#002 Hi, We’re Chatterkick
CEO and Founder, Beth Trejo, tells Chatterkick’s origin story. From her very first Facebook post to growing an award-winning agency, Beth tells what she loves, obstacles she overcame, and her compassion and support for women-led businesses.
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This text below is a straight up audio transcript of the episode. In our humble opinion, we think the audio podcast sounds much better in its original form. We have not edited the transcription below so there are indeed some grammar errors (some quite funny, in-fact).
00:02 You don't have to be a millennial to be socially savvy. We believe anyone can join generation social media and your journey starts now. This is the generation social media podcast by Chatterkick.
00:18 Welcome to generation social media. Today I have Chris who is one of our customer success specialists and we are going to be talking about the background of Chatterkick and social media and some tips that you can use as you get started.
00:31 Beth, can you tell me like, just how did this all start? Like where, what was your experience before Chatterkick? Like what, what led to you starting this company?
00:41 So a little bit about my journey with social media. I think it's kind of an interesting one because you know, when you start a business there's a little bit of luck and opportunity as well as some savviness in terms of understanding the market or, or an opportunity. And I definitely retrospectively can see that in the moment. I had no clue, but now I kind of was very fortunate in the fact that I came into my social media career at a very good point. One, because I'm about the same age as Mark Zuckerberg. So I had the opportunity to have Facebook as it was launching as a platform. It's funny because one of my first posts like you can go back on Facebook and see some of your first posts. It was my one of my best friends who actually works at Chatterkick now, Mary.
01:32 And she was trying to get me on to the platform and I think it was something like, I know you're going to love it or something to that extent. And it's funny now and very ironic, but so when I was in college, I saw the potential there was obviously it was just for college students and graduated from college in a public relations role. And kind of through my early career stages, I had the opportunity to work with the American Red Cross and the Red Cross, especially at a national level at that time. Remember, this is right when social media was becoming a thing for businesses. What year was this about? It was about 2007 ish. I mean, I graduated college in 2005 so I mean Facebook was a thing and businesses were starting to adapt it. But a lot of the other platforms were very emerging in terms of a mainstream strategy for businesses.
02:28 And so I was working at a national level at the American Red Cross for the advanced public affairs team and I was kind of deployed on a an opportunity when a communications opportunity and there was a string of hurricanes that was coming across the coast and I was in d c kind of helping and the command center and really saw the power of these tools who use real time information to get messages out to people. So it was where shelters at. We were communicating with the media. We are keeping everybody in the loop. We were using the different tools and I kind of had this Aha moment to realize this isn't just for the Red Cross, like think of what businesses could do with this and think of what, you know. I was kind of, I had worked at a bank and a credit union. Think what they could do with these tools.
03:16 And especially at that time, these were free tools and the opportunity to get the message out to a tons and tons of people in a very un ineffective or effective and cost efficient way was just so powerful. And so I came back to the Siouxland area where I was from originally and decided to start working for our local chamber of Commerce, which is a tristate chamber of commerce. And my role was really to go out to businesses and ask how the chamber could help. And so I did that with a lot of our different businesses. I felt very connected to those individuals, the leaders of the business and the businesses themselves. And they had I saw two main problems. I kind of grouped these two things in my head because it was very similar across the board. One was, how can I get the word out about my business?
04:12 They would ask me that all the time. And although the chamber wasn't necessarily that that wasn't the initial role and the main role of the Chamber of Commerce, but I felt like I could help them on behalf of the chamber. And you know, the chamber was supposed to be kind of that amplifier. And so I would tell them, oh, you just need to set up a Facebook page or your website's horrible. Don't pay for a fancy new website, just do one of them wordpress. And so I would kind of help advise them in that role. And then I also heard a lot about recruitment. I need employees, my manufacturing company, I'm not marketing, but I am marketing to my employees and I thought I would do the same thing, right? Like go ahead a, use them, use Facebook, Twitter, all the different platforms. And I think the other common threat I saw was, you gotta be kind of fast at this stuff.
