Building a social media strategy from Twitter Chats

You’ll know from my participation and co-hosting of Twitter chats, ScotlandHour, ScotFood and EdinHour that I’m an enthusiast for Twitter chats.  If structured so that people who follow them get value from the chat, then they can be a useful tool as part of your social media strategy.  Having hosted and participated over the last 3 years, it’s a delight to be asked for help from businesses who might want to join in, but haven’t yet worked out how best to do so.

A cup of coffee at the Scottish Storytelling Centre recently was the way Beth Edberg and I chose to discuss why joining Twitter chats might work for her business.  Beth is one of the co-owners of Cranachan and Crowdie in the Royal Mile, Edinburgh and she and her partner Fiona McEwan are enthusiasts for the wide range of food produced here in Scotland.  We ‘met’ on Twitter several years ago when I joined with my @2edinburgh account for Craigwell Cottage talking about things of interest to Edinburgh visitors, and Beth was similarly promoting her Edinburgh Storytelling Apartment.

Over the years, our interests coincided again when Beth and Fiona launched Cranachan and Crowdie and I helped launch the Crail Food Festival.

Beth and I met to discuss how Cranachan and Crowdie could join in with the ScotFood chat.

cranachan and crowdie

Tips for joining ScotFood

  1. Put the regular dates for #ScotFood (first Monday of every Month) in your diary.
  2. Put a reminder in your diary a few days before to check what the questions for discussion will be.
  3. Prepare some material for the chat to support your answers.  Photographs are particularly useful, or a blog post with your answers.
  4. Use a scheduling tool for Twitter to prepare your answers so that your business will participate at the right times with helpful answers. We discussed using Hootsuite which has a free option for a small number of social media profiles, or a paid option for businesses which may have a number of different profiles.
  5. Use the tag #ScotFood in your answers, and start your answer with A1 for the answer to Q1, A2 for Q2 and so on.
  6. Join in the #ScotFood chat on the day and engage with others who are there, knowing that your answers are scheduled to go out too.
  7. If you have lots of photographs to share, have them in an easily accessible place to attach to your Tweets during the hour – it can go very fast when lots of people join in, and you don’t want to miss your chance to show your knowledge.

Business Strategy for joining Twitter Chats

The #ScotFood chat moves hosting round Scotland, to ensure every area has a turn to host.  But everyone can join in each month – some questions are general and some are more specific to the area.  This gives foodies, food businesses, chefs, restaurants, cafés and potential visitors around the country a chance to find out more about what’s special in the area, as well as being able to talk about what they’re cooking, eating or drinking which is in season.  For Beth at Cranachan and Crowdie, her store stocks food and drink as well as craft and gift items from around Scotland.  She also regularly hosts events at her store, which others might like to know about.

Joining in a Twitter chat like ScotFood gives Beth’s business the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge (by answering the set questions); interact with others during the chat; be found by others who might want to buy from her store and possibly connect with visitors to Scotland.  She doesn’t need to be directly ‘selling’ all the time the chat is happening – people will naturally take a look at her Twitter profile and find out more about her business that way.

Over the first series of ScotFood chats, we had  an average of 140 people join each chat, contributing over 950 Tweets during each chat, with an average number of impressions in excess of 1,500,000 (a measure of the number of Tweets and the number of followers of each participant – the higher the number, the higher the reach of the chat).

But a Twitter chat is just one part of a strategy for a business, and Beth and I went on to discuss how creating a content calendar would be a good idea for her business, as she is already active in several social media channels, and amongst the demands of running a busy shop, it’s necessary to make time for each of them to ensure that she gets results.  Although Twitter might be a starting point, creating a calendar for content for all of her channels might come from using ScotFood as a starting point.  Here’s how:

Cranachan and Crowdie

Cranachan and Crowdie have a website, on which visitors can see that they also have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  As Beth knows that the ScotFood chat is on regularly, and it features different areas of Scotland each time, she could use this to inspire her content strategy for other social media sites.  So, for example, knowing that Perthshire, Dundee and Angus is coming up next, she could:

  1. Write a blog post for her website, which has a news section, featuring a producer from Perthshire, Dundee or Angus
  2. Share some pictures of the area or foods which she sources from there on Facebook
  3. Join in the ScotFood chat on Twitter (that’s where we started, remember?), remembering to follow those who join the chat, and to interact during the chat
  4. Take some pictures of food in her shop from the area and share them on Instagram, using the tagging feature there to allow more people to find Cranachan and Crowdie, and for her to find more people to follow too
  5. Make up pin boards on Pinterest of food from different geographic areas of Scotland – like this one for Orkney and Shetland I did for Crail Food Festival

We managed to discuss most of this in an hour or so.  I do hope that it will encourage more Scottish Food and Drink businesses to use social media tools to share their businesses on-line.  Thanks to Beth for agreeing that I could write about Cranachan and Crowdie as a great example of sharing.  If you’d like to discuss how I could help your business to get more from sharing, then get in touch.


