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  • Writer's pictureWoman Up Cleveland

Transforming Digital Dreams with Shannon

Shannon McFaul - Founder of Clover Studio


At Clover Studio, Shannon blends the artistry of graphic design with the strategic finesse of social media management, ensuring your brand stands out in the always changing and fast pace digital landscape.
At Clover Studio, Shannon blends the artistry of graphic design with the strategic finesse of social media management, ensuring your brand stands out in the always changing and fast pace digital landscape.

In the world of trends and hot topics, it can be difficult for anyone to navigate the ups and downs of maintaining an online presence. However, the new generation of college graduates finding their way may also be finding a solution to the issues that plague business owners, especially the local small businesses that keep our communities alive. The perfect example of this innovation and inspiration can be found in our very own community here in Cleveland. Shannon McFaul is the founder of Clover Studio, a Cleveland-based marketing agency specializing in Social Media Management. In addition to social media, Shannon's small business offers graphic design, marketing material design, and branding design and curation services.


Shannon's work goes far beyond the ins and outs of creative marketing and focuses instead on creating meaningful connections. Whether it is connecting to the clients who trust her with their businesses, or connecting these clients to their dream audience, Shannon does an incredible job of reaching beyond the screen and creating a lasting impact. In her own words, “Here at Clover Studio, we collaborate seamlessly to craft visually captivating content that not only resonates but also engages your target audience niche.”


At sixteen years old, Shannon started working at The Salt Cave in Chardon. Being only a high schooler at the time, she had always found herself to be creative but wasn’t quite planning to stumble upon her career the way that she did. Never considering herself to be tech-savvy, a career in online marketing had never even occurred to her as an option until the many opportunities began presenting themselves.


After a short while, her boss at The Salt Cave began to ask her to make some flyers and social media posts for various promotions and to spread the word about the business. Shannon began to craft posts and design graphics for the company's social media and even saw them performing well with the business's online audience.


She shared with us how important networking has been in her journey and how it has gotten her to where she is today. Through attending meetings and gatherings with her boss, she met many business owners in the area and surrounding areas and after getting to know them, realized they all had a common need that she could help meet. “It helped me expand and to be more open to talking to different people and learning about common struggles for business owners,” Shannon shared regarding the impact networking has had on her business.


Shannon collaborates seamlessly with her clients to craft visually captivating content that not only resonates but also engages their target audience niche.
Shannon collaborates seamlessly with her clients to craft visually captivating content that not only resonates but also engages their target audience niche.

Fast forward a few years and Shannon found herself pursuing a degree in Graphic Design at Lakeland Community College. All the while she was still working and also helping other businesses she had met to navigate their design and marketing needs. Starting her business directly out of college was never in her plans but after learning the ropes and putting herself out in the world more and more, Shannon found herself and her business growing on its own. Through word of mouth, as is common with creative careers, the positive impact of her work for the businesses she was helping was appealing to other small businesses with similar needs.


Shannon mentioned the often difficult concept of ‘just going for it’ and pursuing your passions even though things may be complicated or scary at first. She shared, “I didn’t plan to start my own business when I was in college but the demand was there and I didn’t want to deny it.” Taking advantage of her situation, Shannon created Clover Studio and began to offer her expertise in social media marketing to more and more businesses.


Shannon told us a bit about her favorite things in the social media world as both a consumer and producer of content. When comparing platforms or algorithms, things can quickly get complicated but she keeps it simple by focusing on connection and meaningful conversation. We asked her about her preferred platforms to create for and she shared, “It’s a bit of a tie between Instagram and TikTok. Everybody loves TikTok because it’s so authentic. TikTok is completely different from what we have seen before and I feel like you can reach an audience in a more creative and real way. But I just feel like everyone has Instagram. I love using stories a lot because I can just sit and talk to people. That way you know the face behind the business.”


As we all know well, the landscape of social media is constantly evolving, and the idea of navigating algorithms, trends, and platforms can be daunting to anyone, especially for small business owners trying to grow their reach and attract their ideal clients. A few of Shannon's current social media highlights include Instagram’s comment section poll feature and TikTok’s classic trend of ‘Get Ready With Me’ content. When elaborating on both, she continues to mention that authentic connection is found at the heart of all good marketing and that her favorite features and trends often align with those that feel relatable or attainable to anyone watching.


In addition to managing social media accounts for other small business owners, Shannon mentions maintaining her own business's online presence. “It's way easier for me to be myself for my business on TikTok because you can kind of have more fun with it. Especially being a young business owner, there's that fine line between how personal I can get if I am trying to reach an older audience, TikTok is easier for me to be more open.”


Regardless of platform or content, creating human connection through a screen is a challenge that both small business owners and worldwide corporations alike try to overcome each and every day. While Shannon doesn’t claim to have all the answers to our burning internet questions, she did share some wisdom when it comes to her experiences with the ever-changing online world. “A lot of times, social media managers will do their client's work monthly. I don't like to work like that because trends are different every minute. When I work with clients we do a weekly scheduling. That way if there is a trend happening right now, it will be out in the next couple of days. That way we can stay on top of things as quickly as possible,” she shared.


Clover provides lots of services including Social Media Management, Graphic Design, Marketing Material Design, and more!
Clover provides lots of services including Social Media Management, Graphic Design, Marketing Material Design, and more!

