Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego Interview with Matthew O’Brien on Entrepreneurship in Scottsdale
I had the pleasure of being on Entrepreneurs N’Fuego with Francisco Aguirre on July 1st operating out of the creative and art-deco Office Pile co-working space. If you have not experienced The Office Pile, here is my take on it:
“What a unique co-working office space and studio for Entrepreneurs N’Fuego! This is a must experience and keep on your radar co-working space when you want a change of venue. Very cool artwork…that inspires creativity and productivity!”
Francisco is one of the best interviewers I have experienced and is a natural for creating an engaging dialog while putting you at ease. My interview represented his 293 show. Rumor has it that Entrepreneurs N’Fuego has been picked up for broadcast on TV…congrats Francisco! You can check out more interviews from the Valley’s top business owners and entrepreneurs on his YouTube channel.
Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego is a project of the TOP Foundation. As guest of the show you make a donation to support the mission to empower, cultivate, and educate culturally diverse entrepreneurs by providing funding, access to capital, office space, and technical assistance during the initial stages of their business development.
Participation in Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego helps to tell stories that inspire entrepreneurs looking to start their journey soon.
Here is the transcription from the interview…
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Francisco Aguirre: Welcome to another episode of Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego Season Dos with Matthew O’Brien, we’re interviewing, and documented the Journey of Amazing Entrepreneurs, One Digital Footprint at a Time.
At some point in time, I had to memorize all that stuff. Now, it just comes in woosh.
Matthew O’Brien: You have mad skills.
Francisco: Not at all man.
Francisco: I’m just repeating this thing again and again man. How are you doing man?
Matthew: I’m fantastic.
Francisco: By the way, I love the name of your company, MINT Social. It’s an accelerated marketing company.
Matthew: It is, thank you.
Francisco: Yes, you bet. Tell us more in detail, you could pimp out and tell us all about your place better than I can.
Matthew: Yeah, right. I came up with the name MINT Social, because I’m a mint fanatic.
Francisco: Where does that come from?
Matthew: I don’t know. I’m crazy about mint. I have mint body lotion and hair products, whatever, any mint, I’m in it. Then social media. I started the company about eight years ago, and I’m like, “Hey, this thing called social media is going to be big.”
Francisco: You started it at a right time, when social media is beginning to take off.
Francisco: We didn’t really know what social media was at that time or what it could do for our businesses.
Matthew: It was a little foreign. They were talking about blogs and having this dynamic component to your website. It reminded me when I started my first company in ’96. It was a web development company.
My presentation was, “There is this thing called the Internet. It’s going to be big. You’re going to need a website.” They were like, “Website? What? You’re crazy.”
Francisco: Internet? What is that?
Matthew: It’s totally crazy. It was like deja vu all over again. When I started MINT Social, I’m like, “Social media, blog marketing, content is gonna be important.” We’ve really morphed our company.
When I started, I was doing shows like this. I was interviewing, I was doing seminars and webinars. I kept saying the same thing over and over again. I’m like, “I really need to educate this market place.” They don’t really understand.
Francisco: People are looking at you like, “What do you mean, this thing? I’m just going to take a picture of my lunch and I’m going to put it on this social media and I’ll be happy.”
Francisco: I think there is a little bit more to that.
Matthew: We started having a lot of fun. We actually did some seminars at SkySong, right up the street and educated a lot of people. From our World Webinar Network, we got a lot of people into the social media and content marketing business.
Francisco: I love talking to people such as you Matthew, that have been in this environment for a long time, from way back in the days in ’96, developing websites, programming websites, coding to make a website all the way from here to social media.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that we, as entrepreneurs, have about social media at this point?
Matthew: The misconception is that you have to do it. If you have that mindset that, “I have to do it,” it’s not going to be fun. It’s just like, “I have to work.” You really need to find your niche. There are really two components to social media. I’m going to either market a brand or I’m going to market the person in front of the brand.
We don’t hug brands, we hug people. You have to think of it in terms of…The story is not interesting until it has these components to it, such as, “Who are you as a person?” “How can I connect with you?” “What do you like to do personally?” “How are you involved with the community?” “What do you do that makes you interesting and makes you a pillar of the community?” Now, I’m interested in what you do as a business.
Francisco: It goes back to how information was passed down since the beginning of time. We all sat down around the campfire and we told stories.
Francisco: If you have a compelling story to tell me, much like, “I’ve been educating people about what a website was back in the day to I found the deja vu back 10 years ago or eight years ago. I’m educating people about it.” Now, you have a story to tell me.
Francisco: That I feel compelled. Now, I’m engaged.
Matthew: Totally. What are you doing here? You’re telling stories. You said your show is going to be picked up on TV. Congratulations! Why is that? Because this is the medium that we like. This is what we understand and connect with. Social media, if you feel like you have to do it, then it’s going to come across like you have to do it.
If you like it, you love it, you’re passionate like most entrepreneurs are, now you pull me in. Now, I’m interested in learning more about how you can help me or how I can help you. It’s that give and take. Content marketing, social media, marketing a business online is like getting karma credits.
