If you haven’t come across it yet, #bathindiechat is my new project, and it’s all about supporting Bath’s amazing independent businesses through the awesome medium of Twitter. The @bathindiechat Twitter account is the place to go for all the news, events and offers from Bath’s independent companies, and promotes as many as possible throughout the week. Then on Monday evenings, we have a regular Twitter chat from 9-10pm – but it’s not just your standard Twitter ‘business hour’ where everybody dumps their links & leaves again. #bathindiechat is all about the conversation, so each week we chat about a different area of business for Bath’s companies, giving everyone an opportunity to promote what they do and connect with other people who might be able to help. We also have our first event coming up – The Great #BathIndieChat Scavenger Hunt – on Saturday the 9th of July, which will be an awesome opportunity to discover new independent businesses, meet the people behind them AND win some incredible prizes. Save the date, more information coming soon!
Back to the story – what’s really important is whether #bathindiechat is working. So far, the evidence seems pretty positive! After less than three months, the @bathindiechat Twitter account has over 1400 followers, almost all of whom live in Bath and/or own awesome Bath businesses, and we get more people joining in with the chat every week. And does it actually help indie businesses? I put out a call for people who had a #bathindiechat success story, and here are just a few of the responses…
The Bath Health Heroes – these chaps are an awesome network of complimentary health professionals in Bath. They’ve been in #bathindiechat from the beginning and it’s definitely working for them. Head Hero Owen Morgan says: “When the Bath Health Heroes formed we needed to raise our profile and recruit new members. Bath Indie Chat’s support of us and the live chats on a Monday lead to hundreds of new followers and have even lead us to a brand new Hero for our team. Not possible without the fantastic Bath Indie Chat!”
Bath Holistic Massage – as well as being a member of the above Health Heroes team, Sophia joins our chats from her own Twitter account as Bath Holistic Massage, and as a bride-to-be found our recent Weddings chat really helpful. Throughout the evening I could see her making connections with awesome local companies and I reckon her wedding will turn out to be an indie spectacular! In fact, during the chat Sophia connected with one of our lovely local florists, Flowers of Bath, and then later placed an order, tweeting Bath Indie Chat to say “You are great at connecting people!”
Chapter One Pub – Em & Michael are Bath newcomers, and have just turned the old Hive pub on London Road into Chapter One, a beautiful space stocked entirely with independent produce from booze to soft drinks. Em says: “Bath Indie Chat has introduced us to new local & independent suppliers, given us exposure to customers and helped us make some wonderful new friends! Being new to Bath it’s clued us in personally to lots of cool shops and services in the area, and it’s good fun too!”
Yuyo Drinks – although Rosie over at Yuyo Drinks was already a Twitter networking demon, she has really gotten stuck into #bathindiechat and is feeling the benefits, saying that the chat was a key part of helping her to get two new stockists – Chapter One, above, and another lovely newcomer, Widcombe Deli.
Comins Tea House – Comins recently came to Bath to set up a sister branch to their extremely successful Dorset tea house. They prepare a huge range of fabulous teas from China, India, Japan and many other countries, using the correct traditional utensils and method for each one, and also serve delicious food. As Bath newbies, they’ve been getting involved with Bath Indie Chat from the start to spread the word about what they’re up to. Michelle says: “Bath Indie Chat has been FAB! We love it – I think this kind of initiative is essential to build great indie communities.”
Savouring Bath – another new business in the city, Savouring Bath offers amazing tours that combine Bath’s history with its independent foodie scene. Jennifer says: “I think the [Bath Indie Chat] concept is a great initiative, for a few reasons: the connections made, the information and tips shared and the general promotion and effort of supporting independent businesses… I like it and find it valuable. It has given me a presence ahead of my launch and I appreciate the enthusiasm for my activity.”
And a few shorter shout-outs…
“I want to congratulate you on creating a great sense of community. Supporting each other is the way forward!” Alison Heather-Sutton
“#bathindiechat fabulous as always, tonight’s enlightenments have me buzzing with ideas! Thank you!” Echo Holistics
“Second week here, nice to meet with everyone – wish I joined sooner!” – Derryn Vranch Photography
“Fantastic to meet and chat with you all, we feel very warm and fuzzy now! Well done @sal_godfrey you gem!” – Play Learn Grow
“Feeling positive after last night’s #bathindiechat!” Miles Mann Bath
It’s awesome to see that Bath Indie Chat is genuinely bringing people business, but I also really love that it makes everyone feel so positive – I certainly always feel positive and energised after the chats and it seems like plenty of other people agree. Running an independent business can be a bit lonely at times, so it’s brilliant to connect with other people who share the same experiences. Every week the chat gets bigger, with more and more people joining in, and I’ve got some awesome plans for the community to help support and promote Bath’s independent businesses. Fancy getting involved? All you have to do is find @bathindiechat on Twitter for all the information you need – everyone is welcome and we’d love to have you join us!