Lauren MacEwen is CEO of 7Veils , a social media firm that specializes in developing strategies for building brand recognition, growing social media presence and generating a return on investment for their clients in the adult entertainment industry. This year Lauren MacEwen has been named a nominee for the adult industry’s most prestigious career awards program, the 2018 XBIZ Exec Awards – category of Businesswoman of the Year.
First of all, congratulations for nominating you CEO for the 2018 XBIZ Exec Awards – category of Businesswoman of the Year. Can you tell me a little bit about 7Veils? How did you come up with the name 7Veils?
Lauren MacEwen: The name is a nod to my alma mater, Smith College. Smith is a very prominent feminist college. Gloria Steinem, who lead the 2nd wave feminist movement is an alumna. I was worried that my Smithies would frown upon me going into the adult industry, as many feminists are not supportive of our industry. The name comes from a Bible story when Solome danced for the King to seduce him. She danced the dance of the seven veils and then cut off his head. I am not personally religious, but I liked the story and its symbolism of the characterizing of women in a negative light as being the femme fatale or the seductress and then taking her power back. So I chose the name 7 Veils because we are working in a sexual industry that is often villainized for sexuality but we are powerful in our choices and in who we are.
Tell me a little about the founding of the firm. How did 7Veils decide to focus its practice on the adult entertainment industry?
Lauren MacEwen: I was running a mainstream, aka. Non-adult, social media firm working mostly in politics. For my bachelorette party, I went to a strip club and befriended the feature dancer, Kylea Killeen, as I am oft to do. She and I got talking and she said she could use some social media assistance with her dancing. I wanted to help her but realized I could not have her in the same client pool as my politicians, at least not officially. I began to look into what-what being done for social media in adult entertainment and realized that no one did what I did. I saw the opportunity and decided to start 7 Veils. At that moment I also decided we would be the best social marketing company in an adult. I was so confident in that, or arrogant, that I put “the premier social marketing company in adult” in my email signature from day 1.
How does your firm differ, and serve your clients better, than other social media companies?
Lauren MacEwen: We focus on engagement marketing. This means we actually talk to your customers and your audience. Most companies do content strategy, scheduled marketing posts, report on brand listening, and maybe some customer service, but very few will actually do live engagement on an account. They leave that element to the business. However, most people do not have an internal person that is good at engagement or has real knowledge of social media to the level of being able to really increase click-through rates, network growth, reach and engagement. Working towards KPI (key performance indicators) is very different than just tweeting or posting on Facebook. We do all of those things, plus we do engagement. For the majority of my clients, we are their internal social media person. Because it is not just one of us, you get an entire team where people specialize in marketing writing, or on specific networks like Twitter and Reddit. You also get the advantage of our collective knowledge. We work with so many accounts that we often see trends on Twitter long before a singular account would ever be aware. We can also harness that large network to help grow accounts faster than would happen on your own.
Tell me about your strategies for successfully building a client’s brand.
Lauren MacEwen: That is very individual for every brand. We don’t do anything with a cookie cutter. The adult industry is a catch-all phrase for a myriad of different businesses from content, to hosting companies, to ad platforms, and web development, photography and graphic design, to affiliates. The common thread is that we are all working in an industry where the theme is about selling sexuality. We look at each business, their niche, their competitors, and make recommendations that are custom for them.
What types of challenges, such as laws and other internet regulations, do the adult entertainment industry face in social media marketing that are uncommon to other clients and industries?
Lauren MacEwen: The biggest issue for adult entertainment are the restrictions placed by the social media networks. Everyone feels very proprietary about their Facebook page, or Instagram account, or Twitter profile. The reality is you are leasing real estate from someone else. You don’t own your social media profile. This means that they can take it away from you and there is very little real-world recourse for that. Many of the networks are not adult-friendly. They do not support people in the adult industry using their platform. Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are notorious for shutting down profiles. Any regulated industry, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, guns, and adult entertainment, all face the same issues. However, where it use to be if you followed the rules they would let you have your page, now if they realize that you are adult but following the rules they will throttle your page on Facebook. This means that the Facebook algorithm limits the amount of impressions your posts will get. Impressions are the number of times people have seen your posts. Throttling makes it extremely difficult for a brand to build a presence on Facebook. Because we are aware of these issues, we have some tricks that can help get around some of the issues, but also can make sure that you are operating within the accepted terms of service and not get your account shut down.