ScotFood Perthshire, Dundee and Angus 7 April 2014

On our journeys round the country with the ScotFood Twitter chat, we’re returning for the second time to Perthshire, Dundee and Angus on 7 April 2014 between 9 and 10 pm.  The aim of the chat is to let those who live and work in the area host a discussion on Twitter about what’s good, seasonal and local in the area.  Twitter users from anywhere around the world can join in – all they have to do is mention #ScotFood in their Tweet, and answer the questions which our hosts will set.

Questions are now published below, allowing people who want to join in to find out what we’re talking about, prepare their answers, collect some relevant content about the discussion topics and  perhaps write a blog post about the items to be discussed.

Due to various commitments on the evening of 7 April 2014, we currently have no hosts from within the region for the chat, but @SusanMcNaughton and @CrailFoodFest will be Tweeting out the questions, and hopefully some more of our hosts from other regions will help out too – thanks in advance for your support!

ScotFood Perth Dundee Angus

Date: 7 April 2014

Time: 9 – 10pm


9:00 pm Q1 Introduce yourself, first part of your postcode, reason for joining #ScotFood chat

9:05 pm Q2 Tayside area is known for soft fruit production – what’s your favourite drink made from soft fruit? #ScotFood

9:20 pm Q3 Where would you direct foodie visitors to in Dundee, Angus and Perthshire? #ScotFood

9:35 pm Q4 Share a tip to help local food producers get more from Twitter? #ScotFood

9:50 pm Q5 Please share a photograph or recipe of something you’ve been cooking, eating or drinking this month #ScotFood

Tips for Participants here.

Tips for Hosts here.

To support the Perthshire, Dundee and Angus chat, I’ve used a Pinterest Board to show more about the area – how would you help the area to shine online? Do make suggestions by commenting below:


ScotFood Fife 3 March 2014

We’ve been right round the country with our #ScotFood Twitter chats since the first one last June, and it’s time for Fife to host once more on Monday 3 March 2014 at 9pm.  Our hosts this month are: Christopher (@CTScotFood), Kelvin (@thomsok), Tim (@seafoodrestau), Susan (@CrailFoodFest), Chris (@StAFoodandDrink), and I’ll also be Tweeting questions out on @SusanMcNaughton.  If you’re based in Fife and would like to host future chats, please let me know either via Twitter, or by adding a comment to this post below.  Please add as many photos as you like to illustrate the answers too.

Fife host next ScotFood chat 3 March 2014

Questions are:

9:00 pm Q1 Introduce yourself, your business or foodie interest, first part of your postcode #ScotFood

9:05 pm Q2 What have you been buying locally and cooking with this month? #ScotFood

9:20 pm Q3 Fife has many local foods: which do you use? What else would you like to find produced here but can’t?#ScotFood

9:35 pm Q4 Food Festivals – what events do your children REALLY enjoy joining in? #ScotFood

9:50 pm Q5 Food and Drink matching – what’s your current favourite combination – photos too? #ScotFood

10:00 pm Thanks to Fife for this month’s #ScotFood – next month it’s Perthshire, Dundee and Angus and we’d love more hosts!

Want to know how to join in the ScotFood Chat?

Help for hosts

Help for participants

Put the dates in your diary: 2014/15 Calendar for ScotFood chats

Look forward to hearing what the discussion has to teach us – there’s always something new to find out.





ScotFood Chat 3Feb14 Orkney & Shetland

Ok, confession time… I haven’t ever ventured as far north as the Northern Isles of Scotland, so I’ve been very glad to have the assistance of Elizabeth a.k.a. @TangoRaindrop to help set the questions so that we can highlight Orkney and Shetland in this month’s #ScotFood Twitter Chat.  [click to continue…]


Happy New Year! Hoping for great things this year, and ready to start the year with the first #ScotFood chat.  It’s on Monday 6 January 2014 at 9 – 10 pm.  All you need to join in is a Twitter account, and to tag your tweets #ScotFood.

