Diana Bagas, co-founder of web marketing agency, Launch, with Michaela Mendes, knows platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be an affordable and effective way for businesses to market.
But, she says, too many owners have a mistaken impression about what social media is, how it works, and how valuable it can be, especially for small companies trying to reach a local audience. And those that do, often go about it all wrong, she says.
Her mission: To educate folks and help them put together sound social media strategies that bring in more leads and sales consistently.
We talk about how do that, as well as cover…
- How to deal with negative online reviews
- 3 ways businesses sabotage their social media efforts
- The role of good copy in a Facebook or Instagram post
- When Twitter doesn’t work – and what to do instead
- And more
Mentioned in This Episode: www.launchwebmarketing.com
David Elmasian: Welcome to The Hub of Success. I’m Dave Elmasian. Today, I’m with Diana Bagas, co-founder and client strategist of Launch. Launch helps businesses with social media management, Facebook advertising, and review generation. They help your business get seen.
Diana has extensive experience in sales and marketing. She started as a sales intern at a radio station in Western Mass, and moved onto what was known formally as CVS Radio in Boston. Later, she was in sales for Oracle, selling their customer suite of applications with a focus on helping her clients to better understand and communicate with their own customers.
She co-founded Launch in 2016 with her friend and business partner Michaela Mendez, and in those two years they’ve had meteoric growth, working with small businesses in the Downtown Area. Welcome to the podcast, Diana.
Diana Bagas: Thank you, that was great to hear. That was awesome.
David Elmasian: That’s you. What, you can’t believe that’s yourself? Come on now.
Diana Bagas: No. I wish you could biography my life. Sounds great.
David Elmasian: That’s exactly what we’re going to do today. This is your life now Diana. So, let’s get started. For those of you that are listening, and for those people that know me, this description of myself is very accurate. So, I’m going to say, how do you respond to crusty old critics like myself that think social media is just posting what you had for breakfast and sharing it with the world? Okay.
Diana Bagas: Okay, it hurts my heart as a millennial, I suppose, because I see so many positive aspects of social media and social change. But, then as a fellow business owner, it blows my mind that something so cost-effective and cost-efficient isn’t being utilized properly by older business owners.
David Elmasian: Right, right. So, that’s kind of a cliché, right? And, there is some element of that. I think that’s true. Maybe not so much on Facebook, but in other platforms. Where, it is definitely a generational thing. Being older myself, when I do see those things, and we do see them … I experienced it first-hand. If we go out to dinner and my kids are there, who are in their 20s, and they’re taking pictures of their food, and I’m like, why?
Diana Bagas: Yeah.
David Elmasian: There you go, right? So, there is value in that, other than just those types of things. So, let’s circle that back to Launch. How did it get started? What’s the story behind it?
Diana Bagas: Sure. So, Launch was born, it was kind of serendipitous timing. I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know how or when, and like you mentioned, I was working in sales and marketing since I graduated college. And, it was just kind of born out of default, timing-wise, I suppose. That, it was a default reaction. I found out what I couldn’t do anymore. It was commuting an hour-and-a-half each way to work.
David Elmasian: We’ve all been through that at some point. Sure.
Diana Bagas: Yes, yes. It was a revolving door of managers, it was some weeks I was the number one sales rep and I had my own office, then the next week my new manager told me I just wasn’t cut out for sales.
David Elmasian: That’s painful.
Diana Bagas: That’s really messes with you.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: … And makes you look at … You know, I was like 26 at the time, and I was thinking, what do I really want to do. I think I’ve learned here that I’m capable of doing so much more, and I want to challenge myself more, and I don’t really fit this corporate model. I have a lot of really great ideas, but I can’t do any of them for my clients.
So, looking back, I didn’t know that it was the time, or that I was ready, I just knew that I could do what I was doing for much longer. So, Michaela, my awesome rock star co-founder, who you mentioned, she came up with the idea, because this was really her world. She was working in content strategy and content creation for years as a freelancer and working for agencies, and she came up with the idea one night of we can deliver a much better product.
We can be the agency.
David Elmasian: Sure. Be control of your destiny, to a degree.
Diana Bagas: Exactly, and we could have a flexible schedule, too. She has kids, and I love to travel.
David Elmasian: There you go.
Diana Bagas: So, serendipitously, it worked out.
David Elmasian: So, now that you’ve been doing it for a while, at what point did reality set in? Again, I prefaced it by saying, I own my business, and two business. I don’t know why, but I do, and I talk to a lot of business owners. You know, the standing joke always is, you go into business for a lot of reasons. One of which to have some freedom.
Not to say you don’t, you do, but you also realize, sometimes it feels like the paycheck and mailing it in, so to speak. So, it’s kind of nice sometimes too.
Diana Bagas: Exactly, exactly. I think corporate life kind of taught you how to run out the clock, and how to survive and how to get by. Then, one thing, I had to unlearn that, then I had to learn that I was capable of doing so much in one day.