What is the key to a successful social media marketing campaign?
Lauren MacEwen: Hiring me! Haha, only kind of kidding. You need to know who your audience is and on what network they live. Many people think that they can post the same content on all their networks and they will get good results. That is not true. The people that are on Facebook are not necessarily on Twitter and they don’t like the same things. Someone might love a sexy and salacious photo on Twitter, but they are not likely to share it on Facebook where there Grandma could see it. You need to understand how the networks intersect with your social marketing goals. After that, it is posting frequency. People significantly underestimate the number of posts they need to make. The lifespan of a tweet on Twitter is 18 minutes. This means, after 18 minutes, the most amount of people who are going to see your tweet have already seen it. So if you are posting only 3 times a day, you are significantly limiting your audience exposure.
What other industries, outside of adult entertainment, do you serve?
Lauren MacEwen: We work with cannabis/marijuana industry, we work in cryptocurrency, and we have a mainstream leg that works with everyone.
What awards have you and 7Veils won?
Lauren MacEwen: I joke that I am the Leonardo DiCaprio of awards. I have been nominated by XBIZ for Businesswoman of the year in 2015 and 2018, Progressive Tech Executive Nomination 2017. By Ynot I was nominated for Businesswomen of the year in 2015. I received a service recognition award from the ASACP for my work with the non-profit. I have also received an award for community outreach by the NM AMA, as a part of a marketing team.
What has been your proudest achievement in terms of building client exposure to date?
Lauren MacEwen: #SexTalkTuesday is a Twitter chat we created for Sssh.com. Every Tuesday we have a moderator that poses questions and the audience responds. It is a very involved hour-long Twitter chat. It is also the largest adult Twitter chat on Twitter. We average 5 million impressions in an hour and have seen an upward of 26 million impressions. The audience is very unique because it is predominantly women. There are a lot of sex educators and adult stars that participate in the chat. Because of the unique audience, one that is notoriously difficult to target on Twitter, and the incredible topics and discussions, #SexTalkTuesday has attracted some highly notable guest moderators such as legendary adult stars Nina Hartley and Jessica Drake, both of whom are also very accomplished sex educators. Margret Cho, and Sarah Benicasa have both moderated as well.
But my proudest moment has been this year, and it is not for a client but for our company as a whole. We have grown leaps and bounds. We have hired our fourth sex educator to our staff. We are expanding our staff to now include two people who speak French, three people who speak Spanish, and one person who speaks Portuguese. We officially have people working for us from 4 different countries and represent so many facets of adult interests such as gay, bi, polyamory, swinging, kink, fetish, and sex education. We have people who have made content both in front and behind the camera. We have people who have worked in adult as developers, security, and design. We are expanding by hiring our first official customer relations manager, who is not me. The beginning of 2018 heralds a new chapter for 7 Veils and hopefully a significant one. It is amazing to think that this little company started with only me and has expanded to include so many incredible people. Our team works very closely together and we are all personally very invested in our success. 7 Veils would not be where it is now if it weren’t for the people who have worked so hard to make it what it is.
The adult industry is like family to me. I have so many close friends because of this amazing industry. Most of my favorite stories are not about business but about the personal interactions I have had with people. This industry has known me from when I first started on my own. I came to 3 different shows when I was pregnant. They have known my son since birth. They have known my husband since we got married. They have known me in sickness, in rough times, and in prosperity. The adult industry is filled with the most amazing and brilliant people, who are all highly ambitious and amazingly accepting.