How Matty J’s teen dreams have helped him become a TikTok superstar

- April 22, 2022 5 MIN READ

You might remember Matt ‘Matty J’ Johnson from a little TV show called The Bachelor, or his various hosting gigs on TV and radio. More recently, you may have had a giggle at one of his hilarious TikTok videos. But long before he was handing out roses or making us laugh as we scroll social media, Matty J was a whizz at event management, particularly in the experiential marketing space.

Now he runs his own successful content agency, Pineapple Productions, using his suite of talents to help clients find cut-through online. He’s also host of The Penny Drops podcast and doting dad to two gorgeous little girls with fiancee, Laura Byrne.

Despite his obviously busy lifestyle, Matty was kind enough to join editors Cec Busby and Adam Bub on the First Act podcast to share his origin story and what he’s learned since starting his own business, including how social media and influencers have changed the way we market to and connect with our customers forever.

Matty J on TikTok

Credit: Matty J on TikTok

On getting started and becoming an ‘influencer’

Matty J’s start in entertainment came much earlier than Australia’s first glimpse of him on The Bachelor. His comedic roots stem right back to his school days.

“I remember a bit of work that I’m most proud of,” Matty recalls. “When I was in high school, I created a short film called ‘The Trampolinist’ – it was a mockumentary about trampolining as a sport (sorry to anyone out there who is a professional trampolinist – I think your sport is incredible!). It was just a bit of a piss-take at the sport. I wrote it, shot it and edited it. That was the beginning of me writing comedy and skits, which is the bulk of the work that I do now on social media.”

With hundreds of thousands of avid followers across his various social media platforms, including nearly 70,000 followers on TikTok, Matty certainly has a talent for creating catchy online content that people love to consume. But identifying as an ‘influencer’ didn’t come easily.

“I always viewed influencing with a little bit of disdain,” Matty admits. “That was a battle that I had with my own identity. When I started working at Nova, I liked the fact that when people would ask, ‘What do you do?’ I could say, ‘I work at Nova,’ and instantly, they would get it. I feel like that always had more appreciation and weight behind it, as opposed to saying, ‘I’m an influencer’. But at the same time, I do think the perception is changing, and people are now really valuing having an engaged audience.

“I joined TikTok 12 months ago, and I think TikTok is still viewed as a platform where young kids learn bad dances. But now I’m pretty proud to say I’ve almost got 70,000 followers on TikTok.”

@matthewdavidjohnson It’d be rude not to #roadsidecollection #junk #free #shoerack #dadtok ♬ Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – Edison Lighthouse

“I think social media is the future,” says Matty. “It’s more consumed than any other media platform. So, it’s something that I’m now quite proud of – I’m proud to say that I’m an influencer slash content creator.”

However, Matty admits that gaining a certain amount of fame from The Bachelor and subsequently a lot of attention on social media hasn’t always been a smooth ride.

“Just getting used to having so much attention is difficult and hearing people’s opinions. Some people will like you, and some will hate you, and people are very vocal on social media. That was probably the hardest adjustment, getting that thicker skin and getting used to people criticising me.

“You can have a hundred people compliment you, and it’s the one person who gives you a negative comment that’s the one that keeps you up at night, annoyingly.”

Listen to Matty J on the First Act podcast:

Entertainment is king

After years in the events and marketing industries, Matty has seen many changes in the way businesses market and advertise to their customers. However, he still holds to one philosophy – entertainment is king.

“One big thing that I’ve learned is how much the influencer industry has changed. Back in the day – only a few years ago – how brands were promoted was simpler. You would just have a photo with the product in hand; that’s all it took.

“There’s an old story of a brand saving up enough money to pay Kim Kardashian for one photo where Kim wore her dress. And that was enough to then get cut-through on social media and make the business successful. There is always room for a partnership where the product is amazing, and they genuinely do use it and can say, ‘Hey, I love this product; you should try it too’. But I think with so many brands flocking to social media, it’s made influencers and brands have to work so much harder to get cut-through and engagement.

“The bulk of partnerships that we do are based on video-based content where there’s a high level of entertainment; it’s mostly comedic and based on relatable moments that people experience in everyday life. And within that is a product peppered through. We’ve found that’s the most effective way to entertain your audience and get that engagement, and at the same time, promote a product as well.

“My approach to branded content stems from growing up and watching Super Bowl ads. How great would it be to make an ad where people actually search on YouTube to watch your ad because it’s that good; it’s that entertaining?

“I think that mentality should come across to marketing, whether it be on TV, podcast or social media. We have a philosophy that in order to demand engagement from an audience, you’ve got to give them something back. You’ve got to give them entertainment.”

First Act Matty J revised

For more fun and insightful anecdotes from Matty J, including his journey from his first job at McDonalds to a successful business owner and much-loved celebrity, listen to the entire First Act episode now.

Join us each Tuesday for a brand new episode of First Act, because every story has a beginning.

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