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the transcript

 Jen Lehner: You're listening to the Front Row Entrepreneur podcast, episode number three.

show intro: Welcome to the Front Row Entrepreneur podcast, where you always have a front row seat for the best tips and strategies in online business, modern marketing, and productivity. And now, your host, from her home studio in Shaker Heights, Ohio,  Jen Lehner.

 Jen Lehner: Hey there, Jenn here. So one of the things I hear the most from people is, "Where do I start?" [00:00:30] So, when people opt in to my email list, meaning, they go to my website, or one of my social channels, and they click to get one of the freebies that I offer, whether it's a checklist, or a guide, or whatever, I get their email address and then they get a welcome email from me. And at the bottom of that email it says, "Reply back and let me know what your biggest struggle is right now," or something to that effect. And I'm telling you, nine out of [00:01:00] 10 of those replies are almost these exact words: I just don't know where to start.

So, that's pretty easy to understand, given that there is some new social platform, or digital tool, that somebody is saying is the next big thing and you gotta use it, and we tend to think these things are gonna for sure be the silver bullet to grow our businesses. And for me, because it's what I do and what I'm interested in, I'm all over the place, I'm on every social [00:01:30] network. And I suppose if you're a wine enthusiast, or ... Like, last night I was watching 60 Minutes, and it was an episode with Tom Hanks, and it was all about his love of old typewriters, and he has a huge collection, he's got every one of those typewriters.

So, for me, I'm really interested in everything about everything when it comes to social media and digital tools. But for most people, more is not more; more can actually really be a liability for your business. But what I often see [00:02:00] is that people jump out there on all these different platforms, and really don't fully develop their profiles. So you've got this hodgepodge of stuff out there, but here's how it can hurt you. So, next time you're on your computer, log out of your browser, or go into incognito, that's a way of ... There's a little thing up at the top bar that allows you to go incognito, and do a Google search of your name. And we log out, or go incognito, so that your computer [00:02:30] doesn't remember you; otherwise it's gonna show you the results for you, as opposed to the results that your public sees, okay?

So you're gonna type in your name, and you're gonna notice that one or two things will likely pop up first. It's either gonna be your LinkedIn account, if you have one, or your Facebook account. And you might have spent a ton of money on that brand spanking new website, and that's where you want people to go, but unfortunately, if they're finding [00:03:00] you through Google, chances are they're more likely to click on your LinkedIn profile, or your Facebook profile. So, you know what they say about first impression, right? So you need to make sure that wherever you are on social, you've got your profile as optimized as it can be. That is where to start, and I'm gonna take you through this step by step. And I'm gonna put all these steps on a checklist for you; you can text WhereToStart, all one word, [00:03:30] to 44222, or you can access the show notes at JenLehner.com/podcast.

And before we dive in, I wanna remind you that the Front Row Entrepreneur podcast is brought to you by the Front Row VIP, the number one training community for anyone interested in creating or growing a business online. Not only do our members get full access to our trainings library, including in-depth practical courses and workshops, [00:04:00] you also get step by step guidance and twice monthly live coaching calls, and monthly mixers. You also get to tap into the expertise of myself, my team, and hundreds of entrepreneurs, just like you, in our VIP forum. These guys have your back every step of the way. So if you're serious about growing a successful online business, or using digital tools to grow your offline business, you need to be a part of the Front Row VIP. So go to [00:04:30] FrontRowVIP.com for more details.

So the first thing I wanna talk about, and where I think you need to start, is actually with your photos. If you're going for an interview or a client meeting, my guess is that you do everything you can to look the part, right? When you're building a business or a brand online, especially if you're the face of your brand, it's really, really important to look the part, more so even than in real life, because in real life your [00:05:00] shirt might be a little wrinkled, or your pants might clash with your socks, but there is a context. You might have a nice laugh, or penetrating eye contact; not the weird kind, but you know, just that good eye contact that shows me that you're really interested in everything that I'm saying, or maybe you smell good, I don't know.

But online, how much more one dimensional can you get? The only thing that you have is really the image that the [00:05:30] person sees, 'cause you're looking at someone through a flat surface, your computer screen or your phone screen. And the only opportunity that you have to play the part, so to speak, is to have some really great photos. And by really great photos I do not mean the ones where you put on your pearls and go and sit in that beautiful wingback chair in your living room that your nephew takes of you, even if he is taking a photography class in high school [00:06:00] or something. What I hope you'll do, is find an actual person who is an actual branding photographer, or lifestyle photographer. That's what you're gonna put into Google, branding photographer or lifestyle photographer, and see what comes up. 

