Teetotaller and co-founder of Social Chain, Dom McGregor puts pen to paper about booze in new book
Leading content creator also tells Status Update podcast that influencers need to forge deeper relationships with fewer brands
Entrepreneur, content creator, co-founder of Social Chain and mental health campaigner Dom McGregor is adding another title to his CV – that of writer.
McGregor – who has given up alcohol – is currently working on a book, to be published in 2024, on how to manage our relationship with booze:
“Everyone has a relationship with alcohol, whether you don’t drink or you do…I want to put alcohol higher up in people’s minds,” he says.
McGregor is a guest on Episode 4 of Status Update, the new podcast from influencer marketing agency Disrupt, which features some of the world’s best-known creatives.
The podcast, hosted by former Made in Chelsea star Stevie Johnson and co-host ‘voice of Gen Z’ Jake Crabb, is available on Apple and Spotify. It has been designed for listeners with an interest in the future of social and digital content.
McGregor talks candidly about his professional journey, from a drunken student tweet about toilet paper to the future of social media and his latest challenge of writing.
He tells the podcast that the rapid growth of social media marketing agency Social Chain, a start-up he co-founded with Dragons’ Den’s Steven Bartlett in 2014, meant he had responsibilities and accountabilities from a young age for the people working for the business.
“We were growing ourselves, the market was growing and (we were) trying to work out what the clients needed.”
He found himself increasingly using alcohol to mask his stress, anxiety and unhappiness.
When he realised his actions were hurting other people, and that he was blaming everything and everyone else, he took the decision to “move alcohol out the way.” That, he says, gave him the headspace and clarity to address his problems.
In his upcoming book, the now 30-year-old deals with the wider issue of what he brands the glamorisation and promotion of today’s alcohol lifestyle. He says the culture of drink is now “deeply-rooted” in society:
“Going to a friend’s 30th and thinking about a present…what do you give them? Alcohol!…A bottle of champagne. Imagine (now) buying someone a packet of fags? They probably did that back in the 1950s and 60s,” he adds.
McGregor describes himself as “that kid who was always updating his status on Facebook.”
While at university, he discovered Twitter, now renamed X, and began creating his own content with the hashtag #studentproblems. It was, he says, relatable to a wider audience because he was experiencing the same as every other student.
Partnering with Steven Bartlett in Social Chain, McGregor tells the podcast their follower counts grew exponentially as the pair found themselves at the forefront of a marketing revolution; “There are not many people who could walk into a room at twenty-one and be an expert.
“Brands knew nothing about social media and marketing had, up to that point, been based on a ‘broadcast’ approach (putting money into TV campaigns), not building (digital) communities from the bottom up.”
McGregor says his and Bartlett’s skill sets were “complimentary” but his own background was in creating content. He enjoyed being “faceless”, but many people in his position assume the next step is to become CEO of their own company.
These days his own passion is working with founders and seeing the impact he can have on their businesses, helping entrepreneurs see new opportunities and developing those relationships.
Looking to the future of social media, McGregor says he’s personally keen to develop long-form content and sees more value for influencers in developing deeper, more meaningful relationships and collaborations with no more than five brands at any time, for more purpose.
Stevie Johnson, co-host and managing director of Disrupt says: “On Status Update we shine a light on the most inventive social and digital content and the creators behind it. When we were putting together ideas for this podcast, Dom McGregor was the first name on my list.
“Dom is a phenomenon. His professional journey has been the stuff of dreams and what he learned along the way will be immensely insightful to fellow creatives.”
Previous episodes feature Rob Mayhew, Creative Director at digital innovations agency Gravity Road, often called the King of Agency Comedy.