Sunday, 17 July 2011

#SBS Winners recommending Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday, Facebook & Twitter to promote your business.


Facebooking, twittering, (shelly calls it) blogging, to someone who doesn't understand these words and how they can help your business here's what it has done for John from the Bedsite in Ireland, having never used these kind of promotional tools like this before and also last weeks winners from The Old Vicarage Country Guest House in Cumbria.

The Old Vicarage Country Guest House chosen by BBC dragon Theo Paphitis as SBS winners
On Sunday 10th July 2011, The Old Vicarage Country Guest House was chosen by the BBC Dragon Theo Paphitis as one of the winners of his 'Small Business Sunday' (#SBS) event on Twitter.
Theo Paphitis uses his high profile on the social networking site to promote small businesses each week. Every Sunday, between 5.00pm and 7.30pm, Theo invites people to Tweet him telling him about their small businesses, with the tagline #SBS which stands for ‘Small Business Sunday’ and he chooses his six favourite and re-tweets them to his followers. This Sunday Theo chose The Old Vicarage as one of his six favourite small businesses and re-tweeted our business details for his 140,816 followers to see.

Last month, following an overnight visit by the AA inspector, we were fortunate to be awarded five star status so it was a good opportunity to let people know about that too. This was the first time we had ever entered the SBS competition, and we still can’t quite believe it. We were so pleased to be picked by Theo and that he chose to send our message out to all his followers. After we won, we sent Theo a message of thanks and invited him and the rest of Family Paphitis to come and stay at the guest house if he’s ever up in the Lake District.  We were flooded with lovely messages of Congratulations from our followers on Twitter, as well as gaining a huge amount of new followers in no time at all. Traffic to our website has also increased considerably since winning #SBS.We contacted our local paper about our #SBS win, and they were really excited about our news. Following a telephone interview and a visit from the photographer, our #SBS story was posted on their news pages online, as well as appearing on the front page of the Friday edition of the newspaper!
My husband Peter and I have been running the guest house for five years now, and we have been fortunate in that we have a large percentage of our guests who come back year on year. However, attracting new customers can be a challenge when you are located in a small Cumbrian village, and are competing with any number of guest houses and bed and breakfasts across the Lake District for business. As such, this year we decided that it was time to revamp the website and make a concerted attempt at marketing the business.
We are new to Social Networking, and initially we didn’t think that it was something that our guests would be particularly involved with, but it was something that was strongly recommended to us when we attended a course run by The Cumberland News on ‘Social Networking for Business’ and they told us that it really is an essential marketing tool for small businesses. Since then, with the help of our two daughters, we have set up on Twitter and we also have a Facebook page too. It has allowed us to connect with our existing customers as well as reaching out to a whole new audience. You can follow The Old Vicarage on twitter StayInLorton  or we can be found on facebook This week has gone so quickly and already it is Sunday once again. So it is time for us to take our final bow, so that this weeks’ winners of ‘Small Business Sunday’ can take centre stage; but before we go, we would like to take this opportunity to thank one or two people for their help and support this week:
Firstly, thank you again to TheoPaphitis for taking the time out of his busy schedule each week to run ‘Small Business Sunday’ and support small businesses, it really is amazing what effect a mere retweet can have for small businesses such as ourselves.
Secondly, we would like to thank Shellibobbins, who is an avid supporter of SBS, whose advice and support this week has been invaluable in making the most of our SBS win. We would encourage all new #SBS winners to seek out this lovely lady and heed her words of wisdom!

And last but not least, we would like to thank all of our lovely followers on Twitter (old and new), friends on Facebook,and former and future guests. We hope that you enjoy our Tweets, Facebook posts, breakfasts, rooms and dinners, and we look forward to welcoming you to The Old Vicarage Country Guest House in Lorton, when you next come and stay.

Social Networking and how it has helped

We have all placed huge importance in the power of advertising to get recognised and create awareness of our business and ultimately increase turnover. We have used traditional methods of advertising, the press, radio, flyer's and brochures to get our message out there and our products noticed. Over the last number of years we have seen an explosion in usage of the Internet to promote business to a much wider audience than ever before and have learned to ignore it at our peril.
And so we have recognised the power of Facebook and Twitter Social Networking as very important business tools. As a very active user of Twitter we have gained recognition from BBC Dragon Theo Paphitis. We were one of his winning selections on #SBS Small Business Sunday on 5th June 2011. This has given us extraordinary exposure which we would not have achieved otherwise and we have achieved extra sales.
We also run a Facebook Business Page and here we can display products, interact with our fans and now even sell directly from our Facebook Shop. The customer can purchase without leaving our Facebook page.
It is indeed extraordinary how technology has developed and how social networking sites have become part of business life. Some comment that using Facebook and Twitter can be time consuming, well that’s up to oneself to decide. I try to utilise my usage wisely and understand how social networking will work for me personally and for business. As a small business we have benefited hugely by working with social networking, it has helped to increase our market size, the opportunity to sell to a wider customer base, gain credibility, be seen globally, communicate easily and conveniently and enjoy the entire fascinating experience - for example, in my case we received an order for a theme bed from a customer in Turin Italy recently. Amazing, we got the order delivered from Ireland and we now have a very happy customer in Italy!
To conclude, I always remember to note that Social Networking means “being sociable” and respecting others. It is not just for business, it has helped me make contact with old friends, I have gained many new friends and exceptional people who I hope will remain friends forever.

Many thanks for giving me the opportunity of writing on your blog today about Social Networking you are a great friend and an exceptional person

Kind regards
John Cahill Ireland

Its been my pleasure helping you all with promoting your businesses Ive loved speaking to you on the phone, ideas via, emails, tweets etc thank you so much for your really lovely kind words, lets hope more businesses take notice and start promoting theres the same way.

Really lovely guess on shellys blog this week im so lucky to have made such wonderful friends x

Love Shellybobbins xxx

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