And look at their work, and see who looks like the right person. If you like their look, and it looks like they're doing branding shoots for people's websites and social media channels, then [00:06:30] give them a call, and have a talk. And this can be expensive. I mean, you can pay anything between $300 and, I would say, $5,000, depending on if you get some really well known branding photographer. And if you're in a small town, it might be that nothing really comes up. But something to consider is that if you're taking a vacation any time soon, why not do the photo shoot at your vacation spot? Just bring the right outfits, [00:07:00] and make sure to get your hair done before the shoot. But hey, there's a salon right there at the resort, right? So that can work out really well also. Not to mention the fact that you could very well have some beautiful ocean setting, or mountain range or something, as your background.

So, when I started my business my husband really thought I was crazy, because I came back with, like, a thousand photos that I had taken at this branding shoot, but I [00:07:30] knew, from my research online, that people who I was trying to emulate, who already had successful online business, the Amy Porterfields, the David Siteman Garlands, the Kim Garce, Marie Smith, all those people, they had these photos that were all similar in that there were certain poses that people struck, whether it was sort of pointing to the side, or pointing up [00:08:00] above their head. There was always that obligatory one of looking shocked, or overwhelmed, or super happy. But they had a library of images that popped up on their social media, and there would be graphics that would be over top of these, whether it was their own branding, or information about a certain sale, or a special, or whatever.

But there's this one thing that I saw that all these people, these experts had. And I also noticed that when I would sometimes see someone online, [00:08:30] like a coach, or a trainer, or a digital marketing strategist, or whatever, and they had some great picture, I realized that I was clicking on these people because they looked legitimate. And I suppose that's really what I'm trying to say, is that when you have a professional photo done, when you're talking about branding your social media channels and your website, and optimizing them to make a good first impression as your starting place, [00:09:00] then you really need to look the part, and looking the part legitimizes you. So it looks like you're super successful, and you may not have client number one. And that is actually exactly my story.

So I did not even have my first client when I went out and did this photo shoot, and I left them pretty generic, other than, again, the obligatory shot with the laptop on your lap, or holding [00:09:30] the phone like you're talking to someone on the phone. You know, I did all those, but because I wasn't exactly sure what my business was going to be I kept them pretty generic. So now, four years later, I still use many of those photos from that first photo shoot. Now, of course at some point I'm gonna need to update them, 'cause I'm just getting older; I don't wanna frighten anyone when they see me in real life and have them, like, you know, "What? You are not the same person that I saw on your website."

So of all the things you're going to do [00:10:00] to invest in your business, I don't think that this is one of the steps that you need to skip, and on the contrary, I really think this needs to be at the very top of your list if you're serious about building your business or your brand online.

Okay, the next thing that I want you to think about is your call to action. Because as you start to optimize each of your profiles on social media, you need to be thinking about where it is you're trying to drive people. So, [00:10:30] there has to be a point to having a presence on the social channels to begin with. So, are you trying to drive them to your website? Do you want them to call you to make an appointment? Do you want them to send you an email? Do you want them to opt in to give you their email address, so you're tying to drive them to a landing page, offer a freebie, so you can get their email address? You need to be clear on what it is you are trying to accomplish, because, and [00:11:00] you've probably heard this before, but we don't want to build a house on rented land.

So we're optimizing the way that we look on all these channels, but it's not the channels, necessarily, where we want people to stay, because we don't own those channels, we don't own Facebook, we don't own that Facebook group that we started, as thriving as it may be. Those belong to the social network. So if something were to happen, if you were to get kicked off for some random [00:11:30] reason, or, let's say, they went out of business, whatever the reason, if that closes down, then what? So, most people like to drive the traffic from their social to their website, and the more people who visit your website, the better it is for you, because it tells Google, "Hey, this person has good stuff around the subject matter of manicures, or face painting," or whatever it [00:12:00] is. "This person has credibility, because they're seeing a lot of traffic coming over from social media."

And that's what we refer to as search engine optimization, because now, when someone goes to type into Google: "Ballon twister," or, "Face painter," or, "Eyelashes in Cleveland, Ohio," your page is gonna rise to the top because of all that traffic that you were sending in over from social. And so, I know [00:12:30] I'm getting a little bit in the weeds here, but I just want you to see the whole big picture, and the whole reason why you want to have a call to action, and to think about why it is you're even on that social platform to begin with. That's gonna really play a big part in how you optimize whatever particular channel that you're on.