Follow the hosts for the first ScotFood chat of the year to see the questions being tweeted out:  [click to continue…]


Blogmanay – it’s not just for Edinburgh!

Are you blogging for your business or would your business like to host a blogger this winter?

Creating new and interesting content regularly is a great way to help visitors find out about things to do and see in your area.  For our small holiday home business, creating stories about visits to places our family likes and attractions we enjoy is our way of ensuring that more people like us find out about the properties we have in great Scottish locations. [click to continue…]


ScotFood – 2 December 2013 – 9pm – Glasgow hosts

For the last ScotFood Chat of 2013, the hosting moves to Glasgow and surrounding areas for our chat on 2 December 2013 between 9 – 10 pm.  All those with an interest in food and drink from Scotland welcome to join in.  Keep it up-beat, friendly, and continue the chat by following others you find here.  Hosted this month by:

@TastingScotland – Brenda Anderson – read more about Brenda’s business of providing luxury gourmet food and drink experiences.

@GlasgowFoodie – reviews, views, food and drink in and around Glasgow from Glasgow Foodie on the Food and Drink Glasgow site.

@Melaina25 – a.k.a. Transatlantic Blonde – blogger and reviewer – find out more about her food collaboration as one of the Lassies who Lunch.

Questions are:

9:00 Q1 Introduce yourself to #ScotFood: first name, first part of postcode, your company/blog and what it does?

9:05 Q2  Favourite local suppliers of meats/cheeses etc? Or best food markets? #ScotFood

9:15 Q3 WHO do you think deserves a @MichelinGuides star in Glasgow #ScotFood

9:25 Q4 Which products and producers in your area would you recommend for the best Xmas EVER? #ScotFood

9:35 Q5 Is the Glasgow ‘Burger’ boom a fad or will it burn out ? #ScotFood

9:45 Q6 What’s the furthest you’ve travelled for a food experience and what did you eat? #ScotFood

If you’re new to the ScotFood hour, here are some hints for participants.

If you’d like to host a future ScotFood hour, here are some hints for hosts.

If you’re looking for inspiration, there’s a new fun video from Scotland Food and Drink where we hear those involved in Scotland’s Food and Drink scene describe their thoughts about it for St Andrew’s Day.

Thanks for supporting our idea go to Tourism Intelligence Scotland – read more in their article about finding new opportunities to promote Scottish Food and Drink.



ScotFood chat 4 November 2013 – Edinburgh & Lothians

This month, the #ScotFood chat moves to the Edinburgh and Lothians, where we’ve 4 delightful co-hosts:

Caroline @the_elfherself - blogging about her food adventures at:

Susan @HulaJuiceBar - Juice bar, coffee house and gallery: Hula Juice Bar 103-105 West Bow, Edinburgh – near the Grassmarket and frequent venue for #EdinHour meetings (but that’s another story…).

Danya  @Pickled_ in_Scot – a new venture we’re keen to hear more about: “grow plant forage preserve eat enjoy – Scotland season by season”

Danielle @edinburghfoody – Discovering, enjoying, eating and writing about food and ingredients in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond. You’ll find Danielle’s blog at:

Follow the hosts, invite your friends to join in and answer the questions by using A1…#ScotFood to ensure we scoop up your answers and save them for posterity (and so others can find you).

9:00 Q1 Introduce yourself to #ScotFood: first name, first part of postcode, your company and what it does?
9:05 Q2 As the nights get darker what Scottish comfort food have you been enjoying? #ScotFood
9:15 Q3 What Christmas baking/preserving have you been doing? Any family recipes/traditions you’d like to share? #ScotFood
9:25 Q4 What foraged ingredient has been your “wow” this autumn and why? #ScotFood
9:35 Q5 What new producers/suppliers/restaurants in Edinburgh & the Lothians are you excited about this year? #ScotFood
9:45 Q6 What Scottish street food would you like to eat at a street party? #ScotFood
9:55 Q7 What would be on your menu to celebrate St Andrews Day? #ScotFood

You’ll find tips for hosts here.
Hints for participants here.
Calendar for future #ScotFood chats here.
(links to follow, just editing posts)
Join in the ScotFood chat November 2013



