Christine and Peter from The Late Breakfast business networking organisation in Oxfordshire tell us how social media took over from their more traditional marketing methods…
The Late Breakfast has been in the Oxfordshire business environment for 10 years. You can imagine we have seen a lot of change during that time – no more so that with our marketing methods.
Our first launch in Abingdon saw us posting out via ‘snail mail’ more than 300 postcards to a combination of an existing database and a bought in mailing list. Due to its unique starting time (it was unique in 2006) we attracted more than 50 bookings (with a 50/50 split of men and women) for the inaugural event. A website soon followed which with the help of a specialist SEO expert went straight to the top of Business Networking Oxfordshire listings on launch – there were fewer networking groups then.
We continued to use postcards for the next 3 or so years to attract new companies to events as well as keeping in touch with customers via email. Then (to be honest) the cost of postage made the use of postcards prohibitive. Luckily for us, social media was emerging as an effective and useful tool.
Social Media takes over!
We were quick to adopt Twitter (taking our Twitter handle @ in 2009) and started the process of building followers. Today we have more than 1800 followers and tweet on a regular basis. This medium really works for us and we have had several ‘conversations’ that have led to last minute bookings via Twitter. The time we spent printing out postcards, putting stamps on and then taking the postcards to the post office equates closely to the time we spend on Twitter. And we have to say, Twitter is much more fun! We are careful about who we follow and monitor who follows us – avoid the spammers! We are also careful about what we retweet as we want it to be relevant and interesting to our followers.
As we see new followers almost daily then we think we have something right. After attending a couple of social media workshops we set up a business Facebook page. Then a LinkedIn page. To be honest, at first, we didn’t pay much attention to these. Initially, we went a bit mad and set up several Late Breakfast groups thinking that we should have one for each venue (4 at the time). These became too difficult to manage so we combined them into one main group – The Late Breakfast Business Networking group. We post information about not only our events but other events using it as an information area. Members are encouraged to post and get involved as well. We use our Facebook page in much the same way. Facebook advertising has proved itself to be an economical and easy to use tool that lifts our profile in the Oxfordshire business community.
Twitter is our main tool for ‘conversations’ with LinkedIn and Facebook used to back up the email marketing of the events. Social media is an essential part of our marketing and one that brings us results time and time again.