I was lucky enough to have a chat with strategic marketing consultant, Aren Grimshaw today, to speak about the ever-changing landscape that is social media. He's given us some great advice and hopefully we can get him back next year for some more.
OK - I act as a strategic marketing consultant and trainer on all aspects of marketing but specialising in social media, working with all types of businesses large and small. I work mainly in the south west, but occasionally in the south east as well.
What's your day-to-day kind of role? What do you do day in day out?
A typical day for me involves a number of different facets in the business. Part of it is really diagnosing the issues in a business, looking at the corporate objectives the business has, and then helping to achieve them in the most straight forward way. It's really about identifying what resources they have to hand and then looking at the objectives they have and then ensuring we put together the right plan to get them there in the quickest easiest form, but also leading to sustainable growth so that it's not all quick wins and no substance.
What are the absolute fundamentals regarding social media that you tell to every customer as a prerequisite?
The most fundamental piece of information that I tell every client about social media, is to focus on the relationships, not the technology. There's a quote used by people in the industry that says "content is king", but I don't think the content is the be-all and end-all to building a business using social media practises; it's really down to how they build that core relationship with their customers and their partners.
Talking about the development of business, you've only been in business yourself for just over a year now...
Yes that's correct, I became a freelance consultant just over a year ago, that said, my background has been in the field for some time before that. I was a marketing director and head of social media for a number of companies, so my experience in the media/marketing arena spans over five to six years.
How did you go from starting out as a freelance consultant to where you are now and getting that reputation and momentum behind you?
I think it really comes down to a number of factors, again it's about relationships and not asking what people can do for you, but what you can do for them . By doing this you build a support network which will help you achieve any objective you will need to achieve in your life. At the end of the day, it opens up all sorts of opportunities.
The social media landscape is always changing in dramatic ways, every day something different happens across one platform or another, how do you adapt yourself to stay relevant in this climate?
I think the key is, as I said before, it's not about focussing on the technology it's about focussing on the relationship. The technology is just a tool to create those relationships. Just because there's a new mobile phone or social media site doesn't change the core structure of the strategy you're following. The strategy still remains that you are creating value for both your company and your clients.
We met at the Cornwall Social Media Café about this time last year. What drove you to create this kind of networking event and what were you doing to meet like-minded people before it existed?
It came off the first Twestival, which was a charitable meeting of about 50-60 people organised through social media. After that, there was a will to continue meeting but there wasn't a venue to serve that need so we looked around and found the Tuttle Club, which is run by a chap named Lloyd Davis, so we followed his model and set our own up in Cornwall. The key really was to ensure it brought the whole community together, not just about bring business together as there are plenty of business networks out there that are already achieving that aim.
What can we expect from you in the future? What's to come?
I think it's much of the same really. It's about delivering fresh ideas to the clients, making them look at the way they build relationships with their clients in more depth; it's about working smarter and not harder. That's what the aim of my business is; it's not that there will be some grand relaunch it's just about continuing to do the same and remaining passionate about what we do.
Thank you Aren, I think that concludes the interview and I will enjoy typing this all out for the rest of the day!
No problem. Good luck and thanks Jamie!