Interview with Clare Groombridge, founder of South Coast Social

Read how Clare Groombridge grew South Coast Social from a tiny startup six weeks after giving birth, to a thriving social media agency with offices in Bournemouth and London.

What’s your career background?

I founded South Coast Social after working as the marketing manager for an out of home media owner and seeing the potential social media gave businesses to grow and sell online.

Where did the idea for South Coast Social come from?

There were hardly any digital agencies that purely specialised in social media at the time so I capitalised on a real gap in the market, and as I was always passionate about starting my own company it was the perfect opportunity. I was inspired by the thought of the potential to grow a sustainable, successful business doing something I loved.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

Six weeks after having my daughter I set to work. We were a very lean start up, and I was probably slightly crazy! I built our first website, worked from home and hustled hard for the first few months.

After handing in my notice after my maternity leave, my old employer became our first client (and still is) and the business grew steadily from there.

We’re now approaching our third birthday as a limited company and we have a prestigious list of clients, a growing team, an office in Bournemouth and we’ve just launched in London.

What’s your USP?

South Coast Social is a purely social media agency – it’s all we do so it’s where we place all our focus and expertise. We’re a small team, passionate about what we do and incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of social media.

We always aim to offer exemplary customer service and results – we know that brands trust us with their online image and also often a quite significant social media advertising budget and we take that very seriously.

Who’s your target audience?

Businesses that want to grow online! We work with brands across a wide variety of sectors from fashion, beauty, construction, accountancy to law, recruitment…

Whether you’re a start up or a larger brand looking to amplify your presence, we can help you generate sales, brand awareness and footfall through organic and paid social media campaigns. We are very focussed on results and know each business has different requirements so we make it our mission to really get under the skin of your company before we start work.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

Know your market. I spent a lot of time researching (and still do!). Look at your competitors; look at where you can carve out that niche that’s going to set you apart.

Having a service or product that’s quite unique can be a challenge and we’re often up against larger, ‘full service’ agencies for pitches – my job is to demonstrate how working with us is going to add value and crucially, bring in revenue.

Networking and getting your face out there is also important – and naturally, I’m going to say building an incredible social media profile for your brand is pretty essential!

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

I think employing for the first time can be hard – you want to attract people that have the same belief in the company ethos, culture and what we’re trying to achieve. With it also comes a huge sense of responsibility.

Luckily, I now have a small but brilliant team behind me – social media experts that are passionate abut digital marketing and what we are trying to achieve.

And your proudest moment so far?

Launching our London office due to expanding our client base there was quite a big one, but for me, that comes every time we win a new client! We work brands that are at the very start up level all the way through to household names, but the service and passion we put into each one is the same and knowing they believe in us to grow their business and achieve their objectives gives me a sense of pride in the team and what we do.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar

  1. Research, then research some more. What can you offer that is different? What will set you apart? And do you have a back up plan?
  2. Know your industry, product and service inside out.
  3. Ask for advice – confidence is crucial but arrogance isn’t! Everyone can always learn.

You can find out more about South Coast Social on their website, and find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.