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Laura B. Poindexter is a renowned thought leader, guiding clients through the changing electronic marketing and social media environment. Her public seminars have helped thousands of business owners learn and employ affordable marketing solutions. Since 2000, her company, Queenb Creative (formerly laura b creative), has managed clients’ online presence, maximized their social media and electronic marketing to positively impact their bottom line and enhance audience engagement.

29 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Social Media Editorial Calendar Templates

Thank you so much for reading my emails through this short series on my 3Cs of social media marketing – Customer, Content, and Capabilities. We have reached the last C – Capabilities. In short, what can you do? An effective strategy on paper won’t help if you can’t put it into action in your business. Read on to find out how including an Editorial Calendar Template.Facebook Editorial Calendar Template

Remember, the point of this short series is to give you direction on creating an online strategy that works for your business. I want you to have a plan that doesn’t take all of your time and gives you real results a.k.a. SALES!!!

We’ve talked about defining your ideal customer profile and where they are online. This should point you toward the right platform to focus on. And then we talked about the type of information you want to share and some quick content ideas like Customer Testimonials. The last piece of the puzzle is all about you. What can you do – realistically?

Your social media and online marketing activities have to fit in with your daily workflow and personality. If you don’t like to write, I’m not going to ask you to blog. If you take pictures of your projects, let’s find a way to fit imagery into your strategy. If you have funny tidbits of information or daily thoughts, maybe Twitter will work for you. It is important that capabilities come last in this list because the first two pieces are so important to reaching the right customer. Capabilities should simply guide the execution of the strategy not help to mold the strategy.

This is why each business needs a unique online strategy that fits this 3 Cs test of Customer, Content, and Capabilities. Keep it simple. Stay focused on the one measurable action you want your audience to complete. Measure your success and adjust accordingly.

Filling In Editorial Calendar Templates

Here’s how we use Capabilities to guide the strategy:

  1. Choose the ONE platform that makes the most sense based on all you’ve learned about your customer. Facebook may be the easy choice here, but let’s use my business as an example. In that case, LinkedIn is the best platform because most of my clients come to me from referrals. Knowing that about my business, I want to use online marketing for credibility and to assist in the referral process.
  2. Choose what type of content you are going to share – usually one or two distinctive types that match your desired goal on that platform. For me, I’m going to use LinkedIn to publish content for credibility. I also want to deepen relationships with existing referral partners and find new ones so I may share content with those target partners or just engage with them by responding to their updates.
  3. Here’s the big step – place these items on your calendar. This is the publishing piece of your plan. Unfortunately, many of you won’t do this, and that is where your plan falls apart. With that in mind, I have created 2 Editorial Calendar Templates – one focusing on Facebook, the other on LinkedIn along with a completely blank one for you to fill out for yourself.

Monitoring Social Media

You also need to review and respond to social media. Depending on how active you are. You may just need a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day or maybe you dedicate 20 minutes at lunchtime. This depends on when your audience is likely to engage with you and when you can engage with them. This is the last C for capabilities – what can you do? I check my profiles every morning. I also curate some interesting content while perusing blogs I like and schedule those to post throughout the day using Hootsuite or Buffer. I also have NutshellMail set up to monitor my social media activity. These tasks are not on the Editorial Calendar templates but you need to add them to your calendar.

When you put an Editorial Calendar in place following this process, you will have an online marketing strategy in place that drives sales without stress. You will be free to run your business while your marketing plan is delivering real results.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/laurabcreative.

25 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Online Content: Customer Testimonials

This is part 2 of a series talking about my simple 3-step process to develop online marketing strategies for my clients. I call it the 3 Cs of Social Media: Customer, Content, Capabilities. In the first installment, we discussed Customer and creating your Ideal Customer Profile.

We are on to the next C in this post which is content and more specifically what do you have to say.

Content is a big topic, and it’s something that I love to talk about. And it is the biggest question I get about social media marketing. Some business owners don’t know what to say, and others have a lot of content but they are not sure how to distribute it and get a response.

Remember the goal is to deliver content that elicits a response from your audience. Simply posting to Facebook or another social media site is not enough. You want to get engagement that leads people into your sales funnel.

With that in mind, creating an editorial calendar is a major part of what I do with my clients and in my small group trainings. I’m hoping that this series will give you direction on your online strategy.

Here are some questions to get you started with content:

  • What do you have to say and share?
  • What formats will work best for this content?
  • Can you make your information visual in the form of product images, infographics, or video content?
  • Can you make your calls to action simple to complete?

Be sure to offer value to your audience as a rule and sprinkle in your marketing messages. No more than 1 in 10 messages should be blatantly promotional.

Customer Testimonials

This is such a big topic, but you know I want to give you something actionable. So let’s talk about the number one piece of content that every business owner has or can develop relatively quickly — customer testimonials and case studies. Nothing is as effective in getting a new customer interested in your product or service as hearing another customer sing your praises.

