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      Blaise Grimes-Viort – Online Community & Social Media Consultant

      Blaise Grimes-Viort is a marketing and social media consultant. A key player in creating the training content for the Marketing Debuts Social Media and Community Management apprenticeship, Blaise is one of our key trainers.

      Blaise, what do you love about social media?

      Ever since my dad brought home an RM Nimbus back in the 80s, I’ve been passionate about the power of digital devices to connect humanity and improve the world we live in. From the mid-90s I participated in some of the earliest communities on the web and fell in love with how boundaries were broken and ideas promoted at the expense of perceptions and backgrounds.

      And you’ve built your career in it?

      Yes, since then, I’ve worked with many companies on building safe digital spaces for discussion, product development and feedback, minority group engagement, employee productivity platforms and social media outreach programs.

      What are your driving forces?

      Overcoming geographical and cultural limitations, accessing diversity of thought and approach and promoting positive and constructive outcomes.

      Tell us more about your career so far

      About 13 years ago, when the online community and social media industry was still emerging as a career option, I thought a great deal about how many people were coming into it from other walks of life and how, at the time, there wasn’t a clear career path for people to target and work towards. So, early on, I set out how this discipline could – and should – be integrated into other business functions. Then, as customer service and marketing functions started to adopt social, I designed training programs for both internal and external agency staff. I delivered these both in face-to-face workshop format and via a self-serve learning management system I developed and deployed with my agency at the time.

      Now, I work as a marketing and social media consultant, remote working specialist and agency growth advisor. I help businesses build communities around their brands by developing two-way connections with consumers, workforce and business ecosystems and a sustainable, compassionate and inclusive mindset.

      What’s the thinking behind the content you’ve mapped out for the social media and community management apprenticeship?

      It’s a three-tiered approach. Firstly, to get across how vital it is that a social media and community management team truly represents the community it serves. Sounds obvious but a lack of opportunity and the sheer breadth of disciplines in the industry – from content production to paid media, analytics to customer service (among others) – it doesn’t always happen. Secondly, it’s critical to create a course that provides hands-on skills that people will need every day. And, thirdly, it’s equally crucial to give our apprentices the strong foundational knowledge that underpins excellent community management. For example, why community occurs online and how to encourage it by understanding motivation and psychological factors. Through this approach, graduates will understand how all disciplines interlink and build the confidence to progress in their career.

      What made you want to get involved in Marketing Debuts?

      Marketing Debuts is a fantastic opportunity for me to share all the above – and more. It’s also the most effective way I can think of to provide agencies and brands with exciting new voices and talent and, through diversity and representation, match marketing teams to their audiences. Times are hard right now, but they do provide opportunities for introspection. We can use them to chart a new, better course, one that helps the next wave of young creatives find routes into forward-thinking agencies. It’s very exciting.

      Employers can register their interest in Marketing Debuts by contacting Melissa.

      Candidates can apply to the Marketing Debuts scheme here.