theo Paphitis himself, so I have discovered since.
My winning tweet read 'A jewellery hobby that became my business, 18 yrs of thinking outside the 'jewellery box''
So what has happened since then? well immediately I gained more followers on twitter 100 new followers in less than 12 hours, and a massive number of views, ten times more, on my blog.
I stayed up until well past midnight replying to all my congratulation tweets and then I received phone calls also congratulating me in the morning - but what after the initial euphoria? Well I appeared in three local papers that week too, which helped raise my profile locally and I received new orders and enquiries about my workshops and birthday parties that were as a direct result of my win.
By the time I won, Theo Paphitis had already announced that the winners were going to be meeting up in March, so I knew that I also had that to look forward to.
That meeting took place on Friday 30th March, none of us really knew what to expect, we knew that Theo Paphitis would be there and would give a talk with time for questions, and we knew that many of the people we have been following on twitter would be there so we would have a chance to meet them.
sbs started in October 2010 52 weeks a year 6 winners a week so 468 winners plus a guest so potentially 900 plus people - I know a lot of people couldn't get to it but I think there were still probably 600 people there so actually hunting out specific tweeps was not as easy as I had hoped unfortunately I still missed many people who I would have loved to meet. I spent most of the first 2 hours going around staring a peoples name badges trying to work out who they were, but in that time I met lots of wonderful people with great businesses.
Just to give you some idea of how many people were there.
This wasn't just a time to chat it was also a case of watching out for the cameras, but they were just to quick and I couldn't escape, just in case you are wondering i am the one with the staring eyes.
Bob Thacker and Helen Cartlidge from Gallery at 12 - fellow Staffordshire Artist Co-operative members.
We could escape to the balcony and admire the cricket ground.
After two hours of socialising we were invited to move into a larger hall to sit and welcome Theo.
It was very entertaining reading the tweets written by some of those attending, while we were waiting for the hall to fill - it made me really wish I had a smart phone.
First up on stage was 'Kip' from Ryman to welcome us.
and to introduce Theo who then took the stage.
After a short talk he introduced us to Chris from Metal Frog a fellow member of the #sbs club who has designed a website for all of us winners to use. Things just keep getting better!!!!, Chris and Theo then went through the site explaining how we could use it. If you want to know more about #sbs then the website will tell you everything you need to know!
Then Theo gave us the chance to ask questions - I stayed quiet but the one question I would have asked someone else asked any way 'Why did you pick me?'
There are a lot of reasons why Theo picks a tweet, firstly if it stands out it will be shortlisted, once shortlisted Theo will visit the website to make sure it exists and is up to date, then other reasons also play a part.
Ann Busby of Simply Relish - I never had a chance to say hello even though we were looking out for each other!
As each person stood up and introduced themselves before asking questions people all around the room would cheer and clap them - just because they tweet with them and have been part of their virtual world for so long - I began to realise that this was more than a club it was a community and it will keep on going as long as those in it are enthusiastic about it.
After the question were over Theo then threw some back at us and then we were presented with our certificates and each one of us had a photo taken with Theo himself.
Okay don't laugh....
So what did he say to me?
'Hello - You need to turn the certificate around so people can read it!'
And I replied ' that would help, wouldn't it!'