Where can you find them? Yelp Customer Review on Facebook Page

  • Look through your emails
  • Reviews on online sites like Yelp! are public. Sometimes I just screenshot a review and post that image on my client’s Facebook page.
  • Surveys at time of service like events or immediately after the engagement in the case of a home remodeler.
  • Capture people when they are singing your praises. Use that smartphone and snap a quick video (see an example from a recent conference) or get an audio recording of their voice that you can transcribe later. Don’t let the moment pass. Because even if someone fully intends to give you a glowing testimonial, it’s unlikely that they will get around to it, so you need to capture that enthusiasm as soon as possible.

Interview Strategy

If getting testimonials is a challenge for you, you can try my interview strategy. I have a colleague call my customer and talk to them about the service I provided and the results they experienced. My colleague makes notes on what my customer says and then puts together a nice succinct quote based on that conversation using the customer’s own words. We send the quote to the customer for approval which they always give. This makes it very easy for my customers to provide that testimonial they were willing to give, but were too busy to create on their own.

Case Study

A related piece of content to the customer testimonial is the case study. Telling the story of how you solved your customer’s pain point is very powerful. Specifics and numbers are really important here. Even just one or two good nuggets that people can hold on to will make a great impact.

I often talk about one of my customers — an auto repair shop. When we started working together in 2008, they had 3 bays in one location. They now have 20 bays across 3 locations.

I like to use this example because it includes numbers and growth, but I didn’t have to get into revenue or any specifics on what I did for them. I can dive deeper with prospects who want to know more.

This is not only a great testimonial for my services, but customer testimonials through online review sites are one of the big reasons that the auto repair shop experienced such strong growth.

If you don’t have any testimonials on hand today, start collecting them immediately – maybe try my interview strategy. This is the single most powerful type of content you can share so make it a priority in your online marketing.

Let me know your thoughts on content, specifically on getting customer testimonials. We will pull this into a strategy when we look at the last piece – Capabilities.

22 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Ideal Customer Profile

I have come up with a simple 3-step process to develop online marketing strategies for my clients. I call it my 3 Cs of Social Media: Customer, Content, Capabilities. If you’ve been subscribed for a while or have seen me speak before, you’ve probably heard that. I want to dive a little deeper into each over the next few posts because I really want you to create a strategy that works for your business.

[I created an audio version of this post, click below to listen. It’s only 5:30 minutes long. Let me know what you think or just keep on reading.]

I recently surveyed my audience and asked the question: how do you feel you are doing with your social media, and not one person said they felt they were doing a great job on their own. I’m here to help.

I know that online marketing can be confusing and overwhelming especially with all the different platforms and tools available. We are going to break it down so you can be very focused on what you are doing online in a way that doesn’t take all of your time and gets you REAL results – translation: actual sales.

Ideal Customer Profile SearchSound too good to be true? It’s not. But let’s take it one step at a time and start with the first C: your Customer. We can’t do any marketing if we don’t hone in on who our ideal customer is. There are a number of processes to determine this, and if you were going to school for an MBA, entire classes would be devoted to market research. Here’s the thing – I’m all about actionable intelligence. I don’t want to talk in theories; I want to give you strategies you can implement TODAY. I actually do this stuff every day for my clients – hundreds of them with millions of dollars in revenue.

In fact, I just did a web search on “ideal customer profile” and there were over 19 million results (see image) – talk about confusing!

So let’s go through a little exercise. We need to answer two big questions:

1)      Who are your best customers?

2)      Where are they online? (hint: They may not be on social media.)

Take a minute right now (if you want, you can download this ideal customer profile worksheet) and write down those qualities and characteristics of your ideal customer. Look at your existing customers. Not every customer is your ideal customer. Who are the customers you are most happy with, most successful with, most profitable? This is definitely not everyone in the world.

Some possible factors to consider (based on your business)

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Location
  • Stage of life
  • B2C – Interests and hobbies that align with your product
  • B2B – type of business (independent, franchise)
  • B2B – Niche (restaurant, retailers, service providers, CPAs)

Narrowing down some of these general factors will bring you to more specific ones like:

  • B2C – lifestyle and music preferences
  • B2B – where are they looking for their customers

And the big one – what is their pain that you solve?

That should help you determine the next big question which is where are they online? This is the first piece of the puzzle.

Where are they likely to be when you want them to take action – buy from you, subscribe to your newsletter, whatever that major call to action is?

If you are a retail business targeting young professionals who are out and about when you want them to take action, then mobile and online review sites are going to play a big part in your strategy. There is no right answer here as long as the platform matches your customer.

 

Go ahead and download the ideal customer profile worksheet and jot down the characteristics of your ideal customer.