In an effort to overcome the constantly changing online landscape, Shannon shared three things she does with her clients to help ensure that they are staying relevant to the current online environment. First, she finds similar businesses to her clients and sees what strategies they have adopted, evaluating if there are ways to improve upon these methods for her own clients. Second, she does lots and lots of research. Paying attention to trends, seeing what is working and what isn't on multiple platforms, and constantly being on alert for new trends or features, helps her to stay on top of the daily online chaos.


We even talked a bit about how this line of work translates when it comes to work-life balance and how having your job constantly at your fingertips can often make it difficult to turn off your work at the end of the day. Shannon also told us about a few courses she has taken to help expand her knowledge of online ecosystems such as Meta’s Business Suite Course. She has a deep understanding of social media managers need to stay on top of the things happening in their area of work and highlights the importance of being alert when online.


We talked with Shannon about the impact of being a woman-owned business and how it can affect the way she views other woman-owned businesses that become her clients. She immediately shared her experiences with the concept of community and how she has seen her own local one grow since beginning her journey. “When I started working at the salt cave, my first job ever, I learned that most of the businesses on the square in Chardon are woman-owned. From the beginning, I was working with woman-owned businesses and getting to know them. I think working with woman-owned businesses is different because you really just have that community feeling. We get together really frequently and network and talk for hours. I think there's really just something special about that.”


Beyond the challenges that come naturally with the world of social media and creative marketing, we asked Shannon to share any struggles she has faced owning her own business and navigating a creative career. “Trying to be taken seriously at a young age. When I got my first client, I was only eighteen. So I was trying to navigate graduating high school and making that transition. I had to figure out how to present myself as an adult without technically being one yet,” she said. Beyond the usual difficulty of learning how to begin as a business owner, Shannon was also experiencing the growing pains of transitioning from teenagerhood to adulthood.

She told us more about her experiences being so young in the space and how it often leads to feelings of imposter syndrome and self-doubt when it seems so many others who have been in the space longer might have more experience or knowledge. She shares, “Sometimes people see that you’re young and they take advantage a bit and aren’t sure if they want to pay your prices or if you have enough experience. The biggest challenge is just trying to prove to myself that I belong in the industry and that I can run a business, even at a young age.”


Beyond proving her worth to herself, Shannon often finds herself proving her business's value to potential clients and those who question the effectiveness of her work. With the ways that different generations view social media, there are built-in obstacles to a career like Shannon's where she may be confronted with a need to explain the importance of being present as a business in an online world to someone who doesn't already see its value. About this, she shared, “Once you start being consistent, you can immediately tell that it isn't just a silly job, it's worth it. They definitely have to see to believe it. Being in creative spaces, a lot of times it is the older generation who needs it broken down a little more, which is fine because I love explaining what I do. But sometimes they really need to see the visual.”


When working with clients, Shannon highlights the importance of elevating your brand.
When working with clients, Shannon highlights the importance of elevating your brand.

Another difficulty Shannon has faced, which is one that we feel most business owners have tackled at one point or another, is the idea of pricing your product or service. Finding a fair price that truly shows the value of what you’re offering can be an ongoing challenge and no business model is immune to the idea of proving their worth to the client or customer. Shannon said, “It’s always back and forth doubting but you really have to put the confidence in yourself that you deserve it, and your knowledge is worth it. You do a good job at what you do and people you want to work with will see that and the value.”


As a true lover of all things digital marketing, Shannon is the perfect example of passion and functionality coming together to further a business's connection with its ideal audience. With five current clients, most of whom are in the wellness industry, she constantly finds herself learning new things and exploring new industries and the communities they each foster online.


With the continued evolution of digital culture, we asked Shannon to share what she thinks could be next in the social media world as someone who is so in tune with its ups and downs. She shared, “I think that short-form content is never going to go away. It’s the most popular right now. Not to say that won't change but we only have a certain attention span when we're scrolling. You really have to hook people in super fast if you want long-form content to work. So I don't see short-form content going away.”


For her business, Shannon’s goal is to make a difference for her clients and provide them with the knowledge, resources, and tools they need to successfully connect with their target audiences. She aims to reach beyond the simplicity of ‘going viral’ and wants to instead allow her clients to attract those who are truly interested in what they have to offer and not simply there to consume content without ever interacting with the business on another level. At the end of the day, the goal of social media marketing is to reach those who will connect with the businesses and their values, not to try and force connections with those who can’t benefit from what the businesses have to offer.


As for advice to share with the world of business owners and media consumers alike, Shannon said, “Social media is always going to be here. I really encourage all business owners to get on some form of social media. A lot of times they overwhelm themselves by doing too many at once so I do encourage them to start with one at a time and build up to more.”


Community beyond the screen is such a common theme in Shannon's work and she perfectly exhibits what it means to foster real connections between businesses and their clients. She credits both networking and the nature of women to lift each other up as sources of both inspiration and growth for her business. Her hard work, enthusiasm for learning, and clear passion for what she does proves that Shannon is at the forefront of a movement to create more authentic spaces online and allow businesses to show up as themselves. She is an insightful, understanding, and deliberate user of the internet and has an obvious gift for seeing the value of marketing beyond what it can do for a company, but instead highlighting the value of what marketing can do for the person behind the business. We are so honored to have connected with Shannon ourselves and can not wait to see where the future of her entrepreneurial spirit takes her!

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