Straight-Talking Social Media

I was recently asked to join a panel discussion for a social media event Sookio at the Cambridge Brewhouse on King Street.

This was the first of the Sookio Masterclass events, of which will be hosted quarterly to inspire anybody interested in social media for business or personal use and from the success of this evening event, the next ones are not to be missed.

As soon as I walked through the door and saw the sea of eager and friendly faces, I knew this was going to be a fun event. Everyone was ready to join the discussion and share their ideas and thoughts on our favourite topic, “straight-talking social media”.

None of the panelists, myself included, classed themselves as “social media experts”, which apparently was just what the Sookio team wanted from their guest speakers. They didn’t want self-styled social media gurus or ninjas (yes, some people call themselves this!), but people who create interesting and shareable content through social media.

The panelists included:

Myself, talking about the building of my niche brands, including Miss Sue Flay and more recently, Stir Up Media. I was asked to discuss my conversational and fun approach to social media and what doors have been opened for me through the online world.

Jessica Vincent, Grazia’s Digital Editor was there to share her insights into the magazine’s social media presence and how they have developed such a strong brand across various different social channels.

Athar Abidi from Age UK, talking about his role as Social Media Manager for this major charity, explaining that his main challenge is to make sure that he’s team use all the social 10245293_674527985940347_1764478263515087667_nchannels appropriately to send charity messaging to the right people at the right time without disenfranchising their beneficiaries.

Fred Lewsey and Barney Brown from the University of Cambridge’s Communications team sharing their educational and entertaining experiences in managing the world-famous academic institution’s social media accounts.

This event was hosted in a relaxed environment and had great ales on tap for the guests to enjoy within the private bar, it was a fantastic venue and worked perfectly. The Cambridge Brewhouse are superb on Twitter too, so it seemed fitting to have the event here with such an engaging venue in itself.

Throughout the event, the very talented Lizzy Doe took some fantastic photos and really captured the feel of the evening.
10325642_674528019273677_9047040571396760234_nBut, what I simply adored was that one of the guests, Kate Bystrova (@ekatemari) sat and sketched the panelists as we chatted and this creativity is something I truly admire, in fact after chatting via Twitter after the event she even drew my personal Twitter photo as a gift – she’s amazing and I recommend you visit her website to see more of her work immediately.

And what did we learn from this informal panel and social media discussion?
Here’s a few of my top tips taken from the night:

  • Don’t be selfish – engage with others on social media.
  • How to start out on social media? Follow people. Write about what you know and what you like personally.
  • Engage in a positive manner with those who post negative comments and you can turn the situation around.
  • How do you find your voice in social media? Be yourself. Be true to what you’re doing.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of social media.
  • Respond to a thread rather than individuals on Facebook, that way you’ll avoid multiple arguments.
  • Some people like an online argument. Responding constructively can potentially turn it into a positive.
  • Embrace yourself. Don’t apologise for who you are. People enjoy honesty.

What are your top tips when it comes to using social media?

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