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“Be more actively aware of your surroundings. Sitting on the train? Get off of your phone and start a conversation with someone and get to know them”

Dan Salganik and Candice Georgiadis



I’ll be honest in saying that I have not been the best advocate for social change in the past. But I think that as we get older and start to learn more about the planet, people, and world around us. Instead of a specific cause or actionable item, I would recommend to anyone reading this, to be more actively aware of their surroundings. Sitting on the train? Get off of your phone and start a conversation with someone and get to know them. See someone who is sitting alone? Say hello. Take your parents and grandparents out for dinner or a small weekend trip. Meet your neighbors. Enjoy your life and don’t take it too seriously.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Salganik, co-founder of VisualFizz and Commoot. Dan has been a serial entrepreneur for quite some time, working his way up from a series of different digital marketing firms ranging from the ‘mom and pop shops’ to some of the world’s largest agencies. After working for these firms for long enough, he decided that he can improve the process that agencies have to deal with and create a more efficient, effective structure for his company. He has seen 200%+ growth YoY with VisualFizz and now plans to put a dent in the OOH marketing space, competing with some of the large billboard companies as a marketing medium, as well as tech companies such as Waze as a big data company.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Sure! I’ll bring you back to a time before I was born to give you a better sense of why I am where I am today. Like many, I am a first generation American. Also, like many, my family moved here with very little. Maybe a couple hundred dollars and no knowledge of the English language. My grandparents, who in the former Soviet Union had great jobs; chief mechanical engineer and head comptroller for the city, started their new lives in America at the bottom and eventually worked their way up to a point where their son (my father) was able to launch his own company. To make a long story short, I come from a long line of hard workers and entrepreneurs. I knew that I was destined to launch my own business.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

As the founder of a fast-growing digital marketing firm, I am confident in my/our ability to create an effective campaign/strategy on social media. Understanding social media is a hybrid of an art and a science. It takes a few factors to create an account which gains followers, grows in engagement, and lures people in with topics/posts that are interesting to them. As heavy users, ourselves, in social channels, we have even been able to win much of our new business projects by utilizing social media channels to our advantage. This has been a great accomplishment.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Working in marketing, there are a lot of interesting stories based around client projects. I’ll tell you about a project I worked on years ago, which, to this day, has been one of my most exciting projects. The project involved the Mayor of Chicago, Yoko Ono, the Emperor of Japan, and President Obama (though I didn’t get to meet them :/). We worked with drone specialists to take drone footage of the Chicago South Side parks, in order to eventually create a series of videos which would portray the renewal and rebirth of major developments in the area. The project would not only create a stronger alliance with the Japanese government, but would also help thousands by creating new opportunities through jobs, updated park systems, and improved infrastructure.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

So this wasn’t so funny when I was in this situation- but now I brush it off and laugh about it. To make a long story short, I was working as an entry level digital project manager. My boss, via email, in all caps, was calling me out in front of our team for making a mistake on something which at the time seemed to be a major issue (it was a 10 minute fix, in reality). So what I did is actually screenshot the emails/messages she sent to me, approving me to make those initial changes which caused the issue in the first place. A few days later, I was sitting in the office being ‘let go’. Not so funny at the time, but now, it’s funny! Why? Because this was such a significant part of my life at the moment. I was completely lost for at least 1–2 months after this happened. But then I realized that this SO did not matter in the grand scheme of things. I learned a lot from this experience and now I just brush it off and try my best to be a mentor and leader- not a bully.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

My business is very heavily focused in the B2B sector. Relationship building and referrals are crucial in my line of work, so LinkedIn has been an essential part of my social media strategy. We focus a fair amount of attention into diversifying the output of social media posts across all channels, but, at the end of the day, at least 80% of new business driven from social media comes from LinkedIn.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

Sure! But I’d like to provide samples of what businesses should

1) Use Instagram as a starting point for other campaigns: I love @thediscoverer. Do I look at every post that they post on Instagram? No. They had sent me a personalized message asking me if I’d like to join their mailing list to receive unique travel guides about different cities, travel tips, and destinations. I am huge on traveling and felt that their initial message was very non-intrusive. And though I don’t see each of their posts on Instagram, I open their emails at least 75% of the time.

2) Become a source of discovery: I live in Chicago and take my food very seriously. Sometimes though, it’s hard to learn about new restaurants in Chicago because there is so much going on. I follow @chicagofoodauthority not only due to the fact that they have great photos, but because it’s a point of discovery for me. I learn about new restaurants and dishes that I should try when I go out.

3) Embrace what differentiates you: As I mentioned, I love food. And I was looking for a good sushi place in Chicago- not the place that has flashy designs on their plate or even a restaurant that has beautiful photos. I wanted to find a restaurant that cares about the quality of their food. @indiecafechicago consistently featured photos of the fish that were flown in from different parts of the world the same day as they were caught. After visiting their restaurant, I was impressed. So, I invited friends and family to visit the restaurant to try it out for themselves. Lo and behold, between all of the people I invited to try it out, Indie probably made thousands of additional dollars in revenue just from people that I knew.

4) Be consistent and stick to a plan: Regular, consistent posting is the key to staying visible on instagram. I recommend posting once a day or at least 3–4 times a week. Make sure your content is on brand, too. It won’t do you brand any favors to have blurry selfie-grade pictures of your business on your IG. There are plenty of not-terrible stock photo websites that provide beautiful imagery. Try to pay attention to and stay consistent with the overall aesthetic of your brand; the filters, the colors, the content, the messaging.

5) HASHTAGS MATTER: Using hashtags matters. Branded hashtags are a great place to start, but category hashtags are better. If you want to do some research on which hashtags you should be using, you can either find a few highly-visible competitors and copy their hashtag game, OR you can search a hashtag that is important to you (say #DigitalMarketing) and pay attention to the other tags that are used alongside with the hashtag you searched.

6) Interact and Engage with Others: IGs algorithm prioritizes accounts that not only have high engagement but that also engage often and in meaningful ways with other accounts. Within an hour after you post an update, you should like and comment on other accounts that have a similar audience or use similar hashtags. Longer comments are better than single emoji comments. By engaging with others, you are more likely to grow your own engagement.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I’ll be honest in saying that I have not been the best advocate for social change in the past. But I think that as we get older and start to learn more about the planet, people, and world around us. Instead of a specific cause or actionable item, I would recommend to anyone reading this, to be more actively aware of their surroundings. Sitting on the train? Get off of your phone and start a conversation with someone and get to know them. See someone who is sitting alone? Say hello. Take your parents and grandparents out for dinner or a small weekend trip. Meet your neighbors. Enjoy your life and don’t take it too seriously.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

That’s awesome! Not necessarily someone specifically, but for companies that need a resource for marketing, check out VisualFizz and Commoot. For VisualFizz, we are always looking for new and unique clients to take on. For Commoot, we have a very unique product offering, an extraordinary founding team, and a goal to grow quickly. We are interested in meeting VC’s, industry experts, and (eventually) potential employees that want to make an impact.

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