January 25, 2016
By Annie Dittberner
Four years ago, Luke Riordan's first office desk resided in a friend's unfinished basement.
Now, the 2012 Saint John's University graduate owns a much more refined desk — and career.
Riordan is the owner, founder and chief executive of DAYTA Marketing in St. Cloud, a social media marketing company that represents organizations and businesses on the social media platform.
"We are their social media department," Riordan said. "It's our job to post, tweet, blog and write the content for our clients."
Riordan was recently selected for the St. Cloud Times 5 Under 40 Class of 2015, a group of leaders in the St. Cloud area all under the age of 40 that have made a difference in the community with their innovation and involvement.
"I'm happy to represent DAYTA Marketing," Riordan said. "And unfortunately sometimes the spotlight is only shown on me. My employees are the ones that deserve recognition."
DAYTA Marketing consists of 25 employees and represents nearly 170 various businesses.
Finding his niche
During Riordan's junior year of college, the management major became interested in the social media world.
"That was when social media was first being talked about for business use," Riordan said. "I talked to my faculty adviser, Global Business Leadership Professor Wendy Klepetar, about my interest in social media marketing, and she encouraged me to take an internship in the field to help develop my ideas and skills."
In the summer before his senior year, Riordan reached out to an orthopedic clinic in his hometown of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and completed an internship where he managed the clinic's social media sites.
"It went really well," he said. "They liked the work I completed so much that they asked me to continue the work through my final year at Saint Johns."
As Riordan continued his work for the clinic, he contacted his uncle, John Riordan, and introduced a business idea: DAYTA Marketing.
"We both agreed that there was a big opportunity here to represent small businesses through this kind of marketing," Riordan said.
First big step
Riordan spent his senior year formalizing his ideas and communicating plans with his uncle. Soon enough, the two presented the business idea to a group of local business owners from the St. Cloud Area Chamber Executive Dialogue Group.
"They were really interested and engaged in what we had to say," Riordan said. "That really helped validate the business model."
In February 2012, Riordan and his uncle started marketing the company and selling its services in St. Cloud.
"It all starts with the relationship we have with our client," Riordan said. "That's the key — to create a solid relationship built on trust and teamwork."
After generating enough revenue, DAYTA Marketing allocated offices in St. Cloud and hired its first employee soon after.
"It's been consistent growth from that point on," Riordan said. "There is a huge market out there and we want to be able to capture the right clients for us. That's a big part of the plan moving forward — to ramp up our growth efforts.
"Right now, we're perfecting the systems and operations of DAYTA Marketing, and once we feel more comfortable with that, we'll let the company take off."