Category Archives for "Content Marketing"

Oct 10

What’s New in Social Media: 3rd Quarter Round-Up

By Admin Tester

A lot has changed in online marketing over the last 12 weeks — here’ s your go-to resource for all the new content (in addition to your classes) at for 3rd quarter 2014.  Bookmark this page so you can return to it when you need answers fast!

Growing Your Business

  1. How to Get More Sales from Your Website [WEBINAR EXCERPT]…
  2. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue…
  3. How to Get More Sales from Your Website Webinar Replay & Resources…
  4. How to Rebrand Yourself and Launch a New Career …
  5. Online Training for Different Learning Styles: Social Media Training …
  6. The Learn Startup Approach to Education in America: Minimum Viable Education…
  7. College Guide to Landing a Job…

Online Marketing Strategy

  1. How to Create a Stock Photo Library [VIDEO]…
  2. The One Thing You Should Do on Social Media Every Day…
  3. New Cheat Sheets in Your Swipe File…
  4. What to Look for in Online Social Media Training…
  5. How to Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes Flat…
  6. Learn How to Build Your Own Stock Photo Library Using Your iPhone…
  7. Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing Webinar Replay & Resources…
  8. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others…
  9. How to Brand & Watermark Your Images [VIDEO]*…
  10. The State of Social Media for Small Business…


  1. How Facebook Just Made Your Life Easier …
  2. How Often Should I Post to Facebook in 2014?…
  3. How to Get Double Duty from Every Facebook Post…
  4. HUGE Facebook News: Google Search Now Links to FB Posts Using Hashtags…
  5. What Facebook ISN’T Telling You About Its Latest Business Page Redesign…
  6. Member Exclusive: How to Create a Facebook Timeline with a Clickable Button…
  7. Facebook 2014 Changes — What You Need to Know (INFOGRAPHIC) …
  8. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links…
  9. How to Find Which Apps You Have Installed on Facebook…
  10. Monthly Coaching Video Clip: How to EASILY Increase Your Facebook Post Reach…


Instagram Marketing Infographic…


Google+ Image Size Cheat Sheet…


Twitter Image Size Cheat Sheet…


Pinterest Contest Swipe File…

Best of the Best

  1. 2014′s Best Social Media Marketing Infographics…
  2. Most Popular Articles from the First Half of 2014…
  3. Our Top Presentations — Get ‘Em Here!…

The one thing you should do on social media everyday
Sep 16

The One Thing You Should Do on Social Media Every Day

By Maria Peagler

The one thing you should do on social media everyday

Social media is often called “relationship” marketing: instead of throwing messages at your audience, you’re actually developing a connection with them. You get to know what they like, share jokes and your latest specials, and you eventually earn their trust.

How do your customers feel when they haven’t heard from you in a while? Disappointed and wondering where you’ve been.

They miss you. Eventually, they’ll forget about you.

The simplest way to growing your business using social media? Be consistent:

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

Do you “show up” on your social networks daily?

Consistency is the key

What happens when you don’t show up in your social networks for awhile?

You get rusty. You forget how to do the basics: navigate your way around the network, search, post an update or a photo.

You get frustrated and it takes longer than you’d like to post your message.

Your audience, however, has still been engaging — just not with you.  Other small businesses have been consistent, and they’re reaping the benefits.

Go for the base hit, not the home run

Showing up and being consistent with your social media marketing is far more important than having a huge viral contest. That baseball adage, “go for the base hit, not the home run” applies to your marketing also.

Develop relationships with your audience in small steps. Keep in touch with them, the way you would a good friend.  Nurture and help those connections.

The more you show up, the more successful you’ll be

Why do people eventually purchase from you?

Rarely is it any single reason; instead, it’s often for lots of small ones.

They saw a link to an interesting article you posted. They’ve benefited from your helpful advice. They see you more often, in more ways than your competition.

You earn your client’s trust by showing up consistently, providing value, and earning their trust. Those relationships take time to build.

