Mike Wolpert – CEO and Founder of Soci@l Jumpstart

[quote style=”boxed”]Ask questions, learn the answers, and ask more questions. I also wake up every single day and pay attention to my attitude — if it needs adjusting, I do that first![/quote]

Mike Wolpert humorously coined the phrase “social media evangelist” to describe what he does at Soci@l Jumpstart. With decades of real-life marketing experience producing results for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies, Mike is driven by a huge passion for the evolving art of social media.

He created a consultancy to advise brilliant entrepreneurs on creating a space for their brands to live and breathe on the Internet, engage consumers, develop brand evangelists, and drive sales through extraordinary customer service.

What are you working on right now?

We are continually evolving our small business social marketing training programs, adding new courses and resources. We are also doing a series of really cool tech talk videos with Silicon Valley tech CEOs, which explore what it takes to create innovative companies and disruptive technology.

Where did the idea for Soci@l Jumpstart come from?

After many years of creating marketing for small business owners and entrepreneurs and helping them make their businesses better and customers happier, I saw an opportunity early on in new media, social media, and Web videos. I knew this would be a seismic shift for all business marketing — and small businesses, in particular, because they can’t afford to waste marketing dollars — because every penny has to count.

Most businesspeople are busy running their businesses, so I knew the easier the learning curve, the better the adoption. We also knew that this kind of marketing, to be genuine and effective, had to come from within a company and had to be in its voice. We wanted to provide a full range of ideas and support for our clients, enough to get them set up and rolling along — enough to give them a jumpstart, if you will.

What does your typical day look like?

Generally, we start off with just a little too much coffee and joking around. There’s seldom a typical day in the evolving world of social marketing. Every day brings something new and interesting, but generally, it’s all focused around clients’ needs. Most of our days are spent juggling client work; we’re in the studio creating Web videos to tell stories, working with our writers to create online marketing content, and thinking about how to best help our community of business owners.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We start by listening to our clients tell their stories; we keep asking questions and listening, listening, listening. We work with the thoughts, ideas, and intentions behind the stories to inspire us to determine how to tell them. It then takes the form of the content that makes the most sense: videos, articles, newsletters, or blogs.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Mobile video excites me. The connection we have with people from the little glass device in the palm of our hands is much more intimate than the connection we have from our screens at work.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve never had a terrible job. My first job was as a copyboy at New York Daily News. Then, I started working at a radio station in Manhattan. That’s when I realized it’s possible to make a living doing really fun stuff.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Ask questions, learn the answers, and ask more questions. I also wake up every single day and pay attention to my attitude — if it needs adjusting, I do that first!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

The one business idea I’m willing to give away is that every business owner should be willing to give a little bit away, which builds customer loyalty upfront and allows you to prove your value. We built our company by answering questions and giving free advice. That helped a lot of folks who turned into great clients and many phenomenal referrals.

Tell us a secret.

Social media doesn’t work all by itself — you’ve got to play along. There are no shortcuts, and nobody outsmarts Google.

What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?

WordPress: I love that it allows anybody to easily build an elegant and functional blog, giving them a base and voice online.
Facebook: I love that essentially everybody is on Facebook. I love the reach and the commonality. I love that it’s changed the way we communicate for the better.
YouTube: It’s the most powerful platform for sharing video, and video is the most powerful way for businesspeople to tell their stories. Since YouTube ranks so highly on Google search results, it also helps you get found when people come looking for what you do.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I recommend “APE” by Guy Kawasaki. It’s a guide to the new world of self-publishing for entrepreneurs, and it provides an enormous number of marketing ideas — even for people not looking to publish a book. Publishing, and interactive publishing in particular, is such a fluid, expanding, and exciting space.

What’s on your playlist?

I listen to The Rolling Stones, The Clash, and Andrea Bocelli when I want to sing along. I prefer Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, and Dr. Wayne Dyer for brain food and attitude.

If you weren’t working on Soci@l Jumpstart, what would you be doing?

It’s hard to imagine. I’d like to think I would be dreaming up a different kind of really cool company. Doing good work — that makes money for our clients — with smart, creative people is a pretty great way to earn a living.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

1) Pete Cashmore at Mashable for all things current, tech, and cool
2) Guy Kawasaki for some high-level pithy
3) Gary Vaynerchuk because he’s smart and funny, he knows wine and marketing, and he participates

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

I just laughed at the shorts our social media manager is wearing. Let’s just say they’re pretty colorful!

Who is your hero?

My dad is my hero — a Wall Street bigwig who’s the most honest man I know. He’s smart and trustworthy, and I always strive for that.

Tell me about a time you failed and what did you learn?

We launched a company with what we thought was a really great idea, and everybody we talked to thought it was a great idea. It turned out nobody wanted to actually buy the idea. The lesson I learned was to start wherever you start, but wind up with the customer in mind.

What would you have done differently in your personal life?

I would have stayed in school a little longer and earned a Ph.D. in something obscure.


Mike Wolpert on Twitter: @MikeWolpert
Mike Wolpert on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mikewolpert