Over the last couple of years, those of you who have tourism-related businesses in Scotland will have heard of the regular Twitter monthly chat #ScotlandHour, where we get together to discuss a theme related to visiting Scotland. This Twitter chat has grown and led to Christina McKelvie, MSP, bringing a motion to the Scottish Parliament to congratulate the #ScotlandHour founders for their work in using social media to connect tourism businesses and promote the idea of visiting Scotland.
It’s been amazing to see the connections which have developed through the #ScotlandHour chat, and the reach which has been achieved through worldwide visitors finding our Tweets and making enquiries of tourism businesses and people who enjoy visiting the country.
As an enthusiast for making and growing connections for business and tourism through the means of Twitter, we’re hoping we can build a similar initiative within the Scottish food community. The idea is to set up a series of chats around the tag #ScotFood to encourage those who grow, produce, prepare, use and enjoy Scottish food to meet once a month on Twitter. The aim is to get to know each other better, to open our minds to new opportunities to work together and to promote the diversity of Scotland’s natural larder. It’s all an experiment at this stage, but we’re hoping that it will become a regular event on your calendar and a way of meeting and working with a wider group of people who share an interest in Scottish food and Scottish food tourism.
To make the #ScotlandHour theme work, we’ve had a dedicated team of 6 people who regularly turn up to host the chat, and we’re looking for volunteers to help host monthly Twitter chats. If you are willing to volunteer, please send a tweet to @SusanMcNaughton, or comment on this post. Ideally, we’d like to spread the hosting responsibilities geographically too, to try to have hosts in different regions encouraging their Twitter contacts to join in.
Having sought advice from Fife Food Ambassador, Christopher Trotter (@CTScotFood), we’d like to propose the following schedule (we’ve created a hybrid of regions between tourism and electoral regions, and are open to changing the names of the regions, just as long as everyone has a turn!
The format of the chat will begin with (we can refine/change to see how it will work):
9:00 Participants send an introductory Tweet, introducing themselves, their business (or link to food), giving the first part of the postcode in which their business is based (eg KY10 for Crail), and using the tag #ScotFood
– participants join in by saying hello to others, retweeting introductions, mentioning that the chat is starting.
9:10 Hosts Tweet out the first question, starting with Q1 – participants answer with A1. Everyone uses #ScotFood in their Tweet.
9:20 Hosts Tweet out the second question, starting with Q2 – participants answer with A2. Everyone uses #ScotFood in their Tweet.
9:30 Hosts Tweet out the third question, starting with Q3 – participants answer with A3. Everyone uses #ScotFood in their Tweet.
9:40 Hosts Tweet out the fourth question, starting with Q4 – participants answer with A4. Everyone uses #ScotFood in their Tweet.
9:50 General discussion and anything anyone wants to contribute – this is the time to tell us about your business and any planned events, offers etc.
The questions will be styled to encourage discussion about what’s in season, what events and festivals are happening in the region that month, which restaurants you’d recommend, what ingredients you like to cook with, what you can and can’t source locally, what you’re cooking and whose work you admire… a whole host of topics, but with a common theme of using local ingredients and finding out more about the specialities of the area.
After the chat, search out those who’ve participated, and follow them on Twitter, continue the conversation, support their efforts by RTs and #FFs – and make the connection in other ways. You might like to blog about what you’ve learned if you have a blog for your business website, or get creative and tell us what you’ve done as a result of being part of the #ScotFood twitter chat.
What do hosts need to do to be involved?
As a host you can help by:
- Sending some Tweets out in the days leading up to the chat encouraging people you know to join in and invite others
- Tweet the questions out during the hour
- Answer questions from participants
- Keeping an eye out for “spam” on the tag and blocking users
- If you write a blog, write about the benefits of joining in the #ScotFood chat
Can you help us? Would you like to host? Answer by commenting below or Tweeting @SusanMcNaughton or @CTScotfood