Hiscox Courageous Entrepreneur Interview Series

Hiscox-Small-Business-Insurance-Logo-6001This is part two of the ten part series. Follow the Hiscox Courageous Entrepreneur interview series on Under30CEO.com.

Interview Series Sponsored by Hiscox Small Business Insurance.  Hiscox specializes in protecting IT/technology, marketing, consulting, health and beauty, photography and many other professional services businesses, tailoring coverage to the specific risks in your industry.

600_126769692How does a former employee at Comcast, Morgan Stanley and Disney end up starting a social media management company?

Real-time Outsource founder and CEO Travis Huff launched the business after having a cup of coffee with a friend during his time at Disney. His friend stated that “the broadcast industry is dead for marketing.”

Travis realized that these companies would need to adapt with the changing times of marketing. He started Real-time Outsource to provide social media services to clients in an effort to increase brand identity and engagement. When getting started in 2009, marketing through social media was still in its infancy. “It was pretty much like the wild wild west of the advertising and marketing, public relations, and customer service business.”

Television advertisements and other traditional forms of marketing were losing their appeal, while new platforms like Twitter and Facebook were allowing companies a unique way to market and interact with customers. “There’s just never been the ability for a business to actually have a communication with their customer directly and transparently, and now it’s here. That’s why I’m passionate about social (media).”

Travis turned that passion into a thriving business with 11 team members and clients across the US in nearly every industry, including travel, automotive, banking, restaurants, and medical. The team actively manages pages for over 100 brands.

Real-Time-Outsource

How Social is Your Media?

Asked how important social media is to a small business, Travis responded “Absolutely vital. It’s the #1 way that businesses have grown.” Compared to traditional forms of marketing, for example a magazine ad, the costs are significantly less and impact is potentially much larger.

To help your business grow using social media, Travis encourages entrepreneurs to “Make sure you’re active every day.” Inactivity allows for a potentially strong community to lose engagement and lose interest in what you’re doing.

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Social Miscues

When it comes to social media, Travis named several ways that businesses can harm themselves by improperly using, or not using, their social media accounts. Two ways that he has witnessed brands making mistakes is by leaving an account dormant and by deleting fans comments who have true customer concerns to hide potential problems with a product or service.

For young entrepreneurs managing their own accounts, Travis identified three key mistakes to avoid:

#1. Stay away from the broadcast strategy – only talking about you, you, and you. There is value in this type of strategy in commercials or traditional forms of media, but not in social media.

#2. Make sure your content fits your community. Stay away from topics and issues that aren’t of interest to your target market.

#3. No activity after starting a page. “If you go to someone’s social media and the page is dormant and there’s nothing on there or they haven’t posted since 2013, (you wonder) is this guy still in business? It’s better off to delete your page.”

Entrepreneurial Advice

Travis’ advice to young entrepreneurs is to stay away from accepting investments if you don’t need it and focus on strategic partnerships instead. “Make sure that when you’re starting your business you can do as much as you can on your own. A lot of entrepreneurs think they have to raise a certain amount of money to get things done. I’ve found that there’s very few things where you can’t find someone else to partner with.”

Have you managed your social media accounts today? Start by sharing this article.

We’ll TTYL, but if you want to be our BFF, listen to the full interview with Travis Huff below!

Additional Interview Highlights

–          “I would rather work 12 hour days than work 30 minutes at a corporate job again.”

–          Q: How important is insurance to your business and do you have it?

            A: I have Hiscox. I truly believe in them… I think it’s crucial for any business to have some sort of protection.

–          “The biggest risk I took was the financial commitment of having a stable salary job (that he was leaving).”

–           Travis stated that social media done right can provide 10-fold results.

–          “Most entrepreneurs are so rushed to get funding and then it happens and it all changes.”