Tell me about your Company?
I’m a digital PR and integrated marcomms freelancer, I’ve just completed some freelance work at we are social, a conversations agency. I also work with Bright One Communications, a PR agency that works with the third sector as well as running a meetup with my sister called The Yum Cha Club.
What was your first experience of social media?
Just after my graduation in 2001, I moved to Germany to work for a telecommunications agency and I started a website in the form of a blog. I’ve always been fascinated by other cultures and cultural integration. The site was a place for me to talk about a New Zealander’s perspective and experience in a foreign country. The focus of the site was on the cultural differences in both personal and work life and to also inspire others who were looking for a similar experience.
What is the biggest tip you would give to a newbie in social media?
I would direct them to the following places:
- Video by Cision – explains the basic concept of social media and how to approach it, it’s also a bit of a laugh.
- Presentation by John Willshire – the first part of this presentation explains the basic concept of social media with a nice analogy.
- http://howtomakemyblog.com – for new bloggers.
If you blog, the biggest challenge is getting started, it’s important to do your reading and planning but at same time just to get started. The second biggest challenge is to discipline yourself to blog on a regular basis, having some sort of editorial calendar helps. Selecting a niche topic that you are interested in will help the above two points flow, it also helps with search.
What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
The first thing that came to mind was that I wish they would make themselves contactable from their blogs by providing their name and email address. Sometimes you come across a really interesting blog and there is no way to contact the author.
Recently there was a discussion in the PR Week that bloggers should not operate on a ‘pay per play’ basis. The responsibility lies with the PR industry not to carry out such practices but also with the blogger not to accept. There are no rules as such in the world of blogging so if a blogger chooses to publish paid content, they should make this clear on their blog so their loyal readers can distinguish opinion from paid content, otherwise their readers may find out the wrong way.
Where do you see growth in the social media field?
I see the growth of social media in ‘greater integration’ into our everyday lives on many different levels.
On a social level technology advances make it easy for us to share across social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Digg etc., collaboratively and also integrate into our everyday lives and products e.g. you can now tweet with your Xbox etc. Social media is becoming increasingly more mobile and fusing our personal and professional lives. It’s normal to tweet from your phone and now tools like Plancast are a bit like Foursquare for the future and go the step further to integrate not only the question ‘what we are doing now’ but also what we will be doing in the future.
Companies are starting to integrate their communications efforts as they realise social media has made it possible for them get closer to their relevant audience. With all the information and success stories out there brands are increasing their understanding of how social media should be integrated into their strategy, rolled out and measured. We’ll see roles and responsibilities being defined so more time can be spent engaging with customers and training relevant persons in the company on the social media tools. This will expand beyond the PR and Digital Departments to whomever needs to be close to the conversation.
Agencies too will continue to adapt internally by working together to bring their clients more integrated solutions and strategies. Specialist social media agencies will form stronger partnerships with traditional agencies.
We’ll also see more integration, as other languages and cultures join the conversation too. With all this we get greater transparency and sharing which effects the way people, brands and their audiences connect, communicate and stay connected.
What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new trends?
Advertisers realise that consumers have increasingly more choice in terms of the media they consume, how and where they consume it.
Advertisers seem to be moving away from traditional web advertising like banners and using content integration such as virtual experiences and interactive experiences to sell, often on a peer to peer level. We also see more sponsoring, endorsements, clever viral campaigns and brand campaigns showing that they have been using social media to engage with their customers to make product improvements.
What do you do to improve the world?
I’ve always enjoyed volunteering my time for projects and causes that have either a focus on self development of others or that are development projects. Past examples include being a Dale Carnegie Teamleader (a business, communications and human relations course) , completing volunteer work in an indigenous community in Ecuador at a school or helping out The Kindness Offensive.
Right now I am completing charity work for Bright One Communications. We’re working with Sreepur Cards, a development project that provides local women the opportunity to make a fair wage by making cards using natural and local materials. These cards have Fairtrade status and are sold from the UK over the Internet. What makes this unique is that it is the only project in Bangladesh that offers shelter and training to women and their families on a constant and ongoing basis. Of the proceeds 100% go back to the community, supporting 100 destitute women and 500 abandoned children and also the surrounding villages.
What do you do that is green?
Being a scuba diver, I participate in dive clean ups when I can, this happens less now that I’m living in London. I also recycle and buy organic when I can and take opportunities to learn and read about green issues and initiatives. I loved Yann Arthus Betrand’s movie Home, it’s a telling story about our impact on the earth with some stunning cinematography, you can watch it straight from YouTube.