David Elmasian: When you’re actually paying attention?
Diana Bagas: Yes, and it actually matters, and that was the challenge for myself that I didn’t know existed, but it is all on you.
David Elmasian: Right, yep. Sure. Well, let’s talk about some of those things. So, as a new business owner, and I’m not saying you’re brand new. You’ve been around for a couple of years now.
Diana Bagas: It’s new. It feels really new.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Well, no. That’s still great. Two years is a long time. A lot of businesses fail within a very short period of time. You’ve probably seen someone. We can talk about that later, but now that you’ve been through it a little bit, or at least for a period of time, what’s different about what you expected and what the reality is? You know.
Diana Bagas: Wow, and going back to your question before. When did it hit me? I think it was you reading my biography right then. I was like, oh my god, I have done …
David Elmasian: Yeah, you’ve accomplished a lot.
Diana Bagas: I have. Yeah.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Diana Bagas: And, I think that’s one of the challenges too, as an entrepreneur, is to remind yourself of that and not get too hard on yourself.
David Elmasian: Right, a lot of negativity. Especially when customers say no or they’re thinking about it, or they have issues and all that. Having that positive mental approach every day. Where, as you said, when you work in a corporate job, yeah, you still kind of have to do that, but the pressure isn’t quite there, because now you realize, hey, I can’t just mail it in, or else I’m not going to have any money.
Diana Bagas: Right. You’ll have to go back and get that job.
David Elmasian: That’s a good motivator. So, besides those normal things, any other surprises that came out of starting your business that comes to mind? And, if it does not, that’s okay.
Diana Bagas: I think it was building the network really meant a lot to me. I did BNI for a year, and I made some incredible connections and friends, and friendship that way too. Building my pool of resources, so when clients asked me, oh, do you know who can do this for me, I do.
Joined the Chamber of Commerce. I was in a mom-trepreneur group.
David Elmasian: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Diana Bagas: I’m not a mom.
David Elmasian: Yeah, but it’s okay. Yep.
Diana Bagas: That I think was the most surprising to me, and that we had just created it out of nowhere. That, we found our success through building up our reputation, and getting referrals, and doing a really good job. Being accountable for our actions. That was the most surprising to me, was this did not exist before, and it was a complete product of Michaela and I.
David Elmasian: Right. So, now that you have been doing it for a while, is that something that you take pride in? That, maybe you’re different than other similar businesses?
Because, we all have competitors. Right?
Diana Bagas: For sure. Yeah.
David Elmasian: So, now is that part of your values? Do you talk about that to clients?
Diana Bagas: Yes, and it wasn’t something that we had planned. It was just something that we found along the way, that other marketing agents, content mill companies we call them, they’re freelancers.
David Elmasian: Pumping out that stuff.
Diana Bagas: Exactly. Yeah. Is that they were charging a lot, or not a lot, for very poor content. Just by us going in and asking questions about people’s businesses and creating smart strategies, and then adapting them as we went and as their businesses grew, that really surprised me that there’s a lot of competitors who they’re just handing us success.
David Elmasian: Sure.
Diana Bagas: Which is good.
David Elmasian: Yeah, it will. So, you find yourself an opportunity by looking at it from that viewpoint. Right?
Diana Bagas: Exactly, yeah.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Diana Bagas: Yep.
David Elmasian: It’s always a challenge, because there are people who are uninformed or who don’t care, and it’s kind of hurtful when you come across someone like that. Because, you’re like, well, why don’t you care?
Diana Bagas: Right.
David Elmasian: Right?
Diana Bagas: Yes. Yep, exactly. Exactly.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Diana Bagas: You bring in other partners and they’re late on deadlines, or they don’t deliver at all, or the scope of work that they deliver isn’t really close to what the project required. But, it’s hard lessons that you learn, I suppose. But, then you feel better, because you’re like, oh, wow, I don’t run my business like that.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: So, lesson learned.
David Elmasian: Right. So, talk about the process that you guys go through. You and I have had a talk before, but for somebody who has never worked with you or is thinking about working with you, kind of give them an overview of what the process is like from start, the beginning.
Just an overview, doesn’t have to be every little detail, but just kind of a hey, we do this and we do this, and we gather that. Because, a lot of people are interested in social media, and you and I talked about this. But, they really don’t know what they should be doing.
So, if you could talk about that a little bit, I think that would be very helpful.
Diana Bagas: Sure. So, first decide what you want social to do for you. If you want it to drive more web traffic, if you want it to just let people know about your product. If you want it to educate people on the complexities of your product or service. If you want to showcase your personality. It’s not like … You can check all of those boxes. You don’t have to pick one or two. But, deciding what your goal is first can save you a lot of time and help build a strategy stronger and faster.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: Then, working with us is we kind of paint the picture of how big the social media world is and how big its capabilities are for communicating with your target audience for very, very cheaply. Whether it’s organic content or it’s through paid content, the targeting is endless on Facebook and Instagram.