05:01 You've gotta try, try, try, get ahead of the game. And so I was trying to do that on behalf of a lot of the businesses that I worked with. And it became a huge part of what I was doing at the chambers. So I was doing lunch and learns. I was doing, we did a couple of social media events, which Gary Vaynerchuck actually was one of our speakers. Which was awesome because now he's a huge figure in social media. But it was a really great opportunity for me to develop some expertise and really understand the platforms. And I always tell people I don't come from an agency background. I just happened to start a business that fell in that category. And I had saw the difference with social as opposed to traditional advertising. And so I really wanted to build something. That was different and I understood, cause I saw this mistake happen all the time when I was at the chamber.
05:59 A lot of these, a lot of businesses in general, it's not just these businesses, it's businesses work in their business so deep. Like they are the masters of their craft that they forget to think about other things. And I really tried to tell myself, I'm going to try in the beginning, you have to work in your business everyday, all day. Like it is. No, there's not a lot of options, but I wanted to make sure that I was looking at things in a bigger way, even if I wasn't doing the bigger things. You know, I was trying to grow a business and so I decided to kind of branch out of the chamber. I was going to start my own thing. I had my son who it was like a baby at the time, just a little bit over a year old. And I love my job at the chamber.
06:41 I, it was a great job and I, my husband kind of really encouraged me and said, you gotta do this now. You gotta do this now. And I was thinking, I have to do this now. I have a baby at home. And I'm like, where are we going to get the money? Like that was a big thing because I, it was terrifying. And He, my husband was studying for his CPA exam, so it was lots of nights and he was an accountant. So taxis in basically disappeared. And then I happened to find out that I was pregnant right after I quit my job. So I was sick for, I mean, you have little ones. I was sick for 28 weeks. And I but I, I mean I quit, so I had to figure out a way to like launch his business and get it going fast.
07:30 So I had a partner and a partner in the business. And then I also had some really great team members that helped me out in the beginning. And I, I think one of the things I was able to do well was surround myself with people who were very strong in the things that I just naturally either didn't care about, didn't like, or had just direct weaknesses in. And so that really helped in the beginning. So we kind of put together a business plan really quickly, got a logo. People were very, very supportive. And I think that is a testament to just the community. Everybody helped out in so many different ways, whether it was my family, our friends you know, competitors. We had one of the agencies in town get our logo, just such great collaboration at that time and I, it still is now. But I just felt very supported along that way. So that was Kinda the, the, the path to starting. Yeah.
08:31 Getting started. Yes. And then, so been around for seven years or so. How are things like grown from when you first started there to where we are today? Like what's that path been like?
08:41 So I think one of the differences obviously are the platforms. But if I go back and look at my notes from when I first started I think our tagline, if you will, which was kind of funny because I really made it up quickly. Yeah. Was simple social online solutions. And although I don't love the tagline as of today because we've kind of grown out out of that, I do think that the key elements of what I was trying to convey then is the same thing that I'm trying to convey now, which is these are relationships and the platforms are not the answer the platforms or tools. And I think the simple part of that was don't overthink it because it's the technology is one thing and the technology is not simple anymore. Facebook ads are super complicated. Even the platforms themselves from a user perspective are not simple, but a relationship is simple meaningful interactions over time.
09:40 And if you think of that with social media in mind, how do you create meaningful interactions over time? It doesn't matter if it's Instagram, it doesn't matter if it's Facebook, it's how do you develop those with a person, person to person, human to human. And that makes business work. We know that that has been the tried and true method of business since the beginning of business was a thing. Sure. And I think that that is even more so today because as consumers, we want to know, we don't trust corporations in many regards. We trust people. And so even if I, you know, am eating a bag of chips, I still want to know so much information about the ingredients, who's making these, where it's made, how was it made? There's so much more that we crave and really demand to know as consumers. This has given those relationship businesses and really made all businesses, relationship businesses. And I think that's really cool. Yeah.
