Spartan Insights: Featuring Social Media Strategist, Joao Mattos.

This week’s Featured Spartan is Joao Mattos, Social Listening Analyst at Team Detroit and Freelance Social Media Strategist (See his LI profile.) Joao has agreed to answer questions about his industry, career background, and anything else he can help you learn to further your career. This discussion was open from 05/04 until 05/18/15.
Spartan Insights is a regularly scheduled Linkedin discussion thread inside of the MSUALUMNI Linkedin group. Each discussion is meant to give you the opportunity to ask questions regarding one Spartan’s experience within a specific company, industry, or occupation. Answers will be given at the convenience and discretion of the featured Spartan and will be answered from the Spartan’s own personal experiences and opinions which are not meant to be representative of his/her company’s official position. Questions regarding a person’s applicant status at the featured Spartan’s place of business will not be answered in this forum. Interested in being a helpful Spartan? Contact me at isbelld@msu.edu.

João Mattos

Hello all! First of all, I would like to thank Dave Isbell and MSUAA family for this opportunity. I look forward to answering your questions. Go Green!

Dave Isbell

Hi Joao, thanks for being here, ready to help Spartans! This week is finals week at MSU, and our graduation ceremonies are this weekend. To kick off this discussion, I thought it might be relevant to have you start out by addressing our new alumni. What is the best piece of advice that you received as you were graduating? Or, what advice do you wish someone would have given you when you graduated?

João Mattos

Hi Dave, great question! First of all, I want to wish all Spartans the best of luck on their final exams and presentations. Graduation weekend is very exciting and one piece of advice I would give is to enjoy and celebrate your graduation! I know that many students, are just “itching” to get out and “be done”, but this is also a time for personal reflection. In college we learn and grow so much in a very fast pace environment, taking the time to reflect all of your experiences is really rewarding and important moving forward, because unlike “the end” feeling we get, it is actually the beginning for something so much bigger and new. For you to face the “real world” after graduation, you must be humble and reflecting on your college journey is a great first step. Here are some questions you could as yourself: “What did I learn?” “Have I changed…who am I now?”, “What do I value”, “What makes me happy?”…

Dave Isbell

Great advice Joao! As you reflect on your Spartan experience now, I wonder what some of your favorite “aha!” moments were that led you to where you are now? Also, what are some of those things that soon-to-be graduates can/should do this week while they are still on campus that they will most likely miss when they have been away from campus for a little while?

João Mattos

Thanks for your question, Dave! Facebook was born when I was in college, and I started exploring and playing with the social network for fun. It didn’t take long for me realize that I enjoyed social media, but above all, I enjoyed connecting and interacting with people. For me what it was just for fun, but then started to shape into something more serious and more professional, and that’s when two Facebook pages I’ve created became official for both MSU and Sao Paulo FC, respectively. I discovered something I enjoyed, had potential, but still had a lot more to explore and learn. This “aha!” moment led me to go back to MSU and pursue a Masters in Advertising leading to where I am today.

While you are still on campus, make sure have connected with the people who have helped you grow during your 4-5 years of college. Networking is extremely powerful, not only for career opportunities but also for personal support. Stop by the MSUAA and see how our network of Spartans around the world can support you during this transition. Talk with your professor and friends, make sure you have their contact information, and start organizing your professional Spartan network. At least for me, MSU is my second home, and these are the people that I can always count on. Give thanks to everyone that made your time at MSU a special one.

For those who will travel and won’t be back so soon to the campus, make sure you revisit all the beautiful landmarks that gave you great memories.

Alejandro Oi João, tudo bem? I wanted to get your input on leveraging the Spartan network. What are some of your “do’s and don’ts” when spurring a conversation, or creating a new connection? And, do you believe in solely connecting with people within your industry, or taking a broad approach and looking to make connections in various industries? Obrigado

João Mattos

Oi Alejandro! Obrigado pela sua pergunta! (Thanks for your question!) When it comes to leveraging your Spartan network, I would say be authentic and have a purpose. Personally, I usually connect with every Spartan because I see us as a family members, Spartans stick together even if we are not in the same industry.

