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Social Media Portal interview with Trisha Brandon from BLOOM Worldwide

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 11 November 2013

Trisha Brandon on her new content strategy role at BLOOM Worldwide

Social business, content strategy and how social media fits into this space with BLOOM Worldwide's Trisha Brandon

BLOOM Worldwide logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your, and what do you do there at BLOOM Worldwide?

Trisha Brandon (TB): Trisha Brandon, Head of Content.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about BLOOM Worldwide, what is it and what does company do?

TB: BLOOM Worldwide is an independent social media agency specialising in social business.

BLOOM Worldwide empowers brands and organisations to engage with their customers and communities more effectively through the implementation of tailored social business practices. 
From fostering customer engagement through the great use of social media to driving collaboration and productivity through social technologies, BLOOM combines insight, strategy, content and technology to take clients on a transformational journey from simply doing social, to being social.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

TB: We work with companies, large or small, who realise the importance of social within their business and the impact it can have on their overall business objectives.

SMP: When was the company founded, how many people work there and how is it funded?

: BLOOM is an independent agency, founded in 2011 by digital entrepreneurs Jay and Kate Cooper and currently has 22 employees, but looking to expand further next year.

BLOOM Worldwide webiste homepage

SMP: Why do you think content strategy, creation and/or community is relevant (important even) for a social media agency?

TB: You canít really separate them out, to be honest. Theyíre part of the same continuum. For a brand to be social it has to have something to offer thatís valuable to real people Ė content. Having a social content strategy in place will grease the wheels of a social strategy.

SMP: Why is this a newly created role for BLOOM Worldwide?

TB: BLOOMís sweet spot is deep insight and social strategy, so content is a natural addition. Also, content is something that our clients often struggle with Ė thinking and acting like a publisher can mean different ways of working and thinking about their customers.

SMP: With more marketers finally thinking marketing, rather than digital marketing, what impact do you think this may have for social media agencies?

:  Itís a good thing for BLOOM. Weíve never seen social as a channel, but more as a business philosophy that crosses many departments in an organisation including marketing but also HR, customer services, PR and communications.  

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?

: My current desk has no sea view, but thatís changing soon.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

: Realising the huge opportunity that exists with our clients and prospects.

SMP: What are the main social channels your clients are using, why and which are the most effective for them?

TB: Thereís really no single view of what works and which platforms are effective. It depends on what a client needs and the audience they want to reach. We tend to be more long-term than campaign in our approach, so channels may include intranets, for internal communications and knowledge sharing, and of course the ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter. But we also see clients using SlideShare and LinkedIn in beneficial ways.

SMP: What sort of activity / engagement are your clients receiving across the social channels they use and how do you to create / sustain this?

: My role is really to help create a brand voice for our clientsí social channels via engaging content. Itís a long-term commitment but those who have made the leap and prioritised building a community see the benefits.

Photograph of Trisha Brandon, Head of Content at BLOOM WorldwideSMP: What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for brands (and agencies) in regards to content and community management?

: One of the challenges brands face is developing the internal structures to create content and develop communities well. For some clients, content might sit with PR or brand teams that may take a campaign approach without firm measures in place. But actually it can and should have the involvement of these teams plus more. All departments responsible for communicating with customers or prospects should be aligned and consistent.

SMP: What are the most challenging aspects for the presence of brands in digital environments (including social media) in the development of content and how can they overcome them?

: There are tried and true methods of creating content Ė just ask an editor or journalist. But it can be exceedingly difficult for a company to understand, genuinely, what makes a good brand story.  Unless itís exceedingly innovating, a new product launch isnít, in itself, newsworthy. So brands have to work hard to identify brand stories and create supporting content that will really resonate with their audience. Itís all about building an audience understanding and being responsive.

SMP: Whatís going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media, social networks and/or technology for the next 12 to 18-months Ė what role does content play in this?

TB: Itís been said for years that weíre in the age of the consumer. For brands that havenít embraced this notion, it will become painfully obvious and imperative over the next year or so. So a super-controlled Twitter presence that only talks about scripted topics just wonít cut it nor will it be worth the effort. Instead, for a brand to flourish, itíll need to properly listen, understand and be accountable to the needs of their customers and employees in whatever spaces are most relevant to them. Itís a fundamentally different relationship.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for content development for the next 12 to 18-months?

TB replies with:

1. Go native. Paid media is buzzing about native advertising, which in essence is paid content distribution. If youíre creating targeted, editorial content itís a great way to get it in front of a huge audience. Sure youíll pay per click, but if youíre goals are tied to driving traffic, it could well be worth it. Look at services such as Outbrain to assess if itís right for you.

2. Be nimble and responsive, creating conversation-led content. By listening to conversations your audience is having and responding appropriately, youíll be creating content on their terms, which will help it be more successful. Seems obvious, but itís often overlooked. Going forward, it really canít be though.

3. Youíre probably sitting on great content and donít even know it. Heritage and history are big trends and many brands have it in spades. So look in archives and company history for things that could make a great story. Old ads, photos, historical records, clippings or company heritage could all contain buried content gems.

4. Donít forget the ďnew againĒ rule for content on the web. You may have a brilliant video went live a year ago. But if there is a fresh angle for it, say from a news or cultural reference, see it as new again and push it out through your social channels again. Donít assume everyone has seen it.

5. Think beyond your website and branded social spaces. Instead, go to where your audience is already to reach them, on their terms. This could include creating guest posts for a widely read blog, third-party content partnerships, or cross posting content with other complimentary brands. There are lots of ways to explore third-party content exchanges.

SMP: What are your top five content related tips?

TB replies with:

1. Look to your history and heritage for stories Ė you may be sitting on great content that you werenít even aware of.

2. Engage your employees as they could be your greatest sources of brand stories.

3. Think story and audience first, then the most relevant platform

4. A community is for life, not just for Christmas

5. People click on cats.

SMP:  Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything that youíd like to share?

: If you want to embed social into your brandís culture, weíve got a social business maturity framework that can help you identify the next steps.

SMP: Best way to contact you and BLOOM Worldwide?

TB: By email: trisha @ or Twitter @trishalb

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

TB: A crumpet with lemon marmalade.

SMP: Whatís the last good thing that you did for someone?

TB: On a packed train the other day there was a very elderly woman with bruises on her face standing up. I was standing too, but my colleague was in a fold-down seat. So I gestured for her to come, nudging my colleague who happily gave up her seat. The woman later said that sheíd gotten her horrible bruises from falling down. *polishes halo*

SMP: If you werenít working at BLOOM Worldwide what would you be doing?

TB: Iíd be running a family-friendly B&B near the beach in St Ives, with lots of beach kit for guests to borrow, healthy, local food for kids and packed beach lunches. It could still happen!

SMP: Whatís the best content strategy / content led activity or campaign you have seen in the last six-months and why (it cannot be one of your own, or something youíve been involved with)

TB: Iím a sucker for an Innocent smoothie woolly hat.

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

TB: Cinque Terre in Italy for a long weekend. Such fabulous food and wine and great walking and views.

SMP: Whatís the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

TB: Check news and social spaces for work-related news and trends.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

TB: Listening is key to what I do, and I love listening to peopleís stories and experiences. So my superpower would be supersonic sense of hearing, like the Bionic Woman, Jaime Sommers. Iíd love it.

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