“I learned to think big, beyond myself, and above the ceiling I had set for the business” with Corri Smith and Candice Georgiadis

I’d have to say that the silliest mistake when starting was thinking too small. I was limited by my expectations, the concept of keeping it small, and plan to minimize growth opportunities. I learned to think big, beyond myself, and above the ceiling I had set for the business and re-evaluated and expanded my concept of success.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Corri Smith, Owner of Black Wednesday, a Marketing Consultancy and PR company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Known for out-of-the-box thinking and creative concepting, Corri leads her team to support clients large and small in developing innovative marketing messaging, campaigns and programming. From there, the team engages the community by spreading the word across platforms, from earned media coverage to social media campaigning, to influencer activation, events and more.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I always knew I would own my own business, but it took me a while to learn what my specific monetizable skill sets were. Post undergrad, I started in sales and quickly learned that I liked the idea of selling, but needed 1) human interaction, 2) to fill a void in that person’s life and 3) to be able to use soft skills through messaging rather than your everyday aggressive sales tactics. Once I got into more marketing-focused roles, my purpose was realized: I was able to capitalize on relationship building, strategic and tactical planning, and bringing creative and unique programming to life through various platforms.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

There are plenty of “social media influencers” who can speak about social media; the difference is that I am actually functioning strategically (forest) and also tactically (trees) daily. I am staying up to date with changes, but also experiencing the social media marketing landscape firsthand and across a variety of brand types, which allows me to better understand how to turn social media activation into actual dollars. In short: I am doing it, not just talking about it. I teach one SM class per month, and they always sell out far in advance. I have become a local authority, resource to the community and key marketing partner for Black Wednesday clients.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Starting your own business is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I’d have to say that the most interesting thing that has come from being an entrepreneur is the experience of having created something from scratch ($0) and watching it grow to a living, breathing machine that supports 25+ clients, 5 FT employees and continuous growth from a profit margin and revenue standpoint. From the social media perspective, I’d say the most interesting thing is that I no longer get to be a consumer in society as I am almost TOO plugged in, to the social media landscape, to the dark side of social, to the game that the space has now become.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’d have to say that the silliest mistake when starting was thinking too small. I was limited by my expectations, the concept of keeping it small, and plan to minimize growth opportunities. I learned to think big, beyond myself, and above the ceiling I had set for the business and re-evaluated and expanded my concept of success.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

The most effective use I have found within the social media marketing space is the engagement piece. The SM landscape has shifted from just a place to post, post, post. Yes, content has to be exciting and creative, and photos/messaging need to be awesome, but we also need to work on reeling people in. One example is how we use Instagram to market businesses. For example, we might post something and then go look for people who might be interested to see it and try to bring them over to our/our client’s page.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

1) Use Facebook Ads Manager to create ads specifically targeted for Instagram. We know people are now wired to consider Instagram as a shopping platform, but there are also algorithms in place — buying ads can allow your message to get in front of your own audience, but also a broader one.

2) Paying attention to posting times and audience engagement on certain content themes — we use business page insights to better understand when our people are online and manually keep track of which types of content they prefer and engage with the most.

3) Testing against yourself, instead of feeding into the hype, is key. I read about 10–15 blogs with updated SM guidance daily, but the real magic is in paying close attention to audience and followers. We often archive poorly behaving Instagram posts and try posting them at different times.

4) Engaging our followers. Example: Not just expecting them to always like our posts — we can like theirs to. Providing reminders that there is a human behind the screen creates greater connectivity between brands and their followers

5) Seeking influencers to leverage can be a great way of expanding on traditional word-of-mouth (isn’t social media just an expansion of that?). We work with macro-influencers with paid budgets to get in front of larger audiences for products or larger campaigns; we use micro-influencers for more localized items like new menu roll outs.

6) Replying to every single comment. Comments on posts add fire to the success of your post — we have seen success from liking and replying to every comment on our feed posts (2 comments are > than 1, right?) This takes time, but it’s worth it.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement, it would be for every single person to consider themselves a marketer. Consider everything you wear, everything you say, everything you do as a targeted message with purpose and a plan.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Jack White. In my life, music has always been on, in the background through headphones as I work or through the car as I drive, or in the foreground at concerts. I am not musical, but a passionate supporter. Since the late 90’s I have been obsessed with Jack White’s music, and more importantly, his creativity. Making a living off of talent while maintaining a general offbeat demeanor, I find his odd-ness, outrageous ideas, and business success truly fascinating and so very inspiring.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


“I learned to think big, beyond myself, and above the ceiling I had set for the business” with… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.