In order to run a global B2B social media agency, you need a team of talented individuals constantly pulling together in the right direction to make things happen. We are proud of our team of strategists, data heads, creatives, influencers, community managers, and in-house marketers, and we’d like for you to get to know them a little bit more.
What is your role at OST?
Would you believe I’m on my sixth different job title? That’s one advantage of being in a fast-growing agency!
Most of my time has been in Client Services as an Account Manager or Account Director, but for the last 18-months, I’ve found my new home as Operations Director.
That makes me responsible for bringing all the different cogs together to keep the engine running smoothly.
Working with our specialist teams to deliver great services makes full use of my digital marketing experience, whilst I’m also responsible for ensuring we’re operating efficiently and generating a profit.
Could you talk us through a normal day for you?
If we assume the usual caveat that there’s no such thing as a ‘normal day’ applies, there are a few things that I could be working on at any given time.
Today, I’ll mostly be preparing for a pitch we’re delivering next week. It’s an exciting project – planning and delivering a B2B influencer campaign – and we’ve put together some really creative ideas.
The rest of my week will largely be split between two things: data and processes. The glamorous side of agency life!
I spend more of my life looking at spreadsheets than I ever imagined possible when I started out in marketing. Thankfully, I’ve become a true data geek and the insights I’m able to gather are key to making sure we’re able to grow the business sustainably.
What’s your favourite social channel and why?
Twitter. No doubt about it.
The fact that it’s public means you can end up talking to anyone, anywhere about anything.
It’s my main source of breaking news, football banter, political debate, funny memes and marketing tips.
It does seem to be a bit ‘marmite’ and I can see where that stems from. But, whilst the debate isn’t always healthy, you soon learn which conversations to steer clear of. A few years ago I had a Twitter spat with Piers Morgan and realised it just isn’t worth it. Don’t feed the trolls!
Do you have a favourite social media ads campaign?
In 2015 Jon Loomer ran a Facebook campaign called “The Experiment” and the results were fascinating.
The premise was simple: Instead of ads being intrusive or annoying, what if they served exclusive content that couldn’t be found anywhere else? What if people actively wanted, and looked forward to, seeing your ads?
He started by advertising to all his web visitors and contacts, asking them to click on the ad to begin the experiment.
He then served up a series of 12 tips, with each tip only being shown to those who engaged with the previous one. As it ran, the audience got smaller until he was left with a group of hyper-engaged people, who he invited to an exclusive webinar to discuss the results.
Those results were remarkable in terms of every KPI – including increased sales. He even had people complaining about not seeing the ads!
It fundamentally changed the way I thought about retargeting and custom audiences and did a lot to influence OST’s approach to promoting B2B content.
Who influences you on social media and why?
As a self-taught marketer, I’ve relied heavily on stealing inspiration from the right people. Whilst there are a great many who I admire, I can think of four that have had a profound impact on my thinking.
I’ve already mentioned Jon Loomer, who really taught me everything I knew in my early days of social media advertising. There are many influencers who share insightful tips, but not many who provide such a sophisticated level of detail.
Doug Kessler really shaped my whole approach to B2B content marketing when he introduced me to ‘Big Ass Fans’ at a conference in 2013. His war on crap content continues and there aren’t many newsletters I look forward to as much as his.
Not having an academic background in marketing (I studied Politics!), Dave Chaffey has always helped me to fill that void. Any of my colleagues will be able to tell you how much I love a really good funnel, and I think it’s Dave I have to thank for that!
Finally, whilst I hate to suck up to the boss, it would be remiss of me not to mention Luke. I knew very little about social media marketing when he offered me a two-month contract almost a decade ago. He probably deserves some credit for teaching me a thing or two!
What are your passions/hobbies/interests?
The top of the list is sailing. I’ve been doing it since I was 8 or 9 and still go racing with my dad every week. As well as it being a great feeling just to be out on the water, it’s a very tactical sport and I love trying to outthink the opposition. My little girl is 2, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get her addicted shortly!
What future social media and/or developments in marketing are you excited about?
Is this the bit where I’m supposed to say TikTok?
To be honest, I’m not one for jumping straight onto the next “big thing”. I’ve seen too many platforms create a great furore as everyone predicts them to be exactly that, only for them to fizzle away relatively quickly. TikTok might well be the one to break the mould, but the big four today were the big four were 10 years ago. Social media isn’t as fast-changing as we like to think it is.
So, rather than the medium itself, it’s how they’re being used that I find more interesting. And there are some clear trends at the moment.
For one, brands are starting to realise the power of their employees. We’ve had more requests for Exec Comms in the last 6-months than in the previous 6-years, and brands that can combine their employee advocacy with their influencer advocacy will be on to a real winner!
Another is the return of Community. Closed groups built around shared expertise or sense of purpose are growing in popularity. Will brands be able to play a leading role in facilitating that?
Why did you choose a career in social media?
When trying to get my career off the ground I was doing various placements in the world of politics. I applied for one role as a Constituency Organiser for a local Party and was asked to give a presentation on my approach to political campaigning.
I gave what I thought was an excellent presentation on the power of social media and included some great case studies from the US to show how candidates were expanding their reach to engage with voters.
My reward was a panel full of confused expressions and the words “But… the leaflets work!”
With my newfound knowledge and the realisation I wasn’t going to be able to apply it in politics, I was lucky enough to find a vacancy with a very small company called Our Social Times (ever wondered what OST stands for?).
The interview was great, but I didn’t get the job!
A last-minute applicant with actual experience swooped in and took my spot.
Thankfully, Deepa had a good notice period and it was a few weeks before she could start. Luke must’ve taken pity on me because he asked if I’d like to help him out for those few weeks. The rest is history…
If you weren’t at OST you would be…
I’ve worked as a sailing instructor in four different countries, I’ve been a punting chauffeur on the River Cam and I’ve been an ‘Ice Marshall’ at an outdoor rink. I love being out in the fresh air.
Working on the water will always appeal the most, but I’ve often thought I’d be a pretty good Landscape Gardener or, even better, a ZooKeeper.
Tell us one random fact about yourself?
In addition to my sailing qualifications, I am (or formerly was) a qualified beach lifeguard, fencing coach, archery instructor, quad bike supervisor, rock climbing instructor and paddlesport coach.
Is that one fact or six?Meet the team: Stef