Network, network, network! As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to get your name out there as much as you can.
Originally hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, Katy Lynch is President and co-founder of SocialKaty, Inc, a Chicago-based Social Media Marketing agency that manages online communities for brands. SocialKaty’s services include day-to-day management of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and blogs for brands as well as social advertising, social contests, design and development.
Before launching SocialKaty, Katy’s previous role was Social Media Manager of Where I’ve Been, Facebook’s largest travel application. With almost 10 million members, Katy single-handedly managed Where I’ve Been’s online community for two years. In April 2009, Katy launched #traveltuesday – a Twitter hashtag used by over 2,000 key influencers in the travel industry including Tripadvisor, American Airlines, and Lonely Planet. Later that year, Katy was named the 12th Most Influential ‘Tweeter’ in Chicago.
In August 2010, Katy took her passion and expertise in social media management and decided to launch her own agency, where she could assist and consult other businesses that felt overwhelmed by social media. In two years, SocialKaty has successfully grown into a 27-employee operation, funded by Lightbank, and has a diverse portfolio of clients, ranging from startups to medium sized businesses across the United States and abroad. In September 2012, Katy was named one of the Top 50 Tech influencers by Crain’s Chicago Business.
In her free time, Katy enjoys running, attending music festivals, watching British comedy, and speaking at social media related events around Chicago.
What are you working on right now?
My awesome company, SocialKaty! Our highly skilled account managers create and manage all online content for brands. This includes everything from high level social media strategy and research to implementation of online campaigns.
Where did the idea for SocialKaty come from?
The idea came to me while I was working at Where I’ve Been. I started attending events relating to Community Management. I’d meet a lot of business owners who struggled with social media and I would offer advice. This is when I realized I had to start my own company and consult these business owners full time.
What does your typical day look like?
My morning almost always looks like this: wake up, check email, read the news and latest social media trends online. My afternoon is one big juggling act between sales, marketing, and PR. I update our Twitter account, Facebook, and blog as well as check (and update) our company profiles on LinkedIn, Quora, Namesake, and Pinterest. I run meetings with potential and existing clients and help the Sales team find quality leads. When I’m not running around from meeting to meeting, I am securing great PR opportunities and speaking engagements for myself around Chicago.
In the evenings, I attend social media marketing events. Networking allows me stay on top of my industry as well as my competitors.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I really love the image trend that is dominating the web at the moment. I’m talking about Instagram, Pinterest, and even simple Internet memes. Visuals are a great way for brands to tell their story, flaunt their products, and showcase company culture.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
When I lived in the UK, I waitressed for almost 2 years at a very upscale seafood restaurant. For 5 months, I took a position as a Hostess and it was definitely my least favorite position. I learned that, no matter what, you absolutely have to “keep your cool” in very intense, public, and fast-paced situations. Screaming at customers is not an option. Also, I learned the valuable skill of multitasking. This skill has definitely come in handy since I work in various departments of my own business (sales, PR, and marketing).
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I have learned so much about business, marketing, and myself within the last two years. To be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Network, network, network! As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to get your name out there as much as you can. Attending events, conferences, roundtables, and panels that are relevant to your industry is a fantastic way to meet people and share ideas with other business owners. Networking is very rewarding as it can lead to great business opportunities. I use a service called Eventbrite to search and find events that are happening here in Chicago every week.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first launched my business, we did not have a training program for new hires. This turned out to be a bit of a failure because all of our account managers were learning at different levels. Now, all potential full time employees must go through a rigorous 6-8 week training program before they are given any client accounts.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Alright. I have an idea that involves Instagram. There should be an application that allows users to upload their fave Instagram images (for a small fee) and send directly to their nearest print shop (Kinko’s, for example). Then, you can get your images printed, in any size, to use for any occasion.
Hmmm. This may already exist, though. So, if it does, ignore the above. ;)
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
What a great question. There are so many things I want to change. Teenage bullying is the latest thing I want to get rid of. It is despicable. I have no idea how to do that, single-handedly, though.
Tell us a secret.
This one is pretty bad. When I’m feeling chilly, I use a hairdryer to warm myself up. I have destroyed 3 hairdryers in the last year doing this. :(
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
1). Sprout Social – Love the simplicity of this service. The scheduling feature is awesome and the analytics they provide are good.
2). Tweetdeck – This is a useful tool for monitoring conversation and searching for keywords related to your business.
3). Google Reader – In my opinion, everyone should use Google Reader! RSS is the best way to stay on top of the fast-moving social media industry.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One of my favorite books is The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s a book about how trends, ideas, and behaviors grow incredibly quickly and (sometimes surprisingly!) become “the next big thing”! It is truly an inspiring read for any budding entrepreneur or business leader who has a groundbreaking idea.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
You should definitely follow Liz Strauss, David Armano, and Scott Kleinberg. All of these individuals are incredibly smart and social media savvy. They stay up to date on the latest trends and offer great thought commentary on social media and the state of the web. Follow them!
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This photo! An awesome and very clever way to attract customers into your business! Thank you Joe Dough Sandwich Shop for the laugh.
Who is your hero?
My beautiful mother. She was always pushing me and encouraging me to pursue my dream career and when I finally launched SocialKaty in 2010, she was my #1 supporter!
Sadly, she passed away from Pancreatic Cancer last year. I wish that she could have seen the company I have built. She would have been proud.
What book are you currently reading?
Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li