We’re so proud to have hosted Bristol’s second Social Media Week last week and we’re still buzzing from everything we heard, discussed and learned at five days of events dedicated to social media.

“Social Media Week Bristol for me was about celebrating what an amazing group of talented, generous people we have the absolute pleasure of working with all coming together, collaborating (even in adverse conditions) to make the event the success it is,” says AMBITIOUS Director Lis Anderson. “From our ambassadors, digital squad, venue hosts, sponsors and partners and of course delegates from far and wide. We’ve got something quite special in this city and I love that we’re part of that.”

There were so many highlights, inspiring speakers, and such a great atmosphere throughout the week, that it’s hard to summarise the best bits in one blog post, so we’ve asked a few of our team who attended and worked behind-the-scenes to tell us what they enjoyed the most…

Mel Beeby-Clarke

“I really enjoyed the session by Asha Constanza from Synergy about Finding the influencers within your business. What Asha had to say about the people with influence in an organisation not necessarily being the obvious people or those that the bosses think are the influencers among the ranks was really interesting.

The examples were great too – lots of quite corporate/b2b organisations – who had really tuned in to what their employees thought and who inspired them and taken the lead from the frontline. The example of ‘Keith in Finance’ and his cartoons which got a workforce of hundreds using the company’s new Workplace for Facebook page with his unique take on things and way of communicating them. I will definitely be telling my clients to #findyourkeith from now on!”

Otger Perich

“I really enjoyed Find your Customers on Facebook with Sophie Evans and Mark E Wright. Everybody was talking about it. Even though Sophie is really young, she has lots of experience in digital marketing. Her chat was brilliant. When everyone was complaining about the new Facebook algorithm, she was already figuring out how to make the most of it. Mark jumped in to explain his strategies to fish customers from similar business using Facebook again. It was really interesting and the overall atmosphere – in a smaller venue – was one of learning and camaraderie among the business owners and the marketers gathered there.”

Nathalie Ackbar

“The best session for me was Thursday morning’s How PR professionals can work effectively with digital editors and newsrooms. Every member of the panel brought useful points to the discussion and there were some great questions asked by the audience, which raised some issues I hadn’t really considered before. For instance, the pointers on how best to connect with journalists in today’s fast-paced news cycles were certainly useful, as well as the advice on how to make stories ‘social media friendly’.

Plus, there was some good debate about the ever-popular listicles (or ‘Bristicles’ as Martin Booth refers to them!) Plenty of tips that I will be putting into practice and certainly worth braving the bitterly cold weather for.”

Hannah Jolliffe

“It’s so hard to choose one favourite – I attended lots of sessions and found them all useful with engaging speakers – but I loved the Influencer Summit on the topic of Digital influencer or celebrity ambassador? The Q&A format worked really well – with questions from both the chair and many from the audience, which made it relevant to attendees. The panel had a great mix of backgrounds and experience – from big agencies who regularly engage celebs, to Bournemouth university which has embraced the micro influencer. There were some useful discussions about finding the right influencers for your brand and practical tips on how to make the relationship work. It’s given me lots to think about and renewed my enthusiasm for influencer programmes.”

Rebecca Noakes

“A talk I really enjoyed was The value of authenticity by digital agency e3. The presentation was really engaging and funny – they used gifs, photos and titles to really good effect. But the best part was how they described ‘authenticity’ and explained how you could tap into that commercially. They weren’t the first to point out the importance of ‘being authentic’; it was a message I’d heard throughout the week, but their simple idea of making social media social authentic again hit home. For me, this gave a framework for looking at all that I had picked up throughout the week.

Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but first and foremost it’s a way to make connections, genuine connections. In fact, that’s why the other highlight of Social Media Week was meeting people. With our business hats on, we tweet, post and like, but it’s easy to forget that business is personal and ‘liking’ someone is about trust and admiration so having that face-to-face time is still really valuable and Social Media Week provided the perfect opportunity. So, my takeaway from SMWBristol is that if you can make people feel like they know you without having met you, that’s the winning formula to gaining a true following on social media.”

Ange Cassidy

“My favourite session had to be Business West Wednesday, not only did we all receive free chocolate (nice touch!), it was packed with engaging, motivating speakers. I took so much away from the session, particularly around user generated content which was a common theme on the day, the importance of video (it will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019) and that in order to be successful you need to think differently. Overall, a great week of learning!”

Of course, the backbone of Social Media Week Bristol is the thriving events programme, but it provides a platform for so much more than that. “The real magic for me is what happens in-between events,” says AMBITIOUS Director Sarah Woodhouse.

“Connections were made between attendees virtually and in real life, ideas exchanged, meetings arranged, work offered and international visitors welcomed. The cumulative effort of everyone who is engaged or interested in social media coming together from across numerous sectors and disciplines, from big and small businesses and brands to connect and share best practice helps underscore what a collaborative and forward-thinking city Bristol is!”

Did you attend Social Media Week Bristol? We’d love to hear which events you went to and what your highlights were – tell us in the comments below or tweet us @Ambitiouspr

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