Using social media to help the recovery of Bristol’s high streets: St Marks Road

04 Mar 2021

Using social media to help the recovery of Bristol’s high streets

Businesses across Bristol’s 47 high streets are being given access to free social media tools and training to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

With the city’s retail, hospitality, leisure, health and beauty sectors all severely financially impacted by the pandemic restrictions, Bristol City Council is supporting their safe reopening by working with the social media consultant Maybe* to help them reach more customers and boost sales.

Maybe* provide access to a market-leading platform that has been developed to provide high street businesses access to social media, and the tools and training to increase their customer base and drive sales.

The platform offers businesses the opportunity to engage with each other, creating a network of connected traders that can support and promote each other across social media. Maybe* also provides practical suggestions and easy to use tools allowing organisations to connect with their audience, improve their return on investment and understand how to stay ahead of their competition.

The increasing shift to online sales, accelerated by the pandemic and closure of many high street traders adds further risk to recovery, as businesses without an online presence struggle to compete. Online purchases are also less supportive of smaller, local independents and the local economy.

Data within the Maybe* platform shows that across the city, only 58.2 per cent of businesses use social media and only 26.3 per cent of those are actively on social media each day.

Councillor Afzal Shah, Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, & Sustainable Growth, said: “During the pandemic we become increasingly aware just how important having social media skills are for our high street businesses to maintain contact with their customer base. By adopting the Maybe* engagement platform we are providing 12 months free access for all our high street businesses.

Businesses can access tailored social media training through the platform, from basic to advanced skills, and can easily monitor their activity across different platforms. They can also benchmark their performance while cross promoting and supporting each other during this difficult time. The High Street Guide developed from our city’s social media will also provide a useful tool for residents to explore and connect with their local businesses.”

The virtual High Street Guide showcases live content from local businesses and will allow shoppers to see businesses near them and view their social media content, engage and shop with them. The guides have already been deployed by over 50 councils and shopping centres across the UK.

The platform also supports businesses to offer Click & Collect, and provides a local rewards programme that businesses can participate in.

Businesses will be invited to sign up for the social media skills training, webinars and specialist support on offer and will be given access to the tools they need.

To get started, businesses can go to the Maybe* website create an account and familiarise themselves with the dashboard and features. For further information and advice email: business@bristol.gov.uk

The activity is supported by Reopening High Streets Safely† with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.