Staff Spotlight: Breanne Sewards, New Kid on the Block

What is the most significant business lesson you have learned since you joined the WECM team in August?
It is hard to pick, but I would say the lesson that is at the center of what we do is the importance of business plans! To me, writing a business plan seemed a little redundant, but now I realize how important it is, especially for businesses with big growth in mind. I always preach that people should write a strategy before starting social media, so it now makes complete sense to me that they should also write a plan before starting a business.

In your former job, you supported the social media efforts of several companies. You are now responsible for the social media efforts of just the Women’s Enterprise Centre. How has this changed the way you approach your work?
When I was managing many social media for many companies, some of the attention and detail that is necessary for social media marketing went unnoticed. Until I began my term here, I had never implemented a strategy that involved real interaction. Now that I can devote all of my energy on one company, I am able to spend a lot more time on Twitter and Instagram engaging with others. This has proved successful and I have finally realized the value of taking the time to do this.

What would be the first piece of advice you give to a business owner who wants to start using social media to promote their business?
Make a strategy. It is difficult to create a social media following without a strategy. Think about how you’d like your brand to look on these platforms, what your tone should be, and what content you should post. Should you run ads? How often should you post? These are all things you should plan before you get started. If the workload seems too heavy, it is a good indicator that you should consider hiring a social media coordinator. If you decide that you can take on this work yourself, make a plan and stick to it. Social media is all about planning and following through.

You are among the first generation of social media specialists. Less than a decade ago, we didn’t know such a position would exist. How did you get involved in this industry and who or what has had the greatest impact on your career so far?
I didn’t know such a position existed even when I applied for it! After graduating university with an arts degree, I saw a job posting that asked for people who loved to be on social media all day. I actually didn’t think it was real, but decided to throw in an application anyway because I had some experience marketing using social media for my personal blog and online shop. When I got an interview, I did more research and discovered that this was a real thing. I was hired as a Junior Social Media Strategist. I learned so much from this first job and caught up on things that I would have learned had I gone into a communications program.

At my first job, I was able to work with a variety of different companies. I enjoyed learning about the nuances of each business and how to market each industry on social media. What has impacted my career so far has been the opportunity to continually learn. I have discovered that I really enjoy adding new skills to my toolkit and find it exciting to learn about a completely new industry. It has been a real privilege to work at The Women’s Enterprise Centre because I had no clue about the vibrant business culture we have in Winnipeg. Learning about each industry I have worked with has helped to steer me in the direction of ‘what’s next’.

Our last Staff Spotlight, Sandra Altner, asks: What do you think is your most valuable contribution to the work done by the Women’s Enterprise Centre?
I think my most valuable contribution has been the ability to keep our office up-to-date on the latest online practices. I have been able to lend my expertise to both colleagues and clients, which has been an interesting experience for someone with no teaching or coaching experience. I believe that by updating and maintaining our online presence, I have helped the Women’s Enterprise Centre stand out from the crowd. We have an awesome online community and I believe that our online efforts now properly depict the energetic, inspiring and professional enthusiasm of what we do.

What question should we ask the next Staff Spotlight?
If you were able to start any business (regardless of start-up cost, etc), what kind of business would you start?