Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Arakelian.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
If you had asked me five years ago if I would be here today, I would have laughed at you. I moved to LA to become an actor and while I was pursuing my theatrical dreams, and I never thought I would own my own successful social media company. But then again, I guess the signs had always been there…
My first job in LA was as an assistant for a title insurance company. Although my daily tasks didn’t revolve around social media (this was circa 2010), I was in charge of running my boss’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Instagram wasn’t around then, but I did daily updates to her accounts, and also at this time, the real estate agents in our office were discovering the power of using Facebook to promote their new listings. As I like to consider myself ‘First Generation Facebook’ (my Freshman year of college was one of the first years Facebook was available, and my college was one of the first ones granted access) I was more familiar with Facebook than anyone in this large real estate office and became the ‘go to’ for social media advice. A few months later, I was teaching classes on ‘Facebook for Real Estate’ to dozens of real estate agents. I think that was my first real taste for it…
I drifted away from office work and focused on my acting again for a time, but it wasn’t until I was working a full-time desk job in 2014 (not related to marketing or social media), that I really started to understand how much I loved marketing and social media. At this time, even though most of my tasks revolved around nothing to do with social media, I was in charge of creating content, posting it and sharing the analytics (what we had back then.) This was my favorite part of my job, even though it was such a small portion of it. I was lucky that I had to learn many of the skills I use today in this job: from the main tasks of creating & posting content to website creation & development and even creating a range of marketing materials. The longer I worked there, the more I invested myself into developing these skills, wanting to learn everything I could and how to improve. Knowing I needed more hands on experience, I decided to change careers and fully invest myself into a marketing career.
Through a mutual contact, I was hired to become the Director of Marketing for a manufacturing company. And I was in completely over my head! The first days on the job, I was asked to do things I had never done – tasks in Photoshop, Illustrator, product design and more! I went home every night and Googled everything I had listed on a secret notepad during the day so I could come back more knowledgeable the next day. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. But this was an incredible learning experience for me. I HAD to learn these skills in order to survive. On top of that, I was in charge of 12 different social media accounts and had to oversee a team for the first time. While I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning, I jumped in – terrified! But this ended up being one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Because I had to teach myself so many of these skills, it made me a better entrepreneur. I know how to find the answers I’m looking for – and quickly. But the longer I stayed, the more I drifted towards working on the social media accounts. I loved the immediacy of it – you know when your posts are successes – and when they’re failures. You learn how to navigate each platform and speak that language. What makes a good Facebook ad versus an Instagram ad? You’ll know when you launch it. And that fast pace was what really got me going.
I had dreamed of starting my own social media company – but didn’t know where to start. I’m not sure I would have started if I wasn’t pushed to. Starting your own business is scary! It wasn’t until I had been laid off from the job as Director of Marketing that I was sitting on my bed and told myself, ‘Well, it’s now or never!’
So I beefed up my resume, focusing on social media marketing, and started applying to side and part-time jobs. Immediately I was hired that first week. And as they say, the rest is history. Well, maybe not history – it took a few months of successful jobs and referrals before I decided to ‘officially’ start my business. My business was growing, my clients were happy, and I had more clients than I could handle. I officially started Dimont Media, Inc. and it’s been great. I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had to advertise – my clients have referred me to more clients and even during this pandemic, while some clients have slowed down, I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work with, and continue to work with, some incredible clients. As they say, the sky’s the limit, and I’m only seeing blue skies from here.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Every good story has twists and turns! When I started this, I had just been laid off and there was nowhere else for me to go but up. Starting is scary – you always doubt yourself: ‘Am I good enough?’ , ‘Can I do this?’ , ‘Do I have enough skills?’ But sometimes you just have to start and find out.
In the beginning, I thought I really had to prove myself, so I worked 12-14 hour days, just to show my clients I was dedicated. I burned out really quickly. Especially since I was now working from home, it was a new environment – with lots of distractions, it was a tough start.
