Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Shay Rowbottom is a LinkedIn influencer and digital marketing entrepreneur. She specialises in creating social media video content that attracts attention and bring more visibility to businesses.
Her rare expertise and ability makes her one the world's most influential business leaders on social media platforms. Shay has been featured by numerous media outlets, such as CNN and Forbes.
We had the pleasure of having a Q&A session with Shay where she shared her business anecdote and entrepreneurial journey with us.
Hello Shay! Thank you for taking the time out to participate in this Q&A session. Please give us an overview of your background, initial career aspirations, influences, and most importantly, how you got into entrepreneurship?
Shay: I was originally a musician that's how I found video - realized I could make more money on the other side of the camera. I gave up music to dive all into viral video licensing which was the first industry I worked in on Facebook. Within one year I had a business with an 89% profit margin and that's how I landed my first half a million dollar investment at age 24.
I scaled that for years before discovering LinkedIn. To my surprise, it became my escape from a business I grew to resent anyways. I started growing a following so easily here due to the lack of competition when it came to video content. Not to mention the insanely high quality audience of professionals, all people with access to money and resources.
I realized I was sitting on an entirely new business. Plus, I was sick of my male business partners telling me what to do. So I sold my shares and pivoted to LinkedIn completely to teach others how to make videos here, like I have, to generate business.
As a business woman and entrepreneur what are the key challenges you have faced and how have you navigated or exploited these?
Shay: Limiting beliefs about being able to make money on my own as a woman. I had alot of imposter syndrome and self sabotage. The usual. I try not to react and just take every difficult moment as a lesson that's coming up for a reason. Each opportunity is a chance to grow, break through limiting beliefs, and become a better version of myself.
You are recognised in the business sector as one of the most successful Linkedin Influencer and video coach. What do you attribute this success to?
Shay: I got in at the right time when there was hardly any competition. Due to my experience on Facebook all those years, providing video content to some of the largest pages on Facebook.
I often asked my clients what they attributed their success to. I'd ask. how they grew such a huge following on Facebook? The answer was always the same, "I got in at the right time, when there was little competition, a generous algorithm, and I just posted consistently day in and day out. Following the data of what worked and what people responded to."
When I found LinkedIn, I knew this was my time to grow. I knew I was now in that "window of opportunity" my Facebook clients had back then. Therefore, I think I was able to take advantage of it more than other people who started around the same time. They were growing, but they were taking it for granted.
I knew everyday that passed LinkedIn was gonna get more competitive, and it has. I established myself early on and due to my background in viral video, I understood how to structure video content in a way most people never had seen before here.
I got seen as this "revolutionary video person" - when in reality, I was just doing what had already been done before on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Many LinkedIn users weren't using these social media platforms, so to them it was brand new.
How have you used your brand to advocate for women empowerment, equality, diversity and Inclusivity?
Shay: I don't get down with all that PC virtue signalling stuff. I used to be a hard core feminist who blamed all my problems on men. And let's be honest, there are problems that come exclusively from being a woman. I myself experienced rampant sexism and double standards in my first business, it's part of the reason I left. However, I eventually realized the reason I had attracted sexist business partners and investors in the first place, is because of the belief I already had that people were going to discriminate against me due to my gender. I don't have that belief anymore, and now my reality looks much different. I think being a woman is phenomenal, and I wouldn't change it for anything anymore. However, it took lots of deep healing work to get here. Sadly, I have noticed that most people would rather blame their lack of progress and success on something outside of themselves, than to take responsibility and see their own part in it. Whatever we look for, we'll find. I used to look for sexism, I used to assume I'd be a victim of it, and I found it everywhere.
I personally think the greatest contribution I can give for women's empowerment is exactly this. My story about how focusing on being a victim of my gender did nothing but make me more of a victim. I want women to see that there are several advantages to being a woman in business, and instead exert their energy focusing on those. That's where the real magic manifests.
I believe in diversity of thought more than diversity of skin colour. I welcome all sorts of different ideas, and my blog is a never ending feed of controversial thoughts and viewpoints that represent diversity. I also have an incredibly diverse staff. With people from all over the world. Russia, Romania, Kosovo, Colombia, Argentina, Philippines, etc. Black people, white people, Hispanic people. Actually for the longest time, I was the only white-American person in my entire company. We've since hired another white woman from Chicago who helps me run sales. She's awesome. I think it's more important to live by example and actually be inclusive, diverse, and unapologetic in your own femininity, than to always need to virtue signal or "advocate" for it. I don't need to prove to anyone I'm diverse, inclusive, or that I advocate for women's empowerment. I advocate for it by living it, period.
What advice do you have for aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs looking to start a marketing firm like yours?
