Social media helped us build rapport - Glenn Shoosmith

Overview

Building a brand and establishing meaningful connections with other businesses is difficult when you're starting up, particularly if you are running a B2B business.

The challenge

At BookingBug, our biggest challenge was building a brand and reputation. The nature of our business, which is an online booking, enquiry and reservation system, means we don't rely on having 20,000 consumers - it relies on us establishing 20 meaningful connections with business who are potential partners and affiliates and building those up.

One way we wanted to do this was to get on to Digital Mission, a trade mission which sends UK businesses to various parts of the US. One of these missions was due to go to SXSW, a digital media conference held every year in Austin, Texas. We knew if we could be part of the mission, we'd have the chance to establish connections with dozens of potential clients and other contacts.

The solution

We knew Twitter could help us make connections with the people who counted: we discovered there was a party at Admiralty House which a lot of those on the deciding board  for SXSW would be attending. The guestlist was very tight, but we decided to try our luck by tweeting then Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues Tom Watson, who was also attending. He was so impressed by our chutzpah that he put our names on the guestlist - and we went to SXSW in March 2009.

Key lesson

Rather than trying to gain thousands of followers and pushing them our message, Twitter has enabled us to create far more personal connections with partners and our peers, than traditional media would allow. Not only are we tweeting about business, but we're also tweeting about what's going on in our lives - obviously, it's important to achieve a balance, but it's allowed us to meet people we otherwise might not have met and build a rapport with clients and investors - relationships which might otherwise have been confined to the boardroom.

  • Applications for this year's Digital Mission to SXSW close on December 4. Apply here.

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