David Elmasian: So, what are you trying to say it’s very cost-effective.
Diana Bagas: It is. It is scary cost-effective. The fact that businesses don’t put more money behind Facebook or Instagram ad network is … Maybe that’s my one …
David Elmasian: Sure, pet peeve?
Diana Bagas: Pet peeve, and maybe my one major challenge is just educating business owners. Even if they don’t buy it from me, they just need to know that it’s a great alternative to other methods that they might be running. So, they work with us and we really dive deep into their audiences and what resonates with them, and the educational hurdles that they have. How they need to build up trust with them.
Then, our team creates graphics, curated posts, paid ads. We engage with the audience with all of that strategy in mind.
David Elmasian: Okay. So, how do you create that content and graphics? Meaning … Obviously, you have people for that, but what’s the key to that? In other words, I can Google fill-in-the-blank and look at images and say, oh, that looks great. Why is that important to people? Because, I think a lot of people look at it that way.
Like, oh, what’s the big deal?
Diana Bagas: Right. So, we and our team are copywriters first, and I think that that is one of the huge differentiators between working with us and the agencies, or the content mill companies. Is we work with your marketing strategy, and then we wordsmith it, and we pick out the points that are going to resonate with the audience.
David Elmasian: Yeah, makes a lot of sense. Not to get off topic, but I think it’s relevant to this. I’m going through that currently with one of my business for our website. The website was done three years ago, and in the big picture I guess that’s not long ago, but in website world it’s a long, long time ago.
And, like, a lot of websites, we’ve just kind of added on and changed this. When I step back and I look at it, I’m like, what do we do? I can’t figure out what we do, hardly. So, we hired somebody for that copyright. Just the content alone, and it went through a similar process that you just described.
She asked me about who are ideal customer is, what it is that we do, and some very simple questions. And, she put the stuff together. I don’t know, you probably know what it is, a wire frame.
Diana Bagas: Yep.
David Elmasian: And, I’m reading it, and I’m like, wow, this is kind of cool. This is us. You know? That whole process really opened up my eyes to how valuable that is. And, I think a lot of business owners that have a website, or want to create a website, they’re always focused on how does it look, what are the colors? Not to say that’s not important, but having been in businesses as long as I have, having that content align with, like you said, who’s the ideal customer, what’s important to then, what’s not important to them, what do they value, what do they see as value.
That’s so much more important.
Diana Bagas: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
David Elmasian: So, when you guys can do that, I think that’s just hugely valuable.
Diana Bagas: Right.
David Elmasian: Then, match it up with the graphics, like you said.
Diana Bagas: Exactly.
David Elmasian: Right, because we’re visual and we skim and all that fun stuff. Right?
Diana Bagas: Yes. So, we don’t want you Googling and posting copyright photos.
David Elmasian: No? That’s not good?
Diana Bagas: No, I wouldn’t do that.
David Elmasian: All right.
Diana Bagas: But, then I’m thinking back about your wire frame-
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Diana Bagas: … And investing that little bit of time and a little bit extra money, how it’s going to pay off, compared to, oh, if you bought one more newspaper ad or magazine ad.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: Like, you can’t even compare the two.
David Elmasian: Right. Yep. So, the second part, that we haven’t talked about, that you guys do a lot of is online review generation and management. So, we all hear about Yelp. We hear about Google Reviews, and as business owners, I can speak for myself personally, it’s kind of a love-hate thing. Right?
We want all great reviews, but we have that deep seeded fear that somebody’s going to post something that’s going to ruin our business.
Diana Bagas: Yeah.
David Elmasian: And, in some cases, it does. Because, we see those horror stories, that we hear about, and they get a lot of press. You know, some restaurant owner goes crazy and says all kinds of crazy stuff, or whatever.
Diana Bagas: Right.
David Elmasian: But, why is that important to business, and how to you view that on that sale of, hey, if I have to choose one or the other, or whatever, how do you see that for businesses?
Diana Bagas: So, if a business owner had approached me and they went viral in the wrong way, I don’t think I would want to help them. I would want people to know that they were terrible. But, on the flip-side, we do have clients who are afraid of that one rogue client, that one bad review. If they only have five reviews and they get a one-star review, that’s going to drop their star rating significantly.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: And, it’s going to be at the top of the review, because they have no new reviews, and people are going to take that into consideration when they’re choosing whatever product or service.
David Elmasian: Sure.
Diana Bagas: Reviews are so highly recommended for people who have a lot of competition, and people are Googling that product or service online.
David Elmasian: Right. Yeah. Well, I have a story about that, and maybe you’ve heard something similar. Years ago, this didn’t happen recently. It was at least five years ago. Angie’s List is another one that has reviews.