Shay: Learn how to take 100% responsibility for everything in your life. You are the creator of your own reality, you are in control, and if you truly desire something, you will find a way to make it happen, but only if you take complete responsibility first.
600,000 plus followers on Linkedin and a very success marketing firm, what next is there in your entrepreneurial journey?
Shay: A comedy TV show, similar to "Portlandia" style where I can make series of skits and lean into my creativity more. Singing an original music again. Live events to teach people about marketing and self-empowerment through video content. Interviewing an array of interesting, different people from all over the world. Leaning into my healing company more, waking people up to their own divinity. I will also write a book on my story of narcissistic abuse and recovery, and travel to speak on it. More speaking events. Oh, and a private jet! I really, really, want a private jet.😁
For a lot of businesses, sustaining social media engagement and following is extremely hard. Your company Shay Rowbottom Marketing has been helping businesses generate leads and followers on social media by creating engaging video content. How does this work and what is the theory behind it?
Shay: Consistency is the most important. In my online program I teach business owners how to create content EASILY so that it's both time & cost effective. That's the only way they're gonna stay consistent, If you teach them how to do it quickly, and without breaking the bank. There's also a heavy emphasis on being yourself, and teaching people to trust that speaking their truth will bring them more business, in fact better business, not less.
Still on your company Shay Rowbottom Marketing, who is your target market and what makes your value proposition uniquely different from other marketing firms?
Shay: Anyone in need of video content to grow their business or brand on social media. This can be companies looking to generate inbound leads through their videos like I do, or the person next door who merely wants to be famous and always felt they had a knack for making content, they just don't know where to start. My value proposition is I don't just teach the tactics behind digital marketing, I also teach the importance of being YOURSELF in your content, breaking past the fear of being disliked, and ultimately coaching people into becoming the most authentic version of themselves in their videos. By doing this, my clients transform in every area of their lives, not just on camera.
The COVID 19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses globally, what impact has it had on Shay Rowbottom Marketing and how have you navigated this, or capitalized on it?
Shay: Yes, the pandemic was great for my business. Everyone who was putting off taking my program came knocking at my door as suddenly all business needed to move digital.
Luckily for me, I already worked from home and my team was already remote. I feel very blessed that my business was not only not negatively impacted, but positively! When the pandemic hit I gave a 40% discount off my program for one month to all struggling business owners who needed to learn video marketing, fast. It was a busy month and it felt good being able to give back to a community that has supported me so much since I started here.
What tips do you have for creating an effective social media content strategy? And would a SME content strategy differ from the content strategy of a large corporate organisation?
Shay: Being yourself is the most effective marketing strategy. Attract the clients who really align with you, and never again drain yourself having to wear a mask or put on a facade day in and day out at the office. People are going to hate you regardless, you might as well just be who you are. And actually, it's refreshing to people. It draws in more business. All that being said, there are many tips I could give specifically around how to structure this content now that you're creating it. All of that I break down in my program as well, which has transformed hundreds of businesses lead flow on LinkedIn.
Last but not the least, what tips do you have for creating engaging video content that social media audience can relate to?
Shay: Keep it short, start with a headline, and cut out all of the fluff. Always be framing your videos around this question "what do I know, that my target market doesn't know, that would make their lives easier?" And just be yourself. Lead with value. Be helpful. DON'T PITCH! Don't ask for anything. Just be so helpful that you inadvertently position yourself as an expert in the industry so people start reaching out to YOU for business. The close rate is way higher this way. I've never paid for advertising, done outreach, or ran one single ad, and I've generated millions of dollars through inbound leads that found me from my organic video content on LinkedIn. Trust me.
Before we conclude this segment of the interview, please tell us what Shay Rowbottom Marketing's future plans are for expansion and growth? Are you adding any new value propositions to your service model in the near future?
Shay: Yes! I will be doing live events which I look forward to. The first one is in September and will be live marketing training, also with an emphasis on public speaking and speech writing specifically which I'm excited for. I also plan to do more and more acting, singing, and entertaining. My business is practically self-sustaining at this point, allowing me more time to just get on camera and be the talent. That's where this all started, with my music back in the day, and I sense that's also where it all ends. I was born to be a performer, I just happened to stumble across business along the way. And hey, thank God I did. Much better to have this acumen myself than to be another sorry artist who got taken advantage of by the industry. I was bitter for a time when I was younger that I never made it as a singer, but now I see exactly why. It was so I could achieve a level of independence and freedom many artists never reach. Fusing the worlds of business, marketing, and entertainment to ultimately create the life of my dreams. God is good. It turns out, she had my back all along.
We have come to the end of the interview, and would like to thank you for participating in this Q&A session.
You're welcome! Thank you again for the opportunity.
You can visit Shay Rowbottom Marketing.
Follow Shay Rowbottom on Linkedin.