Marketer Spotlight: Jonathan Rick

AMADC would like to recognize Jonathan Rick, Director of AMADC’s Social Media Initiatives, for October 2011's Marketer Spotlight.

Digital Connections



"Successful use of social media can be as simple as being social," notes social media strategist Jonathan Rick.

Social media, in fact, is much more than just tweeting or updating a Facebook profile. “It must flow from a foundation of good writing and clarity of communications, and it must resonate in a timely fashion with your audience.” That’s the path Rick has followed when he moved from traditional marketing and public relations to their byte-based cousins. He now runs his own social media agency, combining his conventional experience with web expertise to bring clients an integrated, cutting-edge approach.

“I’ve employed e-strategies to raise awareness for the federal government, motivate actions for nonprofits, and shape public opinion for corporations,” Rick explains on jonathanrick.com/about.

He’s done it all through web sites, social networks, blogs, ads, and apps. But Rick is more than a Facebooking Twitterer who’s never drafted a press release, or thinks “branding” is something for cows to fear. Before entering the digital space, his work was all about the writing.

“I cut my teeth in dead-tree communications,” Rick says. “I did PR for the American Conservative Union and the Cato Institute, and reported for Time magazine and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.”

His work also has been published in PRWeek, Mashable, Politico, and Tech Cocktail. On his wish list: TechCrunch and Advertising Age.

Once in the digital space, Rick worked for Susan Davis International, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Rock Creek Strategic Marketing. He’s supported a variety of clients on social media initiatives, ranging from local firms such as National Harbor and ECU Communications, to nonprofits such as the Public Relations Society of America and Operation Smile, to Fortune 500s such as Giant Food, to federal entities such as the Small Business Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

He’s also spoken to Calvert Investments and Georgetown University as well as AMA-DC on the merits of social media and how he goes about his work. He takes pride in the cogency of his communications and offers tips from his experience:

  • Weave social media into an organization's existing communications vehicles, making it an integral part of day-to-day activities instead of an outlier;
  • If you are social, you can do social media. Being "social" matters more than being "media"-savvy;
  • When you think of "social media," don't think of Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. Think of tactics such as building brand loyalty, listening to customers, demonstrating thought leadership, attracting media attention, generating leads, and recruiting employees and partners.

According to Eileen Bramlet, Vice President for AMADC Communications, “having Jon Rick lead AMADC’s social media initiatives has been superb. He hasn’t just upped the game for AMADC social media, he’s created an entirely new way of thinking, and we’re beyond fortunate to work with someone of his caliber.”

More information on Jonathan Rick’s work is available at www.jonathanrick.com. Once there, the title, “No Straw Men,” stands out to both define Rick’s work and caution against treating social media superficially from the provider’s standpoint. The term came from one of Rick’s professors at Hamilton College, from which Rick graduated with honors. When Rick countered a point made by the professor, the response was a caution to Rick to “Watch your straw men,” meaning intelligent discourse generates arguments that are weak or imaginary, like straw. Rick knows social media is not a place for such straw men.