What’s Your Process? Q&A with Baily Schaefer
The speedy queen of EPIC digital media campaigns
It’s often said that when it comes to career paths, timing is everything. And in that regard, Baily Schaefer, EPIC’s Digital Media Campaign manager, planned her graduation and entrance into the working world with a flawless beat. After graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a Journalism degree in 2013, Baily started out with an internship at GoGeddit, a small local company specializing in web design, web development, and social media.
“It was very hands-on,” Baily laughs. She and one other employee handled social media accounts for area businesses like restaurants, hotels, and car dealerships at a time when paid social media placement was not a thing. And that meant Baily had to work closely with her clients and be really creative in her posts. It truly was the only way to get noticed on Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social media platforms at that time. Well, Baily got noticed alright. She was so successful in her internship, she was able to turn it into a full-time job.
When I tell someone that we can dial into their fan base and find target audiences that they’ve been hoping to talk to, they typically light up.
For the next seven years, Baily remained at GoGeddit and had an interactive ringside seat watching social media mature. She went from Community Manager to Social Strategist to Account Planner, where she literally handled everything for her accounts from planning to post. About this time, boosting was introduced, and Baily says it changed everything. “Pay-to-play got the industry beyond the followers,” she says. “It made businesses really think about who they wanted to reach.”
Baily explains that paid placement ushered in the idea of strategy. “When money is involved, you really think about the spend.” She mentions this was about the time that ad campaigns on the platforms were introduced, and social media began to explode. There were fan acquisition campaigns to gain followers and traffic campaigns to send people from social posts to product pages. And in the middle of it all was Baily. As a one-woman account planning, social-posting show, she was wearing so many hats it was hard to keep it all straight.
Paid placement ushered in the idea of strategy. When money is involved, you really think about the spend.
Lucky for EPIC, this was about the time Baily decided she wanted to gain more experience at a larger firm. Former co-workers reached out to her to tell her that EPIC had a social department that was in need of help. Baily saw it as a chance to learn from others and joined the EPIC team as a Social Media Account Executive. That was in 2020, and in just three short years, Baily was promoted to a Senior AE before becoming a Digital Media Campaign Manager, where she leads EPIC’s entire social media team.
Her biggest success at EPIC has been managing EPIC’s social media work for Speed Queen. Thanks to Baily’s creativity, diligence, and impeccable organizational skills, EPIC manages Speed Queen’s entire social presence, which spans Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. By the way, on the day of this posting, Speed Queen’s Instagram account followers stand at 18.5K. That’s almost 25% more followers than the brand had before Baily took the helm!
To learn a little bit more about why Baily Schaefer is so darn good at her craft, we sat down with her for a three-question rapid-fire interview. Read on for the juice.
Q: How in the world are you so creative? It must be really difficult to come up with so many unique posts for clients, month after month. How do you and your team do it?
A: There are times of the day I’m better at certain things than others. And I know myself really well. In the morning, I’m great in meetings. So that’s when I schedule those. I do my task-oriented jobs around lunch, and I’m most creative in the late afternoon, so that’s when I come up with posts.
And I’ve developed tools to help me. Every brand has content pillars and content themes. I always develop my posts around established content pillars so I stay true to the brand. Let me give you an example. If a brand is really into its history or if the longevity of the company plays heavily into the brand’s value, that makes “legacy” a brand pillar.
Now, you’re probably familiar with Throwback Thursdays. Well, that’s a content theme that works really well with the legacy pillar. So if legacy is part of the brand, doing some sort of “Throwback” in the regular schedule makes a lot of sense.
Establishing those brand pillars and then coming up with brand themes that line up under the pillars is truly the key to making posts relevant.
Q: What is the hardest part of what you do, and what’s the best part?
A: It’s funny, but that’s all connected—the hard part IS the best part! I think many people believe that social media is a necessary evil. When I get to come in and tell people how valuable social media is, and how I can connect their goals to a strategy, it’s a victory. Let’s face it … Most people—clients included—use social media personally, so they know enough to be dangerous. Part of my job is to help educate them on how to approach social media in the best interest for their brand. So I really love helping people see social media as a valuable tool.
When I tell someone that we can dial into their fan base and find target audiences that they’ve been hoping to talk to, they typically light up. If I can explain how the tools work, and how these tools can help them achieve their goals, that’s a big win. I also LOVE data. When I can show clients what performed well and what factors influenced the campaign, it’s empowering.
Q: I know this is risky, because you’ve literally grown your career alongside social media, but what’s on the horizon, and what’s the next big trend?
A: I always say that I don’t want to be the first person on a platform, and I don’t want to be the last. What I mean is there are a lot of starts and stops in this industry, and I think the wise person watches and sees what’s working and then makes the move. I’ve seen the industry evolve, and I can see the bigger picture. That gives me the confidence to always be watching but never be impulsive. So, regarding, what’s really hot? I just say, let’s wait and see.