During the periods of lockdown, social media has been the only way many businesses can interact with potential customers. This makes it a vital tool to increase brand awareness, online sales and footfall as restrictions lift.

However, we know that acquiring the knowledge to keep up with the opportunities available can be daunting and time-consuming, especially when business owners and managers already have so much on their plates.

We have compiled some top social media tips with the help of Maybe*, a market-leading engagement platform, that businesses can quickly and easily implement whether currently open or not.

Here are five simple things you can do to maximise your reach and engagement.

1. Keep talking to your customers

If you are currently unable to open, it is vitally important to continue talking to your customers by finding new ways to engage with them. You could post giveaways, behind the scenes snapshots, meet the team features, tutorials or throwback images. Great examples have been a Bridgerton hair tutorial from Mark Blake Hair or the activity sheets and recipes posted by Huffkins.

While posts such as these do not directly ask the user to make a purchase, they help nurture existing relationships while increasing brand awareness among potential customers. If you need inspiration, the Maybe* platform allows users to see what similar businesses are successfully posting across the country.

2. Join conversations

Social media isn’t just about the content you post, but the conversations you join. By commenting on, liking and sharing the content of other local businesses, users can make their own business more visible while sharing relevant products and services with their followers. Plus, the businesses you engage with will be more likely to share your content, meaning it will reach new audiences and potential customers. Maybe* makes this interaction easy by integrating posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn into one feed, allowing you to quickly like, share or comment on the posts of those you follow.

3. Focus on the platforms that work best for you

The world of social media can be vast and intimidating, but don’t feel like you need to do it all. Use Maybe* to identify the platforms where your customers are most engaged and invest time in posting great content on that account. As humans have short attention spans, we also recommend using engaging visuals alongside your posts. Canva is a graphic design platform that allows you to create professional visuals quickly and easily for free. A paid version is also available with more usability and design features.

4. Use analytics

Data can tell you when to post for maximum engagement and what content works well with your audience. Providing the inside knowledge needed to adjust your social media strategy for maximum output, Maybe* tracks such insights and presents them using accessible visuals, even allowing you to match social media activity to online spend, offline spend and footfall. Using a piece of scheduling software such as Hootsuite also allows you to build a solid strategy by planning and scheduling your content in advance.

5. Brush up on your skills

Whether you are just beginning to dip your toes into social media management, are in dire need of a social makeover or just fancy streamlining your tactics and goals, Maybe* offers a range of training that can enhance your online strategy. This includes over 400 help articles, free webinars and one to one support.

Cheltenham BID is working with Marketing Cheltenham and Cheltenham Borough Council to offer businesses a free membership to the Maybe* platform. BID businesses can claim their free account by visiting www.https://www.maybetech.com/.

BID businesses can also get in touch with alex@cheltenhambid.co.uk for more advice and support with digital marketing.

After outgrowing their current venue on Coronation Square, Escape Rooms Cheltenham are opening a new venue in Cheltenham town centre at the end of March and are inviting BID businesses to be a part of their newest puzzle.

The Great Eggscape will be a family-oriented walking trail around Cheltenham town centre this Easter. Each participating business will display a poster of a unique egg QR code in their window and players will have to locate each egg and solve a small puzzle relating to the host business. After submitting the answers on an accompanying webpage, players will be in with a chance of winning gift vouchers to use at the escape rooms once they re-open in May.

The trail is due to launch on April 2nd and will run until the end of April. By encouraging people into the town centre as restrictions begin to lift, it is hoped the The Great Eggscape will benefit all BID businesses while promoting the opening of the new venue.

There is still plenty of room for more businesses to be part of the trail. If you would like to take part, please email: pete@escaperoomscheltenham.co.uk.

Cheltenham BID would like to welcome Escape Rooms Cheltenham to the BID zone while recognising its great eagerness to work with other local businesses to improve the town centre.

You can find more details about The Great Eggscape at: https://escaperoomscheltenham.co.uk/the-great-eggscape/

Demonstrating the quality of the professional services sector in Cheltenham, we would like to congratulate Mactaggart & Mickel on being named as our BID Business of the Month for March 2021.

Since opening their first office outside of Scotland in Cheltenham in 2018, Mactaggart & Mickel has gone from strength to strength in the region, even winning Highly Commended for Newcomer of the Year in the 2020 Cotswold Life Cheltenham BID Awards.

Cheltenham BID’s Communications Assistant Alex Boulton spoke to Joanne Casey, Managing Director at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes England, about the business and how it has adapted to working in a pandemic.

Please can you introduce Mactaggart and Mickel?

Mactaggart & Mickel are a Scottish-based award-winning, fourth-generation family housebuilder who have been handcrafting homes since 1925 and we have offices in Glasgow, London and Cheltenham.

Mactaggart & Mickel stands for quality and trust and building in desirable locations, and our portfolio ranges from contemporary apartments to luxury family homes. Renowned for exceptional quality and service, we’re proud to have been awarded a 5 Star Rating for customer satisfaction by the Home Builders Federation for eight consecutive years.

We have a happy history of supporting good causes over the last 96 years. Our Building Communities Fund established in 2016, helps organisations and projects based within our areas of operation, which enhance the lives of people within their local communities, such as the Cheltenham Open Door charity and local sports and cultural organisations.

Why did Mactaggart and Mickel choose to open an office in Cheltenham?

Cheltenham will always have a very special place in Mactaggart & Mickel’s long history.

That is because the opening of our office in the spa town represented an important milestone in the company’s history as our first step outside our traditional Scottish heartlands.

Mactaggart & Mickel opened an office in Cheltenham in April 2018 to support the natural progression of the company with the expansion of housebuilding activity into England and it’s proved to be a shrewd move.

Our first two English developments are blossoming at St Jude’s Meadow, in the Cotswolds village of Milton-under-Wychwood, and Childrey Park, in East Challow, and our strategic land business, which has operated south of the border for over 10 years, is going from strength to strength.

How has the pandemic impacted the business and the way it operates?

Mactaggart & Mickel have not been alone in facing significant challenges posed by the pandemic but we have responded positively and encouragingly as there has been an increased demand for our homes and our sales team have been busy.

We pride ourselves on being able to adapt to change quickly and we have introduced stringent health and safety measures in line with Government guidelines to safeguard our staff, our contractors and our customers in our offices and constriction sites.

We have also embraced technology and introduced guided virtual tours enabling our customers to have a look around our new homes from, for instance, their living room or office, with a member of our sales team on hand to answer questions along the way.

It’s been interesting to see that emerging trends around how people live, work and travel have accelerated during lockdown and we have seen interest grow in properties in rural and suburban locations, with more and more people seeking extra space to work from home alongside a garden and the company has always been well placed to respond to that demand.