Will was probably thinking about the great-tasting coffee – but a man with his digital know-how could not have failed to notice the inventive things these delectable and modern emporia are doing with social media.
Will mentioned Coffee@33 in Trafalgar Street, a delightful and quirky stop-off for anyone heading from the train station to North Laine – or coming back. Coffee@33 has a useful entry on Foursquare to which at least a dozen people have recently ‘checked in’, many urging visitors to try their apparently wonderful ‘flat white’. So I checked in and tried it. Take my word for it – it’s velvety smooth and definitely worth trying. But I’d probably never have known without eavesdropping on the online conversations that enticed me to that shop.
Another of Will’s favourites was our near neighbours at the Red Roaster, who have a vibrant Facebook appreciation group with 183 members, a veritable community of coffee-lovers online. Participants post photos, ask questions of the coffee house’s owners and swap advice on the best product (the Café au Lait is popular). The guys at the Roaster have learned a golden rule of social media – letting go. By that I mean they encourage conversations they do not control about their product, a clear departure from ‘broadcasting’ messages with posters, adverts and press releases. Sure, the odd unfavourable comment crops up – but most people are praise-worthy and the remarks are all the more credible because they come from real customers, not from the owners.
Will also mentioned our friends at Taylor St Baristas, who lent us a steady hand on our opening day a year ago. They’re the FC Barcelona of baristas – among the best in the city – and they’re not too shabby online either. Taylor St have 326 followers on Twitter at the time of writing, and have used the page to talk about new products, post pictures of their recent re-fit (they’ve just opened in new premises in Queen’s Road) and network with industry contacts in other parts of the country.
These are just three of many, many examples.
While most independents in cities outside of London have relied on word-of-mouth and traditional advertising and PR to build their businesses, we think the Brighton & Hove tea and coffee shops really get it. They are pushing back the boundaries of communications and finding new ways of conversing with – and energising – customers.
So what about us? You’re already reading our blog but maybe you’re wondering where else you’ll find Metrodeco on the social web?
And if, after all that, you think we’re decent sorts, why not pop in for a cup of tea (or coffee!) and a good, old-fashioned natter?