Jörgen Sundberg and I have been exchanging Scandinavian Platitudes since he and his company "Link Humans" moved into our office space during the summer.
Jörgen places importance on communication, no more so than in social media. He drops by for the latest episode of the Kobestarr Digital Podcast to talk about all things digital marketing.
Having worked in the industry for 6 years, he’s found his niche, grabbed a few high profile clients, and discovered what really makes social media tick now that the gigantic, enthusiastic wave has broken up.
Jörgen came to London 13 years ago, having worked in recruitment for several tech companies back in his native Sweden, with the express intention of staying for one year. “I never looked back,” he says.
It took him a little while to get to social media though, considering it barely existed as we know it today. Instead, he began Undercover Recruiter. Initially a personal project and portfolio, it is now “the world’s largest recruitment blog” thanks to its informative tone, sharable content and heavy emphasis on the social side. It is a place for people to find information on job hunting, from the very basic (e.g. how to prepare for an interview) to the watercooler-esque (e.g. the 10 types of people you meet in every office).
Since 2010, he has been working with a small team in the form of Link Humans, a digital marketing agency. Originally born out of the name LinkedIn, it has since broken away from its inspiration and progressed in ways he couldn’t have imagined. Such a change has been necessary, given the progression of the media itself.
“Everyone and their dog wanted social media,” he says of the 2010-11 global craze - he doesn't believe that even now companies know properly how to use it, nor do they respect it. “Brands have ruined social,” he says. While it used to be a numbers game, and companies with 100,000s of followers could run the game, now it requires a far more nuanced approach. Companies must create content, share relevant content and market it through a matrix.
Far better, in Jörgen’s opinion, that people take the time to learn from each other. “Social media does not work in isolation.” he says, both within a company and between companies “It goes through recruiters, internal knowledge management, sales - it’s working it’s way through the system of a business”. That’s why he’s also the creator of Social Media London (or #SMLONDON for more twitter-savvy among us).
Originally a meetup group, it’s now the biggest Social Media Group in the UK and have hosted around 40-50 events and conferences. They are currently getting ready for their 3rd flagship conference, an evening of speeches followed by ping pong at Farringdon’s Bounce Bar on November 9th. (use the Promo Code "Kobi" at http://socialmedialondon.co.uk for a 50% Discount!)
With big name speakers promised, the idea is to inspire thought leadership among the 150 or so audience members.
Link Humans has matured with their clients and with social media itself. As we discuss, Facebook was borne as an organic platform but became more of a pay-to-play atmosphere for brands, something all businesses have to take into account.
Now Link Humans works with big name electronic distributors, offering B2B and (Jörgen’s speciality) recruitment help. As he puts it, “for a small company, we are spinning a lot of plates.”
NB - If you want to visit Social Media London, KSD podcast listeners get a 50% discount using the promo code "Kobi" book now via this link!
Link Humans Website http://linkhumans.com/
Link Humans on Twitter: @Linkhumans
Link Humans on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linkhumans
The Undercover Recruiter: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/
Social Media London: http://socialmedialondon.co.uk (use promo code “Kobi” for a 50% discount on tickets)
Lydia Wakefield appreciates the uncertainty of youth when it comes to professional routes. Having been through the education system herself, and then started her career there in higher education institutes across the UK, she understands the demands on graduates, or people younger and older than that, on selecting their careers.
Today on the podcast, Lydia and I discuss her work with IPSE, the community support it offers to freelancers, as well as what contract-workers old and young can do to maintain their professional standards and expectations.
“I have a mixed background, but it’s all within education and training,” Lydia says. Previously she had lived and worked in Nottingham, before moving back down to her native Somerset, where she worked for the University of Bath. Coaching MBA and Undergraduate students about their future prospects gave her a good indication about training and routes - and it surprised her that so few people knew about the many different progression paths available to people coming out of school.
One thing not a lot of graduates think about is starting off as self-employed. A degree is often seen as a means to an end, rather than by providing applicable skills that can transfer; as she says of the education system, “there’s too much focus on what you study, rather than on how you study”.
That’s not to say that education isn’t important. “A lot of industries prefer you to have qualifications, or certain certified skills,” she says. Again, knowing what you need to know, or what you need to learn (or what equipment, what tools you need) is one of the key weapons in the arsenal of the freelancer.
Soon enough, she found herself expanding on this role as the Education and Training Manager for IPSE. IPSE, on the basic level, provides training and support for freelance and contractors, whether that’s through providing documentation itself (like a template invoice), or just the advice on how to draw up a contract with an employer.
“No one has a career for life these days,” she tells me. The generation that would pick one thing and do it until they retire has given way to the more transient, migratory workforce. It’s totally possible for anyone with a bankable skill to become a self-employed contractor, she explains, but it requires a little more nous than usual to survive.
One problem that freelancers commonly encounter is that they are being taken advantage of, and lack the employment rights to strength their tenuous positions. One way to combat this, she explains, it educating yourself with the right knowledge. Arts, Literacy, and Media sector workers lean heavily on freelance work - but while any courses they might take will teach them the finer aspects of their crafts, very few will teach them the business elements that they need to know to thrive; things like tax, or how to set up a business in the first place.
Another issue is the problem of value. Self-worth is hard to measure, harder still when you offer a service that is far less tangible than say, a product. She notes, “freelancers are talented individuals, that’s why they do what they do, that’s why they deserve to be valued.” The onus lies on the companies to not take advantage, or to overstep the boundaries of a pre-agreed contract, but also on the freelancer to better understand themselves and what they offer - and what they can reasonably expect.
We also discuss her resounding belief in the “No Free Work” attitude, as well as some recent corporate case studies that should cause any self-respecting freelancer some embarrassment. They dispel a few myths about freelancing, and emphasise that everybody needs to learn how to value themselves. In this day and age, “any industry can go self-employed”, she says. And with IPSE, it seems like they’d have all the clout they need to back themselves up.
Lydia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_lydiaregina
“Sainsbury's apologises for ad seeking artist to revamp canteen for free” via The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/13/sainsburys-apologises-ad-seeking-artist-revamp-canteen-for-free
Visit Kobestarr Digital for more marketing news, advice and insight