I believe it is important have a diverse group of people in your network as long as you see a concrete value in that connection. We live in a dynamic society where we never know where we might end up, however, don’t connect to just connect. Having 500+ connections is not a big deal as many people think.

Be strategic – what matters is that you’re building a network of people that will support/help you achieve your goal. If you are going to connect with a stranger you never met, I recommend writing a personal invite message explaining why want to connect, instead of the standard message provided by LinkedIn. Again, make it authentic, genuine and that will make your network stronger. Great question!

Dave Isbell

Great Response to Alejandro’s question Joao! Can you give a few more tips on how to use social media to develop an authentic relationship? What are your thoughts on using Facebook for business? Is that different than from using it for personal reasons? If so, how?

João Mattos

Hi Dave, thanks for your question! Social media is powerful indeed when comes to connecting and establishing relationships. So let’s take a step back for a second. To develop relationships is a mutual process. With that mind, ask yourself. How are you branding yourself online? Is your unique, interesting, clean? Would other people want to connect or follow you online? What qualities do you bring to the online community? Are your profiles authentic, and cohesive across the social networks? Are you engaged in groups and conversations with other interesting people? Does it reflect who you are professionally and socially? If you have more than one profile online, are they cohesive and authentic? These are important questions to ask yourself as you build your personal brand online. If you don’t have a strategy in place for your personal brand online, it will be much more difficult for people to connect with you. Different social networks have different flavors/personality but all of them have great best practices to follow.

Facebook is a great tool for business, but it all depends on the goals and strategy of your business. What are you trying to achieve? Does Facebook provide you the tools and insights you are looking for? If you are using Facebook for your business for example, I wouldn’t put your personal status or pictures on the page, like family vacation. That doesn’t mean your business couldn’t have personal touch or content, you just have to be careful and strategic and think before you post. Is this related to my business. Is this content relevant to my industry and followers? I think it is easier to have separate accounts. This is complex and tricky and I could go on for a while, but I’ll be more than happy to discuss this in detail some other time.

Colleen  Hi Joao, I recently noticed that Instagram started posting “sponsored” posts on my feed. After reading about it, they are starting a campaign similar to Twitter where they track what you follow and like and then cater sponsored posts to ad to your feed. What is your opinion on this? Do you think Instagram is a good platform for marketing? Also, what is the best way to utilize Instagram from a personal standpoint when connecting with other business professionals?

João Mattos

Hi Colleen, Thanks for your question. It’s very difficult these days for any social platform to sustain themselves without advertisement and sponsored spots. Personally, I just feel it is extra noise and pollutes the feed, but in putting a strategist hat on you can definitely explore that for your business as you target your audience. I will say though, because they track your interests, I have come across a few posts that I actually enjoyed learning more about it, so at least ads/posts we see are towards our interests.

I do think Instagram is good platform for marketing, especially in the creative and sports industry. Visual content is powerful and when is well developed, it can easily become viral. If you have a personal Instagram account and you would like to connect with other business professionals, make sure the images you’ve posted brand yourself in authentic way meaning, don’t make it look commercial (but still professional), but instead make it unique in a way reflects who you are. A well developed Instagram could easily be an “extra” portfolio marketing piece to engage your audience.

Kris Joao, We should probably connect as I work in this space too. One of the huge things I tell the people who come to me for advice is to think strategically about how you want to use each social media platform and be conscious of who your connections are. I advise a very clear delineation between friends, co-workers and business associates. The last thing you want to post is your frustration about a project gone wrong at work causing you to stay late and have it read by the person who may have caused it or by your client. I also say do not enter a new platform unless you have a clear strategy on how you are going to use it. Especially from a business standpoint, dead pages do your business no good and can even harm its perception.

João Mattos

Kris, thanks for sharing your insights! I agree with you 100%. Many people jump on social media out of excitement and impulse, without thinking strategically, they might be setting up a trap for themselves for their image or their business. Great advices. And yes, we should connect!

Kara – Hi Joao! I’m really interested in blogging, but there’s so much out there to read these days, I feel that it’s really easy for small blogs to get lost in the shuffle. Do you have any advice on how to successfully start a blog and attract frequent readers?