Diana Bagas: Yep.
David Elmasian: Okay. So, we were on Angie’s List, and same thing. We weren’t getting a lot of reviews, because that’s just the nature of reviews, I guess, that was our expectations, and most of the ones we got were really good. Then, all of a sudden we got this one, and I won’t go into all the details because the person actually might be listening, because it was a competitor. The review said that A, your guy came out, didn’t do a good job, and when he left I realized my $200 sunglasses were missing.
And, I’m just saying to myself, that’s not good. So, fortunately, maybe because it was Angie’s List at the time, I don’t know if they still do this or not, there was a way to kind of pause it and do some more research into it. And, the long story short, it was what I suspected. Wasn’t actually our company. It was a competitor and the customer confused our company with the other one.
So, they must of gone Angie’s List and said, computer, blah, blah, blah, and this other one, I think that’s the one. So, we actually found out that it wasn’t ours, and I actually knew whose business it was. So, I called them and I said, hey, you guys stole some sunglasses, and he said, again?
Diana Bagas: Oh my god.
David Elmasian: But, my point of that story was that’s that fear that business owners have. That it’s like being falsely accused.
Diana Bagas: Mistaken identity, for sure. Sometimes there are ways to petition that.
David Elmasian: Well, that’s what I was going to ask you. So, in today’s world, I would like to think that some of the stuff has changed. So, for some of the tools that you use, is there a way, and what’s the best way of preventing some stuff that’s really not accurate?
Diana Bagas: Yup, yup. It doesn’t happen that much. Our team can help you petition it with the review source. So, whether it’s on Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Google, Zillow, whatever. We can help you petition that and reach out directly to them. Then, in the case of those bad rogue reviews, it’s just, get more positive reviews is the simplest solution.
David Elmasian: Well, I also think that also having a little bit of balance makes it a little more credible too. Right? If everybody says you guys are five stars, after a while, I know myself, if I look at something and everyone says it’s wonderful, yeah, you kind of want to believe, but there’s also the skeptic, and it says, eh … Something’s maybe not right here.
Diana Bagas: Yes, exactly, and then on the flip-side is when you do get those five-star, four-star reviews, you want people to write about their actual experience.
David Elmasian: Not that it was great or fantastic.
Diana Bagas: Right. That jumps out as this is spam. I’m not going to believe this. This is spam.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: Yeah. So, prompting your customers from the beginning to write more detail about how was this workshop or whatever, how was this service, how was this particular product that we helped you with. Getting more in detailed comments goes a long way.
David Elmasian: So, in your experience working with some of your own customers, do you have any situations where you had people that have gotten a lot of good reviews, that it’s helped their business?
Diana Bagas: Absolutely. Yes. So, our review tool collects private feedback as well. So, when you have these really great companies, they’ve been around for 50 years, a hundred years, and occasionally, people do have a customer service issue or error.
So, we do collect the private feedback, and that goes to the owner, the general manager, and they’ve been able to reach out and resolve a situation, instead of losing a customer they don’t even know why they lost interest in the first place. So, we keep the bad review off of Google or whatever, but we also collect that feedback to make a change internally, to help address issues.
David Elmasian: Okay. Well, that’s very valuable, because like you said, it’s not like you’re at the mercy of whatever. Also, like you said, with the second part of that, which I think is actually more important is exactly that. You get to hear about stuff that’s happening about your business, other than … As a business owner, one of the biggest fears is that people just stop using you and you don’t know why.
Diana Bagas: Exactly. That’s at 100%.
David Elmasian: Right, and I know it’s never happened to you, but it’s happened to us once or twice.
Diana Bagas: Never.
David Elmasian: So, I’m going to fall back on an interview that I listen to. Remember, I said I was going to stalk you on the Internet, in a good way.
Diana Bagas: Cool.
David Elmasian: And you said, we saw that there we no good choices for small business that needed help with Facebook advertising and social media management. Anything from the solo-preneur to the hundred employee business. So, why do you feel like there aren’t a lot of good choices for small businesses?
Diana Bagas: I don’t think what we do has caught on in the advertising world, the way we do it. So, you have, really, we have three options. Okay, we’ll call it four options.
One is going it yourself. One is getting a mediocre Band-Aid fix from like your niece of nephew, or whoever can help you keep your pages updated. That’s a huge missed opportunity. You can work with the content mills and the $99 socials that …
David Elmasian: She’s winking at me, because I’m guilty of all three so far.
Diana Bagas: Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Don’t worry. You know, you have an automotive shop, and they’ll pump out the same content about check your breaks on Friday to everyone.
David Elmasian: Sure. Right.
Diana Bagas: And, the last option that you’ll have in the advertising agencies, and they might be charging a $1000 per month per platform, and they’re not experts at socially driven content. Not experts at the Facebook ads. So, by us offering social media management, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the reviews, those are the services we’re the best that, and it’s not super, super expensive either.
