Nixdminx
The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Social media: what agencies can learn from bloggers

Agencies in media need to get more social to survive, so what should you do if you want to be a great social media practitioner? My answer is to immerse yourself in it and become an integral part of it – but how?

The holy grail of digital is getting things right; link baiting (how to earn links organically instead of industrially/commercially) and non-paid SEO (free search engine optimisation can be done through brand mentions, linking, online articles) and general online social buzz all need to be mastered in this fast moving world.

Blogging delivers all of the above so it should be the first port of call if you want to learn from the inside out and gaining new skills is a bonus too.

I’ve yet to meet a single agency person who knows what a blog carnival or a meme is, that may come as a total surprise to bloggers who spend quite a lot of time getting involved in them. If you’re an agency person and you don’t know what a blog carnival is you should definitely find out and there’s a great 101 at blogcarnival. There’s also a great new phenomenon in consumer blogging which moves this on to another level. It is the brainchild of Tara Cain on her blog Sticky Fingers hosts the weekly Gallery. This amazing has been rocketfuel for linkbuilding and you only need to check out her engagement on postrank to realise what a great job she’s done. If you are running a blog for a client, you might want to spend some time getting to know Tara personally and analysing what her success could mean for a social media campaign.

If you’re really keen to get more out of social media, have a read of my Top 5 Tips; please feel free too add your suggestions at the end too.

1. Get some training
I’m notoriously opinionated but I also know when to shut up and listen. As a corporate blogger I have received a lot of training on social media. I listened, learned and applied it to my work. In the corporate world, it may take up a month to get a blog post from inception to publication. Still, it meant a lot to me because I loved the whole process. One of my really early posts even meant to trip to Berlin to meet the inventor of MP3 at IFA, you can see it here. It was pretty involved, I was there for two days and had a professional camera kit with me. I shot and edited the footage too. Even though I was blogging, I couldn’t really equate what I was doing with many of the high profile blogs such as gawker.com or perezhilton.com. The thing is, like everyone else, I had to start somewhere.

2. Get involved
Well the easy part is that most of us are on facebook; how about twitter? Do you know your blogspots from your typepads and your nings from buddy press? Sign up for a social media accounts; try out stumpleupon, digg and then look into other places like yelp.

3. Get blogging
What’s your passion? Photography, travel, shoes, your city? Start a blog. Amy a PR from Wolfstar is a great example, her blog PR Gossip lent her the credibility she needed to belong to British Mummy Bloggers and also do an event with them. I discovered this blog earlier this week Started a Fire by another PR and it gave me a great feeling about the agency. I’m not going to tell you that writing a blog is easy; it’s a voyage of discovery and that’s only going to help you grow.

4. Get out there
Social media is now a lifestyle choice for many. Gone are the days of hiding behind a computer screen and 2010 sees us social types mass mingling. If you really want to be more than just an asset manager in social, make sure you sign up for meet ups like London Bloggers, and volunteer for events like socialmediacamp. This is last year’s agenda from socialmediacamp – I had a brilliant time and lots of debate too.

It takes a lot of nerve to turn up to events where you don’t know anyone but all the people I’ve met are so friendly that I’ve never had any problem being the newbie. If you have any budget available you should also consider sponsoring events like The Sway and BarCamp8 you will get some good online publicity too.

5. Get Outside your Comfort Zone
There is a tendency for birds of a feather to create communities be it technology, beauty, sports, entertainment and so on. Let’s not forget how the agency community sticks together too. The problem with agency blogging is that it’s all about the clients and I wonder if there is a great deal of real interaction with bloggers. This is not a criticism but a fact of life. I have been to many evening events and spoken to the organisers who are a little upset that some bloggers have not turned up. I always say ‘Go to them, blogging is alive and kicking outside of EC2 – these people have day jobs and families and no rules’. I’ve never been averse to sorting out cab fares, hotel stays and train tickets for must have guests at social media events.

And there you have it, quite a lot to take in but it’s definitely a worthwhile pursuit. Things change rapidly in social media and many of the barriers to publication; fear, panic, paranoia, have been replaced by openness and transparency and even to the point that companies have changed their language from the formal to the vernacular.

Week in week out, social media never ceases to amaze and surprise me with all the innovations and quirkiness that evolve and launch out of nowhere. Wdgets, platforms, plugins, networks, APIs, apps – they all sound really dry until you see what they can do and what a wonderful place they make our shiny little world become. While it’s worth checking out sites like mashable and econsultancy for news and industry gossip, it still makes sense to gen up on your topic by getting to know it from the inside.

