Celebrating 6 years in business

It seems crazy to write this: Collab Media is celebrating its 6-year anniversary.

They do say time flies when you’re having fun!

Right at the beginning of our story, imagine a 19-year-old undergraduate completing her final dissertation and thinking about what direction her life was going to go once she’d graduated from university. Flash forward 6 years and we’re here!

How it started: In 2016, our founder Ellie Rees set up Collab Media after a number of local businesses approached her for social media support following on from her recent success as a social influencer and blogger. The goal from the beginning was to support businesses within the North East through digital marketing. As social media developed, we saw a demand to help businesses with their digital marketing not only locally, nationally but also internationally and have been fortunate to work with businesses across the globe with their social media.

While our services grew and developed into branding and social media training & workshops, the core of our business has always reminded the same and that is social media marketing, which will always stay at the forefront of our brand.

How we celebrated our birthday: At Collab Media, we take celebrating birthdays very seriously. Cards, songs, cakes, decorations, the whole shebang. It’s a huge part of our culture and we wouldn’t change it for the world. Celebrating 6 years of business wasn’t going to get left in the shadows. We also spent the day reflecting on our achievements as a company. Some of these highlights include:

🔘Our Founded was shortlisted for an ‘Inspiring Others’ Tees Businesswomen award 2019.
🔘Ellie was also a Finalist at the Digital Women awards 2021.
🔘Collab Media runs an undergraduate module at Teesside University covering Social Media
🔘Moved into our first office which has since been expanded.
🔘Ellie became a proud trustee for Sprouts Community Food Charity.
🔘The company was recognised for exceptional work during covid by Entrepreneurs’Forum.
🔘We’ve had stands & guest spoke at several Expos across the North East.
🔘Raised £6000 for food banks in Teesside.
🔘Spoke in several schools and colleges discussing social media and online bullying.
🔘Hosted 16 successful women in business networking events and grown Women in Collaboration.


Our Growth: 2020 was undoubtedly the most challenging year for us as a business, we lost 70% of our customer base overnight as our core customers at the time were within hospitality. We were fortunate enough to have vast experience within other sectors, so we quickly recovered and were able to adapt client’s marketing strategies to suit the current climate.

2020 although challenging at times, it was also the most rewarding. Most businesses were adapting to working from home, yet we’d made the big step to move into our first office space and leave remove working behind.

The present future:  Our journey doesn’t stop there! 2022 has been a fantastic year so far; we completed our office expansion, with plans for the future to further expand so we can make space for more Collab team members.

Our team range from content creator, social media marketing specialist, and communications manager, we’re also connected to videographers, photographers, social media influencers, web developers, copywriters & PR specialists – we can reach out and bring in exactly the skills and talents our clients may need.

Here’s to Many More Years of Collab Media:
As always, we are so excited for the future of our company. We love helping our current clients grow and can’t wait to build new relationships with more hard-working business owners. Thank you for having helped us become what we are today. We hope we’ll be up to your expectations for another 6 years!

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Collab Media X This is Union Collaboration

We are thrilled to announce we are collaborating with the fantastic web design agency ‘This is Union’ enabling Collab Media to expand the digital offering to our current & future customers.

In the past couple of weeks, we have been working intensely on a long-term strategic partnership with ‘This is Union’. This collaboration is designed to grow both company’s ability to deliver better products & services to our clients.

This Is Union is an award-winning Worcester based agency with a reputation for; delivering cutting edge creative, wow-factor websites.

At the core of this partnership is the importance of collaboration; both businesses’ culture is based around working together, innovation and ensuring the best for our clients. The collaboration consists of Collab Media offering social media training to This Is Union clients & them offering web design services to our clients.

As digital marketing is ever-expanding, we wanted to partner with an experienced and established website design agency that could seamlessly help our clients experience, creating an almost one-stop shop for digital services. Upon meeting Scott & Emma, we all immediately realised that our values aligned, and a strategic partnership would be a great option for all involved.

Emma Jenkins, Strategy Director, and Co-Founder has said about the partnership:

 “We firmly believe that helping our clients understand the process and the latest nuances of how Digital Marketing can grow their business is vital to how Agency/ Client service should operate. Offering this training now through Ellie and her team will give us that edge we’ve been looking for”.