One day at a time.


outsourcing social media video
Sep 12

Tips for Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing: How to Do It Successfully

By Maria Peagler

Our Outsourcing Social Media Marketing bonus webinar piqued a lot of interest from our members. Whether you don’t have time to social yourself, you don’t WANT to do your own social media marketing, or simply don’t have time, this snippet of the webinar provides tips on how to:

  • find a great social media team
  • prepare for collaboration
  • measure your success

Here’s a few of the tips I shared in the webinar.   Timestamps & transcript are below the video:

00:16:  Be Uber-Organized

00:25:  Provide Resources to Your Social Media Marketing Team

00:57:   Resource Types: Articles, Images, Multimedia

03:45:  Communicate Upcoming Events/Schedule in Advance

05:25:  Collaborate with Your Social Media Marketing Team to Create a Content Calendar

06:20:  Busy/Slow Times of the Year for Content Calendar — Create a Hook for Content

07:30:  Topics for Content Calendar

08:00: Social Media, Email Marketing & Search Engine Optimization Services


The first thing that you need to do is to be, what I call, uber organized. You need to be someone who has all of the resources that your social media team needs available and ready for them, you need to communicate with them and let’s take a look at some of the things that that entails. The first thing that you need to be able to do is to provide resources to your social media team. They need your content and you may not think that you have any content but, believe it or not, you do. You’ve got a lot of content and the first thing that your social media team is going to need is to know what content you have and you need to make it available to them. It could be written content in the form of an article, it could be a white paper, it could be a summary brief that you’ve written, it could be a magazine article that you’ve been featured in. You need to give your social media team content to work with and, so, one of the first things that you’ll be doing is giving them written content. It also could be audio content, it could be an mp3, it could be an interview that’s been done with you. You just want to give them some content that they can work with in talking about your brand in social media. 

You need to have images. Social media and online marketing is a visual medium. So, you need to have images. You know, it’d be nice if you had images of your Porsche but it doesn’t have to be a Porsche; it could be the head shots of your staff, it could be product and service images, it could be inspirational images. Inspirational things on social media, and the images that you see, get a lot of engagement. So, you need to be able to provide images to your social media team. I’ll give you an example of someone who does this really well, Molly McGrory is a Remax broker who I profiled a couple of months ago as someone who is using social media and she made $100,000 off of her Facebook listings. That’s her own listings, that’s not her real estate agent listings. One of the ways that she uses social media is she’s constantly taking photos, with her smart phone, of the different properties that she’s listing, events that she’s at. She also has head shots of her brokers and, one of the things that she does is she posts their image on social media and congratulates them on milestones, on their anniversary, on their birthdays, you know things like that. That really creates a personal, human touch in an online atmosphere and the first thing that you need to be able to do in order to create that kind of culture is have those images. 

The third thing, if you have it to give to your team, is multimedia. It could be a powerpoint presentation, it could be a video. Any kind of multimedia that you have, your social media team will need that and you need to make sure they get that, as soon as you start, so you can both be as successful as possible. 

You need to communicate well with your team and communicate in advance. You need to let your social media firm know what scheduling you have coming up, what’s on your calendar. What do you have coming up? Do you have a big event that you’re going to, are you going to a conference, are you coming into your busy season? For real estate, this is busy season. For a tax prep firm, not so much, they’ve just passed their busy season. You need to let your social media team know what is coming up and give them time to prepare for that. If you’re telling them “Oh yeah, I’m going to have a big flash sale this week and I need you to post about it.” Well, they’ll be able to do a little bit but you’re not going to be able to be nearly as successful as you could be if you had really prepared well, a good month ahead of time. So, you need to communicate with your team about what’s going on, you also need to decide whether or not you want to approve the posts that are being done on your behalf. I’ve encountered firms that do both, some clients want to approve everything and other clients couldn’t care less, They trust you. I think a good blend of that is to approve all of the social media postings that your team does for you for about a month, until you get a good feel for each other and, after that, you probably don’t need to do that. You can just review them and provide feedback.  

You also need to start, with your outsource team, an editorial calendar and this sounds very complicated but it’s really not. Simply, what you’re doing is letting your team know the seasonality of your business. Every business has seasons where things are going on and where they’re busy, where they’re not so busy, where certain things are on their client’s mind. I’ll give you an example of this and why it’s important. I have many clients, here at Social Media Online Classes, who are accountants. Now, if you’re talking about tax-prep in January, February and March it’s very topical. If you’re talking about tax-prep in May, you’re not going to get a lot of attention or engagement from people. Now, if you can put a slant on it like “Is your summer vacation tax-deductible?” Yes, that’s something that your social media team might be able to make successful but, you’ve got to let your team know what’s on your clients’ minds during the year. If you’re talking about Christmas in March, not too many people are going to be focused on that. 

You also need to let your team know when your busy times  are and when your slow times are because if you’re looking at measuring your social media team on the amount of engagement that you’re getting during a really slow season, for your brand, your expectations might not be reasonable. I can tell you, for Social Media Online Classes, we’re entering our slow season. So, I know to expect lower engagement levels, lower reach, basically lower across the board but I’ll be sharing with you, later on in the webinar, the things that we do to boost that engagement and the things that you can be doing with your team as well. 

Once your team knows what your seasonality is, what’s on the minds of your clients, you can put together an editorial calendar with the topics that you will be focusing on for that month and for that week. Now, this is something that the outsource team will do but they need that communication, from you, to know your business and to understand it as best they can. We, here at Social Media Online Classes, are debuting our social media services this month. This is something that’s brand new for us; our clients have been asking for this for years and we are finally saying “Yes, we would be happy to help you!” with not only your social media marketing but also your email marketing and  your search engine optimization. If that is something that you might be interested in, feel free to take a look here, you can click on this link it’s also available from the main menu and on our “pricing and plans” page. 

Jun 05

What Facebook Isn’t Telling Businesses About It’s New Timeline Design

By Maria Peagler

fb new timeline 2014 fi
On June 6, Facebook business pages will have gotten a makeover.


Why are they changing things just when you got used to them? That’s what you’ll learn in this week’s post:  the good, the bad, and the ugly that Facebook won’t tell you.

Why is Facebook Changing the Timeline for Business Pages?

There are two major reasons why Facebook has chosen to make these particular changes:

  1. We are a multi-device society, going from mobile phone to tablet to laptop to desktop.  After extensive user testing, Facebook realized its users would login on one device, but continue their session on another.  They want to provide a consistent user experience across devices.
  2. Engagement on mobile devices is significantly higher than any other device, so Facebook decided to make the user experience across all devices as similar to mobile as possible:  a one-column NewsFeed and Timeline.

Both reasons are great for business: a consistent user experience across devices, as well as from your personal profile to your business page, and more engagement.

All good news, right?


Facebook announced only the changes they wanted you to know about.  Here at we’ve transitioned to the new layout, and we’ll tell you everything:

facebook changes 2014

New business page Timeline layout for Facebook 2014

1. Page Name & Category in White Text on Timeline Cover

Good: Nice free marketing for your business & what it does.

Bad: The text is white, so if you have a white Timeline cover, you’ll need to either change it to a dark background or put a dark strip along the bottom so the text shows up.

2.  Custom Tabs Renamed Apps; Moved to More Menu & Sidebar

Good: Gives pages a streamlined look, consistent with personal profiles & mobile.  You do get one custom tab in your Timeline menu.

Bad: Custom tabs were at the heart of many a brand’s marketing strategy.  Facebook renamed them apps and moved them to a far less visible location.

Visitors won’t know you have custom tabs unless they click on More. From my experience in click-tracking and heat mapping, few people visiting your Timeline will click on More.

Solution? Make that single custom tab (now called an App) count.  Offer a freebie in exchange for visitor’s email addresses.  Also make an offer directly on your Timeline cover that does the same.  You can see in our Timeline cover we offer a free class (and also on that first custom tab).  We make it almost impossible to miss.

3.  One Column Timeline Feed

Good: It’s all good! The double column timeline feed for posts was confusing and clunky. This is similar to Facebook’s mobile news feed, which has the HIGHEST engagement of any device. That’s good news for brands.

Bad: No more highlighting a post so it takes up a double column. Not a big deal in my opinion. Few brands took advantage of this due to complex image sizes.

4.  Fan Count is Front & Center

Good: Your fan count is now one of the first thing visitors see to your Timeline. IT MATTERS. The more fans you have, the more credible you appear to visitors. Work on getting a targeted fan base using FB101 Lesson 13.

Bad: This replaces the About section, which Facebook moved to the bottom left of your Timeline. This was an easy, above-the-fold place to put a hyperlink to your website. It’s now gone.

Solution? Every two weeks, do a post that is a description of your brand and a hyperlink to your website. Post it to the top of your Timeline.

5.  About Section Moved to Sidebar

Good: All brand info will be on the left column of your Timeline, making it easy for visitors to learn about your business at a glance.

Bad: The new location is one of the least visible places on a webpage. Do something to make it stand out, like using special characters (available under your browser’s Edit>>Special Characters menu.

