Hi there. My name is Hannah. I’m an accidental marketing expert specializing in social media and digital engagement for museums and nonprofits. I live in Nashville, where I am the Membership Marketing Coordinator at the American Association for State and Local History. (Views expressed on this site are my own.)
A Maryland native, I grew up traveling the world with my family before we settled back down in rural Maryland. When I was eleven, my mom (who has an inherited and unavoidable entrepreneurial streak), decided to start her own granite countertop business. She couldn’t find a company she liked to install counters in our home, so she figured she’d just do it herself. I started off as a hostess, chatting with clients while they waited and eventually moved into sales when I was in high school. I stayed close to home for college, studying English Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. As I continued to help out at my mom’s business, I realized she was spending a lot of money on marketing and advertising without really knowing if it was working. With so much on her plate (anyone running nonprofits and small businesses knows what I’m talking about), she didn’t have time to put together a marketing plan and research best practices. She was essentially throwing money at whatever opportunities came across her desk, whether that was print advertising, trade shows, or online marketing companies.
So, I asked her to let me take over. Long story short, I had the unique opportunity to learn marketing in the real world through high-stakes trial and error. Since I was working for the family business, I could spend a few weeks teaching myself Google Adwords or take half a day to read up on the latest changes to Facebook’s algorithms. I had a lot more time than money at my disposal, so I learned quickly how to make the most of a small budget. I realized that with a careful strategy, we could use inexpensive content and free platforms (such as photos, blogs, and social media) alongside results-driven advertising on Google and Facebook to attract new clients while growing our reputation.
Jump to ten years later, and Granite Grannies is one of the premier businesses of its kind the greater DC area. Not only do we have new clients walking in the door, but most of the time they don’t know how they heard about us–they just knew we are the place to go.
But I haven’t just been selling granite in the last ten years. In the last two years of my time at UMD, I started writing freelance, specifically website copy. After a year of working full-time at Granite Grannies after college, I jetted off to Iceland to get a Master’s in Medieval Nordic Studies (because…why not?). While I was there, I continued to write freelance and doing Granite Grannies’ marketing remotely.
Returning to the States after graduate school, I wanted to find a job that really mattered, so I started looking for something at the intersection of marketing and nonprofits or museums. That’s what led me to the American Association for State and Local History, where I am the Membership Marketing Coordinator. Among other communication and marketing duties, I manage our Association’s social media presence and teach webinars on the subject for our members’ benefit.
Since moving to Nashville to work for this public history association, I’ve learned so much about the public history and museum fields. Now, I get to spend my 9-5 serving museums and other history organizations and bringing AASLH members together to make the field stronger.