While working full time at a day job, Emily A. Hay began to create a blog and social media following for a real-estate venture she hoped would one day turn into a business. Though the real estate venture didn’t end up working out as planned, the social media she used did lead to success.
"I had people track me down through social media who saw me online," Hay says. "I used it to parlay into a new business opportunity."
Hay launched her social media company, Hay There Social Media
, in 2011, serving primarily small businesses. Her background in sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies came in hand helping her launch and grow the company. Her team manages social media for local businesses, and also assists on special projects for larger companies, like Channel 4 News.
One of Hay's first clients was a local bakery in southeast Michigan, operated by a couple who knew many of their customers by their first names. Hay was able to help introduce their story, and watch social media drive more people into their store. She knew she was down the right path already.
"I got very excited with social media for small businesses because it seems like a good fit," Hay says. "Small business owners usually have good relationships with customers and they also don’t have the biggest budget."
Hay's company has also developed a unique strategy called a Tweet Team, a specific group of influencers that Hay can tap into to help promote client work. She's also passionate about helping youth learn digital literacy through their Saving Face program for educators.
"We saw that reputation management was a game of fixing problems with businesses. We wanted to be proactive and teach children while they're young," Hay says. "Their digital footprint can have a long term impact."
Hay was recently named by DBusiness as one of the top thirty business owners under thirty, and she also was recently award the Nancy Ray Founder's Award by the Women Business Owners of Southeastern Michigan
Hay says one of the most important things she’s learned about starting her own business so far is to not wait for permission.
"You'll never get the permission to start your own business. You have to be confident in your ability and expertise to just start moving," Hay says.
- Written by Amanda Lewan