We founded as a dedicated digital and social media marketing agency in April 2009. We are probably unique in so far as we were three female founders who loved tech, were early adopters (we were all queuing up to get on Facebook... Twitter... Pinterest...Instagram..) and actually met on social media.
Claire and Helen met in the late 1990s on Ecademy, the business networking site that was the precursor of LinkedIn. Sally was a full-stack website designer and she and Claire fell over each other on Twitter within the first few weeks of it opening its doors to UK peeps in 2008.
All three worked in different parts of the tech/ creative industry and were also of an entrepreneurial mindset. Consequently there was great synergy and soon there were more or less daily catch ups on Skype, which is perhaps where the story really begins.
Social media marketing was still in its infancy, but the unscrupulous were already starting to prise money out of people by promising to help them sell themselves and their products on social media, but without the know how to deliver.
We all got thoroughly annoyed by it on a regular basis. However, this time the conversation had a somewhat different outcome than usual –
Sally - “So fed up with [insert name of unscrupulous salesmen we all knew] selling services they can’t deliver and ripping people off.””
Helen - “Yes, I saw [business we all knew] had fallen for them and ended up paying thousands and thousands for precisely nothing.”
Sally - “They should ask us, at least we know what we are doing!”
Helen - “Yes, and then at least they would get what they want done properly!”
Claire - “Yes, you're right… you know, we really ought to start a digital agency and help people do it properly. We have all the skills between us, know what we’re doing, and clearly people need help because they keep asking...”
Sally - “Yes, let’s do it!”
Helen - “Great idea!”
Claire - "Oh dear no, I didn't mean..."
So we started an agency, just like that.
Sally had the website built and live with the month, and Claire and Helen bought in the first clients. Looking back it was like jumping off a cliff.
Remember, this was before most people even used social media for leisure, especially outside of the States – incredible as that is to think that now, looking back from a place where most of the world is connected.
So we really didn’t know if it would work. But we were busy from get go and that's stayed constant ever since, with the result that there's nine of us now, not just three.
We started a blog cataloguing everything we were interested in, from how to use social media for business (and from which "WTF can social media do for business?" got published) to gaming, crisis management and everything in between.
We invented a #FunkyFriday hashtag that got quite a lot of usage, and has since been adopted by music lovers, and in October 2009 Sally and Helen got “Happy Birthday Claire” trending on Twitter – unbelievable to think of that now!
A lot of our work at first was white labelling for large PR companies whose corporate clients had asked for social media marketing and they didn’t have staff members who knew how to do it. Direct clients were all based in London or were international corporates in the early years because the medium-sized and more locally-focused firms really didn’t ‘get’ social media marketing for quite some years.
Interestingly those business conversations with non-corporates started to change in about 2013 from ‘WTF can social media do for my business?!” to “How much will it cost us for you to do our social media marketing?”
Tellingly many of those who come to us to sort it out for them had started by getting an intern or token Millennial to ‘do’ their social media, which rarely worked. Or perhaps they were treating it like a traditional push-push advertising and marketing channel. They then ended up wondering why it “didn’t work" for them.
It was never a surprise to us. We understood from the get go just how complicated and difficult using social media for marketing actually is to get right - ie find the right audience, build momentum and raise awareness (what we call ‘social traction’) - and that has only deepened and become more of a challenge over the years. Integrating social media into marketing, digital marketing expanding, websites getting cleverer and responsive, everything shifting on to mobile, social media platforms siloing... it’s evolved into a very interesting landscape, especially once you throw social business in to the mix.
We have grown alongside the industry and we are very proud of what we have achieved, from winning awards to getting clients to the top of Google. We love making things happen, whether that's websites that work as marketing and sales channels (not just a 'fur coat and no knickers' brochure hanging in space); content that goes viral; products and services that actually get found by the people who need them; social media marketing that provides traction ie audience, engagement and results; campaigns that inspire and convert.
One client refers to it as "waving the magic wand" and that is how it feels sometimes, a real combination of art and science just right there.
So if that's what you are looking for, then you are in the right place!
Oh, and the blog is a very good read too, whether you devote a few hours to it or pop in and out. It's nearly a decade of social media marketing and digital marketing knowledge, and a fascinating record of how things have evolved and changed in what is actually a very short period of time. We really ought to publish it as a book sometime 😉
And obviously if you want to keep up to date and receive our new insights, articles and blogs, you can by signing up for our newsletter.
Anyway, welcome, lovely to have you here, hope you find what you are looking for and if you don’t or you have any questions or want to ask us to help you (our favourite request) please don’t hesitate to give us a shout.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER