They’re married now, but it initially took Internet Marketing Bachelor’s grads Diana Santaguida and Orun Bhuiyan a little while to warm up to each other.
“There was this guy [on the discussion boards] who would always conflict with my opinion or view on something,” remembers Diana. “I was coming from a background in psychology and sales and his background was in computer science and technology. We had a different approach to the assignments and I used to get so annoyed with him.”
But then after a few weeks of disagreeing and busting each other’s chops the two online students worked on a group project together, and they realized that when they collaborated, their strengths and weaknesses complemented each other nicely.
“We started calling each other and discussing projects from a business perspective,” says Orun. “We were working on an infographic project at the time and we started talking about what we could do and realized there was a lot of potential for collaboration. We’re polar opposites in the business sense, but we have a lot of the same tastes in design and marketing strategy.”
After successfully working together in class, the pair decided to try teaming up on a few outside client projects. They found that – from a business standpoint – they were really bringing out the best in each other. From there, the two developed a friendship. They hit it off after meeting in person a couple of months later, and according to Diana, “from then on, we were just together” – romantically and professionally.
While they were both still students in 2010 they decided to make their business partnership official by founding SEOcial. (They married a year later, in 2011.) The company initially offered search engine optimization and social posturing services (“everything you do to get people to know you, like you, and trust you,” says Diana), but has grown into a completely integrated marketing agency that also assists clients with branding, design, publicity, web development, and more.
“What we typically tell people is that we solve business challenges through a marketing lens,” says Diana. “We prefer to augment something that has been initiated.”
Orun explains that SEOcial’s goal is to handle client work from a holistic, big-picture approach, which gives a company the best chance for success. Say that a company hires SEOcial for SEO, but they don’t have an optimally-designed website. What will end up happening is that the SEO will get the client to their website, but they won’t end up staying on the site for very long. SEOcial’s goal is to prevent that from happening; to expertly know where resources should be allocated for optimal success.
All of SEOcial’s clients have come via referral – it’s an accomplishment Diana and Orun are both proud of, and a testament to their hard work. They’ve grown SEOcial substantially since graduating from Full Sail in 2013, and currently have a team of 12 employees and offices in both Toronto and New York City. In the coming years they hope to take on more international and enterprise-level clients, author material that will help other Internet marketers, and stay up-to-date with the latest technology so they can continue to give their clients a competitive advantage.
“When we tell people that we work together and live together, they kind of have this aghast expression on their face because they couldn’t imagine spending that much time with someone,” says Orun. “For whatever reason, for us it just works really well.”