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THE expertise of social media experts from Australia to New York City was made available to a gathering in Bournemouth.

Mark Masters of the ID Group held a You Are the Media Strategy Day to help both experienced marketing people and relative novices to develop an approach to content marketing.

The day began with Trevor Young, author of MicroDomination and partner at Zoetic Agency, appearing via Skype from Melbourne, and ended with a contribution from Margaret Magnarelli, managing director of job site Monster.com, in New York.

The audience at Boscombe’s Shelley Manor also heard from two UK contributors: e-commerce growth consultant Ian Rhodes and Chris Lee of Mash PR.

They spoke of the importance of building a distinctive identity on social media and producing unique content.

Trevor Young said the number of social media channels had expanded hugely. “They want to be your walled garden, your universe, and they don’t want you to leave. This is why with each of the platforms, it’s a full time job to keep up with it,” he said.

“I think what we’ve all got individually with our personal brands, business brands, non-profit brands, is our people, our ideas are all unique. I think we need to go with that uniqueness.

“Rather than go out and take a look at what your competitors are doing and do the same thing, your role is to focus on your unique strengths, your unique perspective, the skills and the passions, the enthusiasm you bring to the table, because that’s something people can’t replicate.”

He spoke of the importance of brands communicating from their own platforms rather than just on other people’s networks.

“A lot of brands spent a lot of money with Facebook in the early days building up an audience that then was ripped out from underneath them and now they have to pay to reach that audience,” he said.

“LinkedIn was bought by Microsoft for something like 20 billion dollars. They’re going to want their money back. There’s word coming out that there will be a lot more paid elements.”

He urged people to use social media to listen to their customers. “Some people might say something really nice about them and they’ll like it, they’ll retweet it, but they’ll never talk to that person and that’s the big opportunity they’re missing,” he added.

Mark Masters said after the event: “When it comes to having a voice, everything is centred on communicating the intentions of what you believe in and how that aligns to what you do. This allows others to match that voice with an approach.“Over time, people recognise the value you bring to a marketplace and you build your story through the ideas, themes and experiences you curate and communicate. Do this consistently – this is how you differentiate your business.”