Social media has greatly transformed the business landscape. It is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. With the advent of ‘Social Media’ we found that we could spread the message to a much wider audience it’s clear that social media will continue to be a part of consumers’ daily lives, with smartphones and mobile devices as the main driving force. In 2020, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide reached 145 minutes per day. As it stands, social media statistics show that more than 90% of social media users use mobile devices to access social networks.

Such statistics clearly show the growing trend and reliance of consumers on social media, indicating a clear opportunity for social media marketing opportunities for

businesses worldwide.

Social Media is a ‘ shop window’ to your business. You can virtually show the whole world what you are trying to promote. When Covid-19 struck and we all had to go into lock-down, social media was one of the main ways to communicate with family and friends. Businesses started to interact even more so with customers. At first it was a way to relieve the boredom but also in making sure you had their business at the forefront of your mind so when we did finally come out of lock-down then that business would be high on your agenda to visit or buy online from. One of my favourite pubs ‘The Berwick Inn’ in Berwick, Polegate held a weekly quiz on Facebook. They had a fantastic response from people all over. It also gave them the opportunity to let people know that they would be launching a takeaway/delivery service. During that time they also renovated a couple of spare rooms above the pub and turned them into amazing guest rooms. They also invested in their outside space in time for when we could dine outside again but also set-up a dining igloo/pod which housed up to 6 people.

We all know how easy it is to communicate with a business online these days. 'Social Customer Service' is the new way to communicate and questions or complaints a customer may have. We have so many options available to us. We have Twitter, Facebook you are not already on 'Google My Business' then i suggest you register your business online as soon as possible. 'Google My Business' is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information. All of these platforms can generate more traffic to your website but also encourage your customers to leave you a review

Ambassador says 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. This shows the importance of social media in businesses.

Providing fantastic customer service is likely already a top priority for every business. But along with the two-way communication that social media provides, it also offers a unique opportunity to step up your customer service game and provide instant gratification to your target audience.

WhatsApp, for example, is the most popular channel for customer service on a global front. The numbers say there are more than 1.5 billion monthly active users, sharing more than 60 billion messages every day, a huge amount of on-platform activity.

WhatsApp Business app, launched by Whatsapp enables business users to “interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to the messages”.

Social media best practices:

You should be prompt in responding to online reviews. Customers share their positive as well as negative feedback over social media. Respond to your social media comments quickly. You need to respond to them as priority else it will affect your brand image

There are several questions you must ask yourself before you plan your social media strategy

What are the channels where my customers are present?

What are the ways to target my audience on those channels?

What are my objectives and the Return on Investment of the social media strategy?

So it is evident that how social media can have an immense impact on your business and can be one of the most powerful marketing channels to reach out to your audience.

In a nutshell, social media helps businesses in three key areas;

Brand building – Social media is one of the most profitable digital marketing platforms that boosts your brand visibility among potential customers, allowing you to reach a bigger audience. By applying a social media customer service strategy, you significantly increase your brand recognition.

Omni channel engagement – Research shows, 60% of US millennials expect consistent experiences when dealing with brands online, in-store, or by phone. Social media strategies boost user engagement across channels in order to engage customers and deliver better omni channel customer experience. (BTW i love that word OMNI. All, all of things)

Business growth – Social interaction between businesses & customers is a growing trend that increases sales and improves brand loyalty. More than 65% of businesses are on social media to increase leads.

Almost 90% of marketers say their social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75% say they’ve increased traffic. It an ideal way to create brand awareness and stay in contact with your customers.

Social media platforms are becoming the main source for people to learn more about businesses – latest information about new products, services, advertisements, deals or promotions. Everything your customers and potential customers need to know.

Identify your target audience, their patterns, behaviors and then choose the right social media channels for your business.

Social media is a place to forge connections and bring a voice to your brand. Ensure that your tone is consistent, friendly, and suits your business that you are trying to showcase.

Visual and engaging content is key. To publish relevant, quality content and involve your audience – ask questions, use polls, and host events.

Many businesses are jumping into the Social Media Marketing (SMM) bandwagon as its positive impact on brands and promises profitable success when done properly. Social media marketing techniques target social networks and applications to spread brand awareness.

Social media marketing is perceived as a more targeted type of advertising and therefore it is very effective in creating brand awareness. Social media engagement campaigns produce a lot of shares, generate more views and publicity for your business – all for a one-time cost.

Social media marketing campaigns usually center around:

Establishing a social media presence on major platforms

Creating shareable content and advertorials

Cultivating customer feedback throughout the campaign through surveys and contests

A single person sharing or re-tweeting a message from your company could reach hundreds or even thousands of people for virtually no cost! Businesses that miss out on this with social media strategies that don’t generate engagement are losing a major opportunity.

Setting up a social media presence, building and engaging them effectively with quality content is a big effort. But the biggest benefit you can glean from your investment in social media is to reach out to your potential customers wherever they can be found across the globe.

Social media engagement is positive as the reputation it generates for your brand but on the other hand, a single negative tweet can bring bad publicity overnight, which is difficult to reverse. Below are a few best practices for engaging users.

Keep your brand at the top of the news-feed by posting witty and engaging content regularly.

Images increase the interaction rates so use images.

Try being personal with your audience. Make them feel there are real people behind the brand.

To put this all into practice can be quite daunting for many people. You have a business to run so you want to be with your customers doing what you do best, so you could ask yourself if you have time to do all of this. Well this is what i do! I have 'Social Media Packages' designed to take the pressure off of you, helping your business maximise its online potential. Finding which platforms work best for you, setting you up with an

e-commerce site adding another revenue stream to your business.