David Elmasian: Right, right. Yeah. So, it sounds like you either have the do-it-yourselfers, or you have the larger companies that it’s really just like an add-on. Because, they have clients that are willing to spend the money, so they’re like, all right, oh yeah, we’ll do this. But, they’re hearts not really in it. Right?
Diana Bagas: Right, and they might not even be getting the right reporting to show this is how many people engaged with your content, this was the best time to make a post, this was what resonated the most. It’s just part of a larger package that really does the opportunity on social media injustice.
David Elmasian: So, that brings up a great point Diana. So, what’s the goal? And, I know everybody’s business is different, but I can speak for most business owners. Which, the goal is to make money. Right? However that is.
So, how do you guys define in how you align with those goals? How can you prove … Not that you have to prove. I know that’s maybe not the right word, but how can you demonstrate to either an existing or a perspective client? Hey, we’re going to make you money.
Diana Bagas: Right. So, the responsibility is on us for making the good content, driving the web traffic. Then, on the owner, and we help them with it, of is your website optimized for conversions? So, when people visit it, do you make a good impression, do you capture their information?
David Elmasian: Were you looking at my website? Because, I was just talking about it. Right?
Diana Bagas: You have a great website.
David Elmasian: Oh, yeah. I know.
Diana Bagas: You have a great website. That’s what I was saying, drive more web traffic.
David Elmasian: I’m joking, I’m joking. I’m sorry, I interrupted.
Diana Bagas: Yeah, yeah. Put the people in that sales funnel. We do have clients who have a more sophisticated back-end system, so they can track everyone who walks in the door, anyone who calls. They know exactly where they came from. In those cases, and this is one of the best parts of my job is we’ve helped one small business almost $100,000 in growth in 12 months of working with was, and they were working with a content mill company before that.
I could never bring $100,000 to anyone, but through our team efforts, we were able to grow his business.
David Elmasian: Yeah, you were partners. Right?
Diana Bagas: Yes, and then on the flip-side, there’s clients where they just understand that right now their Facebook page looks like their business is closed, and they just want to pay a smaller fee to just have content be fresh on there. And, when people do research them or click them, that at least the content is taken care of to drive web traffic.
So, it’s kind of a big spectrum of I want to put this money in and I want to get this money out, versus I just want to matter. Like, my reputation matters online, and I want to put the professionalism I put into every day into my service or product online. Because, that’s where people find you nowadays.
David Elmasian: Yeah, there aren’t as many people browsing the Yellow Pages anymore.
Diana Bagas: No, they’re not flipping through.
David Elmasian: Those days were much more simple, but I won’t reminisce. I promise. So, now that you’ve been in business for a while, that brings up a related thing, which is not every business is a good fit for every perspective customer. Right?
When you first start out, you want to talk to everybody, you want everybody as a customer, naturally. But, then as time goes on, you realize, maybe I’m not a perfect fit for them, or they’re not a perfect fit for us.
So, from your standpoint, what makes a good fit for Launch?
Diana Bagas: Wow, that’s a good question. We kill the game in home services. Plumbing, heating, HVAC, automotive repair, electrical.
David Elmasian: Those are pretty big categories.
Diana Bagas: Yes, because there’s a lot of competition online for those people. They are not marketers first.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: There’s a lot of competition locally, but the competition who is doing a good job online is slimmer. So, if you can have a good Facebook presence, and you’re the voice that’s reaching those people and providing them content, those are the people who, when they do Google you, they’re going to recognize your name. You’ve already built that trust with them.
Then, another industry is legal. Another higher competition need to educate people on services, build trust with them, and high-value ticket. So, when they do get a client, it’s worth a lot of money.
David Elmasian: Sure. Yep, and I imagine the review side of your business is critical to that as well, too. Like, especially when you’re talking about home services. There are choices, and don’t we all have that fear? We’re going to hire somebody and they’re going to charge us a ton of money and they’re going to mess it up. So, hearing from other that we feel are credible obviously goes a long way.
Diana Bagas: Exactly. So, it’s showing up in the Google Search results, where your business might have 150 reviews, and then the next guy has like 17, or none, or one.
David Elmasian: Yep, and the guy said he stole my sunglasses. No, I’m joking.
Diana Bagas: That’s a rough story.
David Elmasian: That was pretty tough.
Diana Bagas: That’s a horrible case of mistaken identity.
David Elmasian: So, what’s the flip-side of that. Are there some business that you’ve either worked with or been approached by, either through working with them or just thinking it through, you said, jeez, nothing personal, I like you as a person, but it’s maybe just not a good fit for what we do. If you haven’t, that’s okay. You know.
