Working as a Finnish business agent in Brazil sounds like a dream job: unique nature, perfect climate, interesting history and tasty cuisine – but then comes the time difference. That’s how life is for Mr. Mikael Virkki, an Advisor at Finpro living in Brazil. Mikael blends perfectly into Brazilian society - he has lived in Brazil his whole life and speaks perfect Portuguese. However, Brazil is only one part of his life, the other part happens in Finland – over 10 000 km’s and 6 time zones away. In order to do his work effectively, he needs to be able to address audiences that are very far apart from each other. I had a pleasure to have a chat with Mikael about his work in Brazil, and how he has been able to beat the distance with SmarpShare.
Hi Mikael, extremely nice to meet you! You have been working in Finpro’s Brazil office for four years now. How is the business in the crossroads of two totally different cultures?
Extremely interesting. My job is to do business development for Finnish companies in Brazil: market opportunity analysis, market entry strategies, and supply chain analysis. In addition, I invite Brazilian companies to invest in Finland and host Finnish business delegations in Brazil. My clients in the Rio de Janeiro are mainly from Finnish Maritime Industries (shipbuilding, offshore) and ports, but we are also looking for opportunities in the Gaming, Educational and Digitalization areas here, and my colleagues in São Paulo are also looking for opportunities to Finnish companies in other sectors in Brazil. Since Rio de Janeiro will host the next Olympic Games in 2016, we are also planning some activities to promote Finnish expertise during the games.
This sure sounds interesting, and it must keep you busy. As we are talking about Employee Advocacy, how about social media, what’s your take on that? Do you find the time for it?
I used to be an early adopter in social media, I joined a service called Orkut already 2005. But as Orkut community faded away, I felt there was nothing left for me. I tried Facebook but it was too 'public relations' to my taste, it made me feel like a product - and soon I gave that away as well. Waste of time.
But then at Finpro we were incentivised to create profiles to professional social channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter and I got interested again – this time professionally. So today, instead of hanging out on Facebook, I love reading news articles, magazines and other publications via Twitter. LinkedIn and RSS feeds. Yes, RSS-reader indeed is a tool to my taste.
So it looks like social media is all about business for you. Am I right?
Indeed, social media for me is a channel to discover and share information. My job is all about finding business opportunities for Finnish companies and social media is an excellent tool to keep up to date with the new possibilities. In addition, I need to be able to share those opportunities to my Finnish counterparts - and social media serves that purpose nicely as well. In our case, all this is even easier, thanks to SmarpShare. In my opinion, it is an optimal tool for discovering information and sharing it further. And it works extremely well in globally distributed organizations such as Finpro.
Do you use social media specifically to boost your professional profile?
Sure. In business, especially here in Brazil, it is very important to know your market and the reputation of your business contacts. By sharing industry news and business related content, I can effectively build my own professional profile.
In order to do that in a multinational business environment, I need to be able to reach various audiences, in multiple languages and two different time zones. SmarpShare helps me to overcome those obstacles by providing an easy to use solution to reach my audiences exactly in the right way, at the right time - despite the language they speak or the time zone they live in. People read articles I share, and I want to provide them interesting content through the channels they use when it is most convenient time for them. With Smarpshare, I can easily do that and build my professional profile at the same time – both here in Brazil and in Finland.
You have been using SmarpShare for a year now, how do you experience the software so far?
SmarpShare was extremely easy to take into use, the user gets the grip on things really fast. Daily use is a pleasure as the user interface is easy and simple to use. Personally I am a big fan of the gamification feature on SmarpShare. I find it fascinating to compete against others and compare your own results with others on leaderboard. It is an intelligent way to encourage employees to join the program. But now as we are all onboard, understand the personal benefits and Employee Advocacy has become a habit to us, there is no need for further incentives.
What are the biggest benefits for you?
Since I’m networking in several time zones, I love the fact that I can select my target audience and schedule my posts to meet their daily rhythm. This way I can ensure that my posts reach the audience I want.
In addition, I like the way how easy it is to discover content in SmarpShare – and the way how you are able to propose content yourself. When you find a good piece of content, there is no need to send it over in a private e-mail but you can propose it to be published on SmarpShare. That way everyone will become aware of it - and all it requires is one click.
Thanks Mikael for your time. I wish all the best to you and Finpro's Employee Advocacy program!
Mikael Virkki is Advisor at Finpro. Mikael is based in Sao Paulo, Brasil and has been working for finpro for four years. He does business development for Finnish companies in Brazil: market opportunity analysis, market entry strategies, supply chain analysis. In addition, he invites Brazilian companies to invest in Finland and host Finnish business delegations Brazil. His clients are mainly from Finland's Maritime Industries (shipbuilding, offshore, ports), ICT, education, gaming, and learning.
Finpro is a public organization that helps Finnish SMEs go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes tourism. Finpro manages major national projects including Cleantech Finland, Future Learning Finland, and FinlandCare. Finpro is Export Finland, Visit Finland and Invest in Finland. Finpro is part of the Team Finland network.