Meet the founder of South Coast Social
Hi Clare thank you so much for joining me. To kick things off, tell me a little bit about South Coast Social.
South Coast Social is a results driven social media agency for businesses that are truly focused on growth and expansion. We have offices in London and Bournemouth and a UK wide client base spanning a variety of sectors.
Essentially, we help brands develop an effective and successful online presence by creating; managing and growing their social networks to generate global brand awareness and sales.
Inspiration is always a great indication of why people launch businesses. Who or what inspired you to get started?
I founded the business after working as the Marketing Manager for an Out Of Home media owner and seeing the potential social media gave businesses to grow and sell online.
There were hardly any digital agencies that purely specialised in social media at the time so I capitalised on a real gap in the market, and as I was always passionate about starting my own company it was the perfect opportunity. I guess you could say I was inspired by the thought of the potential to grow a sustainable, successful business doing something I loved.
How do you set yourself apart from other businesses in your industry?
By consistently striving to be the best. We’re a small team, passionate about what we do and incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of social media. We always aim to offer exemplary customer service and results – we know that brands trust us with their online image and also often a quite significant social media advertising budget and we take that very seriously.
What’s the single most important decision that you made, that contributed to your business?
I would say hiring great people. When you launch a business, it’s all on you but as you expand, you need to surround yourself with a talented team that believes in your vision for growth and that’s exactly what I have been building at South Coast Social. When you employ for the first time it’s always nerve wracking as you’re responsible for other peoples lives but I believe in building a company culture that makes us a really attractive place to work.
Who is your target audience?
Businesses that want to grow online! We work with brands across a wide variety of sectors from fashion, beauty, construction, accountancy to law, recruitment… Whether you’re a start up or a larger brand looking to amplify your presence, we can help you generate sales, brand awareness and footfall through organic and paid social media campaigns. We are very focussed on results and know each business has different requirements so we make it our mission to really get under the skin of your company before we start work.
What would be your number one tip for young entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their own business?
Research, then research some more. What can you offer that is different? What will set you apart? And do you have a back up plan? This is key – it’s sometimes a romantic notion to start your own business but make sure you have a way of making money to fall back on, if you need to support yourself.
What first in the mornings, phone, book, laptop or me time?
I’d love to say I emerge in a zen like state but generally, it’s phone! Usually checking through emails from the evening before and checking through the client social media accounts that I personally manage. Then coffee. I drink a lot of coffee.
What plans do you have for South Coast Social over the coming 12 months?
We love our Bournemouth base (which is a fantastic place for any digital company to be) and we’re now one of the leading social media agencies on the south coast but I also plan to build on our London presence this year with our first office there.
We’re still unique in being a purely social media agency and with that we offer a high level of expertise for brands that need expert knowledge to achieve their objectives – with constant changes in the social media landscape (e.g. the recent Facebook algorithm updates) we need to always be one step ahead for the brands we represent. After that, I’d love to expand to Manchester, the digital scene there is fantastic. With that we’ll be growing our team – and having some fun along the way I’m sure!
Recharging every so often, especially as an entrepreneur is important. How do you recharge when you’re feeling burnt out?
We’re incredibly lucky living by the beach – heading down there for some sea air always helps clear my head and I also try to get to the gym 3 or 4 times a week – it’s great for relieving stress! I think there’s increasing awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health in the workplace and it’s definitely crucial to take time and switch off. However much of a machine you are and how dedicated you are to your business, taking the time to recharge allows you to come back with increased focus and vision.
What attributes do you think helped you to become successful?
Passion, perseverance and belief in myself. I’m also pretty stubborn!
What would be your top marketing tip, to grow a niche business?
Know your market. I spent a lot of time researching (and still do!). Look at your competitors; look at where you can carve out that niche that’s going to set you apart. Having a service or product that’s quite unique can be a challenge and we’re often up against larger, ‘full service’ agencies for pitches – my job is to demonstrate how working with us is going to add value and crucially, bring in revenue. And naturally, I’m going to say building an incredible social media profile for your brand is pretty essential!