Benefits of Twitter

The Christmas lights in Shrewsbury looked stunning as I walked up Pride Hill to the Social Media #Socshrop (Getting Social in Shropshire) event.

It was a superb venue, historical spiral staircase leading up to a good sized room with plenty of seating to create an ambient atmosphere of Christmas cheer.

The host introduced the event and the 3 guest speakers.  These were:

  • Graydon Radford from @ShrewsMorris
  • Shai Vure from @ucshrewsbury
  • Kirsty Burgoyne from @shropgeek

It is hard to believe that Graydon only had his first experience on twitter in 2011 and the account, set up largely to promote Morris Dancers, now has over 35,000 followers.

It took him a while to find out what the best approach to twitter was but he now focuses on:

  • Introducing personality and general information
  • Being likeable and remembering etiquette
  • Being disciplined with your time.
  • Pro-actively following people
  • Supporting your local community
  • Not losing focus
  • Avoiding controversy

The @ShrewsMorris twitter account, now has local sponsors and they have recently won two awards, the Mayor of Shrewsbury’s Silver Award for outstanding service to the community and they are also Theo Paphitis SBS Winners.  To summarise the @shrewsmorris Twitter account: “Be kind, stay humble and have fun!”

The next speaker was Shai Vure from the University Centre of Shrewsbury.  He has built up the social networking account from Chester and is currently transferring this knowledge to Shrewsbury.

They have interestingly focused their social media plan on a timeline to pay attention to a student’s needs before starting university.

This spans over the 12 – 18 months before starting university.  For example, they focus on:

  • courses
  • accommodation
  • student lifestyle – the experience
  • feedback from students and so on

He also mentioned the fact that over 80% of their users are on mobile devices.

They chose to look at 3 other target groups in their advertising approach:

  • those who have lived in the local area (maximum 50 miles away)
  • undergraduate degrees in Chester and Shrewsbury (this wasn’t that successful as most students had already made an emotional investment in Chester so weren’t interested in another area)
  • 17 – 19 year old age group in the local area

These target groups were much broader on Twitter and more specific on Facebook.  This approach needed a shift in how Shai carried out his work so as to adopt an agency mindset to the social media as opposed to just promoting the university.

The universities use Digital Ambassadors to promote their services to other students at events, open days and via forums where, for example, student A can post a question and student B, C and D can answer this.  These can be updated (similar to Wikipedia) and breaks down communicational hierarchies and departments which a lot of younger people prefer.

The final speaker was Kirsty Burgoyne @shropgeek  Kirsty is a Web Designer and Developer and although started out as being purely Twitter based, she now uses a combination of Twitter and Facebook. Her Facebook group is smaller than Twitter but more engaged. There are generally more questions and more interaction on Facebook thus creating a “community”.

She prefers the informal approach which many agree is less intimidating and has renamed conferences to “unconference”.  She runs these alongside regular social networking.

They tweet at least 3 times a day to allow followers more chance to see their messages.  These are generally scheduled ahead of time and they are using the current season to tweet “geeky” and fun messages for every day in December.

As you can see, the information provided by the 3 speakers was varied but all of them seemed to highlight the need to:

  • be consistent in your time spent on social media
  • be informative but insert personality to your account
  • keep focussing on your subject and marketing plan

These highly successful #Socshrop events are held on a quarterly basis and are not to be missed…  All future events will be promoted on the OBB website:



Benefits of Twitter

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