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
I’m a first degree black belt martial artist, trained to instructor level.
What’s your favorite book?
That’s a tough one, I’m going to have to resort to catorgorisation.
Business focus: First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
General: The Monk that sold his Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma
Both these books have the following in common, insight, relevance and the read in one sitting factor.
What are your contact details (email, company, blog, Facebook, myspace, forums, etc)?
What events do you go to?
An important part of social media also involves getting off line to meet the online community, this meant in terms of building contacts, establishing rapport and trust with your network. Some of the events I attend include London Bloggers Meetup, @Measurementcamp, Cozytweetup, Digital Marketing and The Tuttle Club. I’ve just joined The Sway, The Social Media UK and The Inbound Marketing Meetup.
My sister, Kelly and I run the Yum Cha Club Meetup. Kelly started this in 2008, it’s for anyone who loves yum cha or is interested in trying different types of food, especially those wanting a more authentic food and cultural experience. Each month we try out different yum cha restaurants around London.
How do you prefer to communicate?
I prefer to communicate in person though email, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are also fine.
Who would you recommend, and why? Go for 10 people plus
Ben Matthews for his passion and commitment in founding and organising Bright One Communications. The Future 100 Awards recently announced Ben as one of the Future 100 Young Social Entrepreneurs of the Year.
Ged Carroll is well connected and takes the time to get out there and really meet and talk to other people in the industry and form valuable relationships. I’ve had a good few chats with Ged, he really understands the PR and comms industry and the digital space and blogging, he’s been a great help building my contacts in London.
Gemma Went was recently awarded Entrepreneur of the Year, one of the many reasons she was awarded this was due to her swift approach in understanding social media in the broader context and integrating it into her business to offer value to her clients.
Gerry Grewal another great person whom I’ve connected with and who really contributes to the PR industry. Gerry really understands the importance of integrating social media efforts without taking things too seriously; she’s also really well connected.
Hayley Buery and I worked together at Canon from 2004, she is a great example to the PR industry of someone who successfully made the transition from in house to agency and has demonstrated how in house experience can really add value to agency. She’s been a great friend, helping me to build my contacts and connecting me to people in London.
Kath Pooley has taken the time to recommend me to some valuable contacts. She has previously picked up the awards for CIPR Young Communicator and PRW Young Professional of the Year, combining over 13 years experience in PR and comms, I think she would make a great mentor to females in the industry.
Kelly Chan my sister who has always been a great support and for believing and encouraging the decisions and calculated risks I’ve taken in order to build the international career I’ve always wanted. She’s a good example of someone who always goes for what she wants in her career which has been inspiring. We’re now starting to build our own digital playground with the Yum Cha Club.
Kim Hong is full of enthusiasm for digital. I really enjoyed working with Kim in the past in her role at Quinn & Co PR agency where she took the lead on digital at the agency.
Marko Saric is full of enthusiasm for blogging and introducing people to the world of blogging, his blog gives evidence to this and is a great resource for the new or experienced blogger.
Matthew Tommasi has been a great source of help in my digital learning, through emails, his newsletters and highly informative blog on social media.
Nadine van Dongen was one of the first people I met when I moved to Europe in 2002, we’ve kept in contact and with her positive and inspiring approach to life she is a great person to be around. Now living in London she is the extremely successful business owner of Van Dongen Research which has introduced the concept of ‘Patient Intelligence’ into the pharmaceutical environment.
Stuart Wragg and I work together at Bright One, because of his enthusiasm for the project and understanding of PR, I really enjoy working with him and he’s great to bounce ideas with.
Sandeep Kalsi is extremely down to earth, relaxed and generous with his time and advice. At the same time he is doing an excellent job establishing a European headquarters for Atomic PR, watch out for this one!
Sharon Clews impressed me with her presentation on handling clients in the digital space at measurement camp, since then it has been great to have her in my network / as a friend to share ideas and get advice on the freelance market.
Mauricio Samayoa has an impressive array of international work experience and understanding of social media, he’s a great person to be connected with through the social media platforms and various events.
Tim Hoang great guy to be connected with, he makes conversations on topics like SEO and search really interesting! Tim is well connected and generous with his time and sharing his knowledge and contacts.
What is one thing people can do for you?
Please say hello on Twitter or email if you found this useful.