Now, the next thing that you wanna think about, is your branding, okay? And this can be really so simple. [00:13:00] You can make it complicated, like, you can make a chocolate souffle, or you can make a Betty Crocker box cake, but either way you're gonna end up with some chocolate cake. That's kinda how I feel about branding, and that is not to discredit all the branding experts that have made this their life's passion, and their life's work, because truly, branding is a very deep topic, and there's whole courses that are written on this, and there are whole companies [00:13:30] that do nothing but branding. But as it relates to you and your online business, or the branding of your offline business on social media, there's just a few key things I want you to think about initially. Later you can make it a lot more fancy, a lot more involved, or meaningful, or whatever. But for your purposes, just think about a couple of things, okay?

So when I started my business, I knew that I could go down this rabbit hole, because it's so fan actually. It's [00:14:00] really fun to explore Pinterest, looking for all the color palettes that are there, or to look at all the different font palettes that are there, and to look at other people's logs. You could spend hours, days, weeks, months; you could get stuck there so easily, 'cause it's fun, it's creative. It's like someone telling you that your job is to flip through beautiful magazines, right? That's kind of fun, and also, it keeps [00:14:30] you away from doing the real work. So we don't want you to do that. What I recommend is, pick a font, pick a color, write down the hex code of the color, and you're off to the races, okay? So, what I did was, with my business, is I picked hot pink. It's not that I've always loved hot pink, I just thought, "All right, I need a signature color. I need a signature color so that whenever someone sees this hot pink, [00:15:00] they think of me." 

And so, I had to commit to a color, and it just seemed like hot pink would be a good one to commit to. Like, I knew I didn't like red, I didn't want blue. I kinda wish I would have done yellow, but anyway, it's pink. It's pink, okay. And not only is it pink, I have learned that my pink is #EC2390, and the way that you're gonna figure that out is, you go into Canva, or Pick Monkey, or one of my new favorites, Spark.Adobe.com, don't worry, it will be in the show [00:15:30] notes, and you can sorta drag the little doohickey around on the color wheel, and pick the color you want, and it will show you this little hex code. And that is the color that forevermore you can use to make sure that you're always being consistent with your color across your branding, across all your social channels, and your website, okay?

And then, for the font, you need three fonts. You need a serif, a sans serif, and a ... [00:16:00] Can't remember the third one, but let's just call it text, okay? So the first one is like a headline font, and that's the one that you use sparingly. You're not gonna use it a lot, it's sort of eye catching. Maybe this is where you get to use that fun, pretty cursive that you like, okay? Then the second one is more of a sub-headline kind of font. It's bigger than the font that you would use in the body of a paragraph, [00:16:30] but it's eye catching. So it might be like a subheading. And then the third font, it needs to be just, like, basic paragraph font. And you can go into Pinterest and look and see the way that they pair fonts together, but you just need to pick three, all right? Write down the names of the ones that you pick, and then move on. Do not get stuck in all the gazillions of choice, because choices ... 'Cause whatever you pick, it's gonna be fine as long as people can read it. Make sure that it's not [00:17:00] so fancy that people cannot make out what it is that is written.

So now you have got your photo, you've got your brand colors, your fonts and stuff picked out, so you're really now set to optimize your social channels. So now it's, "What social channels?" Well, just about everybody, everybody, should have a Facebook business page. But, when somebody Googles you, they're actually not gonna be taken to your Facebook [00:17:30] business page, they're gonna be taken to your personal profile. Now, depending on how you have all your settings for each individual post, people are, or are not, gonna be able to see things on your personal page beyond just some basic, like your header picture, maybe your profile picture, and a few other things. And the way that you're gonna know what's visible and what isn't, is whenever you go to your Facebook profile, and next to each post if you see a little [00:18:00] icon of a globe, that means that it is completely public, all right? And if you don't want it to be then you can change that, there are some other options.

So, I know what you're thinking, you're like, "Well gosh, you know, I don't want them to go to my personal profile, I want them to go to my business profile," but there are things that you can do about this. And what I have on my personal profile is, up at the top there is a professional image of me, from one of those photo shoots that I just mentioned, actually [00:18:30] from the first photo shoot I believe. And in Canva, Canva.com, and I put some type in there, and it says, "I'm Jen Lehner, this is my personal profile, where you will see pictures of Jake, and Zach, and Eddie, and my dog Ruby. If you're looking for my business," or something like, and it just says "Facebook business," and then I think I put the URL to my Facebook business page.

