One of Scotland’s early converts to all things social was digital marketer Mike McGrail. Mike lives & breathes social media and puts his knowledge to good use with PR agency BIG Partnership, ensuring the agency remains ahead of the digital pack. When he’s not preparing digital strategies for BIG, he’s usually found over at his Social Penguin blog. We caught up with Mike to get his thoughts on where he sees social media going in 2012.
K: Describe your typical working day
MM: Well, I live in Edinburgh, but spend a large slice of my working week in Glasgow, so my day starts at 7am with me boarding a Citylink bus (other bus services are available..). I use that journey time to catch up on the latest social media and digital marketing blogs, it’s a great time to focus and catch up on some important reading. The rest of the day is taken up with social and digital strategies for a really diverse client base, from whiskies to transport companies. We’ve got a great team at BIG and it’s always a pleasure to get in to the office.
K: BIG are one of the largest PR agencies outside London, how do you think you stand out from the competition?
MM: The quality and experience of the people at BIG really is second to none. There aren’t many business types or sectors that the teams across our four offices haven’t worked with/on and that knowledge pool is an invaluable asset. We are also fully committed to an innovative and highly measurable approach which ensures a quality and efficient service is always delivered.
K: Professionally speaking, what are your plans for 2012?
MM: I’ll be looking to help our digital marketing division continue to grow and innovate and build on my skills and knowledge. My marketing experience is very varied, but I starting using the social media channel for clients at the beginning of 2009 and no other channel has grabbed my imagination as much as social. I fully intend to keep it at the centre of what I do. I love speaking at events and will be looking to build on my experience over the coming year, I’ve got a few lined up already but room for more!
K: Outside of work, what are your interests?
MM: Well, my side project, The Social Penguin Blog takes up a lot of my time! It’s a blog about all things social media and digital marketing. I just celebrated its second birthday and I can’t believe the pace at which it has grown. It now has a large and truly global audience which amazes me at times, I’ve never put a penny behind it and I’m not scared to say I’m very proud of it. Other than that, I’m a big music fan, always keen to find something a little bit different. I treated my self to a DLSR camera at Christmas and can see a photography addiction on the horizon. I love to travel and have been fortunate enough to see a lot of our planet – that may be on hold as my wife is expecting our first child in May which is truly fantastic!
K: There are countless lists documenting trends for Social Media in 2012 – from a professional perspective, what would you like to see happen this year in Social Media?
MM: I think that the business world needs to start realising that social media is just another channel, it shouldn’t be treated as a stand-alone activity. At BIG we always ensure that our clients consider it as part of their overall marketing mix. I think the big players like Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate and Google Plus will have its place – its importance to SEO cannot be overlooked. I’ll be watching the growth of Instagram, it’s rate of uptake has been huge (over 14 million users in one year) and it only exists on one platform so far – the iPhone. The photo based network, Pinterest is also an interesting beast.
K: Furthermore, what would you like to see from KILTR this year?
MM: KILTR has made great strides in 2011 and I hope to see the continued growth of an engaged community. There is a massive amount of knowledge within the users and I hope to see that represented in the production of original content.
K: Connect with Mike McGrail on KILTR & follow him on Twitter (@mike_mcgrail)