For all enquiries or if you just fancy a chat to see what we can do for your business then please do not hesitate in contacting us. or call me on 07742450881

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Especially now, in today's climate of a pandemic I have noticed especially on Social Media how closely local communities have come together. More and more hospitality businesses are helping out., coming together to help people in need, such as charities and helping to feed the N.H.S. These stories feed on to the wave of the feel good factor and can also help boost your business without even realising. Actively posting on your Social Media platforms and updates on your website with more importantly a link or a 'Call to Action' can both boost your audience and your sales.

Whilst we as a nation are in the middle of another national lock-down with the pandemic, we are probably spending more time on own devices and Social Media ( that's if you are not continuously home-schooling ) mindlessly scrolling through, looking for something to grab our attention. Food and drink are always high on our agenda as it stimulates the senses. does me, haha! So it is important to post consistently and also to have high quality images and video to post.

“Since the hospitality industry mainly focuses on creating and maintaining positive customer experience and relationships, marketing becomes an important part of ensuring the industry’s success. If you want to attract more customers to your hotel or travel business, you need to efficiently advertise on different digital channels and be where your niche audience is.”

Food for thought...

Not all businesses are suited to all Social Media platforms. How does a small business owner, especially one in Hospitality, have the time to post and interact with all the possible Social Media platforms out there. The market for these is constantly expanding. How do you find the time to find out what is more beneficial for your business?

Also a big trend during 2020 and will obviously continue this year will be in promoting safety and Guest communication. Making people believe your business is COVID-19 secure will hopefully entice the public back after this pandemic has reduced enough for everyone to begin coming back to their favourite hospitality venues. It will take time and things i believe will change. Many businesses will have to adapt. This does not mean it has to be expensive, but new and existing technologies will help businesses as people will be looking for venues that keep them safe. ( Look out for my next blog which will show you information on what is out there regarding new technology to enhance your customer experience of your business ) But this could also mean getting the message ot to your community that you and your team are doing your best in making your customers feel safe. Posts on Social Media that demonstrate increased cleaning schedules, relocation of tables and chairs to allow for social distancing, enforcement of mask-wearing in certain parts of your premises or by staff members, expanded use of contact-less payments and mobile apps. The key is to make sure these changes are clearly communicated to customers before arrival.

There is also a trend in the Leisure Industry in showing what we have to offer. More and more hotels, guest houses, 'AirBnB's are attracting customers by showcasing what the local area has to offer. some venues even team up with local tourist venues. Through times of COVID-19 we can show your customers what Sussex has to offer. This in turn keeps engagement and more chance for people to book with you. How can you do this? All you have to do is add a new page to your website by showing what your local area has to offer. If you need help with this then please do contact me.

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In these crazy times, being visible online is more important than ever. As we delve deeper into ' lockdown 2' we are seeing more and more businesses offering their services online via Social Media or a website. As a whole, the UK’s Hospitality industry has been literally tipped on it’s head. In less than 8 month’s our amazing bars, restaurants, hotels, pubs, cafes etc... have had to find new ways of adapting their business approach.  Most businesses closed at the end of March 2020 due to COVID-19 and yet here we are again. But for some this is an opportunity to reinvent themselves. With more and more people at home during the pandemic browsing online and interacting more frequently with  Social Media, there has never been a better time to be more visible. A chance to interact with more potential customers just by showing the world what you do. 

There have been some amazing success stories on what businesses have done during the last few months. Keeping staff employed by helping to provide services for local charities and the fantastic NHS. These businesses then share on Social Media what they have been up to. It’s the feel good factor of helping others but it is also showing potential customers who you are as people and as a business. 

Slowly but surely throughout the summer months, businesses began to reopen there doors and whilst consumer confidence grew slowly at first, it did begin to grow. But now the Hospitality industry is being plunged back into uncertainty and there are worrying times, especially for small businesses who don't always have or know how to get support. As a small business we are always trying to re-invent the wheel and doing things ourselves, but there is so much support out there! So I am offering my help to any hospitality business out there who need it. I have a wealth of knowledge in this amazing industry of ours and if i can help, i will. This is why i started off with Digital Marketing. It is vitally important in this day and age to be at the fore front of peoples minds when they are looking for a product or service. Even should you have to close, you should still be active on Social Media letting existing and potential customers know what you are up to. Your local community wants to know. If they can help a small business survive by helping and buying from you, rather than the big companies then believe me, they will. And more importantly they will most probably come back again and again, but also spread the word with your experience. Never under estimate the power of an amazing review. Either online or just from talking with friends. We all know how a bad review can spread so now more than ever, we should be leaving all our local businesses an amazing review.

I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years and I know exactly what you are going through. I was made redundant in April of this year due to Covid-19 and over the last few years I have been helping hospitality venues with there Social Media and also with advice. So i decided to start up ‘Purple Box’ knowing that I have all this wealth of experience and knowledge to help this amazing industry in any way I can. 

You are all super stars at what you do but let’s face it, there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. So let us help you with any digital marketing needs you may have. Let us take away the stress of updating websites, looking after your Social Media platforms. You have enough to worry about and you need to be with your staff and customers at this time. So let us do all the mundane tasks with updating Facebook, creating content for your website. We can take away that pressure and we pride ourselves on our one-to-one service and care. 

I will also be setting up a new page on my website dedicated to offering my services as a consultant in the hospitality sector. I have a vast amount of experience from managing bars, restaurants and hotels. Everything from Customer service skills to the more complicated tasks of the financial part of this business. Whatever i can do to help and to give you more time with your customers then i am here for you.

Simply send us a quick message of what you need and we will do the rest. 

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