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Thank you to our BID Members for joining us for our Social Media Drop In Clinic, and to Brodie and the team at The Old House for your hospitality.

One constant in digital media is change. Once you have mastered the algorithm on a particular channel, it feels like they've gone and changed the goal posts. (Whisper: they have!) We like to think of our digital landscape a bit like 'digital real estate':

What do you own:

Email list / Subscriptions

Website

What do you rent:

Social media

Press / Earned Media

It is so important to have a plan on how you will approach this and use the tools you have at your disposal to market, measure and evaluate how you are reaching your audience and convert to sales.

How are you going about connecting with your audience?

Social media, email, websites, press, in person events - they are all part of a broader digital strategy that helps drive customers to your physical premises, no matter what kind of service or product you offer. The key is to have a plan to execute, measure your results, learn from them and share your impact with your audience. Our advice is to:

Stay positive.

Remember that there is already a lot of negativity on social media and it can be amplified for people. Everyone probably knows about the weather, the economic challenges, the global conflict. Cultivate an experience online and offline. Tell them why your shop, your services, your product - will add value and help their lives. Tell your story in a positive way. Don't point out the negatives; instead share the positives. And you'll convert that positive content into something good for your business.

Top Tips

  1. Invest in building your target audience with an email newsletter.
    Cultivate a trusted community of brand ambassadors who will join you in sharing your message with their own audience on and off line. If you don't already have one, start a newsletter. We use the best practice 'PESO' (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) model when generating coverage and attracting customers on or offline and on a campaign basis. With so many changes to digital, you will always be able to build trust and have a direct line of communication to your audience with email, where on a campaign basis can send a message about important updates.
  2. Create a plan.
    Do you have one? Are you measuring success? We created a few last night on the spot for our businesses. We have a simple approach for businesses to take to help them write a plan and we can help each one of you create a plan that they can use and repurpose. We all had our phones last night and looked at the back end of our business accounts, reviewing analytics to dive into some great questions:
    • How do I know who's looking at and engaging with my content?
    • How do I get them to take action?
      • There are published best practices on how to compose content for every channel (and customer funnels) and we have our own tips that we can share with you.
    • What do I do with a testimonial on Facebook?
      • You can ask for permission to reuse it across other channels. Create a carousel post (be sure to use a great photo of your product, face, or business first) or create an engaging video. Make sure your content is useful to your audience. Does it pass the 'so what' test?
    • How do I use Canva more effectively?
      • Here are five quick ways to use Canva - but there is so much more. We could do a whole session on this. Before you do anything else, create your brand identity on Canva. Sort out your logo, colours, font. There are loads of tutorials and we can help you with them.
    • How can I create content? Do I need a logo?
      • It all starts with a plan:
        • Who are you
        • Why do you exist (IMHO the most important bit)
        • Who are your customers and how will they find you
        • And yes you need a brand identity.
      • Should I use Google My Business?
        • Yes it certainly helps
      • What's the 'best channel' to use?
        • There is no magic answer to this. You've got to put the work in, test and discover what works for your business, understand where your audience is, and go there and engage. Creating a new audience on a platform, like say, Substack, is work. But it might be well worth it depending on your business model.
  3. Tell your story.
    Everyone loves a good story. What makes you different from your competition? How can you collaborate with others? Whether we are seeking coverage and engagement on social media - which has become more about entertainment and video - or PR, which is still more about expertise and newsworthiness, your audience does not want to be sold to. Your narrative matters. When we have a solid go to market strategy, which includes a brand identity, routes to market, and a comms approach, one can repurpose all of that content for social media. And it makes the life of a busy business owner a whole lot simpler.
  4. Set expectations and measures of success for digital.
    Focusing on success and being aspirational is important. We must try, test, evaluate and try again. If we don't measure our marketing efforts, we will surely give up. And so will your customers on you. Marketing must have a goal, be measured and have an outcome. "I will share this content, invest this time to achieve this sale and evaluate my results." Social media and - digital in general - are simply a channel - a route to market - that we must use to communicate our messages.
    • When a customer purchases from you, or when they sign up to your services, do you have an email funnel developed to thank them and to encourage the next action you want them to take?
    • Are you upselling your services?
    • Are you asking for testimonials?
    • How are you evaluating your marketing spend?
      • You've invested in products, staff, infrastructure. How are you sharing the value of your services with customers? How do your customers communicate? Not just the customers you have now, but the customers you want in the future? You must go to where the eyeballs are.
  5. Be authentic.
    In a crowded marketplace and indeed in a crowded online world, we must stand out. And the only way to do this is to live your brand. It is vital that we use high quality imagery, a great hook and to be optimistic. Trends change. Best practices on hashtags, reel length, algorithms (LinkedIn 2024 Update) - it all changes and we need to stay updated on them (Facebook / Insta Reels update). But rest assured, if you stay true to your brand and your value proposition, your customers will stay true to you.

Any questions?

Your BID team is always here to help.

Join a committee

Meet Lisa Wells, The Wardobe on 12 South Street, Dorking Surrey RH4 2HQ

I have always wanted my own clothes shop for as long as I can remember. A childhood dream that is now a reality. I still have that pinch me moment when I open the door to my shop in the morning. Clothes are my passion whether they be new or pre-loved and so being able to offer people both of these options in the shop is amazing. I want to offer my customers great looking clothes, shoes and accessories at an affordable price point. My main aim is for the people who come in to The Wardrobe to walk out with a smile on their face, happy with their purchase and excited to wear it - or delighted that they've found the perfect present for someone. We are also going to be selling Brocante from our basement in the near future.

Lisa Wells - The Wardrobe

What do you love about Dorking?

I only moved to Dorking about a year ago and love living here. I think it has got a great high street and it's nice to see new businesses opening up. Everyone has been so lovely and friendly and very encouraging since I opened a month ago. I am already beginning to feel part of the community which is so nice.

Tell us what sustainability means to you

Sustainability is important to me that's why I have a pre-loved section in the shop where customers can purchase good quality pre-owned clothing. I have also recently introduced some beautiful scarves that have been made using recycled plastic bottles. I have paper bags to offer customers and am always open to learn more about sustainability.

Any advice for new businesses?

Know your target market and who you want your customers to be. Get to know the other local businesses, pop in and introduce yourself. Being nice and friendly goes a long way!

The Refill scheme reduces the amount of single use plastic waste by promoting and facilitating the use of refillable containers. Over 60 Mole Valley businesses - including shops, cafes and pubs - have participated in the scheme by becoming ‘Refill Stations’, where members of the public can obtain tap water refills. 
 
The Refill app, which allows users to locate participating businesses via an interactive map, has now been updated to include business which can offer other types of refill.  For example, the app now helps users locate venues where they can use their own coffee cups for hot drinks, lunchboxes for takeaway food, or containers for groceries and household products.
 
If you would like to play a part in reducing plastic waste by participating in this fantastic scheme, please get in touch.

Dorking Town Partnership
156 South Street
Dorking, RH4 2HF

T: 07377 0966892

© 2022 Dorking Town Partnership
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