Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the day at Google’s Digital Garage in Birmingham for their #CreativeFest event, and it was one of my favourite networking events to date.
Launched in 2015, Google creates Pop Up Digital Garages in cities across the UK. These Digital Garages are a welcoming and complimentary hub for everyone and anyone nearby who wants to learn and develop skills in digital marketing.
Birmingham’s Digital Garage hosted an event they called #CreativeFest, intended to bring together local creatives looking to gain knowledge, skills and tips in the world of digital marketing. Between developing my blog and my current marketing internship at BE FESTIVAL, the ethos of #CreativeFest really excited me and I knew I had to go!
10am-12.30pm Build Your Confidence Coffee Morning
Yes, I am that person who arrives at 9:55am to a drop in event from 10am-12.30pm. However, arriving so early meant that throughout the morning I got the opportunity to speak to almost everyone at the event, which was absolutely lovely.
Google had set up a lovely selection of snacks and drinks for us (there were Google cupcakes!) and created a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere so we could get to know each other a bit better in the lead up to the upcoming talks. Google intended the event to be pretty lowkey, so in total there were probably around twelve of us. This definitely made things more intimate and really helped to create a community vibe.
One of my favourite things about the event was the range of entrepreneurs in attendance – we each have different passions and we’re all at completely different stages in the development of our projects/businesses. This was so lovely – it meant that we were able to learn something new from every single person there, whilst discussing ways in which we could collaborate to balance out our knowledge and skills.
To list just a few of the start up projects/businesses present, I met someone looking to start up their own yoga and wellbeing business; someone launching their career as a freelance graphic designer; someone working in academia and research looking to develop their digital skills; someone creating a disability-oriented social enterprise.
As you can imagine, we had so much to talk about over our cupcakes and coffee!
12.30-2pm Building a Local Audience on Social Media with IGersBirmingham
We were then introduced to Fraser, Martin and Beth, who run IGersBirmingham, home to photographers across Birmingham that regularly meet to capture the city through their own artistic lens (see what I did there?). I met the IGersBirmingham team at the Staying Cool Reaches Creative Heights Event a couple of weeks ago, so you may recognise the name from that post!
They talked us through their journey to build a presence across online platforms that led them to a following of 16.5K on Instagram alone. This is less about the number, however, as much as it is about the demographic of their followers; many of them are local to the city, and finding others online with common interests was where they focused their discussion.
It was so lovely to hear from an organisation which is so passionate about Brum and what the city offers, as well as they work to bring such a big city together both online and in person to form a creative and supportive community.
Some key tips from IGersBirmingham
– Be genuine, be responsive, be real.
– Vary the times that you post online – it’ll broaden your reach.
– It’s just as much who you don’t work with as who you do work with.
– Keep in mind why your followers like your content and what they expect from you.
– Stay true to your brand, who you are and the difference you want to make.
2.30-4pm Building a Brand on Social Media with Amrit Singh
Next up we learned how to establish our own digital identity with award-winning creative Amrit Singh. As with IGersBirmingham, I had also met Amrit at the Staying Cool Reaches Creative Heights Event – he was the artist commissioned to create the stunning piece of art featuring Birmingham’s most iconic buildings on the window of Staying Cool’s penthouse apartment in the Rotunda, where the evening took place.
Amrit discussed his ethos as an online content creator and the key aspects of his brand that he’s maintained throughout his career since he began working self-employed a couple of years ago. Amrit focuses particularly on the power of livestreaming, which was particularly intriguing to someone who had never previously considered its value and popularity!
Amrit’s presentation was brilliantly captivating and informative – not only did it introduce alternative ways of looking at establishing and believing in your own voice, it also highlighted the fact that Amrit’s done a TEDx talk before!
Some key tips from Amrit Singh
– The most important brand you’ll ever get the opportunity to work on is your own.
– The vibe you put out there is the one you’ll get back.
– The more we advance with social media, the less we trust.
– Social media platforms give us the power to share raw real world events in a way that the media won’t.
– Learn from everyone, develop patience and have fun!
I left Google’s Digital Garage feeling inspired, motivated and excited about putting my new knowledge into practice. Thank you so much to Google, IGersBirmingham and to Amrit for such a lovely, insightful, and overall fascinating experience.