Margaret H. Geiger is a public relations, social media and marketing professional in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She started a full-service marketing business in 2018 called Twelve31 Media, LLC. The firm’s mission is to create big ideas for small businesses through strategic messaging and full-circle marketing campaigns.
Margaret is a firm believer in the importance of building relationships, community involvement and always putting her clients’ needs first. She’s earned client features in The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, MSN, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Country Living, Shopify, Travel Channel, Restaurant Insider, Sport Fishing Magazine and many more renown publications. Notable clients include Dave & Buster’s, Sonesta Hotels & Resorts, Dunkin’ Brands, and RE/MAX.
Before starting her business, Margaret worked at a large advertising agency, was the marketing director at a real estate brokerage and worked at a live entertainment company. Throughout her experience, she always knew she wanted to start her own business one day. The University of South Carolina alum specializes in social media management, public relations, email marketing, social advertising and graphic design. When she’s not working, Margaret enjoys volunteering in her community, swimming, visiting family and friends, and traveling.
Where did the idea for Twelve31 Media come from?
The name of my company, Twelve31 Media, is really a representation of me. My birthday is on December 31 – the biggest celebration of the year. New Year’s is a time for setting goals. It’s a time to reflect on the year and make changes to improve yourself, your business, your personal life, etc. And that’s what I do for small businesses. I help them see their full potential and embark on a new journey of opportunity, growth and success. When you work with Twelve31 Media, you get a fresh start.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Like most small business owners and entrepreneurs these days, I work from home. So many people I’ve talked to say they would never get anything done because they would be too distracted. And yes, it did take a while to get used to working in the same space I live, sleep, eat, and watch TV. However, I’ve learned to wake up, grab a cup of coffee (or three) and walk to my office (second bedroom). I catch up on emails, check all of my clients’ social media accounts and respond to messages, and take a look at my checklist of tasks for the day. Having a list keeps me organized and productive. Of course, client needs, requests and calls get in the way, but if I have a two-hour phone call, I know I need to make up that time later. I get most of my work done in the morning and the afternoon consists of working on future assignments and finding new ways to promote my business.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’d like to think I’m half creative, half organized. Normally during job interviews, the interviewer asks if you are one or the other. However, in order for me to be creative, I need to organize my space to create a thought process for new ideas to flow. If I have a great idea for a client, I’m constantly thinking about how I’m going to bring that idea to life. Once I have a plan in place, I bring it to the client with great excitement. If you can’t sell your own idea and get the client excited about it, then they aren’t going to get onboard.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Personalized content. I’m a marketer and it’s my job to educate my clients on the importance of being consistent and present on social media. People want to see a company that is transparent. They want REAL people, not automated responses, boring sales pitches and spammy content that ultimately throws money out the window. This is why influencers are so huge. Potential customers want to see and hear about how a particular product or service is going to change their lives. Even in the digital age, word of mouth is extremely important – it’s just done using social media.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Back to being organized. I’m always on top of things. You could probably say I’m borderline OCD – without the endless counting and rituals. I never miss a deadline, I’m constantly following up with my clients regarding content and campaign approvals, and I set goals for myself and my clients with hopes that with a little hard work, we can make it happen.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take more risks. I’ve definitely grown up in more ways than one. My younger self was more reserved, less of an extrovert and had a narrower view of the world. You don’t realize how important things are until you see how far you’ve come. Take chances, get involved, volunteer, get a mentor and go after it!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
No goal or dream is too big. Okay, it may sound generic, but a lot of people I know are simply ‘settling’ in their lives. They are doing the 9 to 5; they are in unhealthy relationships, and they are not getting out there and doing what they are most passionate about. I’m a firm believer that anyone can do whatever they want in life if they put forth the effort, work hard, and maintain important relationships both personal and professional. You never know who you will meet tomorrow and how they may change your life.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always follow up. People are busy, I get that. But you always make time for things that you care about. Don’t give up or assume that the person on the other end of the email or phone isn’t interested. It’s their duty to tell you, but if they don’t, keep trying. It shows initiative and determination.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Referrals. If you do good work for your clients, they will refer you to everyone. Back to word of mouth being extremely important. Getting out in the community, volunteering, going to networking events, and just spreading the word about your company and its offerings is a low-cost way to grow any business, and that’s exactly what I did and continue to do.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
‘Winging it’ a little too much. I’m all about going all in instead of crawling before I walk. I started this business as a side hustle and grew it into my full-time career. I’m constantly updating services, pricing options, and ways I can reward referrals and contracted work. I had one opportunity that I didn’t lay the ground rules for ahead of time and they took advantage of my skills and time. Now I know you must have specific contract guidelines and rules in place to run a successful business. It won’t happen overnight and will always be a work-in-progress.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Use great photography and video content to share your message. I’m always looking for creative ways to promote my clients. High-quality content is king. Unless you’re due for an eye exam, you don’t see life as a blurry mess, so your pictures shouldn’t be either.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My husband and I recently flew out to Denver, Colorado. And believe it or not, one round-trip ticket was just over $100! We were able to visit a state we’ve never been to, hike the Rocky Mountains, visit with a dear friend and share an experience like no other. It’s amazing to be able to travel and see just how beautiful the world is. I recommend everyone take time, even if just for a long weekend, to see the world. It broadens your horizons and really makes you appreciate life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love Hootsuite. As a social media manager, Hootsuite allows me to schedule content and create an analytics report for my clients – all in one space. I can plan out the entire month with images, videos, copy, tag other businesses and influencers, and share a detailed report on performance. It’s a low-cost product that I recommend to anyone that manages multiple social media accounts.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“How Successful People Think” by John C. Maxwell. The book is all about changing your mindset in order to change your life for the better. When you put yourself into the right mindset, you capture the big picture and find out how to tap into your creative potential. This book is essential for business owners and entrepreneurs.
What is your favorite quote?
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin
Life is too short to be miserable or waste time not doing what you love. Back to taking risks. Sometimes you just can’t, but most times, even the smallest risk can have a great reward. Be flexible, be kind, have fun, do what you love, dream big and enjoy the ride. Life is too short.
• Life is too short to not do what you love. Most entrepreneurs are workaholics, trust me, I get it. But if you don’t take time for yourself, what’s the point of working so hard if you can’t enjoy it?
• Word of mouth and referrals are a great way to grow your business. If you do great work for one client, they will refer you to everyone. Get out in the community and get involved. You never know who you’ll meet while exchanging business cards at a networking event.
• Always follow up. Everyone is busy, so don’t give up and don’t accept ‘busy’ as an excuse. Your iniative shows determination and that’s a great characteristic to have when someone is interested in working with you.
• Take risks and go after what you want most in life. We are all here to do something great. If you haven’t found your greatness yet, don’t sweat it. Keep working hard, maintaining those personal and professional relationships, and enjoy life.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.