We sat in the beautiful courtyard, off the Strand in Masonic Park, in energising company, and while it was a little early to indulge in any of the house specials, gin or beautiful cocktails, we did discuss all things hospitality and digital.
A quick look at @missgeesbar on Instagram does a great job at setting the scene before you even get there: it’s fresh, inviting and happening.
As we launch into our conversation, and Ash is quick to confirm social media has been a critical element to all her business activities since before starting up. She knows social media is THE life of the market she’s after.
Job number one started before opening six months ago, was to focus on figuring out who her customer is and what they want out of a local bar and eatery. Once done, the next job has been to get them to come and experience the vibe, to keep them coming back and to be consistently growing her customer base.
These jobs have paid off, Miss Gee’s IRL (in real life) experience is tailored to her customer’s needs: exciting beers on tap, live DJs, plenty of gin, and tasty sharing plates. “People should feel right at home,” Ash says “I want this to be a place for people to relax and hang out with their friends.”
Social media has a lot to do with creating that feeling and the niche she’s after. Trialling posts with photos of products that speak to a particular audience were vital. The beautiful pink gin cocktail post proved very popular and a driver. “It got so many reactions we were going to take note of this!” Within ten days of being open, it just went through the roof with customers.
It’s not just all Instagram, though. Ash uses her (little) spare time upskilling herself in Facebook adverts, learning exactly how to reach her target market, how to use adobe creative cloud to create the aesthetics customers respond to and build a brand for Miss Gee’s. And making a database early on for promotion via email has been essential to her successful start.
Ash keeps on top of things by observing and giving things a go: “having the feeling you need to do all at once can be a killer, don’t think you have to be perfect.”
Another digital essential is a website, and Miss Gee’s is continuously evolving. Already connected to her point of sales system, Ash is now considering adding a full web-ordering system as demand for takeaways is growing.
“Google ads and ranking was a challenge to set up,” she says, “defining content and keywords that are useful to raise your Google rankings and get organic traffic to your website is a labour of love”. It did take her away from other equally important aspects of her business, so she reached out to a trusted local service provider for help.
“In such a connected social world, it is hard to get your name out there, social media only helps to a certain point, but you can’t just rely on it. You can’t, not do it and build resentment because you don’t know how to do these things. So building a relationship with someone locally to work with you on your website journey is essential.”
Positive team culture and making your staff your biggest advocates is something Ash believes in. “I’m not your typical kind of boss” she jokes “letting my staff in on the social media and contribute to it has helped a lot and also teaches me to let go a bit”. She adds “people tell us they like raw content we can create ourselves, so it’s an awesome starting place”.
When it comes to growth, digital has a significant place for Miss Gee’s.
Ash sees it as a combination of activities online and off: creating events to attract new customers, giving regulars fresh opportunities with promotions on Instagram and fresh, enticing video content.
“The Digital Assessment tool highlighted video content as a priority action. I knew the Stories function is the most important on Instagram, so to see it in writing now is gearing me into action!”
We reluctantly finish our interview with Ash, now that we are closer to gin time, by asking her what top tips she’d like to share to those wanting to leverage social media.
“First know who your target market is, if you don’t know this, your content won’t reach the customers you need, and there will be lots of time wasted. Learn things like: where is your target market moving to? What do they do? What do they like? Target areas where your market hangs out and what they like to do in their free time and what other businesses do they go to”.
“Then prioritise, just pick on elements you want to work on and tackle those first”
“You can’t, not have a website, even if it just links to your social media that’s enough to start. People don’t think companies are legit when they don’t have a website or an Instagram page.”
Check out Miss Gee’s
Give her a follow on:
The PoweringOn team likes to thank Ash for the insights in her business and for the hospitality from the Miss Gee’s team.
The Digital Assessment gave Ash a good insight into her digital business practices and reminded her of her aspiration to go video content based on social media. See for yourself and take the Digital Assessment today!
PoweringON is a Business Owner focused programme aimed to increase their digital capability. It offers assessment, clinic services and workshops to increase the awareness of the benefits of digital tools. It provides steps necessary to implement, improve and encourage the use of digital in small and medium businesses.