Matt and I have a lot more in common then people think. We both graduated from schools in Pennsylvania – Matt from Penn State, me from the University of Pittsburgh (no rivalry there…none). We both enjoy PR and social media, read some of the same books and both have aspirations of getting our MBA. (Of course, he’ll have this one knocked out since he’s currently enrolled at DePaul. I’m hopefully enrolling this spring.)
I introduced myself to Matt via twitter before I even left Pittsburgh. I started following him and sending messages. When I arrived in Chicago, I found myself meeting him face-to-face just two days after I relocated. I wanted to interview him as my final installment of my social media series because he’s knowledgeable in that area, but also is a friend. Hope you enjoy.
How and why did you get started in this business of social media?
I started in social media after attending a social media conference a couple years ago. During the conference, Peter Shankman said Twitter will be the new news release someday. At that moment, I knew that in order for me to be on the cutting edge of the PR profession, I had to jump in.
What are the top websites you visit for social media/marketing information?
Ragan’s PR Daily is my number one source. I also happen to be a contributor. I also enjoy reading Chris Brogan, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, Media Post, Spin Sucks, Marketing Profs, Outspoken Media, Social Media Explorer, Convince and Convert, Brass Tack Thinking, CopyBlogger andProBlogger.
What amount of time do you spend online each day, and how is it spent?
I spend a majority of my time on Hootsuite. I probably average one to two hours a day. I love to this platform. I also subscribe to a lot of newsletters and I have full Google Reader.
Please tell us how to distinguish a credible social media specialist, versus one who simply latches on to people of influence?
I can tell a lot about who is a credible social media specialist by their website and their social media channels. What the say and how they say it are good indicators on who are the fakers and who are the makers. The real social media contributors are those who provide value in their content.
What’s your most prized possession?
My iPhone. I feel like I can do anything from it. One of my favorite apps is LinkedIn because my connections from LinkedIn can be synced to my contacts on my iPhone.
If a company feels that social media is not “a good fit” for them, what would you say?
I would really dig into why they are feeling this way. They may be hesitant and worry about the risks of social media but are not aware of the benefits. They may have a very good reason but it is worth exploring because social media is touching everyone these days. Erik Qualman’sSocial Media Revolution video demonstrates this well.
What points to do you give CEO’s (and/or senior leadership) who are resistant to incorporating social media?
Social media can be very simple. It just feels like you have to do everything. You don’t have to have a Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn account. You can start by blogging. With social media, it is important for senior leadership to get early wins so that they build their confidence level in social media. It is important to emphasize to them that they way they communicate hasn’t changed, just the tools to communicate have changed.
What are your three favorite blogs and why?
I have three favorites in no particular order. Jounalistics is a great blog because it always has excellent media relations and PR tips to help me do my job better. The Hubspot blog is a tremendous resource for growing my knowledge of Inbound marketing. And, Social Media Examiner is one not to miss because they have excellent tips on how to help businesses use social media.
If you weren’t working in marketing, PR or social media, what would you do and why?
I would probably run my own business. I created a marketing plan for one of my classes at DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business on a brand new service and I loved doing that exercise. I could definitely see myself launching a startup. With resources like American Express Open Forum and the Small Business Administration, it is easier than ever to start your own business.
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