10:24 AM

Say Hey There! BU Alum Launches Social Media Firm

BU Alum Launches Social Media Firm

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

  Say Hey There! Got your attention now? Mikala Harden hopes so. Harden, who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Leadership from Bellevue University in 2009, has recently launched Say Hey There Social, a social media and community engagement boutique that advocates for authenticity, simplicity, relevance, and the power of storytelling. Harden“I've set out to stand out,” Harden said. “Long-term, I want Say Hey There Social to be a firm that is known for not only producing killer work, but also being very involved in the local creative community, including the arts and entertainment scene.” A desire to lead is what brought Harden to Bellevue University and her academic program of choice. “I am not one of those people who always knew exactly what they would do,” Harden said. “I didn't always envision being an entrepreneur, but I have always been a leader. That natural drive within me is what initially attracted me to Bellevue's leadership program: and today I can’t think of a more influential scholastic resource that led me to where I am. It’s not your typical business degree. It’s about leading people and inspiring change.” The Kirkpatrick Signature Series stood out for Harden. “The Kirkpatrick Series and its principles fascinated me,” she said. “Dr. Stephen Linenberger was my professor the whole way through, and he was always available, encouraging, and thought-provoking. His leadership transcended the digital realm. I had attended both a major university and a community college before coming to Bellevue, but BU seemed like the only place that was set up to work for me.” In addition to her Bellevue University education, Harden brings some real world experience to her entrepreneurial endeavor. “I spent the last few years leading the content and social media division of a digital branding agency. Before that, I served as the internal communication coordinator at a healthcare research firm,” she said. “I have always been a writer. I have always been a communicator. At the heart of social media engagement, you will find great content that people care about and that creates community. I provide that.” Tin Lizzy, a tavern in Fremont, Nebraska, is one of Harden’s early clients. “When we met, they were already marketing-savvy,” Harden said. “They realize the importance of an engaging online presence and have established a great following on Facebook. Their dilemma was with time. There just weren't enough hours in the day to dedicate to multiple platforms…and that’s where I come in. Our partnership helps to make sure their message is being pushed out to multiple platforms on a consistent basis, engaging fans who may not have a presence on Facebook.” One of the realities of being a small-business owner is taking on all the tasks necessary to run the business. For Harden, that means sales. “I've never considered myself a salesperson,” she said. “My fix is to try not to look at it in the traditional sense. I'm focusing on just having real, down-to-earth conversations with people, and I think that approach will be more relatable anyway.”