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 Thing is, most of the specific advice is outdated.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.

The beginner’s guide to beginning by a beginner

The beginner’s guide to beginning by a beginner by Danielle Geva

If you’re thinking of launching a new project, here’s how I got started with Mypodnotes.

 

The Idea

A few months ago a friend suggested I write summaries for podcasts. The idea sounded interesting since podcasting is on the rise, and there’s no way anyone could keep up with the constant stream of new episodes. The best part was that I could test the idea without dropping anything. I started Myponotes as a side project, but after deciding to think like an entrepreneur I realized that it had the potential to become a business.

How to find ideas

Side projects, businesses, and high growth startups all start with an idea and don’t go far without commitment to pursue them. Even though you need both to succeed, it doesn’t seem to matter which comes first. The idea for Mypodnotes found me, but if you’re itching to build something of your own stop thinking up solutions to problems that don’t exist, and answer the following questions:

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

Think of as many problems as you can from your own life, and then ask your friends about anything that bothers them or wait for them to complain about it on Twitter. In the beginning it might be difficult to come up with ideas, but after you train your mind to think in this framework you’ll spot new opportunities everywhere.

When to commit

The bar for side projects is much lower, since resources can be restricted and failure doesn’t dramatically impact your life. So if you find an idea that intrigues you, go for it. This is an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing and learn some new skills.

Starting with a side project is also a good way to validate an idea if you have grander plans. If you’re unhappy at your full-time job, you don’t have to quit to find out if you’d be happier having your customers be your boss. I’m not a lawyer, but you should probably check your contract first to make sure there’s no conflicts so that you’ll have full ownership if you decide to leave.

After chatting about Mypodnotes with friends to gauge demand and the work involved, I found many people who were interested in Cliff’s Notes for podcasts. There just isn’t enough time to listen to every single episode, and no one likes to miss out. I also relate to people who remember key insights better by reading text over listening to audio. This was enough to take the side project seriously, but I only decided to fully commit to Mypodnotes once I saw actual traction on the blog.

It will take much longer for me to figure out a business model that works, but I’m in it for the long haul. All you need for building a company is time and determination, because you only fail when you give up on your idea.

How to name your business

The name Mypodnotes came to me randomly, and is pretty straightforward because that’s what appeals to me. Ignore the pressure to spend time searching for the perfect name, because you can always change it later on. Finding a name that’s unique and playful isn’t as crucial as making sure people can pronounce properly so that it catches on. Once you come up with a name, don’t get too attached to the spelling before you secure a domain and a Twitter handle. Try adding words like “The” and “App”, switching up vowels, or experimenting with new top level domains.

The Website

If you’ve ever heard of Lean Startup Machine workshops, then you know a business can start with a single piece of paper. Remember that when it’s time to create a website for your new idea. Instead of spending the next few months learning how to code, or figuring out WordPress.org again, I decided to go with Tumblr so I could focus on growing an audience for Mypodnotes. Your site is just a means to end, and the functionality you need to test an idea is usually offered by a third party platform. You can always build a custom site later on, when it’s time to scale. As you probably figured out, this section isn’t about how to magically create something out of thin air or how to hire a web developer. I’m a bootstrapped non-technical founder, so it’s all about distribution.

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Social Media Audit: Stripe’s Company Blog

Stripe

Company Overview

The following social media audit is based on Stripe’s company blog. Stripe offers an easy, and developer-friendly, way for companies of any size to accept web and mobile payments.

You can learn more about Stripe here:
https://stripe.com/
https://stripe.com/blog

Branding

Stripe has taken the time to create a clean blog design that complements their main site.* Individual elements, such as background colour and font style, shouldn’t be neglected as they can affect your visitors’ experience. Stripe achieves seamless branding by customizing their blog to convey the same professional and trustworthy image as their site.

Stripe

Incorporating the standard ‘stripe’ logo that appears on the main site, along with hand written ‘Blog’ text, is a nice touch for the title. Stripe also links each word to either the site or blog home page. Linking to your site from the blog’s header is a great way to drive traffic to your offering, as readers are more likely to convert.

Stripe

Stripe has neglected to add a bio on their blog, which may also serve as a way to increase conversion. A description of their services, or even a short tag line, can further educate visitors on Stripe’s offering and encourage them to visit the site for more information.

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5 Ways to Leverage Your Existing Customers for Growth

Rising Bread

No matter how small your current user base is, these five simple tactics will help you acquire new customers by leveraging existing ones.

1. Video Testimonials

Creating video testimonials is a powerful way to convey customer satisfaction and convert prospects. You may have been avoiding video due to high production costs, but unlike your intro video an engaging testimonial can be as simple as a Skype screen capture. The lighting doesn’t matter as much as the sound; however, don’t forget to have the customer clearly state their name and company (if relevant). Upload the videos both to YouTube and your site, and consider using memorable quotes for written testimonials. Instead of constantly asking loyal customers for references, you can now simply direct an endless number of prospects to the videos at any time.

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Lessons from the Greats

Looking for entrepreneurship information, advice, and tips? Look no further. Under30CEO prepared a list of 20 Blogs and Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow. These experts have been through it all, and are sharing the valuable lessons they have learnt along the way.  Continue reading