Social Buzz Top 50: Advice from the UK's most influential individuals in social on breaking into the industry

The Drum recently revealed its Social Buzz Top 50 – a list of the most influential individuals working in social media marketing in the UK.

Taking the top spot was Bruce Daisley, managing director of Twitter UK, who was named Social Media Individual of the Year at this year's Social Buzz Awards.

There's no doubt that social media has disrupted the traditional marketing model, so The Drum caught up with the top 50 to find out their thoughts on changes to the social landscape and upcoming trends.

So first thing's first, what advice would they offer young people trying to break into the industry?

Shira Feuer, head of social media EMEA, The Walt Disney Company

I’d recommend that they get to know social platforms really well, from the user’s point of view.

A deep understanding of user behavior is the most powerful tool any digital marketer can have.

Sean Meehan, social media manager, Boots

Keep reading and challenging convention.

Even though the big players like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are almost ten years old, this area of marketing is still in its infancy with fundamental changes happening almost daily.

There has never been a better time to join such a developing and rewarding industry.

Paul Fabretti, digital and social media lead, Telefonica (O2)

Focus on getting a good grounding in a core digital marketing or communications discipline.

Social is merely a layer on top of these core skills, and they provide a great basis for sound decision-making online.

Jerry Daykin, global digital director, Dentsu Aegis Network

Don't believe the hype!

Great social media marketing isn't just about innovation and the latest thing - it's still about telling fantastic brand stories.

There's a lot to learn from decades of traditional marketing so make sure you're taking it all in.

Amy Kean, head of futures, Havas Media Labs

Don't underestimate the power of building your own brand.

Blog, tweet, have a mentor – or five, go to networking events, share your ideas and opinions.

That way people will see that you really value your career and you'll stand out from the (very noisy) crowd.

Stephen Waddington, director, Ketchum and president, CIPR

Set yourself up so that employers seek you out.

You can do this by signing up to continuous professional development, developing a network of brands and people you want to work with, building your own profile by creating your own media and creatively illustrating how you understand the industry.

This sounds hard but if you have time and talent you have greater opportunity that you might think.

Aman Matharu, digital marketing manager, PepsiCo

Look beyond the likes and shares and view social as part of the marketing mix.

James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile, Leo Burnett and co-founder, Holler

Think of social and mobile as one, and make sure you're aware of the absolute importance, and dominance, of mobile – ride this absurdly exciting fusion of the internet and telephony that is happening right now.

Amanda Neylon, head of digital, Macmillan Cancer Support

Be brave and have confidence in your instincts and don’t be scared of sharing your ideas.

Young people are digital natives, which might not be true of many of the people they work alongside, so their input is really important.

There have been several times at Macmillan when one of the team has pitched a campaign that sounds crazy to me, but I trust their understanding of the market.

We’ve tested it and it’s been a success, so speak up and stand by your ideas.

Jack Wallington, director of community, The Student Room Group

I always recommend building a social presence yourself from scratch around one of your interests.

It really helps in interviews to demonstrate a success you currently have and it’s more interesting for you and employers if it’s about a genuine interest like film or cooking.

Kate Cooper, chief executive, Bloom Worldwide

Practice what you preach – social provides you with an unusual opportunity to showcase your skills on a publicly available platform even if your experience is thin on the ground.

Potential employers can see you in action before they meet you - I always check out an applicant's social media presence before deciding if they're worth bringing in for an interview.

Katy Howell, chief executive, Immediate Future

In the dash to be social and engage, step back.

Learn from traditional marketing and communications, you might be surprised at how much of the frameworks and models still apply.

With a good grounding you can avoid re-inventing the wheel and focus on delivering success.

Steve Cater, communications partner, YunoJuno

Things move fast and they will move faster.

Taking a hands-on inquisitive approach is the best way to not sound like a tired marketeer.

Stay hungry, and stay in touch with what's happening.

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Staff Writer

The Drum is a global media platform and the biggest marketing website in Europe. We produce The Drum magazine, 30 awards and events and manage The Drum Network which aims to make independently minded agencies more successful. We also help brands find the right agencies to work with through the Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

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