Tips for participants – ScotFood Chat

The ScotFood Twitter Chats were established in June 2013 by me (@SusanMcNaughton) in my role as social media manager for the Crail Food Festival, and in consultation with Christopher Trotter (@CTScotFood), Fife’s Food Ambassador.  The idea behind the chats is to provide a regular meet up between foodies, food producers, chefs, restaurants, cafés and anyone with an interest in promoting or consuming Scottish Food and Drink.  Joining in the chat provides you with new ideas, allows you to meet new people who share your interests, and to discover more about our abundant Scottish larder.  A different region of the country provides the hosts each month, allowing others to discover more about regional differences as well as seasonal specialities.

how to join ScotFood

Preparation for joining in the next TweetChat

  • A day or two before, check Tweets from next hosts for details of the chat (calendar and hosts)
  • Think about how you’re going to answer questions and prepare Tweets ahead of time
  • Search out photographs or your own blog posts to help illustrate your answers
  • Find links to the people or businesses you’d like to mention
  • Be there on the night and join in the conversation
  • Remember to include the tag #ScotFood in all your Tweets, otherwise your Tweets won’t be seen (it’s easy to forget in the excitement and speed of the chat!)
  • When joining the chat, start your Tweet with A1 to answer Q1, A2 to answer Q2 etc.  Then your answers will be able to be gathered together with other ideas later.
  • You might like to use a tool like to help you join in the chat – it automatically adds the #tag to your Tweet, and allows you to reply, re-Tweet or favourite Tweets within the application.  Or set up a column within Hootsuite or TweetDeck to search for others who are Tweeting with the #ScotFood tag.  If you’ve found other useful tools for Tweet chats, do let me know in the comments below so that I may add them to the suggestions.

Things to do after a TweetChat

  • Follow others who have joined in
  • Write up a post for your business’s blog about what happened or what you learned. Does this lead to an action plan for your business?
  • Use Storify to gather Tweets that were relevant to you, or which amused or informed
  • Add participants to a Twitter list (do have a favourite tool for this?) and keep in touch
  • Respond to Tweets to continue the conversation
  • Diarise the next TweetChat – take a note of who’s hosting and which accounts to look out for in preparation

If you’ve joined in the ScotFood chat, I’d love to hear from you if there are any more ideas you have for the chat, or if there are any tips you’d like to share with others.  Just comment below.

Need help with your social media management for your festival, tourism or food-related business? Happy to answer questions – here’s how to reach me.


Tips for Hosts – ScotFood Chat

The ScotFood Twitter Chats were established in June 2013 by me (@SusanMcNaughton) in my role as social media manager for the Crail Food Festival, and in consultation with Christopher Trotter (@CTScotFood), Fife’s Food Ambassador.  The idea behind the chats is to provide a regular meet up between foodies, food producers, chefs, restaurants, cafés and anyone with an interest in promoting or consuming Scottish Food and Drink.  Joining in the chat provides you with new ideas, allows you to meet new people who share your interests, and to discover more about our abundant Scottish larder.  A different region of the country provides the hosts each month, allowing others to discover more about regional differences as well as seasonal specialities.

ScotFood on Twitter Hosting

To prepare for a ScotFood chat, hosts may:

    • suggest some questions to be tweeted out at regular intervals throughout the hour – email to susan [at] for publication 7 days before the chat is due to take place
    • Susan will support the chat by publishing a blog post with the questions on
    • If hosts are also bloggers, or have a ‘news’ page on their company website, they may wish to create their own post giving information about
      • time of the chat
      • date of the chat
      • hosts for the chat
      • questions for the chat
    • encourage others to join in by Tweeting links to your own blog post, or Susan’s
    • invite Twitter friends to join in by mentioning #ScotFood in a Tweet to them
    • find out about tools to participate (signing in to is a good way to participate)
    • find out about tools to record/blog afterwards
    • it’s also good to also have a way of monitoring the tag, e.g.
      • Set up a column on Hootsuite or TweetDeck
      • Save a search on your phone and monitor regularly
      • Rebelmouse – set up a page for your Tag
      • Use Storify to group Tweets after the chat and publish a story
      • Use to monitor participation on the day (up to 2,000 Tweets are recorded free)

During the chat hosts must:

    • Tweet out the questions at the appropriate time (useful to pre-schedule if you can as the chats can be fast!)  Be sure to start the questions with Q1… Q2 and so on and include #ScotFood in the Tweet

During the chat it’s useful for the hosts to:

    • RT or favourite Tweets that they like or find useful during the chat
    • Follow others who are joining in
    • Engage with and have conversations about the answers which arise

If you’ve hosted a #ScotFood chat – what worked for you, and what do I need to include in the list above?  Any other Twitter tools you find useful? Do let me know by commenting below.