I also have a question regarding your multilingual proficiency- could you offer any advice on someone who is starting to learn a new language?

João Mattos

Hi Kara, Happy to give you some advice. I used to have a blog where I would write post-game analysis after each game my soccer team would play. I loved it, it was a lot of fun and the only reason I stopped is because I was interested in managing Facebook pages.

My first recommendation is to have a clear topic and focus regarding what your blog will be about. I have seen many blogs that they write about so many different topics and gets pretty unattractive and chaotic. I wouldn’t choose more than three topics. My second recommendation is to research what other blogs are out there that talk about the same topic and see what are their strengths and weakness. Look for types of posts that got the most comments and interactions.

The third advice, is pick a design and layout that fits your personality and the theme of your blog. I have seen hundreds of blogs that the theme and design are so disconnected. This is also an opportunity for you to show your unique personality besides your own writing style, voice. When it comes to attracting frequent readers, I would recommend to have a clear schedule in place. As a reader, I appreciate knowing if a blog will have new content every day, every three days…or whenever. I also see the blogging world as more of a collaborative segment of social media, so I encourage for you to join groups and connect with other bloggers that you might consider “the competition” and network with them. They will probably be able to give you great insight and you could always “guest blogger of the week” where another person from the same industry will write on your blog, and they could open up their door for you as well. If would like to bounce more ideas feel free to connect with me.

When it comes to learning a new language, immersion is extremely helpful. If you have a chance to travel to the native country where that language is spoken, that would give you a great boost. If you can’t, pursue friendships with native speakers, watch movies and listen to music and read books (out loud is good too) in the new language, those are great first steps. Above all…don’t give up! – Thanks for your question!

Dave Isbell

Hi Joao, Technology has made the world a bit “smaller” in that access to information is much more available around the globe and information can travel in real time. However, cultural awareness isn’t always as quick to travel, and can be difficult to learn. I wonder as a multicultural professional if you can speak about your experiences with gaining cultural awareness in your non-native culture? How has being engaged in multiple cultures helped you professionally? Are there things that people can do to learn how to “think” from another culture’s angle, even if they have never stepped outside of their corner of the world?

João Mattos

Great question, Dave! Cultural awareness is such an important area that many individuals do not put on the top of their professional development exercises. Unfortunately there is no formula for cultural awareness and it also varies within the same culture. From my personal experience, one of the things I immediately learned once I moved to the United States, was related to “personal space”. The physical distance that you would speak with someone in the American culture is very different than my home country, Brazil. We tend to talk a little bit more closely and when comes to greetings (depending on the scenario) it could be more than a handshake, and we might include a kiss on the cheek (women) or a hug (men). Punctuality, is very valued in the USA while in Brazil, some people tend to be more relax, this is very important for Brazilians and Americans to be aware if they ever schedule a meeting.

I could give a lot more examples, but I would encourage more organizations and institutions to develop more professional cultural awareness workshops. As a professional, I learned to be a lot more flexible and patient working in such a diverse environment. This allowed me to be more productive in my job and strengthened my communication and interpersonal skills. Being exposed to other cultures is not only key and in the world we live today is almost impossible not to be exposed. It is challenging for some people to “think” from another culture’s point of view, in this case I encourage for people to research about other cultures and be very observant. Putting yourself in other peoples shoes might not work as well as people think because many times you are not carrying the embedded culture in your mind. My best recommendation is – be humble and interact with people from different backgrounds and ask them questions, show a genuine interest in them and this will open your eyes for a new world.

Dave Isbell

What a terrific answer Joao! You are right, cross-cultural awareness is very difficult to train and to learn without really experiencing. Which is exactly why I asked the question of someone who has lived the experience! I know there are many, many, examples you could share on this topic and I appreciate your advice to stay humble, and open, and to build relationships with people who are different from us. I hope more than a few people will take you up on the (implied) invitation to ask you more questions about your experiences!

Dave Isbell

Thank you Joao for sharing your insights with Spartans in this forum, and to those of you who participated! This discussion is now closed. You can find a copy of it along with other past discussions at http://www.spartanshelpingspartans.com. Go Green!

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