In today’s episode, we are joined by Corey Brausch, the founder of Seven Willows. Seven Willows is a social media agency for entrepreneurs looking to take an energetic + intuitive approach to social media marketing while growing their online presence + community.
Corey started her social media journey back in high school, where she utilized Instagram and Facebook to market her photography business which began to boom throughout her college years thanks to her marketing efforts. In 2017, she began working more intentionally in the digital marketing space where she worked with industry influencers on campaigns, and even Post Malone himself through her work. Soon after, she couldn’t ignore her entrepreneurial spirit and began picking up clients on the side shortly before going full time as a social media manager.
Today, she has worked with dozens of business owners enhancing their social media presence and giving CEOs back their headspace to focus on scaling their business. Her clients’ favorite aspect of working with Corey and Seven Willows is their holistic approach to outbound engagement.
Tune in as we dive into all things social media including outsourcing your social media, trending content and so much more.
In this episode, we discuss:
- [02:14] How Corey and Emma first met
- [04:16] How Corey got started in the online space
- [05:47] What lights Corey up about being a business owner
- [07:35] Why you should outsource your social media even as a new business owner
- [12:10] When business owners should consider investing in paid ads
- [15:47] How to determine who we should be listening to based on our goals
- [23:14] Navigating the trends
- [24:23] Should brands be following trends?
- [27:46] How to utilize trending sounds without a social media manager
- [30:05] What trend means in the online space
- [35:08] Differences between creating trending content with and without a social media manager
- [38:22] One thing Corey wishes more people knew about social media management
How Corey and Emma first met
Corey was one of Emma’s very first hires in 2018 before Ninety Five Media even had its name. Emma has really enjoyed seeing Corey’s journey from working together to Corey branching out and starting her own successful company.
How Corey got started in the online space
Corey feels like she has always had the entrepreneurial spirit because she made everything she did into a business – including starting her photography business in high school. When she graduated college, Corey decided that she wanted to be a flight attendant, but that didn’t end up working out. Then she decided she wanted to go into real estate and quickly realized that wasn’t the path for her either.
Then she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and started working her way up the corporate ladder in marketing where she went from retail associate to marketing manager. Corey realized that she doesn’t like to just be doing one thing so she started freelancing on the side. She found that she really thrived working with clients in a variety of industries. From there, she was able to grow her business to where it is today.
What lights Corey up about being a business owner
Corey found that she really loved the nitty gritty details of running a business. She loves being able to do it all instead of feeling boxed into one role. It allows her to continue to expand her knowledge across the board.
Why you should outsource your social media even as a new business owner
As business owners, we know that marketing is important, but people tend to lump marketing, advertising, PR, social media, and sales all into one role. If you’re a brand new business owner, the first thing you need is a social media presence because you can’t start growing your business online without it.
In order to stay in the visionary headspace, Corey recommends that you outsource your social media because it is just so hard to keep up with your marketing efforts while still running all of the other facets of your business.
The biggest misconception for a lot of small businesses is that a social media manager is responsible for sales too. Many people try to put marketing and sales together because they’re just starting out and on a limited budget, however, sales skills and marketing skills are very different. A social media manager gets people to the door, but they are not responsible for what happens once they get to your website.
The best part about having a social media manager is that they are able to help you reduce overwhelm. They can help you decide which platforms make the most sense for you and your brand and take care of the content creation and strategy so that you can focus on all the other areas of your business.
When business owners should consider investing in paid ads
Corey believes that it is important to utilize both organic and paid social media. However, you shouldn’t be sending ad traffic to a completely dead social media account. That means you will need to have a solid content strategy and offer before even thinking about trying paid ads. Ads shouldn’t be your only marketing effort.
Organic content really helps you get to know your audience on a much deeper level so it would be impossible to run successful ad campaigns without this organic data. Lay the foundation first before trying to amplify your reach.
How to determine who we should be listening to based on our goals
Corey has experienced many instances with previous clients where the client would ignore everything she had to say because their business coach was saying something different. She believes that it is important to consult the people who specialize in a particular area.
For example, if you want to buy a house, you go to a realtor. You wouldn’t expect that realtor to install surround sound in your home or build you a firepit in your backyard but they likely know someone that can do this for you. The same thing goes with a business coach. Instead of advising you on the best strategies for social media, they should be pointing you in the direction of an expert that can help you.
Corey notices that people often discount the complexity of social media but to know what’s really working you need to consult an expert in the industry. Just because something worked for your business coach doesn’t mean that it will work for you. You can certainly try it and see what happens, but it is important to be realistic with your expectations. Social media is all about learning from your audience, looking at the metrics, and then implementing a strategy based on what’s working for your business.
Navigating the trends
When it comes to trends, you certainly need to be adaptable. You can’t utilize the same strategy that worked 5 years ago and get the same results. Emma believes that it is nearly impossible to keep up with the trends unless that’s the only thing on your plate.
Should brands be following trends?
Corey believes that businesses should take trends into consideration when it comes to their overall strategy but they should not be doing every single trend. It is important to make sure that the trend fits your brand voice and makes sense for your business as a whole. You also want to avoid participating in every trend because then your whole content strategy will be based on utilizing trending audio.
Trends are excellent for increasing your brand awareness but your other content should supplement these trends instead of them being the main focus. Keeping up with the trends is where a social media manager comes into play because they are able to tell you what is trending at that moment and you can hop on at the right moment instead of after the trend has already been played out.
How to utilize trending sounds without a social media manager
If you don’t currently have a social media manager, you can still keep up with the trending audio. On Instagram Reels, if an audio is currently trending then it will have a little arrow next to it. You can click on the audio and see how many uses it has had.
If the uses are on the lower side, you should consider hopping on the trend if you have a little extra time in your schedule and the trend makes sense for your business. You want to make sure the uses are below 2,000 so maximize your exposure.
If you are already setting aside time once a week or even every two weeks to film content for Reels, Corey recommends searching the trends the night before you’re set to record. This will help you plan it all out ahead of time and make the whole process much smoother.
What trend means in the online space
To put it simply, Corey describes trends as whatever the current obsession is. Social media trends usually only last a few weeks before everyone has moved onto the next thing.
For example, when Corey and Emma recorded this episode, the Wednesday Addams dance with the Lady Gaga song was trending because that show had just come out. Trends on social media are very short lived so if you want to take advantage, you need to hop on them early.
As a social media manager, it is important to break down the trends for your clients so that they understand how to participate in them. If you don’t have a social media manager to give you ideas of how you can use that trending audio, go check out other pieces of content made specifically for that trending sound.
Not all trends will make sense for your business so make sure that you know exactly who your target audience is so you can participate in those trends that will resonate with them.
Differences between creating trending content with and without a social media manager
With a social media manager, you don’t need to worry about figuring it all out on your own. They can tell you exactly what type of Reels content you need to create and you will be responsible for filming it and uploading the files to Google Drive the following day.
The day before filming, a social media manager will give their client the audio links for each one and tell you exactly what to do in the Reel. One of the main benefits of having a social media manager is that they are able to decipher what trends will work best for your brand so you just need to show up and create instead of worrying about the planning behind it.
Without the help of a social media manager, these seemingly little tasks can begin to pile up and then you end up taking zero action. It takes a lot of time and energy to implement a social media marketing strategy.
One thing Corey wishes more people knew about social media management
One thing Corey wishes is that people would realize the value of a social media manager. Someone could certainly create 20 posts a month for several different platforms for $200/month for you but you are likely sacrificing quality at that price point. If you are positioning yourself as an elevated brand, your social media presence needs to reflect that.
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