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It’s always exciting to be part of something big that matters and Social Media Week Bristol 2018 was no exception.

Aimed at providing a global, collaborative platform showcasing the very best social media expertise the South West has to offer, this successful event continues to be an innovative and inspiring game-changer.

As passionate supporters of aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups, we understand how important it is to curate and share the best ideas and insights into how social media and technology are transforming the world around us.

It’s vital that we know how to harness the power of social media – or risk being left behind.

That’s why Origin Workspace was thrilled to be involved in Social Media Week Bristol as a sponsor.

Our very own Rob Hingston attended most of the week͛s 30 events, making new connections, hearing inspiring stories, sharing and getting new ideas and learning from influencers.

We were also on hand to give start-up advice to would-be entrepreneurs on all aspects of launching a new business as part of our Origin Events programme. There were so many highlights during Social Media Week Bristol– far too many to go into detail now. But here are our top eight takeaways from the week:

1. Dare to be different

Founder and CEO of Trunki Rob Law stressed the importance of thinking differently to really stand out from the crowd. And the best news is that great ideas needn’t cost the earth –he has created a unique marketing campaign with almost zero cost that has now been shared online over 200,000 times! His top tip was: “Consumers love promotions. Create and deliver engaging campaigns by collaborating with other brands that share your values.”

2. Customers as brand ambassadors

Throughout the week, the value of user generated content was highlighted again and again. It͛s all about putting your audience at the heart of what you͛re creating – whether that’s
posting images of customers using your products to sharing inspiring blogs from key influencers. By allowing your customers to engage with your brand, you create a sense of belonging and community that is truly powerful.

3. Embrace change

It’s never a good idea to sit still for too long. Change is as good as a rest and those businesses that are willing to adapt and evolve will ultimately succeed. “Be brave, try new things and engage people” was Pat Powell, from Swoon Gelato‘s excellent advice (we might be bias because they are practically our neighbours). Every quarter, they review where they are at and what they can change to ensure they are constantly improving and continuing to surprise and delight their customers.

4. No idea is too small

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones. Mel Bound explained how she launched her running business This Mum Runs after appealing for a running buddy on Facebook. She was gobsmacked when from that one FB post, 75 Mums turned up to run with her. Hundreds came the following week and This Mum Runs was born. Today there are Mums͛running groups all over the world and she sells a range of merchandise throughout the UK and is about to go international. Her advice is that there is no such thing as the words ‘I can’t’. She explained: “As an entrepreneur, you can have moments when you don’t think you can do it. It never seems the right time but you absolutely can.”

5. Keep your finger on the pulse

No business exists in a vacuum. That’s why it’s important to keep on top of current trends and news in your industry. Sean Clarke from Aardman said: “Understand your audience and create innovative and relevant assets to appeal to them.” A great tip for keeping your finger on the pulse came from Mark Wright, founder of Climb Online, one of the UK’s fastest growing digital marketing agencies, who advised entrepreneurs to set up Google Alerts for key relevant business words to help stay on top of industry insight and use to create topical content.

6. Size doesn’t matter

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a big budget. It͛s about making the best use of the budget you have. This means putting in the hard work, networking, collaborating and encouraging others around you. Teaming up with influencers, using social media and measuring the success of each tactic you try can all help you punch above your weight and deliver campaigns that get results.

7. Variety is the spice of life

When it comes to your content strategy, having a good variety of stories and angles is important. “Your website and social media isn’t about you –it’s all about your customer,” advised Patrick Cutliffe from Google Digital Garage. As a lead digital trainer for Google he shared his insight into the key things to include in a content strategy, including: new product/service announcements, non-promotional/’behind the scenes’ stories, responses (engaging with your customers), operational stories (e.g. job vacancies) and seasonal sales.

8.Video is where the smart money is

There is no doubt that video is the future of online. Already, internet users watch some eight billion videos per day. “Video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Even if you are a boring company, you should have video and picture content on Instagram right now,” argued Climb Online founder Mark Wright. “Every business, no matter the size, should have a YouTube channel and regularly post videos that support their mission statement.”

The Origin Workspace team were blown away by the huge amount of talent on display in Bristol throughout Social Media Week. It was inspiring to meet so many amazing start-ups and small businesses and hear about their great ideas and ambitious plans for the future. In every pitch, seminar and presentation, the excitement, determination and passion for success was palpable. Trunki’s Rob Law summed it up quite nicely when he said: “Dream big, put a huge goal out there and hopefully you’ll make it”.

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