Visiting BBC Birmingham

IMG_7057Today I visited BBC Birmingham for an exciting jam packed day with two work shops and a opportunity to network with a range of different people. The first was on ‘Interacting Online with the Audience’ and the second ‘An Introduction to Digital Storytelling’ . It was a bright and early start but I came prepared to network and learn as much as I possible could. On arrival we were taken upstairs where we were served hot drinks and biscuits before we were split up into our respective groups. We were all given name badges which made it easier to network and talk to new people. I was very surprised to see all of these different people from both local and nationwide businesses. I was a bit naive in thinking that only young students would come to a networking event like this. None the less I was presently surprised but I used this to my advantage as I afforded the opportunity to speak to people who are much older and more experienced that I am.

The first session ‘Interacting Online with the Audience’  was conducted by a women called Katya Willems a member of the social media team at the BBC. She went through a powerpoint of extremely key points about networking and the effective ways to do it. Below are the key points she mentioned

  • BBC use social media for videos, photos, personal accounts as this gives the audience more engagement and enables feedback on products and services.
  • 72% of the adult population uses social media compared to in 2007 where only 22% of the British population used it.
  • She went on to say that over 300 million people are on twitter globally but many of the accounts are not active.
  • She encouraged us to join trending conversations and informed us that generic hash tags don’t work.

IMG_7050She went on to give much more detailed information about social media and the power it can have when you are trying to build your brand. This informational was very useful for me because I have been trying to boost my brand O.N.W for a long time and it has not been easy. So looking to the future I will defiantly try and use some of the techniques she mentioned in the work shop. I also managed to talk to Katya after the tutorial about networking and building brands and she gave me her email and said we can speak further about the different things I can do which was great. I can now add her to my list of contacts that I have in the industry.

Another lady who works with the BBC and manages their food programs also came in to speak to us about the power of social media. She was also on hand to drop some much needed advice on the matter. She went on to say;

  • Listen to your audience. I understand them and know what they want.
  • Know what makes them tick
  • Plan material in advance
  • Create an interesting persona that your target audience can relate to
  • Champion your audience when they leave a great comment, or interact with you a lot
  • Join conversations. Use pics, video’s etc.
  • She said Facebook is second most viewed site in the world and Youtube is third.
  • Use simple interactive calls to action
  • Experiment
  • Use analytics
  • Be instinctive, fun, and immerse yourself in your brand

By doing further reading I learnt that ‘As of the first quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.65 billion monthly active users’ (Statista 2016) which is staggering, this is platform I will focus my attention on even more so as it is so widely used.

This second half of the first workshop was very helpful. The lady gave us a load of examples and references which really made the day worth while. I learnt a lot about what I should and shouldn’t do and I also gained a lot of reassurance knowing that even the BBC struggle to get traffic to their relevant social media pages. She also went into depth about the BBC’s tight budget on how they have to zero budget on post like myself and why BBC three has strictly moved to being online based. In some ways I could relate to her struggle which was a breath of fresh air for me.

I went home to read further about why the corporation moved BBC three to online platforms only and here is what I found ‘The Trust said there was “clear public value in moving BBC Three online, as independent evidence shows younger audiences are watching more online and watching less linear TV”. BBC Director General Tony Hall has said the move will save the corporation £30m.’ (BBC 2015). This underlines the shift in media from conventional formats to the popular online based formats.

An Introduction to Digital Storytelling

In this second workshop we looked at various different ways we could tell a story digitally and efficiently. We looked at numerous apps like splice movie pro, this green screen app and a meme making app.

IMG_7055Anna Louise who is a producer spoke to us about short form. Fast, sharp, short and shocking stories to give to your audience cheaply and quickly.We spoke about how short form productions can drop in production levels as long as the content and idea is clear and transparent to the audience. In the workshop we went on to learn more about the now popular use of 360 cameras and different handheld gadgets we can use to maximise our filming potential at a minimal cost. This was a big eye opener for me because I started to realise how powerful and useful smart phones can really be if you have the right tools to enhance it.

All in all I enjoyed my visit to the BBC. I was able to learn a lot, network and try my hand at some new and interesting gadgets. The BBC were really welcoming and were on hand to make me feel like I was apart of the family. One of the executive members at the branch came over to me towards the end of the day and asked me what I was doing at the moment and where I wanted to be in the next few years. After I told her she pointed me in the direction of programme and schemes that they had running at the company which again was very useful. I will be looking into this in the near future in the aims to improve my career prospects.

References

BBC (2016) IMF chief: Brexit would be ‘bad to very, very bad’. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk (Accessed: 17 March 2016).

2016, S. (2016) Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2016 (in millions). Available at: http://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/ (Accessed: 17 March 2016).

BBC (2015) BBC Three to move online from February. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34932688 (Accessed: 17 March 2016).

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