Insider Guide to #SBS with Theo Paphitis

Are you seizing the opportunity to place your business in front of Theo Paphitis each week? If you’re not using Twitter already or you are but not entering Theo’s Small Business Sunday (#SBS) Awards every Sunday evening, you are missing out on potentially massive exposure! Let me explain;

Every Sunday between 5pm and 7.30pm (UK time), ex BBC Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis (@TheoPaphitis) invites small business owners to send him a tweet to promote their business. The conditions of entry are

  • Tweets must be sent between 5pm and 7.30pm on Sundays only
  • Tweets must be sent to @TheoPaphitis
  • Tweets must include the hashtag #sbs

After 7.30pm Theo personally looks through all the tweets he has been sent and chooses his six favourite entries. His chosen six receive a re-tweet (RT) from Theo on Monday evening at 8pm which is seen by his 400k+ followers! I encourage you to enter every week because regardless of whether you win, vast quantities of Twitter users are following and engaging with #sbs (if you click on a hashtag in Twitter it shows you all tweets which have used the hashtag) so it’s a fantastic opportunity to place your business where thousands of other Twitter users are looking!

On Sunday 24th July 2011, I sent my tweet to Theo as I had for at least 20 previous weeks and logged out of Twitter to watch a DVD with my husband. Around 10pm I logged in to check my messages and to my amazement discovered I had received 80 Twitter mentions!


Over the next 24 hours I received at least 250 more messages and gained a similar amount of new followers. Another bonus is that you get invited to an event for all #SBS winners to attend and meet with Theo himself! HOW EXCITING?! Here is my winning tweet

Theo’s re-tweet of my winning entry to #SBS 24/07/2011

And here is the photo of me collecting my certificate from the man himself!

Veronica Pullen with Theo Paphitis – March 2012

So, to help your chances of winning #SBS, here are my top tips;

  • Make sure your tweet is sent at the right time on Sundays. If you think you’ll forget to send the tweet, use TweetDeck or Hootsuite to schedule your tweet to post within the timeframe.
  • Don’t send more than one tweet – you’ll only annoy Theo and decrease, rather than increase your chances of winning!
  • Your tweet must include @TheoPaphitis and #sbs to qualify for consideration
  • If you provide services, state how using your services saves businesses time. If your supply products, why should businesses or consumers buy your products? Explain the benefits in your tweet.
  • If you can fit it in, include a link to your website and use a URL shortener ( etc) to save space in your tweet. At the very least make sure your Twitter bio does include your website link!
  • Don’t use text speak to fit more words in – you want people (and more importantly Theo) to be able to understand your tweet – but using ‘&’ instead of ‘and’ does save two characters!
2015 #SBS Winners Badge

2015 #SBS Winners Badge

Have you won?

Congratulations! Being chosen as a winner is a fantastic achievement! Thousands of business owners are entering each week and to be one of the chosen six is no mean feat! Well done!

As a winner, you will receive;

  • A re-tweet (RT) to Theo’s followers
  • Your own profile page on Theo’s (very highly optimised!) #SBS website
  • A badge graphic to use in your marketing (you can see mine above)
  • Entry into the exclusive #SBSWinners community of business owners (known as the SBS family) and access to the private Facebook group and weekly Twitter networking
  • Invitation to the annual #SBS winners event in Birmingham to collect your certificate, learn from Theo’s inner circle of experts, and (by application) pitch your business to investers – plus lots of goodies from Theo’s existing businesses
  • Press Release template and business advice in the SBS winners members’ portal

… and more benefits get added all the time!

Tell everyone!

If you’re prepared to put a bit of effort in, this is a fantastic opportunity to generate some PR for your business! I made sure my local newspaper knew I had won #SBS, and this happened…

Veronica Pullen Surrey Mirror as winner of Theo Paphitis #SBS August 2011

Veronica Pullen featured in Surrey Mirror after being hand picked by Theo Paphitis in his Small Business Sunday (#SBS) weekly Twitter competition

It’s a great local news story, so don’t be shy about promoting your #SBS win! You’re even given a Press Release template to help you get the word out.

Click here for a list of all the #SBS winners to date (list supplied by @virtualbuscent)

Didn’t win this time?

Don’t give up. I entered at least 20 times before I won! The number of entries is increasing weekly, so be patient and keep persevering. Although I heard from someone who had downloaded my Twitter eBook, and entered #SBS for the first time the following Sunday – and WON. So it can happen! 😉

Leave it a couple of days and send each winner a personal tweet congratulating them on their win. On Monday and Tuesday the winners will receive lots of messages and yours will likely get lost in the ‘noise’. By Wednesday the volume has decreased and by making your tweet personal to the recipient, you’ve placed your business in front of someone new who may just be interested in what you offer – but don’t be pitching your business to them. Go into any conversation with the sole intention of making a friend.

If you’re not familiar with the 8 emotion states your new followers need to progress through before they’ll be ready to buy from you, take a look at the Social Marketing Profits Blueprint™ before you lose sales to your competitors..

Social Prospecting with #SBS

Are small business owners your target audience? Even if your ideal client isn’t a small business per se, but you want to connect with small businesses within a specific sector, then don’t miss the HUGE potential that prospecting the search results offers.

Let me explain. Roughly 1,200 small business owners enter #SBS each week. Why not dedicate 30 minutes each Monday morning to click on the hashtag so you see all the entries, and scan the list to find people who fit your ideal client profile.

Then send them a personal, introductory (non salesy) tweet – this part is important! Refer to something in their profile or recent tweets, and go make friends. Who knows where that one tweet could lead?! NO PITCHING though remember?!

Good luck!

For more tips on how to make Twitter work for your business and get started on your journey towards finding and engaging with your ideal prospects, and converting them into paying customers… download my FREE eBook “Unlock The 3 Best Kept Secrets To Skyrocket Your Sales From Twitter” HERE


My day at the #SBS Live Winners Event

On Friday 30th March 2012, the #SBS winners were invited to a VIP event at Edgbaston where we met Theo Paphitis himself! Theo and Rymans put on an amazing four hour event for close to 1,000 people. Check out this short video from the day.