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Social Media – Obstruction or Opportunity Event

30th March 2010

Social Media – Obstruction or Opportunity Event

Social Media – Obstruction or Opportunity Event

Social Media – (Trivial) Obstruction or (Terrific) Opportunity – 15th April 2010

Date: 15th April 2010
Wynyard Rooms, Wynyard Avenue, Billingham
: 6.30pm – 9.30pm


Open panel event with Tarek Nseir, Chief Executive of TH_NK, Mark Easby, Partner with Better Brand Agency, Derek Curtis, Managing Director of Bond Solutions and Sarah Kadhim, Managing Director of Back 2 Front Animation

Are you baffled by blogs?  Does Twitter leave you in a tizz?  Maybe flummoxed by Facebook?  Are you not even linked up, never mind Linkedin?  It could be argued that adding social media to your marketing strategy isn’t just an option anymore.  For some businesses it’s now become a necessity, and for most they need to understand what it is and what impact it might have

It’s also a potential opportunity too!  So what steps have entrepreneurs taken to maximise the power of social media and how have many of them been able to generate new business opportunities through social media marketing?

Many of our members understand the significance of social media its potential and its problems. Our panel of entrepreneurs, who each use social media in different ways, will share their experiences around this “hot” topic as we debate the good and the bad!

Is it a threat or an opportunity?  Can you harness it to help provide better customer service, improve customer engagement and retention? Can you use it to raise your profile, create more customers and opportunities? Which tools are best for your business?  How can you maximise these tools and techniques to compliment your other current sales and marketing activities? Should you use it in conjunction with search engine optimisation?

This will NOT be a technical or IT dominant session – it’s about making real business development improvements and the panel will be under strict instructions to minimise (even avoid) jargon! So if you have little or no Social Media knowledge or experience, if you’ve ‘dabbled’ a little, or if you’re already making it work well for you, this is a great opportunity to hear how to do it, or do it better, from a panel of experts and adopters.

Introduced and facilitated by Andy Hanselman, whose undoubted skill lie in drawing out and exploring the key issues in any debate.

Andy Hanselman
Andy Hanselman is a recognised expert in improving business competitiveness. With over 20 years experience advising and helping entrepreneurs and business leaders improve their personal and business performance in a wide range of sectors, particularly in approach to finding, attracting and keeping customers, whether it’s ’offline’, ‘online’ or both.

Andy’s practical and pragmatic approach will help us explore, discuss and debate those key issues that face us all (even if we don’t know it yet!)

Tarek Nseir
Social media is not just an optional extra anymore – for most businesses it has now become a necessity and someone who knows this more than most is Tarek Nseir, founder and Chief Executive of award-winning digital agency, TH_NK.

Since establishing TH_NK in 2002, Tarek has led the company to achieve exceptional success in the digital world. In the last few months alone, TH_NK has been named as one of Europe’s fastest- growing digital agencies at the Media Momentum Awards; a ‘Top 100’ agency by NMA; and has achieved a top spot in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 for the third year running. TH_NK has also recently received £1m of growth capital funding from international venture capital company, Beringea, to drive forward their next phase of expansion and add greater value to their business proposition.

Tarek has been the recipient of various personal awards in recognition of his passion, dynamism and achievement, including Young Business Achiever 2002, Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2006, North East Young Business Executive of the Year in 2006 and the David Goldman prize for Business Innovation from Newcastle University Business School. He was also awarded a distinction at the Boston Entrepreneurship Development Programme at MIT and was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2008.

Newcastle-based TH_NK opened its London operation in 2008, which brought with it a growth in TH_NK’s portfolio of blue-chip accounts, including, Bupa, NHS, bmi, TNS, Hays Recruitment and Blackberry to name just a few.

Consistently looking to the future of new technology, TH_NK is a member of W3C – the World Wide Web Consortium – which sees the team collaborating with some of the most influential organisations in the world such as Adobe, Google, Microsoft and IBM to define new Web standards and guidelines.

Mark Easby
Since establishing the business with his three partners in 2008, things have moved rapidly for Better.

Better, based in Stokesley, is a brand agency specialising in brand, design, marketing and social media campaigns and recently scooped both the ‘Best Social Media Campaign’ at the North East Digital Awards and ‘Internet and ICT’ Award in the North East Business Awards.

Mark has worked closely with clients across numerous public and private sector industries, providing consultancy and scoping support on brand development and digital integration, advising on new digital channels and mapping audience’s needs and touch points with client brands.

Mark is heavily involved with clients ranging from start up businesses through to national brands. He has been a conduit for creating systems and platforms that connect clients to their related audience groups using digital technology. Mark has also spoken regularly across the northern region on subjects relating to the leading topics within his industry such as social media, digital and traditional media convergence, as well as supporting a number of business, education and enterprise organisations in their start-up business support programmes.

Mark, and the team at Better, are keen users of social media including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr both individually and for the benefit of the business on a daily basis.

Within the first 18 months the team has expanded to 7 staff and is proud to have established a client base including NDI, Freshfayre, Philippa Gregory, SASDA, Codeworks, Onyx Group, Teesside University, The Enterprise Team, MPI Offshore and Northumbria University.

Derek Curtis
Derek Curtis is the Managing Director of Sunderland-based Bond Solutions -a leading provider of business management software.

He has spent 15 years working in High Street banks, working with customers and also implementing early Back Office technology which helped the banks understand their customers better.  This gave him an appetite for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and in 1998 he began working for a company in the South of England implementing such systems.  In late 2001 he moved back to his native North East to set up Bond.

Derek is a keen user of Twitter and LinkedIn and is beginning to see the benefit of Social Media. He has found quality partnerships and staff, and Bond is benefitting from improved Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is leading customers to Bond.

He believes social networking is here to stay and should be embraced alongside more classical methods of communication to ensure businesses reach a wide and diverse audience.

Sarah Kadhim
Sarah studied stop motion animation at the University of Central Lancs and graduated in 2004, where she met her husband Talib.  Following two years of working in the industry they returned to his hometown and set up Back 2 Front Animation in 2006, producing animations for TV commercials, websites, games, apps, educational resources, video, presentations and Christmas e-cards.

A self confessed technophobe, Sarah quickly recovered, taking Twitter, Facebook and forums on so easily.

The company has recently created 6 short animations for the children’s TV channel Nickelodeon.   The Nickelodeon team were so impressed with a taster animation they found on a clip hosting site that they commission the series.

Sarah said: “It’s funny; we’d just been talking about approaching Nickelodeon because we’re both massive fans. It was a wonderful surprise when they contacted us after seeing our online taster.”

Speaking about her use of social media, Sarah commented: “Twitter has been the main tool for us and its definitely helping us to create brand awareness. I’m always telling my clients that if they can spare even 5 minutes then they can’t lose; it’s a free resource that’s a great tool to help spread the message about your business and stay in touch with contacts, clients and potential freelancers.  I wish it had been around when we started.”

This highly charged panel is guaranteed to stimulate discussions and answer queries from anyone interested in or affected by property.  We urge you to book as soon as possible to secure a place.

Attendance for Forum members is included in your membership package and costs £15 + VAT for members’ guests.  Non-members are charged at £35.00 + VAT per person.  Please note that cancellations for guests, received within 24 hours of the event will be charged in full

A light supper will be served following the main panel discussion, allowing further time to chat with our panel members and event guests.

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