Like many forward-thinking operators Simon Terry knew that to take his pub to the next level he needed to embrace new technology.
This is why he made the effort to travel from the Samson Blewitt in Hednesford, Staffordshire, all the way to the BT Tower in London for a BT Sport Google Digital Garage event in September.
And the way he has successfully implemented the skills he has picked up has landed him the BT Sport Manager of the Month award for December.
Simon, who has been in charge at the Marston’s community local for seven years, explains:
“I’m not tech savvy but I’m not a technophobe either. I can navigate my way around but it was never an important thing to me.
I went to the Google Garage event in London to get an insight into how technology can help the business because things are moving fast.
“I learnt a lot from the event. I learnt about algorithms – which I thought was something that grew in water before – I learned how important responding to social media is and how fast-moving it is. You can get a message out in seconds.”
When he started at the pub he says it had no digital presence. He and his team now post daily on the pub’s website and Facebook pages and are seeing positive results with new customers walking through the doors.
This adds to the vibrancy at a venue that is already well-supported by regular drinkers, diners, and darts, pool and football teams.
Simon, who runs the pub with his wife Karen, continues: “People spend so much time with phones in front of them. You see it in the pub with people looking at their phones to download vouchers to use here.
“We build engagement by posting at least daily. You can do it instantly but we also have a rhythm to the week to post about, such as ‘pie of the day’, or ‘desserts for £2’. We plan by doing things like looking at the BT Sport website to see what’s coming up.
“Live sport is an integral part of the pub’s day-to-day business, especially at weekends with emphasis on the Premier League.”
He also makes the most of the free digital assets that are available for pubs and clubs to use to promote upcoming fixtures.
The assets on the BT Sport website are fantastic because they are already sized for your Twitter and Facebook accounts. It’s easy just to click and post.
Posts on the Samson Blewitt Facebook page receive an average of more than 1,000 views each. Simon says one of the keys to the success has been getting his staff to do their bit.
“It’s so important to get the team involved in social media because it gathers their friendship networks as well. We have staff from 18 up to older than me.
“If there was a local Google Garage event I would make sure I took my team there because of the insight it gives you in using social media and Google.”
As well as winning the BT Sport Manager of the Month trophy, Simon also receives a £1,000 BT shop voucher to spend on the pub.
Simon says: “It was great to win the award on behalf of the staff because they are integral to what we do and they do help with the social media. It’s nice to be recognised.
“I think we’ll get a new smart TV for the pub and put the trophy behind the bar. My team Villa can’t win anything so it’s nice that the pub has.”
And it won’t stop there for the pub, with Simon already thinking of his next social strategy.
“We seem to have more views on Facebook because we have an older demographic. Twitter and Instagram engage more with a younger crowd and that’s the next stop for us.”
- Do you or does someone you know deserve to win a BT Manager of the Month trophy? Let us know why by tweeting us @BTSportBars using the hashtag #BTMOTM