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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 over 1500 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.

14 January 2013 ~ Comments Off

Top 10 Things You Need to do to Get Your Facebook 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:

  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.

05 September 2012 ~ Comments Off

Choosing Your Social Media Handle

Choosing the name to use for your business on social media can be tricky. There are multiple places where your name is displayed on each platform and there are some character limitations as well. And if you have had any experience with social media, you know the native search tools on platforms like Facebook and Twitter aren’t very good. Strive to be as consistent as possible across platforms and choose your name by following these guidelines.

The first and I think most important consideration is what does your audience call you? How are you known or referred to by them? You may need to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes for a minute here.

An example I often use in my seminars is an organization called the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce. I sit on their Board of Directors and helped them straighten out some of their social media profiles a while back. For a business name, the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce is pretty long. Internally, the staff refers to the organization as the DRCC. However, most members and the general public do not.

Side Note: It’s important to avoid using acronyms publicly whenever possible. Our office is right outside of Washington, DC and if you use the wrong acronym around here you could be in big trouble. Beyond that, it is confusing and there are often many other organizations using the same acronym.

This organization is referred to almost exclusively by its members and the public as the Dulles Chamber. This name fits nicely with the next point to consider when thinking about social media profiles – the length – since it is only 14 characters. So, my recommendation to the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce was to use “dulleschamber” as their Twitter handle, Facebook URL, YouTube username, etc. I also advised using “Dulles Chamber” as their Facebook Page name and Twitter username.

In some cases, this isn’t possible because someone else has secured the name. You will need to investigate your name availability on all the major social media platforms as well as the associated domain name.

Think Rabies vanWith your new shortened name in hand, you should see if the matching domain name is available. Many years ago, I wrote about a Brilliant! domain name I saw while driving around. The van pictured here has the URL thinkrabies.com. In all these years, I did not know or remember the phone number or business name but I never forgot that domain name. If I was advising this business, I would recommend that they take that name and secure all available social media profiles, even if they don’t plan to use the profiles right now.

The final step in choosing a name, even it it’s available everywhere you have looked, is to run  it through a search engine to see what comes up.

If you already have profiles set up, you can often edit your username, URL and handle. The Facebook URL probably has the most rules associated with changing it. You can learn how to Set Your Facebook URL by watching this video. You can also read about the Facebook Username Guidelines.

05 September 2012 ~ Comments Off

Why Should I Follow You on Social Media?

I often hear from business owners who are frustrated because they set up a Facebook Business Page or Twitter profile and have no followers. My first questions is always “Why should I follow you?”. Remember the adage: what’s in it for me?

I’m hoping you sat down to determine how social media fits into your overall marketing strategy and what you hope to gain from participation. Once you know these answers, you should have an idea of WHY your ideal customer should follow you and WHAT type of content you are going to share. If you are a restaurant, maybe you are going to share the daily special or a monthly coupon. If you are a professional services firm, perhaps you plan to share industry trends through relevant articles.

Whatever you decide, you need to TELL your audience. This means whenever you mention a social media platform, tell me what you are sharing there. For instance “Follow Me on Twitter for Interesting Articles” gives me an idea of what I’m getting if I decide to follow you and, in my opinion, increases the likelihood of getting an engaged follower. Here is the sidebar from my blog as an example:
laurabcreative.com sidebar image

I believe you should have ALL the platforms where you are actively sharing content publicized in two places: your web site and your email campaign template. Please don’t set up a profile, add one update and publicize it all over town. Wait until you start participating and start seeing some traction, then publicize it.

On that note, I believe you should choose ONE social media platform to start with. Starting with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest all on Day One of your social media effort will be too overwhelming and not successful. Find the best match between the content you have to share, your ideal customer and what you are capable of. Watch my No Magic Bullet video for details on this model for determining your social media strategy.

And that ONE social media platform should be included on your business card and email signature. Don’t forget to include the URL and WHAT you are sharing there.

Are you more likely to engage with a business owner who has a email signature like this:

Joe Smith*
Joe Smith Movers
703.555.1212
www.joesmithmovers.com
Facebook: facebook.com/joesmithmovers
Twitter: @joesmithmovers
Blog: www.joesmithmovers.com/blog
YouTube: www.youtube.com/joesmithmovers
LinkedIn: www/linkedin.com/in/joesmith

or one like this:

Joe Smith*
Joe Smith Movers
703.555.1212
www.joesmithmovers.com
See our latest fast packing techniques at www.youtube.com/joesmithmovers

I think the chances of an email recipient following that YouTube link is exponentially increased versus any of the links in the first signature example. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

*Please Note: No Joes or Smiths were harmed in the writing of this blog post.