Diana Bagas: Not yet. I would say that the financial industry has been very challenges, because of all the regulations around what you can talk about and say.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Financial planners and people that sell investments and all that stuff. Like you said, by the time you get through all that red tape, you really can’t do anything.
Diana Bagas: Right. So, by now, we’ve been through it. But, in hindsight, I would say …
David Elmasian: Eh. Next.
Diana Bagas: If they come to me for help, I’d love to help them. Do I seek them out? No.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Well, exactly. It’s not personal. Just, like I said, you can’t be a fit for everybody. For whatever reason. We can still be friends, but you don’t have to necessarily be clients.
Diana Bagas: Exactly. Yep.
David Elmasian: So, other than learning that there’s certain industries that are better or worse, any other things you picked up along the way, as being a business owner, that either came as a pleasant or, maybe, not so pleasant surprise? Other than, sometimes, you don’t get a paycheck. Right?
Not that that’s ever happened in any of my businesses.
Diana Bagas: No, not very … Never. Huh, I’m not sure.
David Elmasian: No? Good. That’s great. So, before doing all this, and before you were in sales, you had other aspirations. When you grow up, so to speak. I’m using air quotes, because you guys can’t see me. Right? Did you? Did you ever have any aspirations of doing anything else besides this? Something to do with music or anything like that?
I heard there’s this nasty rumor going around about music geeks, I don’t know. You know, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a rumor.
Diana Bagas: Maybe Michaela’s and I second business together will be some type of wedding band. Michaela, she’s a Renaissance woman, she can do anything. She plays drums, guitar, piano all very well.
In high school, we were in the band together.
David Elmasian: Oh, good.
Diana Bagas: In our high school talent show, we played a cover of Radiohead Karma Police on saxophone and piano.
David Elmasian: Now, tell me that’s somewhere on YouTube somewhere. That’s got to be, right?
Diana Bagas: I hope not. I hope not.
David Elmasian: For those of you that can’t see, she’s turning a little red right now in embarrassment. You shouldn’t be embarrassed. Hey, we all … You know. I’ll share a little personal story. Not about me, I have absolutely no musical talents whatsoever. Not even remotely close.
But, one of the interesting things that I’ve learned is that some of the most successful business people never wanted to be a business person. And, you mentioned music. There’s a certain discipline involved in music that actually lends itself to creativity. A lot of those elements play very well in the business world.
So, you don’t have to be embarrassed about it.
Diana Bagas: So, I will say that, growing up, being in band taught me how to prepare and practice for things and audition. I think it was my version of sports, where you’re not always going to make the team. If you don’t put the work in, you’re not going to win, and there’s people that are better than you.
David Elmasian: Yeah, absolutely. So, that’s what I’m saying. See? It does pay off.
Diana Bagas: There you go.
David Elmasian: So, going back again. I know we’re jumping around a little bit. You mentioned you had a career in sales for a while. Both in radio, and then you went to work for Oracle. So, talk about radio sales. I have this perception of this old school, we used to call them boiler room operations. A lot of guys smoking, and hey, I just closed this one, aha ha ha ha. You know, that kind of stuff.
You know, this guy fell for it. And, maybe it’s like that. But, paint a picture for us. For those of us who haven’t been involved in that.
Diana Bagas: It’s exactly like that.
David Elmasian: All right. Aha, I knew it.
Diana Bagas: I’m joking. It was, I think … So, I sold radio 2013 to 2015. Well, actually no, because I worked in college radio. College radio is very different than corporate radio.
David Elmasian: Yeah, a little bit.
Diana Bagas: I worked at an NPR station. Very different from corporate radio.
David Elmasian: Yes, did you talk like this? And now, our next guest is going to … No, I’m joking.
Diana Bagas: That’s how I sold though. That’s how I did my phone calls.
David Elmasian: All right.
Diana Bagas: It’s Diana from NPR.
David Elmasian: Hey, if you buy this, we’ll throw in a Prius!
Diana Bagas: Exactly. I sold so many Prius that way. You wouldn’t even believe it.
David Elmasian: I’m sorry, we’re getting silly, but, go ahead.
Diana Bagas: Looking back at the time frame I was in radio, it was an interesting time, because that was when radio started adapting digital strategies. So, actually the majority of my sales were events and digital strategies. Selling schedules …
So, here’s the thing about radio. So, it’s very easy to access small to medium-sized business, but radio isn’t a good fit for them, because they’re entire advertising budget wouldn’t even be enough for a month on radio, or to have a successful schedule throughout the year.
So, me figuring all of that out while making my budget and everything, I had many, many smaller sales that were more digital focused. Which, in hindsight is perfect because now I know I’m more about the digital advertising landscape, being in my job as a digital advertiser now.
David Elmasian: Sure, and then you moved on to Oracle, and what was that like?
Diana Bagas: At Oracle, my territory was in Chicago, and it was $1 billion and above revenue and sales.
David Elmasian: Wow, nice.
Diana Bagas: Not for me. For those companies. So, here I was on the phone in Massachusetts, calling into Chicago to sell social media automation software. It was very complex software, and my account list was very small. So, that was when I had that moment of I’m sitting in the sales meeting, and everyone is just elaborating on all of these sales that they’re going to make, and it took me an hour-and-a-half to get here, and I literally feel like I’m banging my head against a wall.
And, everyone’s like, you’re doing such a good job banging your head against the wall Diana, keep doing it.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Right.
Diana Bagas: And, I just had this moment where I was like, I’m meant to do so much more, and I’m so young, and I have this idea. I’m just going to go do it.
David Elmasian: That’s great. I mean, I say this all the time. For the employees in my business, one of the things I enjoy working with younger people is that, as you progress through life and through your career, you learn a few things along the way. I think I mentioned this to you when you and I first talked, it’s because you make so many mistakes. Right?
Well, I’ve always been a believer, and I’ve realized, many years ago, that’s it’s the old classic, when a door closes another opens, and you have to go through that period. I don’t know what term you want to use. Some people say they’re miserable. How I got into business myself is I went through a very difficult period, working for a couple companies.
And, at the time I didn’t enjoy it. I hated it. But, I realized now, that kind of did me a favor, or else I wouldn’t be where I am. So, I think it sounds similar to what you experienced.
Diana Bagas: Yes. I’m very thankful for the experiences that I had, because it led me to figuring out what I want to do. That serendipitous beginning of my company, where, now there’s no backup plan. I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I’m so happy every day.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: So, now my goal, too, is just, how can I help other young entrepreneurs or people who just work in marketing understand and take what they want to do to the next level.
David Elmasian: Right. Yeah, and I think that’s one of the positives of technology. Which, is it allows us to do things that we could never do before. I mean, even this podcast. In the old days, you needed a radio station to be able to do what we’re doing right now, and that’s kind of pricey.
Now, we can do it in an environment like this. So, the technology allows more things to occur. Like, in your business. I mean, I don’t have to sell it. You wouldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for technology, and you wouldn’t be able to operate your business. Because, not everybody’s sitting in a traditional office. Right?
You’re not all hanging around some big office building. I’m going to guess, just like our business, everybody works out of a home office in my business. I don’t have to have a central office anymore. So, technology allows you to bring in the best people for the job. Not necessarily the people that are closest physically or geographically. Right?
Diana Bagas: Exactly, and my dream, my ultimate dream is that our staff continues to grow in this gig economy, where we’re helping motivated and driven social media managers or content managers be able to live and work how they want to work, and that’s where you got the happiest employees and the best product. And, I want to do the same too.
David Elmasian: Yeah, and, you know. There’s a lot of value in that, because what you’re doing it you’re defining your company culture and your values.
And, people will see that, and it will resonate with people. Like myself, that’s so cool. So, you and I could talk for hours, but let’s wrap things up. There’s a segment. I know you’re a big fan of the podcast, and I’m joking. There’s a segment that we use called Check Your Tech, and it’s simple questions, don’t be nervous. There’s no tests involved.
Diana Bagas: Yep, yep, yep, yep.
David Elmasian: All right. So, are you a Mac or PC person?
Diana Bagas: Both.
David Elmasian: Oh, wow. She is a geek. How about iPhone or Android?
Diana Bagas: I have my one and only iPhone right now, and I think the next one I buy is going to be an Android.
David Elmasian: Oh, so she’s … You know, I don’t know.
Diana Bagas: Switching back.
David Elmasian: Yeah. This one is one you’re going to laugh about, but, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. There’s probably some others that I haven’t listed here, but is it all of the above? What do you reach for first? So to speak.
Diana Bagas: It’s all the above, except for Twitter.
David Elmasian: Why not Twitter?
Diana Bagas: Twitter does not help small business grow as much as the others.
David Elmasian: No?
Diana Bagas: For sure.
David Elmasian: Okay, and why is that?
Diana Bagas: Twitter is somewhat likened to the newspaper.
David Elmasian: Okay, yeah.
Diana Bagas: That, they’ll wake up and they’ll read the newspaper, but they don’t comment on it, they don’t share it, they don’t like it. They keep scrolling, and Twitter is not as geo-focused. So, a lot of our businesses need clients who are local, and it’s very hard to build up a local audience with engagement on Twitter. It’s not worth it.
David Elmasian: Great answer. No, seriously. That’s a great answer. I’ve always kind of believed that, and I look at the fare, the few times that I do use Twitter, and it’s usually event based.
In the old days, we’d turn the radio on. Not to say I don’t still turn the radio on, I do. Or, I’d reach for the newspaper or turn the TV on, because somethings happening in the world.
Now, everybody looks at Twitter for that kind of stuff. Right?
Diana Bagas: That’s a great point too. Trending hashtags, news events.
