Number twenty of our weekly interviews in which we discover how real businesses are making Social Media work for them. Please meet Helen Irving from thebestof Abingdon.

Who are you and what do you do?

I run thebestof Abingdon.

I market and promote the best businesses in the Abingdon area in order to make more people aware of them and then hopefully to use them! “Best” is determined by customers – all member businesses have been recommended to me by their customers as being one of the top in their category. I then highlight what is special about each business and shout about them and what they do – their offers, events, articles etc. to everyone else – amplified word of mouth really.

At the end of the day, every business needs to communicate with people so we have B2C and B2B members.

Helen Irviing


How do you use Social Media?

I use Social Media as part of the marketing mix for thebestof Abingdon. I also use email newsletters, my website, door drops and networking, but I find Social Media is a means of contacting people in a different way.

I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ – all for slightly different reasons.

I use Twitter daily to engage with the local Twitter community.  I have over 3,000 local followers and interact with them by retweeting tweets from thebestof Abingdon members, tweeting things of interest in the Abingdon area or tweeting about relevant offers, articles or events.  I am personally more comfortable using Twitter than some of the other tools and like the scheduling aspect of the tool as well as its instant nature.

Facebook is used mainly if I have a quality picture that I can share or if I have a question I want to ask or a business I want to check out.  I also post updates about what is going on in Abingdon or with a business in the local area.  I find Facebook more long-winded to use and less easy to schedule.

I have a personal profile on LinkedIn and I have created a group called ‘Abingdon Means Business’ which I use for general discussions about things important to Abingdon and to provide a hub where locally-focused businesses can interact and help each other out.

I do have a personal Google+ profile which I use for Google Authorship when I write blogs – but my audience isn’t currently using Google+ to any great extent.

Can you share a Personal Success Story?

I have found Twitter to be a great way of filling up events and courses on behalf of members.  A few days before one, I will implement a Twitter campaign which generally populates it at short notice.

The immediacy of Twitter gives success in the take-up of real time offers- Twitter seems to force people to react.

My greatest success on Facebook has been a picture I posted featuring Abingdon precinct in the rain with a comment ‘but it has huge potential’.  It generated 100s of comments!

The LinkedIn ‘Abingdon Means Business’ group currently has 160 local businesses that have joined.

Can you give our readers a top tip?

  1. Treat people online as if you were speaking to them face to face
  2. Be consistent – I get emails to check I am OK if I haven’t tweeted for a few days!
  3. Stay in control of the amount of time you spend on Social  Media
  4. Keep a good variety of types of posts

Contact Information

You can contact Helen on LinkedIn, thebestof Abingdon Website – Twitter, Facebook, Google+