A few weeks ago the Entertainment Nation team were delighted to discover that we’d been chosen as winners of ex-Dragon’s Den star, small business champion and Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue Chairman Theo Paphitis’s Small Business Sunday competition on Twitter. It’s an honour to be recognised by such an illustrious businessman as Theo and we’re going to share with you how we did it.
Theo, who is passionate about promoting small business, established the Small Business Sunday or #SBS competition in 2010. Since its inception, there have been over 1700 #SBS winners, who now form an interactive and supportive community of entrepreneurs from all over the UK. Winners of the competition receive exposure via a retweet from Theo’s Twitter account to his over 500,000 followers, a coveted profile on the #SBS website and access to the exclusive #SBS winners network.
Theo himself has said of #SBS: “We are thrilled to welcome new #SBS members every week and highlight just how important it is to support our small businesses here in the UK. My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS re-tweet from me becomes part of a friendly club; like-minded individuals who can share successes and learnings. The website and Shop #SBS will also give a valuable profile to the winners chosen and I wish Entertainment Nation every success.”
So how do you win Small Business Sunday?
Make sure to read the #SBS competition rules closely http://www.theopaphitissbs.com/about and follow all the instructions, especially following both Theo Paphitis and Ryman Stationery’s twitter accounts.
This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds: twitter’s 140-character limit makes brevity essential at the best of times – when you enter Small Business Sunday, you’re going to have to squeeze in the #SBS hashtag, @TheoPaphitis and a link to your website, as well as a concise message that’s informative, entertaining and a perfect representation of your ethos as a business. We went with the below:
We can’t help you write the tweet itself, but we can suggest that you shorten the link to your own website by using a service like Bitly to give you a few extra characters to sell your business.
Research has shown that, on average, including a photo with a tweet equates to a 35% boost in retweets blog.twitter.com/2014/what-fuels-a-tweets-engagement. It makes sense then to include an image that will make your tweet stand out from the sea of other entries and catch Theo’s eye. Just as you did when writing the wording of your tweet, try to choose an image that represents exactly what your business is all about.
Another reason to include a photo is to give you a handy way of including a few extra words, but if you do include text keep it punchy and relevant. We overlaid some text on one of our promotional photos using Canva, a simple to use tool to create effective social media images. Other options include Photoshop, the stock image editors included in Windows and OSX or photo editing apps on your smart phone.
If you don’t win #SBS the first time you enter, there’s no reason to be disheartened. We entered every week for about three months before we were lucky enough to be chosen as winners, and others have persevered for even longer. Good things come to those who wait.
Make sure you only send your entry tweet once per Sunday – repeated entries are frowned upon and actually decrease your chance of winning.
It’s Sunday evening and you’re relaxing after a busy week (or still up to your neck in work, which is more likely as a small business owner) and sending a tweet to Theo Paphitis is the farthest thing from your mind – when you finally remember #SBS halfway through Tuesday, it’s too late and you’ve missed your chance to win for another week. Using a service such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social allows you schedule tweets in advance so that you never forget to enter #SBS again. By scheduling your entry, you get the added benefit of only having to write the tweet once, rather than churning the same words out every Sunday until you win #SBS!
While it’s handy to schedule your #SBS entry, we don’t recommend just leaving it at that. Between 5pm and 7.30pm on a Sunday is a great opportunity to interact with other small businesses on Twitter by following the #SBS hashtag. It’s a fast moving conversation, with new entries flying in and past winners and new entrants alike chatting and offering support. You’ll find that other businesses will retweet your entry, so why not return the favour and retweet those of others? Even if you never win the competition, you’ll get some great exposure and networking opportunities just by being a part of the #SBS conversation, and you’re sure to pick up a few new Twitter followers in the process!
Ok, every ten seconds maybe a little excessive, but make sure to monitor Twitter when Theo announces the #SBS winners at 8pm on a Monday evening. If you haven’t won there’s always next week, and it’s always a nice gesture to congratulate this week’s winners. If you do win, expect your phone, computer or tablet to burst into flames, unable to cope with the tsunami of retweets and congratulatory messages! You don’t want to miss the magical moment when Theo retweets your business or the opportunity to ride the wave of publicity in the week that follows. Winning #SBS is where all the fun begins.
Hopefully armed with these tips, you’ll stand a much greater chance of earning the prestigious Small Business Sunday badge and gain entry to the exclusive #SBS winner’s network. Good luck and we’ll see you during #SBSwinnershour!