This Is Union Services:

  • Competitor Analysis
  • Online Strategy
  • Website Design
  • Web Development
  • Copywriting & Content
  • Maintenance Services
  • Website Hosting

Ellie Rees, Director of Collab Media has said about this relationship:
Over the years we have worked extremely hard on growing our brand to become a thriving digital agency. Our partnership with This Is Union is an exciting opportunity that will help strengthen our offering. We look forward to being able to offer website design to future clients and recognise the importance of having a consistent social media strategy and complimenting website.

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Interview with North East Times Magazine

Ellie Rees founded Collab Media, a 24/7 Teesside-based social media consultancy, in 2015. Here, she discusses the background of the business, her short and long-term plans, and her advice for anyone looking to take the leap with a start-up idea.

Tell us about Collab Media.

The journey to running the agency began back in 2013 at The University of Central Lancashire – where I studied Brand Management. Social media was only just taking off and ‘online influencers’ were slowly emerging across platforms like Instagram.

I established my blog ‘Your Daily Dose of Style’ – consisting of a mixture of fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts – which to date has a readership of over 250,000, and a significant following on social media. My blog became an outlet for my creativity, as well as to fuel my passion for social media.

Through my blogging career, I’ve had the opportunity to attend press/blog events which gave me a real insight into the industry. I built up relationships with PR companies and have worked with numerous brands, including Foot Asylum and Intu Metro Centre.

Since returning home from university in 2015, I was reminded of how great the North East is and how I proud I am of the region. During the final months of completing my degree, I took the plunge and set up my own social media consultancy business – Collab Media – with the aim of supporting local independent businesses.

A significant part of Collab Media’s philosophy is to showcase what Teesside and the wider North East has to offer, including the fantastic independent boutiques, micro-pubs and restaurants. I work with over 60 independent businesses locally, nationally and internationally, on their social media campaigns and strategies.

The team works with all types of businesses; to help them build an online presence and create brand awareness, primarily through quality content and engagement with customers.

Our team is made up of a content writer, photographer, communications manager and a graphic designer, all working together collaboratively to create social media content.

What is the most rewarding aspect of running an independent business in the region?

The most rewarding part is the community you grow by owning your own business. There really is positive momentum in the North East, a feeling that people genuinely want you to succeed and I am proud to be a part of the local business community.

Another rewarding part of having an independent business is seeing it grow, in terms of clients and the relationships I am building. As I specialise in SMEs, it’s great to see these brands and businesses grow online and seeing the effects our social media campaigns and strategies are having. From seeing the engagement statistics rise, the number of followers increasing to seeing sales being made off the back of an advert. The whole experience is exciting.

I enjoy the freedom. Freedom to make your own decisions, creative freedom, you have to solve your own problems (and clean up your own mess!), and be flexible.

And the most challenging?

A challenge from day one for me was being a young woman in business. From establishing Collab Media whilst studying at university, I found it was a struggle to be taken seriously, especially in the social media sector that people didn’t acknowledge the value of at the time.

It was a constant challenge to defy social expectations as there was a high number of networking events I did attend where I was not only one of the only females, but also the youngest in the room. I have turned perceived negative perceptions and feelings of not having a voice into a positive, and now I find it a great way to stand out from the crowd and get people’s attention.

What are the short and long-term plans for the business?

My short-term plans for Collab Media is moving into my new premises in Teesdale. This was meant to happen on April 1, but plans are on hold with the current situation. I can’t wait for the next chapter after working from home for five years, it’s going to be a welcome change.

My long-term plans for Collab Media include employing two full-time members of staff as account managers, this will enable me to double my client base and take the business to the next level.

What advice would you give to anyone with a business idea?

My advice to anyone looking to launch their own business is: go for it! It was by far one of the best decisions I have made. I’ve learnt so much about myself and also learnt so much along with way.

The second piece of advice would be to create a clear working space. I have worked from home for the last five years but I’m lucky to have a home office. This has helped to set clear working hours and, on an evening once I leave the office, work is done for the day. It enables you to create more of a realistic working routine and helps establish a work/life balance.

