Shawn Alain: Viral In Nature: Re-shaping the Social Media Industry

The Top 10 Entrepreneurs with an Inspiring Story Vol.1

Viral in Nature is Canada’s award-winning Social Media Agency that has developed into a trusted brand for delivering high quality social media services. After spending a decade in the newspaper business Shawn Michael Alain, the President of Viral in Nature followed his passion and led the company to rapid growth. With a vision to be the best provider in the industry, Shawn began his entrepreneurial journey. His vast industrial experience and out of the box thinking urged him to create new ideas making Viral in Nature the topmost social media agency in the industry. In this exclusive article, Shawn has highlighted some inspiring insights of his success journey as a source of motivation for every aspiring entrepreneur.

What were your dreams and aspirations while growing up? What led to the foundation of Viral in Nature?

Growing up I always knew I’d be an entrepreneur in the media industry.

What were the initial challenges and setbacks that you faced?

Great question. Here’s a story a story of our initial challenges, but also how we got our name ‘Viral In Nature’. I spent a decade in the newspaper business, including Publisher of a small newspaper, and saw the rise of social media, and decline of the newspaper industry. So, I decided to get out of the newspaper business and start my own social media agency. But first I wanted to get some hands-on experience. Back then there were no courses you could take on social media, it was the Wild West. Around the same time, Sunshine Village ski resort underwent a major social media crisis. Long story short, the owners’ son and his friends were caught skiing on a run that hadn’t been opened yet and several ski patrollers ended up fired. There’s a whole lot more to the story but to keep this under 500 words, that’s the short story. So, they decided to get serious about social media and hire a dedicated social media manager. I can remember reading comments on the job posting saying “I’d rather have a whole in the head than take that job.” I saw it as the perfect place to get the experience I needed. They had a great product with a battered brand. I was there for two years and in that time won them several social media awards. But the first one I got was from Slopefillers, a ski marketing website. My second day on the job at Sunshine and a week away from opening, I asked my boss if he wouldn’t mind opening the mountain up a day early. As you can imagine his reaction was, who the heck is you? You just started two days ago. But I explained I wanted to do a social media contest that would have 20 winners and a friend. We could get the media up there that day, so they have pictures for their newspaper opening day and news on TV the night before. The contest was a huge success. A couple months later I won the award of ‘Best Twitter Campaign’ and the judge said the contest was ‘Viral In Nature’. You can read more about it here http://viralinnature.com/slopefillers-awards-2011-best-ski-resort-twitter-campaign

Tell us in brief about the services of Viral in Nature

We specialize in Social Media Management for businesses. That’s about 85% of what we do, but we also build websites in house and work with other professionals who specialize in certain marketing verticals such as Google AdWords and SEO.

How has technology helped your business operations?

One of the ways we constantly improve our services is by seeking out, testing, developing and implementing new applications and technologies with two goals in mind: 1. Make our services more effective. Make our services more efficient.

How do you define the growth of the company over the past few years? (Can be explained with statistical data too)

Our Vision Statement is to be the top performing social media agency in the world. So our measure of success is happy customer reviews, adding to our collection of social media awards as the most award winning social media agency in the world that I know of, and maintaining our rank on Clutch.co, a market research agency, as one of the top social media agencies in the world.

How does Viral in Nature deal with competition?

Our focus is on our clients, not our competitors. I really don’t care about the pace of my competitors, nor do I track it. My vision is to be the top performing social media agency in the world, not the biggest. We do this by taking a hand on, customized and personal approach with each of our clients. Perhaps it’s that approach that helps us grow at a faster pace?

What is your vision for the company?

Mission, Vision & Core Values
Mission Statement

Capturing the POWER of SOCIAL MEDIA for the benefits of our clients.

Vision Statement

To be the top performing social media agency in the world.

Our Core Values
Client Appreciation

A client is the most important person in our business. They are not dependent on us. We are dependent on them. They are not an interruption in our work. They are the purpose of it. They are not an outsider in our business. They are part of it. It is a privilege for them to allow us to manage such an important aspect of their business.

Constantly Improve

We commit ourselves to constantly improving our services, performance and push through our comfort barriers to improve value to our clients.

Technological Advances

One of the ways we will constantly improve our services is by seeking out, testing, developing and implementing new applications and technologies to: 1. Make our services more effective.  2. Make our services more efficient.

Take Ownership

We hold ourselves accountable for our performance and results.

Teamwork

We recognize that our strength and our competitive advantage is, and always will be, people. We will continually learn and share ideas and knowledge. We encourage cooperative efforts at every level and across all activities in the company.

Elevate Others

We lift our customers and teammates through positivity, confidence and graciousness.

Passion

Passion and Heart are cornerstones of our organization and the key to driving our success. We can accomplish extraordinary results with enthusiasm and passion.

Quality

We are Social Media Artisans and take pride in the quality and workmanship of our work.  In order to achieve our vision of being the top performing agency in the world, we do not offer “Good” or “Better” services, only “Best” services.

Give us a brief of your life before Viral in Nature

I spent a decade in the newspaper business in sales and management, including Owner/Publisher.

Tell us about your roles and responsibilities as the President of Viral in Nature and how does it make you feel?

Many successful Entrepreneurs will tell you one key to their success is to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, love life, ambitious, driven, and people who challenge you. At the end of the day, it’s not computers, software and algorithms that make a business successful, it’s people. If you find something you love to do and make a living at it, you’ll never work another day in your life.

What are your greatest achievements?

Viral In Nature is my greatest achievement.

How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life? Describe yourself in one word and tell us what inspires you?

I used to work 12-18 hours/day 7 days a week. That cost me a few nice girlfriends. I’ve learned from that and I’m engaged to be married now to a girl I’ve known since childhood who is beautiful, passionate and my best friend.

What keeps you and your employees motivated?

One of our core values is to elevate others. We lift our customers and teammates through positivity, confidence and graciousness.

What does the future of Viral in Nature look like, globally? How do you plan to widespread the company services?

We just expanded to Vancouver, Canada so our goal for this year is to grow this office, in addition to Calgary, Canada. Next year our goal is to open another office possibly in the Southern US or Europe.

When your dream turns into reality, you end up with a plethora of success stories as your greatest achievements that identifies you as a distinguished personality. Shawn too, had a dream and his dream blossomed into Viral In Nature that made him proud of his journey as a successful entrepreneur.