David Elmasian: Right.
Diana Bagas: I think it’s great for larger news companies and larger companies to engage on. But, for a small business, or just user ship, I prefer Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn.
David Elmasian: And, I apologize, because I thought those were going to be short questions, but it’s something that you brought up that I’m always curious about. I know Facebook and Instagram have some similarities, but Instagram’s not for every business. Right?
Diana Bagas: Right. It’s very difficult to drive web traffic from Instagram, because one of … Well, the only clickable link to your website is in your bio. There’s ways to list many links in your bio off of one link, through Link Tree or whatever.
David Elmasian: Don’t get all geeky on me now.
Diana Bagas: The tech segment. But, in terms of the amount of people that you can reach, and what you can say to them and what you can get them to do. I prefer Facebook for most small business.
If you’re in event planning, or you’re a Realtor, or you’re a photographer, you should be on Instagram, and then, if budget allows, on both. But, even just auto posting onto Facebook and monitoring your community that way on Facebook is really advantageous. But, there’s a growing network of potential referral partners for business that they need to understand and take advantage of.
So, you can reach not only consumers, but you can use that as networking, because it’s not crowded.
David Elmasian: Right. Okay, good answer. That’s great, because I hear all kinds of stuff and I have my views of it, but what you said makes 100% sense to me, and I agree with that.
So, let’s move on to some easier ones. Netflix or Hulu?
Diana Bagas: Netflix.
David Elmasian: Okay. I still haven’t anybody pick Hulu yet. I’m still hoping, I don’t know why. I’m hoping for the underdog I guess, or something.
Diana Bagas: Does Hulu have commercials?
David Elmasian: I won’t get into it. You know. This one, you may or may not do. Well, it’s kind of related. Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, any of those? Streamers?
Diana Bagas: Amazon Fire Stick, if that works.
David Elmasian: Oh, see? I didn’t even put that on the list.
Diana Bagas: If that fits.
David Elmasian: Got to add to my list. Gmail or Outlook?
Diana Bagas: Gmail.
David Elmasian: Oh, okay. Now, this one is the most difficult one. All-time favorite band and all-time favorite song? You can only pick one. It’s like, when people have kids, and they always say, oh, I can’t pick. Well, we’re not talking kids, we’re talking bands, we’re talking songs.
Diana Bagas: Sure.
David Elmasian: Sorry, really put you on the spot now.
Diana Bagas: All-time favorite brand or band?
David Elmasian: Band, I’m sorry.
Diana Bagas: Band. Okay, I’m like, my brand? Now, that is a tough one for a marketer. Oh, man. There is this one song that I’m obsessed with, and I’ll probably listen to it for the rest of my life. It’s Got Somebody Else, and it’s a cover of a 1975 song, but the cover is done by … I think it’s pronounced Verite. I love that song.
David Elmasian: Okay, great. Excellent.
Diana Bagas: All the feels, all the emotion.
David Elmasian: There you go. You laugh, you cry. All of the above?
Diana Bagas: Put it on when it’s raining, when you get dumped. Even if you’re happy. It’s a great song.
David Elmasian: So, one last thing that we didn’t talk about, but I do want to ask you about is you mentioned your love of travel. So, we’ll add this to the list. So, top destinations that you’ve been to and where you’d like to go to?
Diana Bagas: I love Spain. I have been taking Spanish lessons once a week on Skype, so I can go back to Spain.
David Elmasian: Wow. Good for you.
Diana Bagas: So, in my entrepreneurial story, when I quick Oracle, I went to Spain for a month by myself, and that was the first time I had been out of the country. I hadn’t gone anywhere alone, and I landed in Spain, and I went to my little Spanish classes. I went to the language exchange at night, and I made a group of friends from all over the planet.
So, I think Spain will always have a special place in my heart.
David Elmasian: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, and where do you want to go to? Other than Spain. Is there any place else you’d want to be, or visit?
Diana Bagas: I just planned my trip to Rome.
David Elmasian: Oh, nice. Oh, that’s right. You and I talked about that.
Diana Bagas: I know.
David Elmasian: All right. Well, Diana, what a story. I feel like we talked for hours, but unfortunately we’re out of time. Before we finish up, can you tell our listeners how they can get ahold of you if they want to become a customer?
Diana Bagas: Sure, absolutely, and even if you don’t want to become a customer and you just need some help.
David Elmasian: We don’t want to talk to those people.
Diana Bagas: No, no.
David Elmasian: No, no, no. I’m joking, go ahead.
Diana Bagas: It seriously takes me thirty seconds to look at a Facebook page and to come up with suggestions to make it better. So, just email me. Diana@LaunchWebMarketing.com, or go to our Facebook page, our website. It’s easy to get ahold of me.
David Elmasian: Great. Well, that’s all we have for today. Thanks for listening. This is Dave Elmasian, The Hub of Success.