The end of 2016 marked my fifth year in the social media marketing field. I intended this blog to be about practical tips I gleaned over the year, but as I wrote, it evolved into a “How I Got Here” story.
I’ve never told it before, so the ringing in of a new year seems like a perfect time.
2011 was spent learning the ins and outs of digital marketing so I could put those newly-necessary skills to use for my employer at the time.
I worked as an instructional designer and content producer for the former company AutismCollection.com. The shift to content marketing seemed like fun, so they brought in a consultant to teach me the skills I needed to market the courses I helped build.
2012 included a lot trial and error. Building online education wasn’t always easy, but selling it proved harder. I found that social media was the most effective (and the most fun) way to find and convert new students digitally.
During this time, I approached a few local businesses who let me gain more experience (aka – work for free) because I wanted to learn how to sell other products and services with social media.
I opened Belle Strategies in mid-2013. I had a comfortable handle on the niche marketing industry and a strong passion for it, even though most people told me I was crazy and that it would never be a business.
By this time, I was also handling all of the digital marketing efforts for AutismCollection.com.
2014 – 2015
My position as the Director of Social Media for Pinnacle Advertising and Marketing Group began in January 2014 when they purchased AutismCollection.com. You can imagine my excitement when they asked me to head their brand new social media department.
Pinnacle was a traditional agency ready to expand; their Director of Digital Marketing, Brian, was hired one week before me. Pinnacle knew I owned Belle Strategies and had a few clients of my own. Jan 2014 – June 2015 has officially gone down in history as “the busiest I will ever be”.
I closely supported Brian’s growth plan, and together we expanded Pinnacle’s Digital Department into the largest revenue stream for the company.
I grew Belle Strategies as well, and after finding a qualified replacement, I resigned from Pinnacle to work with my Belle clients full time.
2016 included two major changes. Personally, I relocated to South Carolina. The Southern Belle piece of my brand finally made geographical sense!
Professionally, Social Media saw the rise of Influencer Marketing. While the two fields remain inherently different, I’ve enjoyed implementing PR strategies to cultivate relationships with bloggers, media and other digital influencers on behalf of my clients.
2016 taught me that relationship-building through value-adding communication will always prove most effective. This is the cornerstone on which I build all of my clients’ marketing messaging.
2017 will bring new and exciting challenges as I work to grow Belle Strategies in my adopted home of Beaufort, SC.
Making the ever-changing landscape that is social media my profession has certainly prepared me for this. The platforms, the capabilities and the trends evolve, but one thing remains the same: I love it.
Cheers to a New Year!
Keep up with my adventures around the web @bellestrategies.
Belle Strategies is a boutique Social Media Marketing company based in South Carolina. Our team mixes innovative strategies with attention to detail for an online presence that produces tangible results. For assistance growing your brand on social media, contact us!
Rachel is a digital marketing strategist, and CEO of Belle Strategies. She spends her time helping clients convert their digital communities into lifelong customers.