And the final words of advice I would give is don’t do it alone. It’s a difficult time setting up your own business and you need a good network of support around you (and afterwards). I spent a lot of time bouncing ideas off my parents and friends for their opinions. This also helps to talk about any struggles – it’s always important to have a sympathetic ear when in business. I also had a business mentor. A qualified expert is the greatest support you can have – especially if they’re in a similar industry and have been through the start-up process.

How have you adapted your service in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

We have adapted our service in a number of ways;

We’ve amended all our clients content plans and strategies to fit with the current climate. We are creating more helpful conversations online and providing useful information, relevant advice or simply trying to make people laugh to give some light-hearted relief creating a break from negative content.

The customer service side of our social media channels has increased as we’re informing all our client’s customers of changes to the business. From restaurants turning into takeaways to butchers offering an online service. We’ve had to start from scratch with some of our clients, as they have completely changed their business model, therefore their social media has also had to adapt.

The Indie Series – Ellie Rees, founder of Collab Media

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Women in Collaboration

Women in Collaboration is a movement and new monthly event designed for women in business. We are actively trying to change the way business networking events are run. We want to build real, genuine business relationships in Teesside specifically aimed towards women.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  #WIC


After a number of different conversations with business owners, a lot of people like myself just don’t like formal networking events, and find them either none rewarding, intimidating or a waste of time as they are not meeting the right people or building their personal network.

I’m really wanting to change that and help build business relationships in Teesside. I’ve been working with Sarah Suffell over the last few weeks and we’ve decided to set up a monthly event designed for women in business. Everyone invited to the event I know personally and I can introduce everyone, taking away that awkward element when you walk in the room, it’s always nice to see a friendly face. I’m hoping this event will lead to amazing collaborations, networking building and a place where you can get business advice from likeminded individuals.

1st Event 24th April – Dovecot Middlesbrough

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Facebook Update – January 2018 #CloserTogether and What it means for Businesses

On 11th January, Facebook and more specifically Mark Zuckerberg released a statement announcing their plans for 2018.

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.We built…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, January 11, 2018

Over the next few months, Facebook will be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.

Facebook’s mission for users to have a deeper, more meaningful interactions with people they care about. The facebook feed uses a process called ranking, this determines what areas of your feed and in what order, based on what they think you’d be interested from the algorithm information they’ve collected.

A like, comment or share is one sign that a post matters to a user, this mean the post you are likely to interest with generally gets a higher ranking score.

Mark Zuckerberg states that ‘You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.’

The new Facebook newsfeed update means that person to person interaction will be more valuable than person to page. Connections to people in your network will get a bigger boost, meaning you’ll be seeing their content more often.

Over time Facebook believes that people will see more posts from people they are connected to and less content from publishers (pages). They also believe that people overall people will spend less time on facebook but their goal is that the time people do spend on the platform will be improved.

So what does this means for Facebook Business Pages / Publishers?

Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.

How to avoid a decrease in reach?

Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events.

How to beat the Facebook Algorithm?

– Use compelling headlines
– Avoid overly promotional content
– Try new things (live video)
– Long video content, directly uploaded to facebook
– Use facebooks publishing tools (audience optimisation)
– Authentic communication – genuine stories)
– Link posts
– Refer to trending topics (timely posts are ranked better)
complete your user profile.

What the Facebook algorithm dislikes:

– Clickbait
– Like baiting
– Post that includes spamming links
– Repeated posts
– Text only updates
– Frequently hidden posts
– Posts that ask for comments, likes or shares
– Overly promoted content

Facebook considers baiting sort of content to be less meaningful and they are going to demote these sorts of posts in the News Feed. Examples of engagement baiting are:
– Vote baiting
– React baiting
– Share baiting
– Tag baiting
– Comment baiting


Publishers and brands are the losers.

Don’t panic & stop using your Facebook page, keep an eye on your Facebook engagement over the next few months to see if you notice a difference in your reach if so you need to rethink and re-evaluate your social media strategy. – Get in touch with Collab Media and we can assist with this.

Don’t fully invest all your social media time on Facebook, remember there are other social media platforms out there, cross-promote and use a variety of marketing tools for each one.

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