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Matthew Russo and Bryce Thornton of ChatterJet

Meet Matthew Russo and Bryce Thornton of ChatterJet, a daily social media email service for small businesses.

What is ChatterJet?

ChatterJet is a daily email service for small business. It helps them do social media the right way. We deliver social media best practices through a daily email. Every email is different based on what the customer does, what industry they’re in or what products and services they sell. There’s also a location element.

Why did you start your business? How did you come up with the idea?

It was started because of Matthew’s consulting background in the online world. Consulting with small to medium-sized business, he realized they had a lot of the same issues with social media. They don’t have the time to do it themselves, they don’t want to pay a big budget or they don’t know what to do in the first place. Matthew has seen the value of how social media can drive traffic and revenue into the business. We decided to build ChatterJet just to put that expertise to use in a cost effective way and give small businesses the same advantages that big corporations have that have teams of people dedicated to doing social media internally.

What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of, and how did they help?

Matthew got into the online space through a company that was out of Tech Columbus back in 2009 called Vulx.com. It was the first private sales site for high-end home improvement products, so Matthew got a lot of experience through that and through their resources. They’re fantastic. We were also both partners of Startup Weekend. Bryce did it in 2009, Matthew just did his this past October. Those experiences got us thinking about startups even before we knew ChatterJet was going to be a legitimate company.

What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?

Watching how our customers use the service. We have expectations of what we think they’ll end up doing with the information we provide them every day, but it’s really cool to see them morph that to better reflect their company’s persona online.

What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?

Everybody here that we’ve worked with is extremely approachable. There’s not that stigma that you’re from Silicon Valley or New York City. It’s a very approachable way to generate business. As a result, there are a lot of stipulations about how people should be using social media. But really when it comes down to it, it’s about generating more business. So having that Midwestern sensibility about how to approach business, how to generate revenue is – we think – the right way to go about it, instead of promoting it and trying to live up to the hype.

Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?

Ironically, Bryce and Matthew actually met through Twitter. Matthew put out a tweet saying he was looking to team up with a developer here in town.  The stars must have aligned, because Bryce was part of a Startup Weekend team on a project that was winding down and he had the availability. The rest is literally history. We set up a time to meet, grabbed a beer and over that period we talked through Matthew’s initial idea of how it could evolve and Bryce was excited enough to become involved and we co-founded it together.

What’s next for you and your company?

Right now we’re specifically focused on small businesses. But we have had a lot of interest on the agency side as well from those companies who are basically managing other small businesses or personas online. It comes from the world Matthew is used to. You set a strategy and then you implement it. Any tools that can help make that process a little bit easier or faster for agencies is always really interesting. So we’re exploring that option. Another option we’re currently looking at is how can we roll this out to specific niches within any given industry. So instead of customizing it to a pizza shop or a clothing store, we’re looking at how we can specifically target, for example, gyms and how we can build dedicated programs for that, so gyms all across the country can use this most efficiently. That’s where we’re focusing right now.

Writer: Joe Baur

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