From social media zero to hero – the journey of an independent cafe embracing social to survive

Giuliano Deli-Café’ Putney (also known as Putney’s Little Gem) is a family-run fresh, authentic Italian deli run by Isabella and her husband Pepe. The couple have served the people of Putney quality Italian dishes for over 20 years and is a local favourite. As the first lockdown struck and with no experience of social media, Isabella found herself in unknown territory, knowing she needed to take the café social, but with no clue how or where to start.

As the pandemic swept the country, Isabella knew she couldn’t rely on passing trade and was only able to operate a small part of her business. She was stuck, not knowing how to move forward and keep the business trading. Isabella took a leap and stepped outside of her comfort zone.  She invested in a smart phone and with the help of local BID Positively Putney, she began using Maybe* to learn how to use social media for her business.

In just one year Isabella has become a social media star. Here she describes the transformative experience of going from novice to now supporting other businesses in Putney who are making their leap into social.

Stay social if you want to stay relevant

“During the pandemic it was a sink or swim situation. We either learned how to get social or we would be left behind," said Isabella. 

Isabella's new reality was the same as many small business owners across the UK. But she was undeterred by her lack of knowledge or experience. Armed with a new smart phone and some training and support provided by Positively Putney and Maybe*, Isabella set about upskilling herself.

"We were able to do some one-to-one training that was really helpful. It was just trial and error, getting to know what you can and can’t do and we attended all of the webinars and training sessions provided by Maybe* to upskill," she added.

Isabella likes posting photos of customers and her food and showing what they are doing on a daily basis. She has lots of fun with Instagram Stories, regularly posting  polls to keep people engaged. Isabella posts on impulse rather than planning it in and find Instagram more rewarding than Facebook.

"Being new to social, Instagram is easier. Posting and talking to people is really satisfying. Don't be afraid to make an error as you can always erase and start over," said Isabella.

Though she lost 30% of her business due to lockdown, she appreciates that the situation could have been even worse had she not embraced social media.

Isabella now listens and watches other businesses for ideas and inspiration. Buoyed with her success from social she's determined to keep learning and has vowed to nail Twitter next. She's always on hand to answer the questions of local Putney businesses who need a helping hand or a steer in the right direction to begin their social media journey.

Top tip: Get social, talk to people daily and your business will benefit from it.

With the Maybe* platform, you don’t have to be a social media pro to increase traffic and sales.


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