You need to give love. You need to do it as much as you can and genuinely. Ultimately, that’s going to come back to you, because if you’re sharing, engaging, and participating in what’s going on online, then people are going to realize that and it’s going to come back to you.
Just like starting a business. When you start a business, you need a lot of help. The more help you give, the more help you get. It’s the simple thing in life.
Francisco: It is interesting you say that, because the keyword of what you said right now is, “Give.” You’re giving information. You’re giving education. You are giving part of what you know or what you know to a community with the intention of developing and creating a community for yourself.
I think part of that misconception we’re talking about is that if you think it’s all about you, and that the center of the universe revolves around you, and then all the social media posts is going to be about you, without any benefit to the community, then I think you got it upside down.
Matthew: That’s true. We can only take so many selfies.
Matthew: At some point, you’ve got to turn that camera around and start focusing on what’s going on around you.
Francisco: Yes. That is key. Do you find that message as simple, and as obvious, and as logic as it sounds? A lot of us, entrepreneurs, when you’re approaching somebody to offer your services, they might find it hard to digest and to adapt into their own ecosystems.
Matthew: Yeah, that’s a great question. Unless it’s a start-up business, then we have to build those stories. Most companies have what we call digital assets laying around. They’ve invested their heart and soul into getting the business to where it is. They have underutilized things laying around that they need to resurrect.
Francisco: Such as?
Matthew: Such as a brochure, such as a video on YouTube, such as a success story. Maybe they have a client that they’ve had for 10 years. Why did they stick around? We need to know those stories.
Francisco: They’re there.
Matthew: They’re there.
Francisco: The content is there. [laughs]
Matthew: Exactly, it’s all there. We just need to scoop that up. It’s easier to work with the existing versus creating new, because we can all sit in a new think tank room and come up with great marketing ideas, but we have this thing called failure hacking. We want to accelerate the failures. We want to test the message out.
One thing that we’ve learned is, the message that always works is, if we share a story that has multiple touch points, a success story, it’s going to talk about maybe a location, maybe a demographic of who we’re targeting, it could be about the type of business. It has all these different touch points that bring someone in and they resonate with that.
We can build an audience from that, because we know someone is interested and they may happen to be Hispanic, or they happen to be in this demographic, or they have an interesting ice cream or music, whatever it is, we can build upon that.
If we try to throw a bunch of ideas on the board and test those out, it doesn’t make as much sense as actually testing with the real audience, real content, things that have already been done. It’s always fun to see a video that’s got no life, and now we figure out who we should be targeting, and all the sudden, it’s connecting with the audience like never before.
Francisco: It adopts a life on its own. You’re able to do that through your accelerated marketing prowess. It’s all about content at the end of the day, isn’t it?
Matthew: It really is. That’s the bad news that I always tell companies. I got good news and bad news. We can help you, but it’s a lot of content.
Francisco: Where do you see the future of social media and where can we tell these stories? You’re telling me a story right now, we’re capturing on Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego. Where do you see the future of social media? Where is it going to go?
Matthew: The future of social media is it’s going to be a really compelling piece of content. Let’s say this is a story right here. We see that it becomes very confusing, where I should publish it, when, what format, how many times, all of that stuff.
We’re in beta right now with a system. I’ve been doing this for eight years and I have a whole team of people. Everybody new has challenges.
Francisco: Without counting your website…
Matthew: Exactly. It’s been over 20. What we’re looking to do is you take a piece of content and then it automatically knows what format it needs to live in, whether it’s going to be mobile, whether it’s going to be on tablet or desktop. We will distribute it to those channels which are only relevant to your business.
Automation is becoming crazy. It’s no longer about all of this manual stuff, it’s really about…If you look at Twitter and stuff, most people are on auto-pilot there. We’re trying to automate the complexity of publishing and focusing on the intimacy of connecting.
Francisco: Is a Facebook video getting out of control? Is everybody becoming…?
Matthew: The crazy statistic…and now I understand why. They said by next year, 70 percent of our time online will be spent watching videos. I didn’t believe it until Facebook Live came around and I’m like, “Now I get it. Everyone is gonna be watching videos.”
Francisco: That’s music to Taylor’s ears, right?
Matthew: Yes, it is. For sure.
Francisco: I love this. It truly fascinates me to hear from an expert such as yourself, where have we been, what really moves social media, and what the future is going to be about.
Matthew: I’m so happy to be on this show.
Francisco: MINT Social, great name. With that, we’re out.
With over 20 years of experience in the digital media world, Matthew has worked for and with Fortune 500 businesses and has built companies from the start-up stage to exit strategy. He recently helped develop a data insight engine to bridge the gap between search, social, and mobile marketing to maximize the visibility, relevancy, and predictive success of online businesses. Matthew is the founder of MINT Social, an award-winning digital marketing company that accelerates online marketing results to help businesses get found and thrive online. Matthew has developed an educational curriculum for Universities on social media for businesses, is a founding board member of the Arizona Innovation Marketing Association (AZIMA), a board member of HeroZona Foundation and on the advisory board (Vinnies) for St. Vincent de Paul - Phoenix. Matthew is a mentor with ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, a speaker on social media and digital marketing, and is a subject matter expert with many online portals.