TikTok @JMattMKE videos highlight Milwaukee businesses, events – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Before TikTok was the powerhouse of an app that is today, Jeffrey “JMatt” Matthias was on it. 
Over the years, he’s created all sorts of short-form videos on the platform, from ones of him attempting to solve puzzles on a dry-erase board to him doing popular TikTok trends. 
In the summer of 2020, he found his space on the app. That’s when his content started focusing on something that he’s very passionate about. 
His beloved home, Milwaukee. 
Now, he creates TikToks that highlight what the city has to offer, from local restaurants to events, and shares them with @JMattMKE’s more than 181,100 followers. 
JMatt joined the app in 2019.
“Any time there’s a new platform out there that is getting conversations started, I’m there,” said JMatt, a senior content strategist. 
He initially posted random videos, then found some success in puzzle and riddle content
He had noticed that the creators of those videos were typically only showing the puzzles and their hands — not their faces. 
Knowing that putting a face to your online content tends to attract more viewers and engagement, that’s exactly what he started doing. 
“People like to identify with other people,” he said. 
From consistently posting these and a variety of other videos — from trying out viral trends to him in the KISS FM studios where he was formerly a DJ — he garnered about 25,000 followers.
During the pandemic, JMatt turned to TikTok as his creative outlet and discovered his niche. 
JMatt had heard that the “pirate barge” off of the Milwaukee River was for sale during the summer of 2020. When he was on a pontoon boat with a group, they went to check it out and filmed the experience. 
The water levels were significantly higher than usual, JMatt said, and they barely cleared a bridge they needed to go under to access the barge. 
“That part really drew people in,” he said. 
The TikTok ends as they reach the barge. JMatt told his followers that if the video blew up, he would post a Part 2 with what it’s like on the barge. 
He was expecting the first post to get between 50,000 to 100,000 views. 
“In under 24 hours, it had a million views,” JMatt said. “And that week, I gained 50,000 followers.” 
That video currently has 5.3 million views and over 760,300 likes. 
The TikTok was the perfect storm: An element of risk, some Milwaukeeans not knowing the barge existed, and other locals who had their own connections to the barge, JMatt said. 
“You had a large variety of people sharing experiences from being a local,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, I think Milwaukee is the angle here.” 
And with his time in local media and his love for the city, it was the perfect pair. 
That summer, JMatt honed in on creating Milwaukee-centric content that would still work during a pandemic. 
“For me, it was about supporting local,” he said. “It was like, ‘How do you promote these restaurants that are still active?” 
He made videos on must-visit beer gardens, rooftop patio bars, pizza joints, parks and more. 
“When it finally started getting traction, I had a good rhythm behind me and it just continued to grow from there,” he said. 
At this point, JMatt typically posts between one and three videos a week. Some of his recent content has included five speakeasies in Milwaukee; him participating in the Wisconsin State Fair’s cream puff eating competition; and a continuation of his series checking out new or lesser-known restaurants. 
“I want to show, in different categories, what’s available as options,” JMatt said. “I’m very adamant not reviewing anything. I don’t rate anything. I don’t rank anything. I don’t even really recommend anything. I’m simply showing fellow locals what options are available in Milwaukee that they can go and support.” 
Brands now reach out to JMatt for collaborations. 
Red Bull approached him to be one of the celebrity judges for its 2022 Flugtag, which is named after the German word for “flying day.” 
During the event, teams launched homemade, human-powered airships off of a 27-foot-tall flight deck and glided over — and then into — Lake Michigan. For some, it was more of a crash into the water. It was the first time Wisconsin hosted the event, which has been around for more than three decades. 
“When I was up there judging that next to Donald Driver, I was like, ‘How did I get here?’ ” JMatt said. “Literally, I’m next to a Hall of Fam Packer player who needs no introduction. And then I’m a TikToker.” 
JMatt has also worked with Culver’s, Pepsi Dig In, local restaurants and more. 
“I don’t take it for granted by any means,” he said. “I just want to continue to keep doing what I’ve been doing that people seem to enjoy.”
During the past year, JMatt has started hosting meetups for the local TikTok community. He also runs HastagMKE, a social media networking community he founded in 2017.


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