SME squareJust about all of us have signed up to some of social network, most likely facebook or twitter, or you may be amongst the 20 million subscribers to Google Plus, the new platform designed to further grow the search engine giant’s presence on the web? Whatever your platform of choice though, you’ll have people to chat with, bounce ideas off and ultimately, if it’s for business you’ll hopefully have attracted some customers through social networking.

For the tweeters out there, you’ll be familiar with a hashtag or # and for those new to twitter, this little symbol denotes a particular topic or conversation and to join in you simply include the hashtag together with the selected term for the subject matter of choice.

In June of this year, a number of SMEs from a variety of locations got talking or to be more specific tweeting together, both on twitter and on websites geared to the SME community such as Small Business Can.  Through the course of communicating with each other we realised that despite the geography and the various different industries we’re all involved with, that we can all offer fantastic advice and support to each other as there are areas that are common to all and thus, the twitter community that we’ve come to adopt was born – #SMEcommunity or @SMEcommunity_ie if you’re shy and would prefer to follow at first.

Throughout the day (and night!), people join in conversations, sometimes light-hearted, sometimes offering suggestions, but in a positive environment where everybody is welcome to tell us a little about themselves and over time, maybe even find a new customer or supplier as we form virtual friendships and work together to get Ireland moving forward again.

To date we’ve got community members who design web applications,  poster & t-shirt designers, website designers, marketing experts, social media consultants, interior designers, cosmetics suppliers, virtual assistants, training solution providers, business consultants, google professionals, healthy eating advisers, bike shop owners, PR consultants, energy efficiency consultants, personal trainers, timber construction experts, accountants – and that’s just some of our contributors!!!

It’s become a fantastic little hub to dip in and out of when you need a little help, or even just for those times when you’re working on a project alone and need to come up for air and a friendly chat.

And although our community chats primarily on twitter, we do have a forum on facebook too for those who are a little reluctant to tweet which you’ll find at facebook.com/SMEcommunity

After over little more than a month, we’ve formed friendships which we’ve now started to enjoy offline with a number of Tweet-Ups planned during August, the first of which took place in Letterkenny on 2nd August, with Castlebar on the 3rd August and an upcoming meet confirmed for 26th August in Dublin, at the Red Cow Hotel at 3pm.  These Tweet-Ups are informal, casual chats over coffee with the opportunity to put faces to our new found friends and garner support from like-minded individuals in your region, with possible future Tweet-Ups being planned for Waterford and Cork amongst others.

And did we mention the media coverage?  We’ve been featured in a range of high profile locations on the web including All About BusinessSmall Business Can and Silicon Republic and have had the support of small business champions such as FocuSME, amongst others.

Organised group that we are, you can read our official press release here and if you’re an SME looking to meet up with the Dublin & Region SME Community on the 26th August, you can contact Debbie McDonnell on twitter, on facebook on email or on the good old-fashioned telephone at 0872785818.

Together we’ll put our best foot forward and make Ireland great again!

This post previously appeared on our previous site themarketingshopireland.com in August 2011


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