Interview with Jonathan Rick, social media strategist & CEO

My last semester in college, I interned in online publicity at Susan Davis International Public Relations. There, I was lucky enough to work with and find a mentor in Jonathan Rick, who headed the entire new media department. Recently, in addition to learning a lot from his writing on some of the most prominent social media outlets around, I got to reconnect with and interview him to soak in some of his expertise.

What are the best social media “listening” or “monitoring” tools that you have found? 
Radian6 seems to be the most powerful. It’s also complex and costly. By contrast, the ever-popular Google Alerts is free, but it misses a lot.

Do you have a favorite? 
Just as WordPress sometimes is best for a blog, while other times Drupal is the ticket, I think that the best monitoring tool depends on the specifics (needs, budget, ease of use, power, etc.)

In many organizations, social media marketing and PR is a tough sell. What types of things should you look to measure to help sell the idea of being in the social media space to managers?
Check out a recent blog post I wrote on Mashable about this:

In order to sell the field that everyone is talking about, but on which few can illuminate, we first need to reframe the conversation. Instead of striving for Merriam-Webster precision, social media strategists would do better to focus on case studies. 

  • Narrow your focus to responding to customer complaints, as Comcast does on Twitter.
  • Build brand loyalty, as Bisnow does with e-newsletters, as Skittles does on Facebook, and as the Wine Library does with its podcasts.
  • Issue blog posts and tweets instead of news releases, as Google does with its blog, and as its now-former CEO did with Twitter.
  • Re-purpose your existing content, and thus enlarge your audience, as The New York Times does with Twitter, as the FBI does with Scribd, and as Dell does with SlideShare.
  • Manage your reputation, as countless companies do — or try to do — with Wikipedia.
  • Conduct crisis communications, as Johnson & Johnson does with its blog.
  • Hold contests to improve your algorithms, as Netflix did with the Netflix Prize.
  • Crowdsource your challenges, as the U.S. Army did with its field manuals.
  • Demonstrate thought leadership, as recruiter Lindsay Olson does with her blog.
  • Research free advertising opportunities, as Allstate does on YouTube.
    Finish reading post on Mashable

What advice do you have for people looking to switch their focus to social media marketing? What should they read, work on, and what brands should they look at in your opinion?
I actually also just wrote about this. Learn by doing. The “social” part of “social media” is critical: if you’re smart and personable, that will come through in your tweets, wall posts, e-mails, and so on. The Internet makes everything transparent.

Also, look at what your friends are doing. Chances are, one of them is a blogger, or boasts a large Twitter following, or has 500+ connections or LinkedIn.

About Jonathan
As the CEO of the Jonathan Rick Group, Jon Rick one of those lucky people whose day job is an extension of his hobby: I’m a social media strategist.   His  writing has appeared in a plethora of publications, including blogs such as Mashable,techPresidentTech CocktailDigital Inspiration, and Spin Sucks; newspapers such as Politico and PRWeek; and the book, What We Think: Young Voters Speak Out (2004).  He has also spoken before organizations such as the American Marketing AssociationGeorgetown University, and the Department of Homeland Security

Follow: @jrick and