I also priced myself too low and some of my first clients took advantage of that. Figuring out my pricing scale was probably one of the most difficult things when just starting out: do you charge hourly? Do you set a retainer? How much is too much for a job most people think is silly?
One of other biggest struggles was convincing people how important social media is to a company or brand. It’s oftentimes seen as expendable. I would be told things like, ‘Well, we have an intern that can do that,’ or ‘This isn’t a real job.’ But if it wasn’t a real job, and your intern could do it, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Everyone with a personal Facebook account thinks they can do social media marketing. It’s so much more than just posting.
With each client, you have to be open to growth, which isn’t always easy. You can’t use the same template for everyone. Every client has different needs, expectations and stories. You have to be open to listening and learning. Most of our clients are in industries we had never worked with before and it takes time to learn.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Dimont Media – what should we know?
When I started Dimont Media, one of the first things I told someone is that I believe in using social media for GOOD. There are so many ways to abuse these platforms and create distance between people, we believe in using it to bring people together, to uplift them, and to inspire them. Growing up in a social media generation, we’ve seen how social media can negatively affect people: from young to old – trying to achieve the ‘perfection’ they see, being sold products with false promises, and using the platforms to tear other people down. We don’t believe social media needs to be this way. We’ve been given a very powerful tool and we are committed to using it to lift people up.
On the face, Dimont Media is a Social Media Marketing company, but there’s so much more that we offer beyond content creation, posting, and reporting analytics.
Need videos edited? We do that. Want to build a new website? Yeah, we do that too. Want to create an email campaign from scratch? We can help with that.
The most important thing we focus on is messaging. What is your brand and your voice? Even if you’re selling products, you can still use social media to be a good influence.
We’ve had clients in a range of industries: consumer products (weight loss, sports equipment, energy drinks, outdoor gear), public speakers, audio visual production companies, podcasting, and even social media influencers, just to name a few. We pride ourselves on being able to adapt to any industry and any need.
One of our other specialties is Online Reputation Management. We’ve all seen how fast a tweet or post can go viral – and it’s not always for good, and you need to have resources if and when that happens to you. We specialize in managing outside content that may negatively affect your brand or reputation.
One of the accomplishments we are most proud of is being a part of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. Last year was our first year being involved and it was one of the most rewarding experiences. Beyond meeting all of these talented and inspiring people, we used our skills to help bring awareness to an organization that does so much good. We participated on a film called ‘Goodbye Dessa’ and of all of the submissions, we were a finalist for the Best Social Media Awareness Campaign. That was incredibly rewarding because we were able to really live our motto: using social media to do good. We are planning on participating again this year and would love to work on more campaigns to bring more awareness to the incredible work being done by Easterseals.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I’m a social media nerd – I love waking up and reading articles on new features on the platforms, testing out new ways of marketing, and seeing how an ad campaign is doing. To me, that’s the best way to start my day and reminds me that what I do is fun, and constantly changing. So I have to learn to adapt to it, which always keeps me on my toes. You can’t get stuck in old ways in this job, you have to always be learning for new ways to create.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the long days, and non-stop social media (it’s a 24-hour job!). But I try to take a few minutes each day to remind myself that I love my job, and I’m so lucky to get to do what I love. Investing in myself and my job each day makes me a better marketer. When I remember that this is supposed to be fun, I enjoy it more and end up becoming more invested into each of my clients.
We fully invest in our clients. It’s like writing someone else’s biography. You have to REALLY know the client, what they like, what they don’t like, what their demographics are, who they want their customers or followers to be, where they want to be in 6 months, a year, five years, what is their story? You can’t accurately portray their brand or persona if you don’t take the time to understand them, know them and be a part of their team. Like I said, it’s so much more than just creating and posting content.
- Address: 11271 Ventura Blvd
#249 Studio City, CA 91604
- Website: www.dimontmedia.com
- Phone: 424-341-4331
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @stephiedeecreates
Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, The Catalyst Companies