What happened after the ESPN contract ended was the great entrepreneurial dilemma – go out on your own and work for yourself or start interviewing with larger companies or brands who needed social media marketing support.
Smith launched her own firm, Social Ape Marketing, in July 2012.
If it’s not entirely obvious, the company’s name is a nod to the founder. “’Ape’ comes from my first name, April,” she explains. “It’s been a nickname since high school.”
Today, the boutique firm employs three full-time: Smith, Jerome Simeon, and Melissa Nemec. They’ll be bringing on a fourth member of the team shortly.
Smith manages Social Ape’s business development, overseeing the accounts and leading the team so the firm can continue to experience the organic growth they’ve had the last several years. Many of the clients who started with Social Ape for social media marketing wanted more including services like branding, event management or public relations. Social Ape’s team was able to meet those needs – a lot of times because they consider themselves partners with their clients versus vendors.
“We see ourselves as an extension of THEIR business,” Smith explains. “We’re in daily communication with each other; we’re friends with them; we want to work with people we get along with; we have faith in their businesses, too.”
If anything is clear about Smith’s story it’s that she thrives on being ahead of the curve – that’s whether we’re talking about social media marketing or co-working. With all that said though, she’s really about making connections – and helping people and businesses find the spotlight they deserve.