When it comes to harnessing the power of the internet and social media, Mid Ulster businesses are on a fast-track learning curve.
The creation of Magherafelt man Kieran Heaney, #Magherafelthour has seen dozens of local companies take part in the hugely successful initiative on Twitter.
Kieran who runs Lanoc Web Design, is quick to point out that he borrowed the idea from Fermanagh and Belfast who began hosting the online forum last year.
“It has been really astonishing how many local companies have got involved since it began in January,” he said.
“On our very first session the #Magherafelthour hashtag had received well over 150,000 impressions [clicks on webpage], that has now doubled to over 300,000 last week.
“It has continued to grow and grow each week, we are meeting more and more new companies.”
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In essence, Kieran says, the online forum allows companies to share ideas, source products and services and promote their business, as well of course, as having a bit of light-hearted fun.
“We have many businesses now sharing their services, there is the likes of Papa J’s Pizzas and the Spice of Life. Now there is Spice of Life sauces on Papa J’s pizzas.
“There is also the Mid Ulster School of Music and Jumping Clay, who have combined their services to deliver wee workshops, whichhave been very successful.”
Of course, many would ask if all this online effort makes a difference to the bottom line figures.
I still think there are a lot of local companies in and around Magherafelt and Mid Ulster, who are still a bit afraid of social media
“Yes definitely,” Kieran continued, “businesses are starting to feel the benefit, in terms of profit and I am sure that there are many more opportunities to benefit.
“I still think there are a lot of local companies in and around Magherafelt and Mid Ulster, who are still a bit afraid of social media.
“They can come along to #Magherafelthour for free and speak to other companies who will be able to help.”
Log on to Twitter on a Tuesday night from 9-10pm, though as Kieran warns, it can sometimes run well beyond 10pm.