An Interview with Sean Malarkey of SeanMalarkey.com
Posted on March 23, 2010 by Tim Schroeder
Sean Malarkey is an incredibly successful entrepreneur and social media powerhouse. While I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him in person, his insights into marketing and social media have been helping professionals new to the space and industry veterans. If you’re having trouble connecting with brands and fans on Twitter, Sean can help in a big way.
An Interview With Sean Malarkey
How did you get started in the industry?
By being Social! No in all seriousness things kind of happened by accident. It’s a long story but I will give you the short version. In February of 2009 I was chatting with a good friend on Facebook. We were chatting about Twitter and its awesome capabilities to build a large audience fast. My friend showed me a graph from Twittercounter.com of his last 30 days growth and I was blown away. Knowing the power of a list from email marketing I instantly saw similar potential with Twitter.
So from that moment I began really using Twitter to its fullest. In a short 3 months I grew my following to over 70k. It grew so fast so quick that everyone kept asking me what & how I was doing it. One day I spent 30 minutes making a little guide for the 15th friend who had asked and later added that guide to a blog I had about Twitter. A few months later after that little guide had been downloaded a few thousand times I wrote an expanded version that I named “Twixplode” (yeah I know, probably the worst product name ever) and the rest is history. I began helping friends, then their businesses – which attracted more clients and so on.
The biggest transformation really came about when I started working with Lewis Howes He is the king of LinkedIn and the two of us together had a lot more to offer our clients being that we both were good in different valuable social media platforms.
What is your favorite social network?
Twitter hands down – it’s the most fun and most effective for me. But LinkedIn and Facebook both offer similar value in different ways. It’s been a lot of fun learning those networks and how to work with them.
Why do you think it has more value than the others?
For me Twitter is the best – because it’s more instant & diverse. The results come so fast compared to other networks, and to be honest that aspect makes it the most compelling. In comparsion to the other two – it’s a whole lot simpler and stripped down. Which I think adds to its beauty!
Why do you think people consider you an expert in the field?
Because I show them how to get results! Also, I look at things from a very analytical standpoint and Twitter can seriously deliver if done right!
Do you think sponsored conversations have their place in the industry (Paid posts, SponsoredTweets)?
Great question – I suppose they do have their place. I think proper disclosure is very important with these services. I myself would never partake in them – even though they offer me a lot of money to tweet a few characters – they just kind of go against my line of thinking – if that makes any sense. With Twitter there is a lot of spam – and I would love it if there were none. Because in reality, it takes away from people who are using it the right way to grow their business & brands.
How do you balance professional v. personal?
Another good question – In reality, my personal life has become a big part of my professional life. The line is very blurred. I am a very open person and it can be challenging at times to keep the two separate. With social media I don’t share anything I wouldn’t want certain people to see. So If I am sharing something personal – I take a minute to think about how it will be received. If I have any doubt – I don’t share it. Plain and simple.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
OK, now who would REALLY play you?
Is where you are now where you thought you’d be…10 years ago? A month ago? Why/ why not?
Yes and No. From a success stand point, yes – I have had clearly written goals for where I want to be for most of my adult life – and for the most part they have come true. From where I am now and what I thought I would be doing – No – Life has changed quite a bit and for the better. I always thought I would achieve my success in real estate and never in a million years did I envision social media a part of that. But now that I think about it, the term ‘social media’ didn’t really exist 10 years ago – so I guess I won’t beat myself up over not having the vision 10 years ago.
Is it about quality or quantity? Do I want more followers or more RTs? Lots of connections on LinkedIn or a few excellent recommendations?
I think it’s about both. One without the other doesn’t really do anyone any good. I guess it’s relative from a quantity stand point to the goals you have. But I say why not both? With social media I have figured out how to get both. And the higher quantity you have of quality followers – the better off you are.
More RT’s is a good indication of quality – so it goes without saying that the more quality followers you have – the higher the amount of RT’s you should get.
If you reached a certain level of success, would you ever have someone manage your social media accounts for you? Why/why not (ie Barack Obama)?
Not my personal brand or personal accounts. I’m too worried they would screw it up. Also, it doesn’t seem very genuine to me to have someone else tweet for you. Yes, I do think for certain people who have certain goals with social media that it’s fine – as long as the messages don’t appear to be from their mouths. In other words – don’t have someone tweet “I am enjoying this sushi so much I have ordered seconds.” Instead it could read – “I love sushi so much I normally order seconds.”
Provide the best social media tip you can think of in 40 characters or less.
Be you – and be the best you!
Is social media your main business, or just an extension of your main online efforts?
An extension, I have my hands in many things and social media is a marketing tool for most of them.
When did you get started in social media? Who do you consider a social media expert, and why?
That’s a tough question. The reality is anything on the internet that involves interaction with other people could be considered social media. For example: Chat rooms, forums, blog comments, message boards, etc. I really got into using the internet a lot more when the web 2.0 revolution came about several years ago. For me, that revolution that saw the birth of Twitter, YouTube & many other great sites is the main reason we’re all still here. It was inevitable as the web provides us all a place to connect and discover. The sites that have come about in the last 5 years have really enhanced that ability to connect and discover.
Do you make money directly from your social media efforts?
Not exactly, but indirectly in a major way. People that try to make money directly from social media will usually fail. It needs to be considered what it is – another form of media, and should be used as such. In other words – if you have a business – use social media to enrich your marketing efforts. Use it to build your brand, use it to respond and interact with customers. Don’t try and mine gold from it – if you do you will most likely fail – or have a hard time sleeping at night.
What services do you use to monitor the social media stream?
My computer & iPhone – just kidding. For Twitter I like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. Socialoomph has a cool email digest tool for those that don’t need their updates instantly. I also use google alerts to monitor the web. For business – Radian6 and Scout Labs are both great. Cotweet is awesome as well.
Do you think celebrities belong on Twitter?
Sure – Why not? They definitely help generate a lot of exposure from the dumb things they say and do. In a more serious light – it provides them with an incredible marketing opportunity as people love following their every move, the same reason people buy People magazine. It also gives them complete control or the ability to control what exactly is said about them or to dispell things that are not true.
Explain social media so a child would understand it.
Social media plain and simple is a place to discover, interact & connect. It is a place where real people hang out and interact with others & discover new things. These same people buy real things and services, that is the main reason there are so many businesses trying their hardest to understand it and utilize it so they capture their attention and convert them into fans and customers. Essentially it is another form of media – plain and simple.
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