I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed recently by Pittsburgh's very own Denele Biggs, author, poet, and entrepreneur extraordinaire as part of her marketing studies at Point Park University. Here's what was released from that transaction.
When given the assignment of interviewing a social media professional I immediately knew
who to interview. I have the distinct privilege of personally knowing a superb social media and
marketing professional. One whom I can attest first-hand to the quality of his work. Diondre
Johnson is the Director of Digital Marketing and Communications at Macedonia Church of
Pittsburgh and the owner of DRE|media.
DRE|media help companies, ministries, and organizations connect with their community,
customers, congregation, etc. and maximize their branding potential without having to manage
multiple individual social media profiles or break the bank in the process. Using his expertise in
marketing and manipulating social media platforms, DRE|media offers effective tools and
creative strategies to develop the online presence for your group on various social media
platforms. His services include social media strategy, creative strategy, content marketing,
photography, and more.
Denele Biggs: Please tell me a little about yourself and your background, including how
long you have worked with social media?
Diondre F. Johnson: I love business and learning new things. I started my first business at the
age of 12 selling soft pretzels in front of a supermarket in a Philadelphia suburb during the
Summer. I even hired and fired my best friend that Summer! We didn't speak for two years
In college, I fell in love with the Internet. In short, I began emailing sites that interested me and
asking them to hire me to market on local campuses. After a while, two sites hired me and I
traveled all over Western PA in rental cars filled with cups, tee shirts, frisbees, and digital
cameras…wooing people to join those websites.
Once that bubble burst, I opened a retail furniture in Pittsburgh after college. I learned a
lot about advertising and marketing as it related to products (vs services). Very different ball
game. In that business, I oversaw everything: hiring, inventory, sales, deliveries, advertising, and
my favorite, customer service! After a few years in business, people began asking, Who's your
photographer?, Who's your web designer? Who's your graphic designer? I was all
those things. Once Facebook became a household name (circa 2008 or so), people became more
interested in what their headshots and graphics looked like and the requests for my services
began rolling in. In 2013, I decided to launch DRE|media.
DB: How do you define success?
DFJ: Setting milestones and reaching them; however small.
DB: What online communities and/or clients do you currently or have you managed?
DFJ: I've worked with organizations from several industries; from small businesses like
plumbers, real estate professionals, and hair salons to med/large churches and recording
artists/groups. I've managed and/or created content for organizations like Macedonia Church of
Pittsburgh, Petra International Ministries, BEASLEY Plumbing, PGH200, and more. Macedonia
was my first major client and hired me 8 months after contracting my services. I am currently
employed there but still operate my company DRE|media.
DB: What social media channels do you recommend for businesses and why?
DFJ: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging are musts for most organizations.
The why varies for each platform but all offer something unique to the playing field and each
has a different type of user to engage. These platforms change and morph a few times a year so
it's important to stay on top of trends and updates for each to be most effective.
DB: What strategies do you use to generate leads?
DFJ: Engaging content is paramount. Eye-catching graphics and videos long enough to stimulate
but short enough to keep your attention go a long way as well and are a must for most
organizations. Depending on your industry, going LIVE, doing giveaways/contests/promos, can
be effective as well. There are dozens of apps that can automate tons of things. Let's say you
want people who use certain hashtags on Twitter, for example, to be on a list, there are
apps/widgets that can do that automatically for you so that you can reach out to them for a more
targeted promotion in the future.
DB: What are relevant metrics used for tracking ROI on social media?
DFJ: There are several platforms that can measure all sorts of info! Your industry will determine
what you pay attention to; not every stat will matter. I urge clients all the time to not get caught
up in every piece of information; it is very easy to over-analyze your social media efforts. I've
seen clients get really excited about a post going viral locally, getting shares, sales, inspiring
others, etc. but then become discouraged in the same minute because they got 3 less LIKES this
week than the week before, for example. All the little red and green arrows pointing up and
down all over your screen will certainly drive you mad if you don't know what to look for. To
start, Google Analytics is amazing for tracking and Facebook's analyzation tools have developed greatly over the years as well.
DB: Can you describe your biggest social media failure? Have you ever had to handle a
Social Media crisis? If so, could you provide an example?
DFJ: I can't think of any major failures but the occasional misspelled word on a graphic/meme
always stings! I challenge myself constantly, however so a failure to me would be producing
mediocre content for client. I want every page I manage to rock!
DB: How do you evaluate new social platforms?
DFJ: Simply by letting time take its course. For example, I remember reading articles and
discussing in online forums about how SnapChat was going to impact churches and ministries in
a major way. 6 months later, it's barely a topic.
DB: How do you check and stay on top of the latest updates, innovations, and new
platforms in social media and do you alert your clients of new opportunities?
DFJ: I belong to several e-lists, private Facebook groups, have RSS fields, etc. that allow me to
stay on top of the latest trends. It's essential in an industry that morphs as frequently as social
media does. A simple layout change on Facebook or a new video feature on Instagram for
example will trigger 10s of thousands of blog posts/articles, videos and literally alter how
businesses will market their services/products to the world in a matter of seconds; not to
mention, the additional services businesses like mine can offer as a result. Consistent learning is
essential and I typically read up in the mornings.
DB: What do you think is the most important thing a Social Media Manager should be
DFJ: Staying fresh with gorgeous graphics, cool content, captivating captions, vicious videos and
prolific pics. We all see content every day on our phones. There are 100s of posts and ads vying
for our attention. As this phenomenon continues, it's important to stay fresh with how you deliver your content to your audience especially if you're doing something on a national scale.
DB: Can you give me an example of a limitation of a social network that you have
experienced and overcome or worked around?
DFJ: Instagram doesn't allow you to post URLs in your caption. I can understand why they do
this but as a legit marketer who isn't trying to place bots and viruses on mobile phones
worldwide ... it can be a bit annoying. In this case, you typically must place the URL in your bio
which isn't always the most effective IMO.
DB: What distinguishes you from your competitors?
DFJ: Personal touch and attention. All my clients (including my employer) call or text me at all
hours with ideas, questions, and requests. In addition, I like to be involved first-hand with my
clients to learn their culture and help create their voice online. For me, this includes attending a
function of theirs, sitting in on a sermon or meeting, and interviewing customers/clients of theirs.