Social media is being used to highlight positive business stories, news and videos as Power Week continues.
Running until Sunday, the new campaign has been launched to allow firms the opportunity to boost their exposure online.
It will also encourage people to do what they can to support the local economies.
The Power Week is part of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s North-East Now initiative, which has been helping local firms through the coronavirus crisis.
Among the north-east businesses that has been significantly affected since the Scottish Government introduced lockdown measures in March is Sonya Angus: The Unique Boutique.
Founded by Sonya Angus, the business is described as “a little star shining brightly in the corner of Cults”, which Sonya agrees sums it up perfectly.
Owning a boutique – that offers fashionwear, homeware and accessories – has been something the 50-year-old has dreamed of since she was 16. She said: “Complete with permed hair and double braces on my teeth, I worked in Opus One, a beautiful Edinburgh treasure trove selling to wonderfully stylish ladies.
“Fast forward and, after being Jenners’ youngest assistant buyer to date, travelling the world buying from the biggest fashion labels, being headhunted by a major Australian homeware brand and launching Molton Brown’s flagship Edinburgh store, my dream came true and I cut the ribbon to my very own shop in November 2016.
“I’ve tried to be clever with my strategy, products and promotion, hoping to fill the gap I spotted in the market, as opposed to jumping on a bandwagon and saturating what’s already there in Aberdeen.
“Above all, though, my customers repeatedly tell me our good old-fashioned customer service with a smile is what makes us stand out.
“I’ve always worked hard in life and was so lucky to achieve my dream of having my own shop – not everyone can set up their own business aged 46. But lockdown snatched that from me, and I realised I had possibly taken it all for granted a bit.
“I felt real loss, and was in a situation I’d never prepared for.”
Like many other business owners based in the north-east, Sonya was incredibly motivated to battle through the pandemic.
“At the beginning, it was very hard to go back to the shop,” she added.
“I nursed my wounds at home for a few weeks then realised I had to pull myself back together.
“I had to make sure we’d be able to open the doors again and when we did, we’d be in the best shape possible – but I really didn’t want to move my business online in the meantime.
“With only little old me behind the scenes, I want to be able to offer my customers an old-fashioned personal service regardless of where they are. So, actually, I stretch all over the world but via email or phone calls, and it means each customer knows their gift is given personal attention – I don’t ever want to detract from that ethos.
“I kept the shop alive virtually, with e-newsletters and making sure my customers could still get their ‘Sonya fix’ on Facebook.
“I tried to add a bit of fun to what was otherwise a bit of a bleak time for everyone and swapped my shop videos for ‘how to’ sessions in the kitchen.
“They were a roaring success and I’m still getting stopped in the street by people who’ve made my dishes!
“But I was so happy to invite my customers back from their home to mine on Monday June 29. It was the perfect present for me, too, as I’d just turned 50 on the Saturday.
“I promised my customers a safe and stress-free return to retail with friendly ‘chatting points’ instead of intimidating red, yellow and black tape.
“The nature of the boutique meant I was there to greet each and every one of them and personally limit the number of people in the shop at one time.”
The North-East Now campaign has pulled together a range of information, directories and blogs aimed at allowing people to find out more about local firms operating throughout the pandemic since launching in June.
The Power Week will involve the social media accounts of the Evening Express, Press and Journal, Society and Original 106 retweeting any company that uses the hashtag #northeastisopen for the remainder of the week.
Driven by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, the initiative is also supported by creative agency Hampton, Aberdeen Journals, Original 106 and VisitAberdeenshire.
Sonya has shown her support for the campaign, given that supporting local is now more important than ever.
Sonya said: “The website is great. It’s nice and easy to use; very well laid out and eye-catching, and not too busy or wordy.
“In my opinion, the campaign is a very good idea.
“North-East Now provides a one-stop-shop for all, and a handy tool to use quickly on your phone.
“Aberdeen covers a wide area and there are so many little hidden gems, so this is ideal.
“I think it’s important to support any new, local forums, especially when you know the work involved in setting up a new business.
“Plus it’s at the most challenging of times that you have to work doubly as hard and sing about what you have or are selling.”
For more information on Sonya’s business, visit sonyaangus.com
Visit northeastnow.scot to access the hub and find out more.
If you are a local company, there are numerous ways to get involved:
- Go to www.northeastnow.scot and see the sort of information that is available, from listings in external directories to being included on our ‘shopping list’. If you have a news story, a blog, a special offer or something else you think should be on there – let us know.
- Follow @NorthEastNowAbz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and tag us in any of your posts so you can tap into the wider network using the #NorthEastNowAbz along with your own
- Help spread the word and encourage other businesses in your area to get involved too. The bigger the network, the more people your business can reach.
How to take part:
- North East Now has created a free toolkit jam-packed with logos, posters and graphics to get you started.
- You can choose to print the poster for display in your premises.
- Use the ready-sized graphics on your social posts, on your emails or even on your website throughout the week.
- Feel free to share the pack with other businesses you think could benefit from joining in.
- Consider running a discount or a special offer during the week. You can shout about it on social media and North East Now will maximise your exposure
- If you have a great story to tell, share it via email@example.com Your story might end up being a good news article in the Press & Journal, Evening Express or you could be interviewed on Original 106 during Power Week, giving your brand a great profile boost.
- Do your bit and like, share or comment on posts from other local companies tagging @NorthEastNowAbz or using the hashtag, it’s a great way to grow your contacts.
- At any time from September 7-13, do one special social media post using the steps below:
- Write #northeastisopen on a piece of paper/card/banner
- Take a picture of employees or owners holding the sign with the hashtag outside or inside your business
- Upload the image to Twitter including the hashtags #northeastisopen and #NorthEastNowAbz on your post
- The Press and Journal, Evening Express, Original 106 and Society will all retweet your post, gaining you maximum exposure