So go ahead, jump in and leave a comment.

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14 Comments to “Social media: what agencies can learn from bloggers”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tara Cain, nixdminx eva keogan. nixdminx eva keogan said: @tara_cain here's the article which has taken me all day to write, but you're in there dolly xx http://bit.ly/a3IlWI [...]

  2. Tara says:

    I can’t tell you the number of agencies that get it wrong. I mean really get it wrong. So badly that the community end up talking about them for all the wrong reasons.
    Bloggers and newsrooms are not the same animals – by any stretch of the imagination – so just about the worst thing any agency can do is treat us like one.

    Some great tips there N. You’re so right, social media isn’t a bandwaggon you can just jump on if you want success. You have to be a part of it and understand the ins and outs of it.
    If you don’t you risk, well a big almighty hash job!

    • admin says:

      Yes I agree that there have been a few incidents just this week where bloggers have carped about some approaches. It’s such a shame when that happens because it stunts the growth of the relationships on both sides.

  3. Susie says:

    I guess I have a lot to learn still about blogging in general. As a relatively new blogger, and although I write on 3 different blogs, I guess I don’t know much about the behind the scenes happenings.

    Good article.
    .-= Susie´s last blog ..Good Manners Makes All The Difference =-.

  4. Andy says:

    Usual great incite, so thanks for that. Thanks too for the mention of LondonBloggers.net and our regular blogger meetups – which are also available for sponsorship alongside the Sway and Barcamp… ; – )

    I wholeheartedly agree agencies need to immerse themselves in social media and for me the very last sentence says it all: “So go ahead, jump in and leave a comment”.

    The first step for understanding blogging is to start reading, properly reading, and engaging with bloggers on their own patch. All bloggers love comments and this is by far the best way to engage and to start to understand blogging and to engage with bloggers.

    Some other thoughts to chuck into the mix for agencies:

    Blogs come in all different shapes and sizes, with some bloggers writing in great detail about minutia, or others short intros to worldwide macro topics and trends. It really doesn’t matter, the point is, you just need to join the conversation and add some value.

    Getting out there and meeting fellow bloggers is very important, but you can also stimulate conversation and relationship online by linking to other blog posts and encouraging bloggers to interact. Give it a try, bloggers love inbound links.

    You do need to join the conversation. You’ve probably all seen the statistics about how quickly social media platforms have grown so there’s little point banging on about it, but I picked up a great quote recently from Graeme Stoker at BT: “what’s your ROI: return on irrelevance from not using social media” i.e. if you don’t join the online conversation, you are irrelevant. One thing bloggers have done, is join and, often case, lead the conversation on all manner of topics.

    Smashing post you’ve written there.

  5. Potty Mummy says:

    Great post – I’ve picked up a few tips myself… PM x (you know – the one with the chiselled jawline… and the very flattering mirror)
    .-= Potty Mummy´s last blog ..Conversations with Boy #1. =-.

  6. Great post Nix. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic bloggers over the past 3 years (in a PR capacity) and have built up some great relationships.

    The UK ‘Mummy Blogger’ (I hate that term!) phenomenon has picked up pace very quickly over the past year and the resulting inbox assault from PR agencies must have been quite exhausting.

    I just hope we don’t ever get to the point where you guys have to down tools and declare a ‘PR Blackout Week’ a la the USA Mommy Bloggers!
    .-= kerry @ digital outlook´s last blog ..flower power… =-.

    • admin says:

      And from what I gather, you also get involved in blogging which makes you a savvy social media person with lots of fans in the community – thanks for your comment too

  7. Sarah says:

    Great post and thanks for the mention. I’ve made some good friends through the blogging community and although I see my blog very much as an old school journal “weblog” I still get so much out of it and I hope others do to. I must remind myself to blog more though.

  8. Amy Johnston says:

    Thanks for the mention, Nix! Very kind of you! Think the main thing for agencies to remember is that bloggers are individuals too – not just mummies and not just press release publishers! Get to know your contacts and build a meaningful relationship – don’t just fire out information blindly. Keep up the good work, hopefully our paths will cross for another event soon!

  9. Sarah Lundy says:

    Great article.
    A someone who is ‘doing’ stuff for Lancashire as a tourist destination I’m constantly looking for succinct and accurate information to pass to our 2000+ tourism businesses that don’t know where to start.
    Thanks
    sarah

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