First 100

danielle geva toronto

Hey Danielle,

Could you help me out? I’m writing an article about starting blogging.

Let’s say you were to go back to when you first started blogging. How would you get your first 100 Facebook fans?

1. Write an article

2. Post a link to the article on your Facebook page

3. ???

What’s the next step? 

Go back to when I first started blogging? Well, that was around May of 2010. How would I get my first 100 Facebook fans? I’d have to create an account first.

After disagreeing with Zuck’s views on privacy, I deleted my personal account. But then in late 2010, I had to create another account for managing clients’ pages (which I also ended up deleting).

There are hundreds of reports, which are saved somewhere in the cloud, with details of my recommendations, methods, and results for growing an audience on social networks. Thing is, most of the specific advice is outdated.

Best practices are meant to be broken, and the people who push boundaries get the furthest.

You can google the latest tactics for inspiration, but successful marketers are the ones that devise their own experiments. If you’re starting a blog today, treat it like a business. Start with a marketing plan, and then use trial and error to figure out what work best for attracting your target audience. Oh and remember to avoid making the pinball machine mistake. Getting 100 fans might be a strategy you consider to increase readership, but it shouldn’t be your high level objective.

Think like an entrepreneur

danielle geva think like an entrepreneur

Life is a journey, but I’m impatient so I spend all lots of time reading career blogs trying to figure out what I should be doing next. Recently, I read that INTJs aren’t motivated by compensation which is why freelancing isn’t ideal. I gravitated to consulting because structure is boring to me, and clients in need of startup marketing always seem to find me. But in between clients it feels weird to spend any time thinking of how can I make money over actually helping as many companies grow.

Career advice starts by telling you to find the intersection between what you’re good at, what you like doing, and what people are willing to pay for. So I end up stuck wondering if I should hop on the learn to code train because I can’t seem to check off all three. The problem with this perspective is also that it’s all about the individual, especially talented ones and I already know I’m more of an agent type of person.

Then I look over at jobs, to see which companies actually need me and where can I make the most impact. There’s a huge demand for startup marketers, and even more applicants. Interviews aren’t my forte, and the process ends up being more about the resume and how many connections you have to the hiring manager.

I’m sure I’ll always spend time over-analyzing the meaning of life and my purpose, but I want to make sure that I keep moving forward. I want to spend the next 5 years working towards some crazy awesome idea and feel like I’ve achieved something great instead of being stuck in the same cycle. I’m starting to think the only way to do is this is by thinking like an entrepreneur.

Instead of obsessing over monetizing your skills, you uncover how to add value:

  1. What’s a problem that many people have?
  2. What’s the solution?
  3. How can I help those people solve their problem?

Once you have a solution, it becomes all about distribution. Which I love.

This how both mypodnotes.com and whistlenow.co were born. I’ll leave the details for another post, but I’m pretty excited to start working on these and learn from some new mistakes.

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Nasty Gal is killing it on Instagram, here’s how

My last few posts have been social media audits. Each one assessed a single online channel of a well-known startup. While trying to figure out what brand to feature next, I considered Nasty Gal. The only problem being, Nasty Gal is killing it on Instagram.

Of course there’s always room for improvement, but with no major shortcomings I wondered if I should keep looking. When a brand is doing well, I think it takes skill to point out its weaknesses. More importantly, I was hoping my actionable advice was heard and helped the startups improve their online presence.

After following Nasty Gal’s Instagram account for a couple of days, I realized that even though they don’t need my unsolicited advice, other brands are bound to be inspired by their success.

I often get asked if Instagram is worth it. This depends if your customers are even using the social network. You should also know that Instagram may not drive much traffic (and in turn sales) overnight, but it’s invaluable for building a loyal community. This is partly due to the Instagram feed being one of the few that is still viewed in its entirety by many users.

Below are some actionable lessons that translate to most consumer brands, and will help you tap into Instagram’s captive audience.

Branding

Open NastyGal.com in a new tab, and soak up that feeling. Now open up another tab with the Nasty Gal Instagram account. The brand has managed to duplicate the experience, with Nasty Gal’s Instagram being as vibrant as their site, and full of attitude.

Nasty Gal
Nasty Gal’s Instagram account, managed by Isabella Behravan

The risqué tag line appears on their Twitter account, though it slightly differs from their Pinterest and Facebook bios. This might be intentional, as you should always keep in mind the type of users on each social network. However, your target audience might not change much depending on the medium. Consistent messaging can help with SEO and with conveying a stronger and more memorable image.

The only hyperlink on Instagram is the one in your bio, so be sure to use that space wisely. Nasty Gal links to their homepage. You can follow suit, or be creative and link to a landing page personalized for Instagram followers.

The Nasty Gal logo is used as a display picture for the main account, while a slightly revised image appears on their careers account. You might be tempted to switch up your display picture, but exhibiting a consistent logo helps improve brand recognition.

Sophia Amoruso is no stranger to social recruiting, and having a separate careers account allows Nasty Gal to stay true to their brand. If you plan on sourcing talent and distributing open positions on Instagram, consider that the content that appeals to your customers might differ from what you’d like to share with potential hires.

Content

The majority of Instagram users capture moments as they occur, but creating appealing content that represents the Nasty Gal brand sometimes means carefully stylized product shots and Photoshop fun. These custom images do well since they don’t go as far as pushing generic marketing messages or shooting merchandise on boring mannequins.

Even when a product shot features a model against a white background, she is fully accessorized and looks like she stepped out of a glossy fashion magazine, rather than a dimly lit warehouse. You want your brand to stand out in the feed, not look out of place.

Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal takes full advantage of Instagram’s video feature by announcing contest winners and sharing GIFs. Recently, Nasty Gal created a very short and funny ad for a new app. Understanding the sense of humour of your audience, can help you create entertaining videos that don’t offend your followers. Nasty Gal has also been promoting Sophia Amoruso’s new book #GIRLBOSS by portraying successful women. These insightful videos are well received, as they provide followers with valuable advice and inspiration.

Aside from sharing the classic Nasty Gal look, new fashion and internet trends are also incorporated into images. This goes further than acknowledging seasons and holidays. These images make Nasty Gal part of the conversation, if not an authority, on festival wear and even wildly used emoji.

Nasty Gal also understands which famous personalities resonate with their audience. Photos of them wearing the clothing brand are posted along with a custom url. Followers can then learn more the product showcased, and other favourite Nasty Gal picks.

Nasty Gal

The custom url is added both in the caption and as a ‘location’. Neither of these links are clickable, so you will likely see very little traffic if they are only used on Instagram. If you do decide to include links, always use a custom url. This way you’ll be able to test variables and improve your results. Nasty Gal’s loyal community, solid call-to-actions, and striking images are all factors contributing to increased visits as users type out the url or copy and paste the caption.

Engagement

While Nasty Gal mostly includes a url in place of a location, they do sometimes include a physical location. Adding a place increases your reach to Instagram users browsing images at that location. There have been some issues with location since Instagram replaced Foursquare with Facebook Places, so be sure to pick an accurate address.

Regardless of where the shot was taken, if the people in the photo have an Instagram account, Nasty Gal @mentions them within the caption. This makes it easy for your followers to engage with that person. Instagram also allows you to tag people in the photo itself, but you might want to get permission first since tagged photos will appear publicly in their profile. Either way, the person will get notified which encourages more activity and hopefully a repost of the photo for their own followers.

Adding hashtags to the caption can also increases likes, comments, and followers. Hashtags improve engagement by targeting users that aren’t yet following your brand. Nasty Gal could include popular, yet relevant, hashtags such as Fashion (114M+), Style (87M+), and Vintage (12M+). However, they mostly use their own branded hashtags. Event though these have been gaining momentum, the branded hashtags are likely to only be used by current followers. A balance of the two can have a significant impact on your brand awareness and engagement metrics.

Creating your own hashtags can help you build a community around a shared love for your brand. However, the above only works if that sentiment already existed among your customers. Nasty Gal was able to build a large audience, because it offers high quality products that their customers desire.

Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal has 1.2M+ Instagram followers, hundreds of comments per photo, thousands of images with their branded hashtags, and yet they still take the time to interact with fans. Initially this will be easy to do, but as your online presence grows you will have to make an effort to ensure engagement remains a priority. Nasty Gal knows the value of listening to customers on social media, and this has helped them become a stronger brand with a growing loyal community.


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Never Underestimate the Competition

Craigslist

How many times have you exchanged emails with your team linking to a horrendous looking website?

It’s easier to poke fun at a competitor and underestimate their ability based on appearances, than to actually do the research. While, it may boost morale in the short-term, you won’t be smiling when your customers suddenly switch over.

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Trello Use Case Suggestions

To Do, Doing, Done (can choose to use the default)

  1. Ideas, Research, Formulate, Pitch, Execute (can vote on which ideas will actually be executed)
  2. Titles, Research, First Draft, Editing, Final, Published, Promoted (can add a check list with each proofreading element)
  3. Recipes, Making, Revise, Keep (can add pictures of final outcome)
  4. Buy, Coupons, Deals, Sales (can add expiry dates in the notes)
  5. Read, Reading, Share (can add hyperlinks to each article)
  6. Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annually (boards don’t have a to be a process)
  7. Call, Text, Email, SM (can upload a file with the contact info)
  8. Monitor, Responding, Report (can assign individuals to a task)
  9. Startups, Researching, Tried, Recommend (can archive cards once you are done with them)
  10. Upcoming Events, RSVP’d, Attended, Follow Up (can colour coordinate according to importance)

Got an idea for a Trello use case? (can start as many new boards, lists, and cards as needed)


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Community Recommended

I came across XYDO while researching startups, betas, and innovative new apps for a side project. My first response was to bookmark the site, because I already knew I would frequent XYDO.

First impressions can make or break you, for some it’s the description but for me it’s the logo, the website, and the people behind the idea. XYDO has one of the most visually appealing websites I’ve come across in awhile. The design is amazing, and it is incredibly easy to navigate through the site and content. The XYDO team is clearly destined for greatness, and even though the About page isn’t up yet, you won’t be able to miss them.

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Dropbox

Some people trust their computers and store every piece of important information on it without backing it up. Others, like myself, are fanatics about organizing and keeping information in 10 million places just in case one day you might find use for a balance sheet assignment from a high school accounting class. I also still have every single one of my physical notes from university, but that’s another story.

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Keith and The Girl

When I first heard about Keith and The Girl (KATG) I wasn’t really open to the concept. I’m a very visual person and find it hard to pay attention to audio. But 4 years later, I find it hard to go through a week without a dose of this awesome podcast.

During my first year of University I decided to give the podcast a try, and was instantly hooked. I should mention that some of the content is intense, and KATG is definitely not for those who get easily offended. However, their candidness is very appealing. The podcast is vastly different than the familiar radio show format. Keith, an award winning comedian, and his partner Chemda, a world-renowned singer, speak honestly about almost everything and do not hide behind fake exteriors.

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Spreadshirt

Creating art, writing a blog, or recording music usually works best when you have an audience. The support from your audience, in addition to the sheer motivation to continue to create, is enough to inspire anybody.

Before I started writing, I expressed myself through t-shirts, which can be found in my online store. At first it was hard to translate my sketches to Illustrator, but I learned how to use the program to create a new kind of art. I still find it hard to explain how to use Illustrator and Photoshop but once I start my creativity flows and amazing images are created.

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