Seven-year success story for social media firm

Social media marketing business Shoo Social Media marks its 7th birthday this month – and with much to celebrate. 

The Ilkley-based company has seen a period of rapid growth, expanded its team and still found time to meet its social responsibility commitments.

They are marking the milestone with a Shoo BQ (barbeque) outdoors at Ilkley Moor Vaults pub on Thursday, 15th July, with the permitted Covid-safe 30 guests, including clients and close business connections.

Shoo, based in Bolling Road, Ben Rhydding, enables businesses to reach their ideal customers through targeted social media marketing campaigns, helping them to design, implement, then optimise their online marketing strategies.

The company was founded on July 14, 2014, after co-owners Rachel Hatfield and Chris Morris decided to extend their personal relationship into a professional partnership and go into business together. It saw Chris leave behind an eight-year teaching career to join Rachel in the marketing sector.

It has been among the few businesses which enjoyed a continuous period of growth during the Covid crisis, with profits up by 23.68%, as many companies approached them for help to adapt to working and promoting their services online in the face of lockdown challenges.

This lead to the creation of two new posts, with Mollie Phillips given a permanent full-time senior position as Client Executive and Fran Haigh appointed to the brand new role of Social Advertising Co-ordinator.

The team are also delighted to welcome new Shoo puppy, Cosmo, a 13-week-old Weimaraner who is now training to fill the shoes of their well-known and much-loved office dog Blue, who died at the beginning of this year.

2020 saw Mollie honoured as Apprentice of the Year in the Ilkley Business Awards following on from Shoo’s 2017 success when they were awarded Micro-business of the year. 

Chris said: “It’s been such a challenging period for everyone and it was heart-breaking to see so many businesses badly-hit by Covid restrictions, but the positive side was that people were so determined to look at new ways of working to keep going, whatever it might take. 

“We were so lucky that our business model, by its very nature, was already geared up to function online and we were also helped by the fact we ‘live above the shop’. This put us in a strong position to help so many others adapt and survive. Our ethos has always been one of giving something back to the community and we were able to find ways to continue this, in particular, supporting young people who’ve faced such a difficult time at the very start of their career journey.”

The Shoo Academy supported 30 media under-graduates with working from home placements through its educational programme, which has mentored 150 students in total so far. Rachel continued with her part-time lecturing at Leeds Beckett University by moving her classes online. Shoo also supports younger students from Ilkley Grammar School, South Craven School, Shipley College and Craven College with work experience opportunities.

Their annual Digital U conference, which drew around 200 attendees when held at Denton Hall, Ilkley, reached more than 500 businesses when moved online during lockdown, providing a week-long webinar series.

The company’s current community work programme involves promotional support for Ben Rhydding Golf Club and Ilkley Town FC.

The Shoo team were instrumental in creating Ilkley Social, a community group for micro-businesses to get together, support and learn from each other and Ben Rhydding Community Group, a community noticeboard for their local village.

Since 2015, they have run Fashion Fiesta, set up to raise money for charity, support fashion designers, make-up artists and start-up businesses. This annual event involves more than 1,000 people, including sponsors and volunteers, but has sadly had to be postponed to 2022 due to Covid restrictions.