We were pleased to speak this month with Rebecca Bailey, owner of Many Streams in Piermont, NH. Many Streams is a social media marketing business that is contracted by small businesses and non-profits to empower them with the use of social media marketing. Rebecca can be reached at (603) 728-8949 or by email at Rebecca@manystreams.com. You can also visit the company WEB site at www.manystreams.com as well as visit her on Facebook.
Can you tell us a little about your business and what services it provides?
Up until about a month ago, the main piece of my business was social media marketing for small businesses who don’t have the skills or knowledge or the time to do their own social media marketing. Generally, a business will come to me and I will give them a social media plan for their business after doing a lot of research on how to best reach their target audience. They decide what they want and don’t want and we go from there. I’ve also done a lot of grant writing, music promotion and public relations work.
I understand you have a passion for helping small businesses and there is a Haitian connection?
Yes. I grew up in Lyme, NH. My dad started out as a farmer but eventually started a construction company which he has had for about thirty years. It gave me a lot of insight on small business ownership and how to get your name out there. Interestingly enough, my dad never advertised…ever. This shows how much things have changed. The next thing that had the greatest impact with working with small businesses was when I travelled to Haiti and helped people start small businesses there so they could be self-sustaining. I ended up in Haiti because I was working at Camp Walt Whitman as their gardener. The summer I started working for them, they had hired a bunch of Haitians who were working in the kitchen. These guys became really close friends with my family and I took them everywhere. After they got home, they had a hurricane come through Haiti and they lost the seeds they were going to use for the next year’s planting. I thought I would take some heirloom seeds to Haiti and help them out and that it would not be such a hard thing to do. I hit the ground and very quickly realized I was going to be making do with a lot less. By the end of that trip, I realized what people really needed was to make money for themselves instead of going to non-profits and asking for handouts. I helped raise $2000 with a grassroots fundraiser for a woman who was going to lose everything and she set up a very successful solar charging station in her town. For about six years, I was in and out of Haiti helping new businesses get set up.
How and when did you decide to start Many Streams?
After all the business building I did down in Haiti, I decided four years ago that I needed to back off from my travels to Haiti and tend to me a little more. I had come back from a seven month stay in Haiti and started working in some jobs that were tied to my background in Special Education and working with people with disabilities. However, my heart was really in the area of helping small businesses and public speaking. I enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University and ended up getting my degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and with a minor in Social Media Marketing. About two years into college, I started the business. So, at the time, I was working full-time, going to college full time, taking care of my kids and running the business on the side. It has been about a year now since I left my full-time position as the Public Relations person for Simple Energy and have been running the Many Streams business full time.
Who are some of your current clients?
I’ve got clients in five different states right now. Believe it or not, the closest any of them are to the Upper Valley is Wilder and Woodstock. Just recently, I was hired by the Keith Stern for Governor campaign in Vermont to do all the communications for the campaign. This new project has allowed me to flex my public relations muscles and also to hire a part-time employee. It makes me feel great to think that I making a difference for someone else income-wise. My smallest client is the Scottish Club of the Twin States. They are fun. They get about four hours a month from me but they are really great about it and it has made a big difference for their organization. Other clients include Yellow House Media, Vermont Lighting House (one of four lighting stores I am working with) and Kirschner Concerts. There are also other places who hire me when they have specific events coming up like the work I do for Interplay Jazz and Arts.
What are your biggest business challenges?
Well, my biggest challenge at the moment is still not having electricity from the recent storm but my biggest challenge overall is two-fold. When I get someone interested in becoming a client, it can be difficult figuring out how to build their campaign fairly. I need to figure out what my time is worth and allocate enough hours to them for their campaign to be effective but not scare them away. Each client is under contract for a certain number of hours each month. I now have a giant whiteboard on my wall that covers the entire month and each client is slotted in for the time that they are scheduled. My other challenge is staying on top of everything that is changing in the social media world. I spend a minimum of $100 per month just in training. Specifically, Facebook is changing their algorithms so much that for businesses, it is definitely becoming a pay-to-play endeavor. It looks like they have decided that your posts as a business are not going to be seen unless you are spending money. There is not going to be as much opportunity for posts to be organically seen. This has really hit my clients in the last month and even more cutbacks on the views of posts are starting to happen. It can be difficult helping clients to understand that Facebook advertising is cheap but effective and you can target it so specifically that you can have a really big impact on your target audience. In the Upper Valley, you can spend as little as $20 per month and hit about 20,000 people in your target audience.