10:38 Well I think even just to support those misses, like if you're not providing that information, like say the chips example, if I'm not giving you the ingredients or where it's made, you're going to still ask that online and somebody else might have the answer and come around. So like people are going to get the answers whether you give it to them or not, you might as well give it to them. How you want it to be delivered, I guess. So what do you think of as like what's the future? I mean it's still the relationships, but how, how do you help people like you did, you know, when you first started the business it was like, I'm good at this. I can help people. That's why I'm starting this. How are you going to like continue to help people?
11:11 Yeah. that's a good question because I think so been around you know, more than seven years and I think my job in the beginning was, you know, to schedule posts and to create the content and to write the content and to write the blogs. I do have some claim to fame, blogs out there. If you want to know how to get fingernail Polish out of carpet. I did write that from the beginning and I took the picture of myself and now it's it's one or two in Google answers. So if anybody's interested but I think it, my role really has changed from doing a lot of the actual day to day work to how do I find the right people that believe in the same thing I do. You know, we have 22 employees at Chatterkick and it's not about the skillset as much as everybody really needs to understand what we're doing as a company and why we're different.
12:07 So having and finding those right people is a huge part of my day to day as well as, you know, I get to tell the story of our team and all the cool stuff that we're doing all of the time. And that's my favorite part because I'll see little bits and pieces that maybe means something different to me than even the client or even to the people that are working on the account. And I just have these really cool moments of like, wow, look at what we're able to do with this. You know, this is a software, this is a data. And we can literally see how many times people are requesting business from Facebook in 180 franchises. Like it just so awesome. And so I get to really tell that story, not only to clients or prospective clients, but to people you know, all across the country we get to have lots of interactions with those individuals. Yeah. Nice.
13:00 So like, knowing what you know now, if you could either start over or talk to yourself when you were starting the business, is there anything you would do differently maybe to set yourself up differently or a different path you go down?
13:13 Yeah, I was having this conversation with my husband who started a business two, three years ago, I think. And we were having these conversations and I definitely don't have a fear of failing, but I have a huge fear of regret. And so that really has been my motivator for starting businesses. And I, I never thought that I was a risk taker. I never would have said that. That's who I was as a personality type. But I think I take those risks because I don't want to regret something. Not that I'll look bad or that I'll fail. Like that is part of, you know, I've never had issues with that. But so we're having this conversation. My husband and I, and I think the hardest thing about starting, and it's a regret, but I don't know if it's something that I would have changed.
13:59 So when I was starting, I had babies, so I had my son was like 20 months old and I had a newborn and my daughter Lola, I had a really complicated pregnancy with her, so it was really terrifying from 20 weeks until she was born. She was born six weeks early. She was in the NICU. And just, I mean I didn't take maternity leave. I took, I got out of the NICU and I had a couple people helping me with like a week or so, and I was right back on my computer, you know, being postpartum crazy woman and probably shouldn't have done that. But, and then I had my, my son who was a two year old and needed everything. So those first two years of starting a business with babies were so crazy from a mind perspective that I don't remember a lot of my daughters, like when she was little, it was so just like trying to get through the day that I wish I was more present in the moment.
14:58 And maybe I don't because it was chaos and I probably pushed that back into my bug now because I have two kids crying and trying to get to emails and my husband's, you know tax season. But my parents helped me a lot. My mom helped me a ton, but I do think that that was a unique position. That was one of the most challenging things that I've ever had to do. It wasn't the business side of it was trying to do the business side of it with little ones. And I mean, I was their mom. I couldn't just check out of that. So that was, that was tricky. And I think, to answer your question, one of the things I wish I would have been or done differently is just been more present in the moment. So I didn't kind of go so fast and everybody tells you that at the time. I remember telling myself that at the time. But it's hard to do when it's, you
15:49 Right actually implement it and have they say the days are long and the years are short, fast. But I guess that stress though, I mean that's, it's probably given you a lot of empathy for some of these business owners who are just sort of in this chaos and don't know what to do and sort of need help I guess. So.
