Esteban Contreras’ Social-Media Success Story

Esteban Contreras, who recently joined Samsung as social-media manager, wrote a detailed post on his blog, Social Nerdia, about how he got started using social media and blogging and how it led him to the consumer-electronics giant.

Highlights follow, but the post in full is highly recommended and a great read:

Up until two-and-a-half weeks ago, I was a tech and business consultant. For the three years prior to that, I had been a consultant with a promising career. I had worked on challenging and interesting projects concerning innovative mobile Web sites, IT cost-reductions and, my favorite, identifying social-media opportunities for communications-service providers.

It was going pretty good. However, my interest in social media was growing. I found myself thinking about the rapidly changing social Web on a daily basis. I read blogs like TechCrunch and magazines like AdAge. I listened to podcasts like Buzz Out Loud and kept up with the latest in social media thanks to people I had started to get to know as friends (instead of followers) on Twitter.

So after two years of thinking of domain names, I finally decided it was time to write a blog I’d actually read myself. I had created several sites and blogs in the past, but this one was going to somehow stand out from the gazillions of blogs out there.

After creating the site, I wrote my first blog post. I called it “The Mindblasting Explosion that Is Social Media.” The word mindblasting came from comedian Russell Peters. In the post, I talked about how companies and people were using social media, and even mentioned the now-popular “snake-oil salesmen” that everyone was trying not to be.

One day, I noticed that Andy Milonakis was on Twitter. Andy is an actor/comedian/rapper, but he got started making online videos. I exchanged a few tweets with him and sent him a few interview questions. He answered them. And just like that, I became an interviewer.
Soon I had interviews with people like Alex Bogusky and John A. Byrne.

Kara Andrade recommended I use BlogTalkRadio, a Website that lets you turn your phone into a podcasting machine. I fell in love with podcasting. I soon bought a microphone and then another one. Skype and I became very good friends. More importantly, I started to have amazing conversations with admirable people. “The Social Nerdia Show!” gave me a platform to talk with people like Loic Le Meur, Brett Erlich and Bob Knorpp. I contacted almost all of them through Twitter.

There’s something about Twitter that makes people more willing to respond, more willing to talk to anyone willing to start a conversation. Some people say it’s like a new telephone, but it seems like some people are answering this new telephone much more than the old one. The cool thing about this new telephone is that it lets you be public or private, and always encourages you to be as transparent and authentic as possible.

One of my favorite interviews was with Matt Moller and Keith Swiderski, Samsung’s social-media strategists. The interview with them went well, so I decided to send them my resume the next day. I knew there was a social-media position available in Dallas (where I lived), so I hoped somebody had a contact there. I received a reply soon after. He said there was a social-media manager position…

In New Jersey.

Less than two months later, I moved to New Jersey to join Samsung Electronics as social-media manager. While I know that the timing was more than perfect, and that my work experience was what ultimately got me the position, I’m quite positive that I would not have gotten Samsung’s attention with just an e-mail.

Or anyone’s attention, for that matter.

These days, if you want to work in a competitive area that people are passionate about (like social media), you’re going to have to get creative and you’re going to have to work hard. It might take a lot of long nights of hard work (like when you have to post-produce a podcast that had 18 minutes of silence), and many sacrifices (like moving halfway across the country away from family and friends in the middle of winter), but in the end, the things you learn and the people you get to meet can make it all worth it.

So worth it.