A Social Fabric Meet-Up with the Bloggers of #CBias!

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I belong to several blogging communities and groups. I like them all for different reasons – I’ve met lots of different bloggers, met and worked with brands, been to events and more. One such community I belong to is Social Fabric/Collective Bias, and I’ve worked with them four times now, recently for my Greek Cypriot Meze post.

It’s all about Shopper Social Media when it comes to working with brands through CBias, and that is one of the reasons why I love being part of this community of bloggers.

I was invited to join CBias about a year ago, and at the moment it is an exclusive members only network – however, that is about to change! Matt Garcia, SVP International Sales at Collective Bias, invited some of the bloggers in the Social Fabric network to visit the offices, tell us all about the exciting new plans and to take us out to dinner at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, which is a short walk away.

It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss, so when Jo – our lovely UK Community Manager sent the email around asking if we wanted to attend, I didn’t hesitate to reply with a ‘yes please!’.

If you’re not a blogger, then a lot of this post won’t mean too much to you, but I will be reviewing the restaurant in a separate post, so watch out for that! If you are a blogger, then you might want to get in touch with Jo, as she will be looking to increase the number of bloggers at Social Fabric!

Last Wednesday saw me hopping on a train to Liverpool Street, London and then a bus to 230 City Road, where Social Fabric have their office space, which they share with the shopper marketing agency, Mars London.

When I was in school I always wanted to work in advertising and marketing, but ended up in administration before starting my own website design company (9 years ago) and becoming a blogger (2½ years ago). Visiting the offices, for me, on a personal level, was really exciting, inspiring and motivating. I work from home, and miss the office environment – other people to talk to and bounce ideas off. That’s why I so enjoy blogger meet-ups because it’s like meeting work colleagues!

I (as usual!) was the first to arrive – I have a thing where I cannot be late – I really panic, so I tend to arrive super early! I was able to finally meet community manager Jo, from Single Slummy Mummy, who is on the other side of the shops that us Collective Bias bloggers do, and of course meet Matt.

Other bloggers arrived, some whom I’ve met before – Liska from New Mum Online and Lilinha from Lilinha Angel’s World and the rest that I haven’t – Helen from Kiddy Charts, Chloe from Sorry About The Mess, Alice from More Than Toast, Sarah from Maison Cupcake and Alice from An Essex Wife *waves and blows kisses* so we got down to business, to chat, to learn to be inspired.

Social Fabric/Collective Bias are huge in the USA. It’s said that when it comes to brands and bloggers working together, the Americans are about 2 years ahead of us Brits! This information doesn’t surprise me one bit – it was through reading American blogs for many years, that inspired me to start my own blog. I didn’t even know about British blogs until about 6 months after I started mine! I always thought of myself as a tiny fish in a huge ocean of American bloggers!

I would love brands and bloggers in the UK to work together effectively and positively, at the moment, things can sometimes be a little hazy, or brands don’t know how to or that they can work with bloggers. The internet has grown more and more social. We don’t pay attention to the corporate ads any more, or the anonymous review on a random website. We need a face, a name, a lifestyle to relate to and put our trust in. If you have a problem with a company you Tweet it, if you have a great experience you tell your friends on Facebook, you eat an amazing steak, you Instagram it. When that thought or idea is out there, it’s out there – the good and the bad, for all to see.

As a blogger who works with brands (as well as writing my own content – my regular readers know what to expect from me!) and who also reads a lot of blogs, I put my trust in those who give a real opinion on something – a product, a service, a recipe, an idea. Brands…you can’t hide any more!

All of this combined, is what makes a Social Fabric – of regular consumers, doing their regular thing and telling everyone about their experiences, through writing in their blogs, sending out tweets, creating videos and through shopper social media. It’s the way things are, and I expect things to grow even more and more social as the years go by!

As our discussion came to an end, we rounded things off with a took a tour of the Mars offices – which covered the whole floor and was huge! I got some Apple Mac envy, as well as funky office envy – like I said earlier, I work for myself, on my own, day in day out, and miss that interaction that a busy office provides! Hope to be able to go back there soon for another blogger meet-up! And I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that!

With the ‘serious’ stuff out of the way, and I say that fairly loosely as it was all pretty casual, we headed over for dinner to Jamie Oliver’s, Fifteen. I have always wanted to dine here, and finally the chance arrived! And it couldn’t have been in better company than a bunch of bloggers! We had a great night, chatting, laughing, eating, drinking…and I’m going to review it in another post. In short though, the food was lush and I can’t wait to go here with hubs one day!!

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