Jul 21, 2022 - Partners

Social Ape Marketing’s founder on Charlotte’s entrepreneur culture and social media trends after 10 years in business


Produced in partnership with Social Ape Marketing. 

Uptown Skyline purple hue

Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

10 years ago, April Smith saw a gap in Charlotte’s social media marketing space, so she founded Social Ape Marketing to fill it.

The impact: Social Ape has worked with more than 100 clients across the Carolinas, delivering ROIs up to 700%.

What you need to know: Social Ape Marketing is a boutique marketing and PR firm offering services like:

  • Social media marketing
  • PR
  • Digital advertising
  • Media Buys
  • Influencer marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Event coordination

To celebrate 10 years in business, we asked April a few questions about entrepreneurship in Charlotte and the changing social media landscape.

Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

April Smith. Photo via Social Ape/Julia Fay Photography.

What are three things you’ve learned after 10 years in business in Charlotte?

  1. You will always have plenty of people in Charlotte to cheer you on and support you.
  2. If you make an effort to show true appreciation for your employees, your business will run much more efficiently, which clients will notice.
  3. As the city grows, so will the opportunities for potential business and competition. Therefore, constantly adapting is crucial.

What makes Charlotte’s business community unique?

I’ve learned that so many Charlotte business owners are willing to help and befriend other entrepreneurs.

Even better: I know several entrepreneurs who started their businesses around the same time as me and it’s been awesome to watch them grow.

What sets Social Ape Marketing apart from other Charlotte marketing firms?

We truly pride ourselves on acting as an extension of our client’s businesses.

What this means: We take a lot of time to get to know our clients and their business very well in order to represent them.

We’re also very flexible since we’re a boutique firm.

  • An example: We can create and execute creative campaigns faster than larger marketing firms.

What’s one of the coolest projects you’ve worked on?

We handled all of the initial marketing and PR for Vaulted Oak Brewing when they opened in 2021.

The deets: The robust campaign consisted of social media marketing, social media advertising, several press announcements, and a VIP opening event.

  • It was so fun to watch the concept come to life, from the initial blueprints to the grand opening events.

What do you wish you had known 10 years ago?

I wish I had known how much of this business would become my life.

Here’s why: Owning a business is much more enjoyable when you set boundaries, especially if you plan to be in it for the long haul.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Always think two steps ahead.

An example: You should always be thinking about potential changes within your industry or market and get ahead of those issues before they even happen.

How has social media changed over the past 10 years? What trends are you watching now?

Social media has changed tremendously over the last decade!

  • An example: It’s become less about brands shouting at social media users and more about creating engaging and helpful content in real-time.

Looking ahead: TikTok is a fast-growing social media platform right now, and with good reason.

  • The impact: I think brands will shy away from using Facebook, if they haven’t already, and will double down on Instagram or TikTok.

What’s next for Social Ape?

The goal: In the near future, we’ll be focusing more on offering videography to our clients for story-telling and social media content.

  • Beyond that, we’re excited to grow Social Ape in other markets in the Carolinas.

Learn more about how Social Ape Marketing uses innovative practices to tell brands’ stories.

Produced in partnership with Social Ape Marketing. 


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