Darren Lachtman '04

issue 01 | spring 2015
Where Are They Now: Darren Lachtman '04

Social media, to Darren Lachtman, is the only media—and he should know. Twitter recently acquired his startup company, Niche, for an undisclosed price, though some experts estimate that price to be between $45 and $60 million. 

For nine years after graduation, Lachtman worked in the world of digital media in Chicago and New York City before co-founding Niche in July of 2013 with Rob Fishman, former social media lead for The Huffington Post and AOL. The business idea was simple: Social media platforms like Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, and others are a gathering place for Gen Y, a key demographic for brands. Niche partners advertisers with social media stars who have thousands, sometimes millions, of followers. The stars are then paid by the companies to feature their products in an organic way. It’s the social media version of product placement.

Lachtman, who majored in political science at Denison, has been behind some of the largest social campaigns of the past year, including HP’s “Bend the Rules,” Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke,” Samsung’s “What Matters Most,” and Pepsi’s “Hyped for Halftime,” so we thought we’d ask him for some tips on how best to play the social media game. 

What is one of the biggest faux pas to avoid on social media? 

Too much self-promotion. Be sensitive to how much you are bragging or posting about yourself. 

What’s the best way to get more followers? 

There’s no magic formula, but it helps to be consistent and know your audience. You can also use analytics to measure which posts perform well and then leverage that type of content. Does your audience really love dogs or fun facts? Do they check Twitter at lunchtime or when they first wake up? You can use this knowledge to build the strength of your posts.

What’s the best way to make your posts stand out?

If you’re posting during a heavy traffic event like the Grammys or Oscars, don’t use the same angle that everyone else is using. Or try and do something that is really timely, like the “you can still dunk in the dark” graphic tweeted by Oreo during the 2013 Super Bowl. That will help break through the din.

What do you say to people who refuse to use social media?

People who are hesitant to use social media should remember that you don’t have to be an active participant. For instance, you can use Twitter all day as a news source without ever tweeting anything yourself. I think people often think that to be on social media you have to be posting, but you can be a consumer as well.

How will social media change in 2015?

We think it’s going to be considered less “social media” and more media, period. Twitter, Vine, and Snapchat aren’t going to be spaces in which you just convey messages to friends—social media platforms will become the staple for how people consume content.   

Published July 2015
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