16:05 Yeah. And I think, you know, I've done a lot with female entrepreneurs and just women starting businesses. And I think that is why I feel like I connect with them so much because it's not that I have this, I have this huge like woman power unite, but it's that I understand that there are some challenges that you can't pass off just because you are a woman. Like I had to ha be the person that had the baby, like delegate that. And there was a lot of that, that it was, I was sick. I mean, I literally, and I was, I'm a Wuss when it comes to like nausea and like just being sick and when you're so tired in the beginning stages of pregnancy, like it's just like a coma came over me and you know, trying to get up, trying to do what I needed to do when I just didn't feel good in those first six months are so critical and having all that extra, you know, complication from my daughter and all of that. I think it just, that was really challenging.
17:12 You feel like that maybe help you like cut through some things though? Like if you had more time, maybe you would've complicated things or something. Like you're just like, I just gotta get this done cause I gotta go lay down.
17:23 Yeah, it probably did honestly. And I laugh because my daughter, the one that had a complicated pregnancy she's a firecracker. Like she was an easy baby. Like one of those babies that you never told anybody that they were easy babies because you're like, is this a thing? Like don't want to brag. They, she would just sit quietly, just like next to me on my computer and just watch me. And I knew someday she would make up for that. But she is a strong little cookie and I think, you know, maybe that helped her because yeah. My kids know more about starting businesses and entrepreneurship than probably a lot of kids because they've grown up in those dinner conversations about budgets and hiring and scaling and all that stuff. Yep.
18:09 Maybe that could be a whole separate podcast, right? Entrepreneurial Children I guess, or, yeah. Raising kids, being a business owner. Yeah. Cool. So we kinda talked about how, you know, started seven years ago. Platforms are changing, but again, the relationships are still the same. But what are, what are some things that you've see, I know we can collect a lot more data now. What are some, some challenges that people are still dealing with or things that maybe we thought were true, but now that we collect more, maybe we don't think those still stand.
18:39 Yeah. I think one of the biggest differences today as opposed to when I started the company is people know a lot more and they're better at the platforms, right? They're better users and they're better at businesses. And one thing that I see happen a lot is that with more information also comes more misinformation. And I have always said, even though I do this every single day, I still don't consider myself an expert because there's so many times when you just, when you think one thing the opposite is true. And so one of the, the ways that I have seen businesses approach this, that's probably not always the right way, is they get in their own minds or they let small pieces of information that they, they feel or that they know drive their business decisions on social, for example, the people have a lot of misinformation about who uses what platform when really we should look at the data on that.
19:40 We shouldn't just say, well, my 18 year old doesn't use Facebook. So there's no 18 year olds on Facebook. Sure. Or I heard a news article about x, Y, Z. Well, we don't always know that to be always the case. Right. And you know, there's no men on Pinterest or all of these misinformations or older people aren't on snapchat. Yeah. And I think I had this epiphany at one time and I was at a concert and it was, I can't remember who was the performer, but it was not a young person's concert. It was like a classic music. And probably ages 35 and up primarily in the fifties and sixties. Okay. And I remember looking up, you know, how everybody's recording or they have, you know, their phones up. And I remember seeing all the snapchat frames, like I saw the frames of people using snapchat and I realized we can't let the information that we think be the information that we know.
20:36 And so that was really a big Aha moment for me. And so one of the things on this podcast that we really want to help people understand is let's really look at who's using these platforms and let's take this as a personal basis and pick out people that we know and let's look at their phone usage because our phones tell us what we use, especially in the screen time app. So we thought that would be kind of fun at the end of each of these podcasts to pull up a example of a person and give you kind of their profile and talk about what platforms and apps they're using. So let's start there. Do you want to start with your connection?
