Creators of Ilkley’s online networking event #Ilkleyhour have celebrated its first birthday.

Approach PR launched the Twitter hashtag #Ilkleyhour on April 15 last year and over the following 12 months it has seen around 300 local businesses join the Monday evening conversations between 7pm and 8pm.

Suzanne Johns, managing director of Approach PR, which is based on The Grove, said the hour was introduced to encourage networking, exchange business news and to emulate the success of the popular #Yorkshirehour hashtag which was introduced in 2012.

She said: “In just 12 months #Ilkleyhour has generated 3,011 tweets between local businesses, from cake-makers and financial specialists to accountants and hoteliers. We’ve had incredible feedback from people who have secured new business relationships, received bookings for their training programmes and others who simply say they have made new friends.

“We couldn’t have envisaged the success of the hour which has doubled in users and tweets since January. It works because it is relaxed and informal and there’s no ownership of the conversation. #Ilkleyhour belongs to all the businesses and people of LS29 who make every Monday evening on Twitter an engaging and dynamic place to be.”

Andi Lonnen, owner of Andi Lonnen Business Associates and regular contributor to #Ilkleyhour, said the “hour” had been invaluable to developing her business reputation.

“I started my business from home just over 12 months ago so #Ilkleyhour was launched at the perfect time for me,” she said. “I’ve tweeted almost every week and secured business leads and new contacts because of it. Every local business should be on there because it benefits not only you, but the whole town.”

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets".

A hashtag – or # – is a way of searching a term or bringing together a chat topic.

For more information, follow @Approach_pr on Twitter and join the #Ilkleyhour conversation every Monday from 7pm to 8pm.