If it helps, here’s a glimpse of my ideal client profile for my high-level one-on-one marketing strategy services:

–          Independent Business Owner

–          In business 2 years or more

–          Wants to harness the power of the Internet to grow their business

–          Not afraid of social media or technology

–          BONUS: likes wine or golf (because then we can hang out)

 

Let me know about your ideal customer in the comments.

The next post in this series is about developing online content with a focus on customer testimonials.

14 January 2013 ~ Comments Off

Top 10 Things You Need to do to Get Your Facebook Business Page in Tip Top Shape

On March 30, 2012, Facebook forced all Business Pages to the new Timeline format. Since then, I’ve updated all my client pages as well as spoken to hundreds of business owners through my social media seminars. Here are the top 10 things you need to know, edit or change for the new Timeline format on your Facebook business page:

  1. Set a Clear Goal. We always need to start with a goal. What are you looking to gain from your engagement on Facebook? If we don’t have a goal, we can’t measure our success. And if that goal isn’t measured to our most important number – sales – then we need to rethink our strategy.

  2. WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). What’s in it for your customers? Why should they follow you? You must give your audience a reason to LIKE you on Facebook. For thoughts on this, see Why Should I Follow You?

  3. Page Name. What is your page called and what is your page URL? The Facebook search is relational so if a potential follower is not connected with you in some way and you have few likes, it is unlikely you will show up in search even if they search for your Page Name. This is another reason why promoting your Facebook page URL is important.

    Also, be sure to use a name and URL that is consistent with how you are known to your audience.

    Here is a video on how to set your custom URL.

    Setting Facebook Custom URL
    Setting Facebook Custom URL
  4. Impression. Use a cover photo that depicts your product or service. You can see the new cover photo size specs at CopyBlogger. Also, choose a profile image that depicts your business and will be recognizable on your audience’s wall. We usually recommend your business logo. However, Facebook does have guidelines of what can and cannot be in your cover photo. Some examples: you cannot have prices, discounts or calls to action in your cover photo.
  5. About You. Be sure to look at your page as a prospect would and complete or edit the About Tab. The information that shows here is dependent on your business category. Also, the number of characters that are visible can vary so please look at your main Timeline page and edit your About information accordingly.
  6. Fill In Content. Timeline offers businesses the ability to place historical events called Milestones in your Timeline including when your business started and other events important to the history of your company. This would be a great place to highlight events that you may have created press releases around like a new client, a new hire, a new service, etc. Milestones will automatically span both columns of the Timeline format so be sure to include an appropriate picture to accompany the Milestone. You can also highlight posts. Highlighting the post will also cause the post to span the two columns. This would be a great for posts that got great engagement (comments, likes and shares) or important events in the company that may not be Milestone-worthy. Here’s how:
    Facebook Timeline: Filling in content
    Facebook Timeline: Filling in content

     

  7. Tabs and Applications. This is the section to the right and just below your cover photo. The only tab that cannot be edited or moved currently is the Photos tab. Every other tab can be reordered and customized with an appropriate image and new tab name. Be sure to use clear calls to action to direct users where you want them to go. Cue video:
    Facebook Timeline: Customizing Tabs and Apps
    Facebook Timeline: Customizing Tabs and Apps

     

  8. Adding New Content. With Timeline, you can pin a post to the top of your page where it will stay for 7 days or until you decided to pin a different post. This is a great place to put a specific promotion you have going on. You can also schedule posts for the future and for the past. When you schedule new posts, you can set the date and time you want them to post to your wall and will be visible to the public. You can delete the post or change the time when it will post but you can not edit the scheduled post at this time. You can also add content in the past. I love this feature especially when I am having an especially busy week and don’t have time to add photos from events I have attended. The post will be placed in your Timeline based on the date you choose. However, it will also post to the walls of your followers when you push Post. I like to add Milestones and back-dated content late at night or early in the morning when it’s less likely to clog up my followers’ news feeds. You guessed it, another video:

    Facebook Timeline: Adding New Content
    Facebook Timeline: Adding New Content
  9. Is it working? I tie all my marketing activities back to the goal and use KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure my success. There are many things you can track with Facebook. Start with the goal. If you are trying to gain email list subscribers. How many have you gained? If your goal is a sales number, what amount of sales can you directly attribute to Facebook? My favorite general indicator on Facebook is what I call the Facebook Engagement Quotient.That is the number of fans divided by the number of people talking about the page. The number of people talking about the page is the number of comments, shares and likes of content in the past 7 days. New page likes do not count. This number is different for all my clients and changes seasonally for some. However, it gives you a general idea on how engaging your content is. And if your content is not engaging, it’s not showing up on your followers’ walls so you need to find a way to be engaging.

  10. This one’s for me. Scroll down to the bottom of your Timeline and remove the Milestone that says “Joined Facebook” with the date. Just choose “Delete from page”. Thank you.