While it’s hard to find someone who is not a social media strategist, Mike Street backs up that title with years of experience creating digital media strategies for brands. He brings passion to both his work as a professional and to helping expand the scope of what black people do in social media.
I had an opportunity to interview Street and learn more about how he started in technology, his growth as a social media strategist, his thoughts about Social CRM and being a tastemaker.
A Catholic Introduction to Technology
Street’s first experience with technology had the distinction of occurring under the supervision of nuns at Holy Family Christian School in Marlow Heights, Maryland. They introduced him to a triangular cursor on a black screen that could be programmed to rotate and move with simple commands.
“We had this program called TURTLE and the nuns at the school taught has to move the turtle on the screen,” Street says. “Once I discovered that I was totally hooked on technology. I wanted to be a video game designer when I was a kid. I’m kind of a gadget junkie because of this.”
Getting Started in Social Media
Five years ago street left a stint at BET.com and initially considered starting a travel guide, but he decided to start a blog called GreasyGuide.com instead. Running GreasyGuide.com helped him learn to be a blogger and also provided a lot of visibility for Street.
Street took what he learned as a blogger and applied it to working for Associated Content where he managed 100,000 content producers. Seeing the growth of Myspace and Facebook, Street used these social media sites to grow Associated Content’s membership.
After leaving Associated Content, Street went to work for Zezza network in 2008 where he applied his growing expertise in social media as the Director of Social Media.
“I managed the social media profiles for 10 brands and created digital strategy. It’s something
I’m very passionate about and that I love,” Street says.
Bringing Luxury to Social Media
While companies like Comcast, Ford, and Dell are well known for their effective use of social media, the luxury market has been a slow adopter. Seeing a niche for himself, Street recently joined Syndicate Media Group as their Senior Digital Strategist.
“So now I’m working on luxury brands such as Oscar de la Renta, BoConcept, and leveraging social media and digital marketing for these brands,” Street says. “The luxury market is still very early to leverage social media so it’s been exciting to join the team at Syndicate Media Group. So what I’m doing now has a lot to do with leveraging social media influencers/bloggers/tweeters to help spread the marketing message of brands. The work I’m doing now at Syndicate Media Group is going to be the model for what many luxury brands will be doing in the future.”
The New Face of Black Celebrities
Marketers have long used celebrities to market their products. However, this technique has been criticized in recent years. Street seesblack technologists who skillfully use social media as the next generation of pop culture stars and marketing influencers.
“To me those who work in the social media space are the new Hip-Hop stars. Many of those in this space have WAY more influence and can move WAY more product then Beyonce or Lil’ Wayne ever could,” Street explains. “Take a look at Gap Inc. They are using social media stars in their holiday campaign. There is a reason that brands are leveraging influencers in the social space more then celebs. Recent studies have shown that 76% of consumers do not trust celebrity endorsements. Therefore bloggers with traffic are the new marketing royalty.”
The Future of Social Media
Street’s deep experience in social media places his finger on the pulse of the industry. I asked him what trends people should watch in the social media space.
“I get asked this question a lot. I personally think Social CRM is what everyone should be focusing on and paying attention to. Having 100,000 fans on Facebook is cool. But what do you do with those fans? How do you keep them engaged? How do you leverage their networks for your marketing message? Social CRM is the key to this,” Street says.
What’s Next for Street
“I’m currently working on kicking off my video game site called ButtonMasherz with my brother, Everett Street,” Street says. “And I’m actually working on putting together a start-up, but I’ll keep those details to myself for now. ;)”
“But also look out for Harlem Social events for Social Media Week 2011 in February. We are working on putting together some exciting panels and discussing social media usage in Harlem. So people who wanted to keep updated around that can join us at http://Facebook.com/HarlemNY.”
On Being a Tastemaker
“I <3 Black Web 2.0. But personally I’m honored that my work in the space is being recognized by Black Web 2.0 and I [thank] everyone who has helped and supported me over the years.”Category: Black Digerati, Featured | Tags: associated content, BET.com, branding, GreasyGuide.com, mike street, social media, Strategy, syndicate media group, Top 50 Tech Tastemakers