Davide Dal Maso, born in 1995, according to Forbes among the Italian Top Under 30s, is a social media coach, a high school professor and an international speaker. He’s the founder of the non-profit organization on the potential and risks of the web “Social Warning-Digital Ethical Movement”.
You're a social media coach, can you explain to us your profession?
A social media coach supports the company in building a sustainable digital strategy with the aim of making the internal team effective and autonomous. He is the ideal figure for all those companies that have realized that they need an internal person to communicate content that has value. The social media coach then goes on to act as a personal trainer creating a personalized coaching plan so that the internal team learns how to professionally manage social channels, paid sponsorship and the analysis of data from social networks and the website.
You started by improving the online presence of businesses around you, what sparked the idea of turning that occasional job into your career?
All the experience I had in the UK made me really grow up and helped me to look away from all the possible doubts about this job, thanks also to the continuous requests from local businesses that were willing to pay me "well" for the first jobs. While I was working for them I got the possibility to know more about a lot of different sectors and to gain a strategic view.
New platforms are being created every day, what are the most underrated social media platform right now?
LinkedIn at a commercial level is a very strong social network, also gives a lot of visibility thanks to the algorithm that helps your contents to stand up. Google My Business is a sort of virtual showcase that allows companies and professionals to be easily found on the web by customers and suppliers, and that can give a boost to the business. Not knowing Google My Business is a huge waste of resources for anyone who has a local business and wants to promote themselves without spending a lot of money.
Why a CEO or an executive should be skilled and active on LinkedIn?
Because people online trust other people. CEOs and executives are the faces of the company and they need to take care of their communication side. Their communication, if done well, often has very high visibility and therefore acts as a saving in overall online marketing spending. An excellent example is Marco Alverà, CEO of SNAM, who involves his collaborators in the posts on the LinkedIn platform and shows many daily aspects related to his work. He has achieved in a few years an incredible following, with over 30 thousand followers, and LinkedIn gave him the "Influencer" badge. In short, a digital project works when it is the entrepreneur who puts his face on it first and supervises its direction and results.
Should everyone have a social media presence? And do you consider self-branding the new key to success?
Not necessarily, but for those who don’t want to have an active presence, the privacy settings are crucial. The self mktg, however, is fundamental for those who want to build professional recognition in their field, whether he is a student, an employee, or self-employed.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in regard to your career and social media?
Being on social media without being active is worse than not being there. Often a corporate social account left there for several years gives a bad image of the company itself. A typical example are Twitter accounts with 35 followers and the latest tweet dating back to 2016. If you find one of those, what’s the first impression you have?
We heard about the success in Italy of the no-profit organization "Social Warning-Movimento Etico Digitale" that you founded. What is the main idea besides this ethical movement and which are the future goals?
Social Warning-Movimento Etico Digitale was born to raise digital awareness among children and parents, thanks to a widespread network of volunteer trainers throughout Italy. We have daily meetings and online conferences about the potential and risks of the web. I know those problems because in the past I got some difficulties with the bullies during high school. I managed to overcome this obstacle thanks to my passion for the web. Social Warning, therefore, wants to bring digital culture in schools, with information activities and ethical actions that improve society through conscious use of the web.
A big problem in our society is the fact that people are starting to get addicted to social media and the Internet. What is the right approach to social media?
Although young people often see social media as a simple game or pastime, they should understand that the digital world is connected to their future in the labour market. Transmitting value is my keyword in all things.
How do you spend your time on social media?
Four hours a day, mainly for work. But I often get lost watching videos on YouTube or Instagram. I think it’s normal to do either passive than an active online presence. The problem is visible when a person does only passive content consumption.
Let’s discuss the option of taking a break. Is it healthy to log off social media or leaving the phone at home once in a while? Is this something you recommend?
Absolutely, we often forget about the real world and find ourselves lost in the vast social world. A bit of detachment from your smartphone could only do you good. I recommend some nice walks in the mountains to breathe some clean air. “Digital wellness” will be more and more important in our lives and it’s going to be a focus of many companies. More “digital balance” means more productivity.
You're also a professor in high school and university, tell us about your experience and the main challenges you had to face.
My aim within the school is to innovate by introducing digital civic education into the educational programs. I have often found myself wanting to go fast in an environment where they won't let you. Also, if you have a too disruptive approach you risk facing huge barriers. I've learned to understand the context in which I am, to settle in and then gradually create changes.
We learned that you were the youngest teacher in Italy, you were featured as Forbes Under 30 and Premio Italia Giovane. What are the main skills that led you to these recognitions?
The ability not to be knocked down by so many doors in my face, the foresight to surround me with capable, ambitious people who do not put money before everything, but the social purpose and the passion. Then the money comes.
Online reputation is something you often discuss in your seminars and with your students, what are your suggestions on creating, maintaining or cleaning the online reputation?
Think before you publish; creating content with positive value related to the work sphere; collaborate with influential people or online publications so that we can have positive references to our person; sharing small and big successes.
You are trying to implement social media education in schools, why do you think it is important?
Most European kids spend more than four hours online. There is no longer a distinction between online and offline, it is part of our lives. I think that knowing how to live it consciously, taking its positive aspects and how to react to unpleasant situations, is fundamental for our personal and professional growth. Reputation is the future’s money.
DDM Marketing is your marketing consultancy firm, how’s your experience being a business owner?
The figure of the social media coach is very much linked to my mission to bring value, in fact he supports companies by training the staff inside the effective and autonomous use of social media. As a result, I don't sell a series of consultations that keep you clinging to me, but I make the internal team able to self-manage and I do training checks with the methodology of a coach. Our team of digital experts will help you increase the performance of your online and offline business. We offer both coachings for your internal marketing team and support to improve your strategy in communication channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Google. My team and I have supported, until now, over 100 Italian SMEs supporting the development of social and digital channels, increasing the performance of the internal team. Being an effective team leader gives you a lot of responsibility, but if you do it with passion it turns to be an amazing adventure.