This week’s Country Bumpkin Chic Chats to guest is marketing and social media guru Rhea Freeman who I first met back at the inaugural Hiho Silver Instameet ‘Style Skills and Silver’ now known as #HihoAndCo. In fact, I interviewed Rhea back in September 2018, so it’s great to have her back on the blog as part of the Country Bumpkin Chic Chats to series.
Welcome Rhea to Country Bumpkin Chic Chats to… blog series, please can you give readers an overview of your background.
In a nutshell, I help businesses, influencers and riders promote themselves better in the most cost-effective way. Now, this isn’t a ‘conventional’ title, but I do quite a few different things and this statement seems to cover them all! I started off in PR and marketing around 15 years ago after becoming a qualified riding instructor, gaining my BHS Stage 3 care, and working on an event yard and in a riding school. I started writing freelance for magazines, which led me to copywriting for businesses, which led me into PR (this is a short version, obviously!).
I went to work as marketing manager for a large equestrian brand before going back to working for myself about 11 years ago, and by this point, social media was really getting started for businesses and that’s where, over the years, my attention has really focused more and more as the platforms provide the most incredible opportunities for people willing to use them and use them properly.
1. Tell us how do you manage to juggle your business, courses, Facebook groups & two boy twins? What or who is your secret weapon to help you manage this?
Cake?! No, joking. It can be tough, but I think I do an OK job most of the time – although lockdown has been flipping tricky as all childcare evaporated overnight! Usually, the boys go to nursery every morning and then my mother in law helps two afternoons a week and my husband has them one afternoon a week (I mean, I am usually in the office at home but still).
So, with no nursery and no mother-in-law, I’ve been doing a lot more and my husband has rejigged his work to give me a couple more half-day slots too. I love what I do, which really helps – if I hated it, it would be impossible because I think anyone with a busy life – children or not – knows that you often have to dig really deep when things haven’t gone as expected and there’s still work that has to be done. I guess my secret weapon is drive. Sugar helps too!
2. At Christmas, you ran the fantastic Podmas on the Small & Supercharged podcast. How do you come up with engaging ideas which bring both the equestrian & country community together? Any ideas yet on what are you going to do this year?
I LOVED Podmas – it was so fun getting to chat to so many of the lovely people I have the pleasure of working with and sharing them with my audience. For solo shows, I tend to think about what I get asked about – whether that’s though DMs, social media posts or emails. And these often form the basis of many a solo episode. With interviews, I make sure that everyone I interview brings something that my audience can relate to. Many have equestrian and rural connections, so that box is ticked, but I like going beyond too when someone has a story or something, they have formed in that can benefit listeners. Sam Callahan’s podcast interview about trolling is a great example as he’s suffered from awful trolling, and his willingness to share his experiences and outlook helped so many people- and he’s an X-Factor finalist! Also, people like Denise Duffield Thomas, Carrie Green and Martha Brook, to name but three, inspire me and I’ve learnt from each of them in one way or another, and being able to share that information is just brilliant. I have quite a lot up my sleeves for this year too.
3. What would be your top tip for a small business or brand starting out? Where should they put their efforts, as it can be so overwhelming at the beginning?
So, the short answer would be social media. It can be massively overwhelming, but brands have never been able to access their potential customers this easily before. And billions of them are hanging out on Facebook, Instagram, etc. Most people also have some knowledge of how these work from a personal point of view, which helps massively, and it’s just the best way to directly connect with customers, potential customers, other brands to work with, and more traditional media too. And you can get going for free!
4. Earlier this year you launched the Small & Supercharged Extra initiative – what’s that all about & who’s it aimed at?
Small & Supercharged Extra is designed for people who want to promote themselves better – whether they’re a personal brand or business. Each month, members receive learning materials in the form of a cheat sheet and audio recording, a challenge based on this, 5 days of social media themes, and they can come to a live training once a month too. All of this is backed with a lovely supportive community where people can ask questions freely and get them answered by me or others. The idea was simply to help people grow and thrive, learn new skills, work together, and know they aren’t on their own. Like a true membership group. And I am SO excited by its growth and just love working with so many people inside it. When we reach the next milestone, I have a new feature I’ll be unveiling too!
5. You’ve worked with some amazing brands in the equestrian & country world. If you were to launch your own brand/range what would you launch? Maybe a gin?
Ohhh… this is such a good question! I have something in the pipeline that I can’t say too much about… it’s not a gin but I feel that gin would be good too – like a Socially Sozzled Gin?! Or maybe a Supercharged Gin?! Maybe?!
Quickfire Country Bumpkin Chic round – a bit of a social media theme:
1. Favourite social media platform & why?
Ohhh – Instagram. I love it. It is such a great way to connect with likeminded people and I love ‘studying’ it and what works and what doesn’t. And if I’m honest I do really enjoy the photography and videography side of it too. I love how these all connect us all.
2. Fill the gap. I love xxxx on Instagram.
GIFs. I LOVE a GIF. Whether they’re added to Stories or sent in a DM… there have been many times when a Beyonce GIF has done more than words could!
3. What’s your top 3 most listened to Podcasters?
Jasmine Star, Olivia Towers and Jane Pike’s Confident Rider.
4. One to watch – brand & person.
Ohhh… one?! Can I completely cop-out and say anyone in Social Supercharge: Riders, Extra or Mastermind?! I’ve been blown away by the progress of people in all groups and it makes my heart sing when I receive a DM saying that someone tried something new and how well it is, or they’ve pushed themselves to try something and it paid off. That’s such a rubbish answer!
5. I can’t live without xxxx….
I’d really struggle without my phone – I can do everything for my business from that if needed. Actually, I can also order food, shop, write, record… it knows everything. Food-wise, cake – I really do enjoy good cake. Clothing – jeggings – I know, I know, but I really do love them.
Thank you Rhea for taking part in Country Bumpkin Chic Chats to blog series & we can’t wait to see what’s next for the Small & Supercharged.
Tell us where all the places we can find you online:
- Instagram: @rheafreemanpr
- Facebook: Rheafreemanpr
- Twitter: @rheafreeman
- Website: www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk