MKE Influencers: JMatt shares food and fun for Milwaukee locals

MKE Influencers: JMatt shares food and fun for Milwaukee locals

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – TikTok creator @JMattMKE has a mission to share what makes the Brew City special.

His goal seems to be working, as he has amassed 181,000 followers in less than four years.

"Milwaukee overall is an underrated city," JMatt said. "There is so much going on in this city all the time."

JMatt has lived in Milwaukee for eight years. He worked as an on-air personality for a local radio station until the pandemic hit in 2020.

"I would go out and I would see something I would want to mention on air, and I would think, let's write this down, but I didn't have anywhere to talk about it," JMatt said. "I was trying to figure out, where do I tell local stories?"

In the summer of 2020, TikTok was growing in popularity. JMatt decided to use it to share a unique city staple, the now-defunct Pirate Barge party boat on the Milwaukee River.

"We went to the Pirate Barge on a day where the water levels were higher than normal, and to get there you go under a bridge," JMatt said. "And we cleared it, by like, centimeters."

Visual, strange, and hyper-local, the video gained huge interest.

"A thousand views were what I was shooting for, let alone one million in 24 hours, 50,000 followers within a week. I was like, this is crazy," JMatt remembers.

Those numbers inspired him to continue to show what Milwaukee has to offer.

Since 2020, his videos are mostly lists of five places to go or things to do in the city.

"Restaurants, places for pizza, for coffee, for burgers. Basically anything that can have five items to it, I've tried to do it," JMatt said.

Thankfully, in a city like Milwaukee, there is no shortage of content.

"There's easily 100 new businesses in 2023; 50 of those were restaurants. So, there's constantly things opening," JMatt said. "Unfortunately things are closing too, so that means I have to update lists."

Unlike other creators, JMatt will never do reviews, ratings, or rankings.

"It's about getting the businesses out there, so that people - if they're like, 'I love pizza, I didn't know this pizza place existed,' that should be enough for you to want to go check it out yourself and form your own opinion," JMatt said. "At the end of the day, I'm really trying to support local businesses."

While it might appeal to tourists, JMatt makes content with his neighbors in mind.

"I'm certainly not trying to target tourists and audiences way out. I'm really trying to talk to people that are around this area," he said.

Most of his followers are Milwaukee locals, and they often comment video suggestions.

"I'm able to find gems that I would have never otherwise heard of, and it really brings that community effort together," he said.

Now, JMatt is self-employed, doing social media full-time.

He also runs @HashtagMKE, a networking group for local content creators, and works as a social media coach.

"There's a lot of opportunity when it comes to social media, and I want to help people be able to maximize that," JMatt said.

He hopes his passion inspires others to capitalize on their creativity.

"It's about getting out there and trying," he said. "It's one of the true forms of expressing yourself without having to necessarily pay for it."

@JMattMKE on TikTok: JMatt (Milwaukee) (@jmattmke) | TikTok

@HashtagMKE on TikTok: HashtagMKE (@hashtagmke) | TikTok

Click here for more about JMatt and HashtagMKE.

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