21:15 Ah, yeah. So this would be 24 year old male in the agricultural space. He basically works for a farmer has studied ag business and very busy, probably works, you know, 80, 90 hours a week, some weeks. And so maybe not, you'd think, not a lot of time for a social media, but still when he sent me his usage and I guess if you want to dive in there and not, not a ton of platforms, but his, his biggest one using Facebook. Then from there, snapchat and then Twitter and then the rest are just, you know, different apps on the phone. So again, he's not spread out a ton across different platforms, but definitely faced with being the biggest one.
22:01 Yeah. So we're looking at a screen time usage that this gentleman sent you and is he college educated? Did he go to college and now works in the AG space. And he, if you look at this graph just to kind of explain it visually, the Facebook is by far like double all the other platforms. And this is a small piece of time. But if you look at the different categories that this person is using, social networking is the largest followed by reading and reference and then productivity. And I think it's interesting and we don't always realize that Facebook is not just for surfing your friends and family. Like maybe he's using Facebook to get his news. I know in the AG space, a lot of those people are subscribed to the different like commodities or they have all of their, you know, information pushed to them through Facebook. And we see that all the time with young agriculturally savvy men. Facebook seems to be a great platform of choice for them.
23:04 Yeah. I think the thing that jumps out to me, you think 24 year old male or female really, but there's Instagram is not on there at all. Yeah. I mean it's not even, you know, a couple of seconds worth. So you would think that would be one of the biggest platforms for maybe a younger guy, but I'm not even there.
23:21 Yeah. And the other thing that's, that is consistent that we see is Twitter is still a player. It's, it's different for businesses in terms of the strategies that they need to be looking at. But it definitely is where people are consuming information, especially men. And I see a lot of that in the AG space.
23:40 Do you think, I guess for those three platforms there and maybe specifically to have chat and Twitter, yeah. Facebook, snapchat, Twitter, like which one would be, I don't know, I guess cause Twitter is not so visual, I guess it is a little bit more, but are those, are those like maybe more for like connections you think he's connecting with like peers or is he connecting with businesses? I mean how, how would you guess that he would be?
24:01 So my hypothesis and then this again is just based on what I've seen, this isn't always just the data, but if I was to target a 24 year old male in that field college educated, I, I, I think I would probably pick those three platforms off the bat. Facebook is a great place because it's lower cost comparatively to some of the others. It's great for businesses to put ads on Facebook to tell their story, make sure that the contents relevant because he's probably wanting something funny or something newsworthy or he is looking at his friends and family's information. And maybe he's using messenger to sometimes just depending on your phone settings that it'll break it out or it will not. But that's one of the best places to reach that audience. Snapchat is, is could be entertainment looking at friends, but that's usually kind of the what you're going to be doing on, you know, looking at on the weekends or maybe it's a little bit more authentic and raw and he's probably chatting or texting his friends back and forth.
25:05 A lot of young people don't even have other people's cell phone numbers cause they just get their snapchat handles. So we do see that a lot. And then Twitter is really great for content that would be specific to either, maybe he looks at the politics or sports or maybe he's looking at like national information. I would be interested in know how much local content he's consuming from Twitter because I, we don't always see that to be the case. Great for big picture brands and like I said, sports or you know, specific accounts that people love to follow. But you know, if you are the local burger king or you know, a local fast food restaurant, I don't know if that's the right place for you, right. With that audience. Okay. So Nice. Thanks for sharing that information. About that.
25:56 One of your friends, I'm a presuming and we're gonna try to do this at the end of each episode really just to talk about strategy and how to reach different audiences on different platforms. But for now I think we'll wrap this up and throughout the rest of the season we're going to look at different tactical things that businesses or individuals can do as well as how social media relates to maybe some more timely or newsworthy information pieces. So thanks for joining us. Thank you, Chris. I really appreciated our conversation today. A, Chris is one of our customer success specialists that Chatterkick. He makes sure all of our clients are taken care of and he's going to be joining us on this podcast. So I think we had some really great dialogue today and I look forward to continuing the podcast with you. We're going to talk about tools and tactics on how to reach certain individuals and it's great to have that dialogue with somebody who is on our team.
26:51 Thank you!