Also, very often overlooked by people but really, really [00:19:00] important is, in the About section of your personal profile make sure and put, "Click here to visit my business page," and then put the URL to your business page. Because if you're engaging in a Facebook group, like even if they're not coming over from Google ... Let's say you're engaging in a Facebook group, and someone clicks on your profile because they wanna know more about you, it's gonna take them to your personal profile. And this happens to me all the time, and I can't figure out where the person works, or what they do, or anything. [00:19:30] So you wanna make it super easy for people, okay? And so, that's how you optimize your Facebook personal profile.

Now we're gonna talk about your Facebook business page. So, I really feel like everybody needs a Facebook business page. We talked about this in the last episode, and a lot of my B2B people, business-to-business people, were saying, "You know, my audience is just not on Facebook." Yes they are, and unless your audience is 30 or under, [00:20:00] or ... I should say, under 30, they're on Facebook. There's two billion people on Facebook, so that just means, you know, the odds are that your people are on Facebook. And the thing is, we don't care whether they are on Facebook from the C-suite office, or from behind a desk between the hours of 9:00 to 5:00, whether they're wearing a suit and a tie or whether they're flipping through Facebook on their iPad while they're watching the football game on the couch. We don't really care where they [00:20:30] are, we just really care that they're seeing what we are sharing, right? That they are seeing our messaging, that's what we care about.

And so, that's how we need to be thinking about it; not in terms of my audience are accountants, and so therefore, they're only on LinkedIn. They are on LinkedIn, but they're on Facebook too. So I think by default, when you're wondering where to start, absolutely start with a Facebook business page. And I've got all sorts of [00:21:00] lessons that show you how to actually set up a Facebook business page, but in terms of optimizing it, you want to put in that beautiful photo that you had taken as your header, your banner, and in that banner you wanna do this. You wanna put some text on top of it that says, "Click here to," blah, blah, blah, whatever. "Click here to learn more, click here for my free ebook," whatever. And then put a little button, like a picture of [00:21:30] a button. Now, the button is not gonna be clickable, but that whole banner is actually clickable. So when people click on it, another thing kinda pops out to the side, and that gives you an opportunity to write a whole bunch of information, to put links to wherever you wanna send them. So that's a really good thing to do.

The other to remember to do, is to either create a video ... And on that note, you could put a video in your header now too, which is a very cool thing to do if you have a good video to put up there. And [00:22:00] down below you want to pin either a graphic that really sums up who you are and what you do, pin it to the top of your Facebook page, or pin a video there. I really love the idea of having some sort of short explainer video there, because, honestly, nobody has time to really dig deep and figure out what you're doing.

Which brings me to another point, and that is, just be really direct about what it is that you do. [00:22:30] I see a lot of people who will give themselves some sort of clever, cute, catchy title, but if you're a life coach, you're a life coach, okay? If you're a business coach, you're a business coach; you're not a empowerer of humans and problem slayer, you know? Like, I just made that up. But that is, you know, you just ... I really believe in just, [00:23:00] as straightforward and clear as your messaging can be, is one of the best ways to optimize your branding and your social channels.

So the next thing we're gonna talk about is LinkedIn. Chances are you probably have a LinkedIn profile. What I would say here is that, and it's really important to pay attention to, is that header title underneath your name, there's a title that goes right underneath your name, change that title as often as you need to. You could change that title with every new promotion, [00:23:30] with every new blog post that you do; it only takes a second. But the thing is, that phrasing that is attached to your name follows you everywhere on LinkedIn, and people actually read that, and you may have noticed that sometimes there'll be people that have things like, "Searching for new opportunities," so they're looking for a job, or, "Looking to hire a managing director." You can put things in there [00:24:00] that are very dynamic, and maybe that are gonna expire soon. So that title is only gonna be good for a week, no big deal, it takes two seconds to change it to the next thing.

