Week 3 Guest Speaker Roundup by Ashley Wolf

A Conversation with Matt Meeks of Initiative and Dan Portnoy of Portnoy Media Group

By UCLA X425 Student Ashley Wolf

Public Relations expert and educator Erik Deutsch has been organizing some pretty ‘knock ‘em dead’ guest speakers for the class ‘Best Practices in Social Media for the Communications Professional.’ Last Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to be assigned to cover guest speakers Matt Meeks (@mattmeeks), VP of Prophesee at Initiative, and Dan Portnoy (@danportnoy) of Portnoy Media Group. Before these gentleman arrived, we discussed the importance of all sorts of written and multimedia content for a successful social media campaign.

The guest speaker discussion began with a brief description of each of their respective backgrounds and experience in social media. We had the pleasure of hearing two very different approaches in two very different sectors. Each speaker focused on several personal projections and inevitable transformations using a range of media platforms.

A key moment of Meeks’ discourse was the discussion of his campaign to transition the fan base of a young Cristiano Rinaldo from devotees to avid followers on Facebook. When I say avid, I mean 4 million plus followers, which Meeks reminded us is far larger than the audience that tunes in to most television networks. This all happened within the span of months, and was executed in a grassroots manner by simply sending Cristiano a flipcam (technology of yore), and asking him to record webisodes and post them to his assigned channels. Afterward, Meeks contacted ESPN and Facebook to offer them the live exclusive feed in exchange for broadcast coverage and Rinaldo-focused Twitter updates. Meeks projected what he felt would happen next, and while his ideas were spectacularly refreshing, most revolved around the same theme; success in social media requires a solid plan to manufacture and express engaging content.

In contrast to Meeks’ story focused on a well-known celebrity client, Dan Portnoy, who specializes 60% of his work in the non-profit sector, began by discussing his just-published book titled “The Non-Profit Narrative.” One of his recent campaigns was for United Way, which provides support services and advocacy for the homeless. Portnoy stated that KPIs (key performance indicators) play a large role in how he quantifies channel traffic. Like Meeks, he also mentioned that adding simple multimedia content such as a ‘photo of the day’ can increase social media traffic tremendously.

In keeping with the classroom theme, both Meeks and Portnoy appeared to be in agreement that content is key for effective social media communication. As long as businesses and organizations know their objectives and audience, they can engage those publics effectively by constructing authentic and honest content.

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