Organisation Name: BrightLane
Web References: brightlane.ca
Industry: Office Space Rental Agency
Names of Contacts: George Horhota, President & C.E.O. and Tawny Dhaliwal, Community Manager
Description of how social media is used for business performance
When I arrive at BrightLane, Community Manager Tawny Dhaliwal is rushing around, making last minute preparations and ushering people into the company’s large modern kitchen. She is on a semi-secret cake mission of sorts, organizing a surprise good bye gathering for a BrightLane member who is leaving. A good-bye cake isn’t exactly what you’d expect from an office landlord, but for BrightLane it’s business as usual.
BrightLane is a coworking space located in Toronto’s vibrant King Street West neighbourhood. It’s been in operation since November of 2014. The space is large – over 30,000 square feet on three and a half floors—and decorated in a cheery, modern loft style. Rents are short term and start at $450 for a one month single desk rental, and go up to $4350 a month for a six person private office. Rent is paid month-to-month and comes with a long list of perks that includes Wi-Fi, workshops, a private terrace and bike storage. The company was founded by financier and former Ryerson University Chancellor G. Raymond Chang so leadership and education are cornerstones. Tenants are referred to as members and the current list includes accountants, lawyers, developers and app developers. Together, the members and staff are a tight knit bunch and consider themselves to be a community.
Coworking spaces – or shared offices — have been around since the mid-2000s. With flexible contracts and attractive extras as incentives, these spaces offer entrepreneurs, small companies and independent contractors a more professional work space option than the corner coffee shop or lonely kitchen table at home. And, according to a story in Forbes magazine, coworking spaces are not a new age fad – they’re here to stay. Not only do they make more sense than traditional offices when you consider the steady rise of freelancers and independent contractors, a Harvard study found that collaboration is greatly aided by the physical proximity offered by these shared spaces. This is great news for creativity and productivity and it’s not lost on Tawny Dhaliwal: “Being part of a community where everyone is in the same struggle and the same hustle can be very encouraging.”
As Community Manager, Tawny is busy. She manages day to day member requests as well as marketing and social media for BrightLane. So how do you market a company on social media in the time crunched all-hands-on-deck craziness that is start up? And, just as importantly, how do you know your social media efforts are getting results? It starts by coming up with a focused strategy. Because BrightLane has been open for less than one year, Tawny has been focusing her social media efforts on building the brand primarily on Facebook and Instagram. The company also has a Twitter account. When it comes to metrics, Tawny can’t disclose specifics, but says, “I’m always looking for engagement and reach as well as posts and tweets that link back to our website.” She also takes special note of positive comments and likes — “I like following the conversation when one develops.” She adds that in addition to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram metrics, she has also created Excel spreadsheets to track measures specific to BrightLane.
In this audio clip, Tawny talks about posts that work:
Tawny is on site every day and considers this to be a huge advantage to her social media efforts because she receives face to face feedback from members and visitors. “When I hosts tours with potential clients, I always ask ‘how did you hear about us?’” She tracks visitor comments about specific tweets and posts about the space, as well as more general statements like “I’ve seen your logo.” She also compares the amount and type of social media activity that has taken place during specific periods to the number of tours booked and the number of sales made.
Posting and tweeting about the BrightLane community as a place that is inclusive and fun is also effective, and this is where the good-bye cake comes in. The togetherness offered by the community is, for many, its most attractive feature. “Working alone can be isolating and lonely,” Tawny points out. “I want my posts to reflect member activities, to say ‘this is what’s going on inside.’” The company’s social media accounts feature pictures of parties, BBQs — even ice cream cones. Cleverly, these pictures also reinforce BrightLane’s services and amenities. “You don’t have to worry about things like snacks or toilet paper or coffee,” says Tawny. “We take care of all of that for you so you can focus on your business and building your passion”.
In this video, Tawny gives examples of other types of content that have been successful:
Posting video about special events is another approach that works. A 2015 Social Media Marketing Report stated that video is becoming very important to social media marketers. In June of 2015, Tawny posted a 2 part video series, featuring expert-mentors advising BrightLane Entrepreneur Award contestants on marketing. In addition to showcasing a BrightLane event and emphasizing the company’s belief in education, the videos show up in searches conducted by anyone looking for videos on marketing or entrepreneurship. They help to brand the company and have the potential to attract new members. The videos are on the company’s YouTube Channel where they continue to rack up shares and views.
Another way to get interesting content with limited resources is to partner up with others in the supply chain. “When StartUp Grind is here I often retweet what they post,” says Tawny. She says that not having to come up with original content is a big help given her hectic schedule and that the posts are “timely and authentic.”
Lessons for Others
When a company is in startup, the social media strategy needs to be focused on the core message that needs to be communicated to market the company. The effectiveness of this message needs to be tracked and measured in order to allocate resources accordingly. With a new company like BrightLane, that most important message is the brand. Looking for opportunities to create social media posts around events and happenings is clever and effective, and does not tax limited resources.
Submitted By: Pilar Segura
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.