The other thing is, your summary. So, your summary is really important on LinkedIn, and it also needs to be super direct, and it needs to state who you are, what you do, and who you serve. It needs to be written in the first person, not the boring third person; people tend to think of LinkedIn as [00:24:30] a resume, it's actually not. And the name of the game is standing out, and so, being able to tweak each of these social channels in a way that makes you stand out is really what we're striving for, okay? So also there, there's a place, there's a banner on LinkedIn that you wanna utilize. And then, in your summary, you can insert all sorts of multimedia, everything from slide decks, to videos, [00:25:00] images, gifs; you name it, you can put it in your summary. And I really encourage you to do, and make it colorful, and interesting, and not boring.

Okay, Twitter, my dear Twitter. I love Twitter so, so much. And Twitter gives us a ginormous banner. You'll notice when you log into Twitter, especially on your desktop, it is a really huge piece of digital real estate. Take advantage of that; just like we said with the Facebook business banner, put your message on there. It should say, "Be [00:25:30] sure to get my free ebook," whatever it is, and then put a ... You can't click on the Twitter banner, but can put a link, like type out the link on there. I have, on mine, a Bitly link, and Bitly is basically, it's Bitly.com, or you can also get there by going to bit.ly, but basically, it allows you to put in a huge, ugly link, and then it spits out this really short, pretty link that you can use. So you can put a little shortened [00:26:00] link there to whatever, you could put a link to your website. 

And it could say loud and clear in your banner, "I'm a life coach, I help people get their lives together," that's not very good. Let's see, "I am a triathlon coach, I coach triathletes through their first Iron Man competitions." Very direct. Who are you, what do you do? And then, just like on Facebook, you can pit a tweet to the top of your Twitter profile, and I really [00:26:30] recommend putting an explainer video there as well, because whenever you follow someone on Twitter, very often they're gonna click back over to see who you are, and when they get there they need to see that you're someone that is relevant to them.

With Pinterest, and optimizing over there, if you're on Pinterest I would not rush over to start a Pinterest account as one of your places to start, unless you are eCommerce, or [00:27:00] you have something like a boutique in your local community. Pinterest is fantastic, but as a starting point I just don't know that I would go there first. However, if you already have a Pinterest account, the way to optimize your profile there is to start thinking in terms of keywords. So, Pinterest is really a great big, fat data base. It's not so much a social channel, is more of, like, a Google. So people go in there with a mindset [00:27:30] of improving their lives, of purchasing things, and they will type stuff in into that search bar to find that stuff, okay? 

And so, in your paragraph description, it's about a paragraph, I can't remember how many characters, in your bio, first of all, you want your subtitle, or your heading, to be descriptive of what you do. So mine is, "The Social Expert." It's not great, it'd be better if it was, like, "Digital Marketer," but I was late to the party, so it's, like, "The Social Expert," [00:28:00] is the title. Then, in the body of the paragraph, it's very keyword rich in terms of what I do. I'm not looking at my profile right now, but I'm sure it says, like, "Digital marketing strategy, Twitter strategy," blah, blah, blah.

Okay, so Instagram, Instagram is ... On your Instagram profile you have a place to put a link, but you only have that one place to ever put a link, and I've just come across a fantastic [00:28:30] free resources called Linktree, and I'll link you over to it in the show notes. But what it allows you to do is, if people click on the link in your Instagram profile, it allows you to list all your other stuff on this one page. And its format is specifically for Instagram, which I love; it looks great on mobile. People click on that link, on the Linktree link, and they can see the link to my podcast, they could see the link to my Facebook group, and so on, [00:29:00] and so forth. And my website. Also wanna consider using emoji in you profile, and also making your title descriptive whenever possible.

Wrapping up now, in summary, I would say that the most important things, and hopefully your takeaway, is that you need to get a good set of photos, then you need to think about your branding, your call to action, what it is you're gonna ask people to do, where are you gonna direct them once they get to your social channel. [00:29:30] And then we're gonna make sure that each of our social channels, wherever it is that we decided to be, whether it's Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or Instagram, we're going to make sure that our messaging and our images are really on point, so that we make a great first impression. I've made a great little checklist for you, you can get that checklist by typing WhereToStart, all one word, to 44222.

[00:30:00] You can also check out the show notes over at JenLehner.com/podcast. So I'll see you next week, here on the Front Row Entrepreneur podcast, where you always have a Front Row seat to the best tips and strategies in marketing, online business, and productivity.

show promo: Fast Company recently listed Jen's free online classroom, The Front Row, as one of the top ten groups to join before quitting your day job. If you aren't [00:30:30] already a member, join today, it's free. Just search, The Front Row, next time you're on Facebook.