Q1: How long have you been in your current position and what led you down this path?

Tom Sharman: I’m a bit all over the place. I’ve worked with a ton of companies as a freelance under my own brand DOUP. I’ve also had a short spell at Ogilvy & Mather heading up their social and content for Ogilvy Labs and recently been appointed Director of Social at Twelve AM. It’s important to keep moving on and up!

Q2: What’s the best professional advice you have been given?

Tom Sharman: Advertising legend, Dave Trott once said “you’re just a pixel in a picture Tom, no one cares about you. Yet.” during a radio show I hosted and produced.

Q3: What was your first ever job and what did you learn from it?

Tom Sharman: My local fish and chip shop. I’ve said this before – everyone should work in a fish and chip once in their life. It teaches you so much. How to deal with high pressures, dealing with all types of people and quick on-the-spot thinking.

Q4: What inspires you creatively?

Tom Sharman: That’s easy. Good people.

Q5: How do you see the digital marketing industry changing in the next five years?

Tom Sharman: Bots are definitely here to stay. Right now they’re super popular in tech, not not in the ‘real world’. 5 years may just be enough to communicate their uses and help make people’s lives easier.

I also predict the fall of the great advertising agencies and the rise of small agencies. Agencies need 3 things to succeed: innovation, agility & diversity. That says it all.

Q6: What is your favourite thing to do, outside of work?

Tom Sharman: Beers with the Boys… now I’m thirsty!

Q7: What is your top tip for creating a successful marketing strategy?

Tom Sharman: My first rule of social is to be human. People like speaking to humans. If you are a brand, be a person. It’s also hugely important on social media to understand your audience and how to talk to them, the clue is in the name. Follow the classic rule of 51/49- always giving 51% is fundamental. Give, give, give then ask with the hard sell. People aren’t stupid and will generally buy if they get continuous value.

Q8: What was your favourite project to work on and why?

Tom Sharman: Social Media Week London. It’s was my first ‘break’ in the industry and put me in contact with some of the biggest influencers. From there, I built a career in social media. I’m forever thankful for the team behind it for giving an 18-year-old student a chance. It certainly paid off!

Q9: Who is your professional idol?

Tom Sharman: There’s a couple. Jamal Edwards MBE was a huge inspiration when I was younger, watching him grow his online empire. Gary Vaynerchuk for his ability to build and scale not only companies, but his personal brand.

Q10: What’s your favourite social media channel to use and why?

Tom Sharman: Twitter. I still find it best to connect with my community and the tech/ advertising community. Despite it’s low active user numbers compared with the likes of Facebook and Snapchat, Twitter is engaging and innovating. They’re going through a tough period, and as a result exploring new ideas and innovating – I predict a comeback.