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New ‘digital high streets’ programme to boost local shopping in Long Eaton and Ilkeston

A new programme to attract shoppers back to the High Street by harnessing digital technology has been launched in Long Eaton and Ilkeston.

Run in collaboration between Erewash Borough Council and social media specialists, Maybe* Tech – the partnership will kick-off with a digital health audit of businesses in Long Eaton and Ilkeston, to understand the digital skills gap in the region. One of the objectives of the programme is to help to bridge the gap between businesses, while engaging local consumers and encouraging them to shop locally.

Maybe* has compiled a free online guide aimed at helping businesses in the area use social media more effectively, showing local companies how to create successful social media campaigns which engage with more customers and increase sales. The guide will also draw upon the social media success of three businesses in the area, Harper & Finch Tea Rooms & Gift Shop and HB Brows & Cosmetics in Ilkeston and Opulence Bridals in Long Eaton – all of who have been recognised by Maybe* for excelling at social media.

Data within Maybe* technology shows that in the council area around 1,400 businesses use social media, all of these companies will feature on the programme. Of those businesses on social media, around 385 (or 27 per cent) are active, posting most days. Additional research conducted by Maybe* Tech suggests around 66% of consumers spend three hours per day using social media.

Councillor Bryn Lewis, Lead Member for Town Centres at Erewash Borough Council, says: “We are delighted to be involved in this initiative which will give our high streets a boost across 2022 and beyond. It has been a difficult time for local traders and this will be a fantastic opportunity for businesses to utilise this digital platform to compete with some of the larger retailers.

“The project includes a digital ‘health’ audit of businesses in Long Eaton and Ilkeston, to understand the digital skills gap. Maybe* will help to bridge that gap.”

Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO of Maybe* Tech, said: “Initially, our partnership with Erewash Borough Council will focus on gaining an understanding of how businesses are using social media and their level of digital skills. We are committed to supporting businesses that get involved in the programme and will help them gain a better understanding of how digital can benefit them, while providing practical tips on how to use social media to drive sales and reach new customers.

“High streets need infrastructure that until now has only been available for online businesses and this programme will help local businesses level the playing field,” adds Barnfield.

“They need to communicate with shoppers in real-time and be able to showcase what’s available. In order to compete, High Street businesses need to up their digital game, promote their physical stores and collaborate. Our platforms help them collectively to do that and we are looking forward to working with businesses  across every high street in Ilkeston and Long Eaton.”

The Maybe* platform has been developed to provide High Street businesses across all sectors, with access to social media, the tools and training to increase their customer base and drive sales. The Maybe* platform also provides practical suggestions and easy to use tools allowing organisations to connect with their audience, improve their return on investment and understand how to stay ahead of their competition.

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