6.  Say Goodbye to the Admin Panel

Good: Makes the business page layout consistent with personal profiles and mobile devices.  Admin panels don’t exist on those.

Bad: The Admin panel was a great one-glance dashboard of how your page was doing.  You can still get to that information, but it’s now spread apart under the Admin menu:

fb new timeline admin 2014

Admin panel replaced by new Admin menu

It’s actually a great menu – easier to use than the Admin panel – but will take some time to get used to.

  • Page takes you directly to your business page Timeline.  Previously there was no simple way to do this.
  • Activity displays the latest fan engagement on your page.
  • Insights provide essential analytics for your page.
  • Settings allows you to manage the Admin roles, what’s displayed on your page, permissions, and anything else you can think of.  If you can’t do it anywhere else, look here. Facebook Changes Checklist

We’re keeping you informed about ALL of Facebook’s changes to business pages, and how to execute the best solutions.  We offer how-to lessons on how to make these changes to your Facebook business page Timeline.

Members also get a one-page checklist to make it easy to keep track of the changes and solutions you need to implement.

fb changes 2014 checklist thumbnail

What do you think of the new business page layout? Do you think it will increase engagement for your brand?

Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

May 19

How to Outsource Your Social Media Marketing

By Maria Peagler

networking imageStartups and small businesses don’t have the time to do everything themselves, and often social media marketing is one of the first services entrepreneurs look to outsource.

Trusting your social media marketing to an outside firm is a big leap —  often one that leaves everyone disappointed.  In this week’s post, I’ll share my secrets for ensuring a successful delegation of your social media marketing to an outside team.

1.  Is Your Business a Good Candidate for Outsourcing?

A hard question you need to ask yourself is this:  are we a good candidate for outsourcing?  Not every business can let go of their marketing, nor are they organized enough to do so.

Is your team organized?

Handing off your marketing requires that your social media team understands your brand and your clients as well as your in-house staff.  That requires spending a lot of time with the team and educating them on what you offer, what differentiates you, and what you want your brand voice to be.

Do you have content, images and copy?

Marketing also requires a lot of content: your calendar of events, product/service images, staff headshots, product copy, and more.

In my experience, most brands are so busy doing the work they don’t remember to take the time to photograph what they do.  The result? They end up with little in the way of marketing images.  Even when they’re in a visual business like retail.

Your social media team needs those images so they can get engagement on social media.  Can you provide them?

2.  Do You Know What to Look for in a Social Media Marketing Team?

Hiring a social media marketer with an impressive certificate of credentials is a good start, but it’s not enough.  You need to know they understand your business, have produced results for previous clients in the past, and can do the same for you.

Do they have social media marketing training?

Where did they get their social media marketing education? What tactics does that organization teach, and will you be comfortable with those tactics with your brand’s name on them?

Many social media training “experts” teach highly aggressive forms of marketing that violate Facebook’s terms of service.  Using their tactics can get your business page banned.

Know the social media training organizations you can trust and recognize the candidates with those credentials.

What results have they produced for previous clients?

How do you know hiring a team will produce results?  A member hired a consultant to do his marketing, and she did an awesome job tweeting, posting on Facebook, and engaging with fans/followers.

The problem?  The content she was posting had absolutely nothing to do with his new product launch.  Not related in the slightest sense.  She didn’t understand his brand or his product enough to speak for him.

What is your goal in hiring a social media marketing team? If you want to grow your business, you need to be prepared to have that discussion with your team and identify how to accomplish that.

Want to increase visibility for your brand? How many fans & followers is realistic for your business?

3.  How Will You Measure Success?

This is the ultimate test for any marketing campaign:  what was your goal and did you accomplish it?

What is your social media marketing goal?

You need to discuss your goals for hiring the team and agree on measurable ways to analyze whether you’ve met them. While increasing your fan count may be part of that, it’s usually not enough.

Do you want social media to drive traffic to your website? Generate telephone calls for a consultation? Get people visiting your store?

You need to have SMART goals in place and ensure that both you and your team understand and agree with them.

How long does your team have to accomplish those goals?

Last month I received this email:

Hello I need a way that I can get 1 million customers over the internet. Can you email me a model plan. I am a Sports consultant, Life Coach, insurance rep, and football coach.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to help, because this entrepreneur lacked focus, a budget, and a timeframe.  His expectations were also wildly unrealistic.

Have a candid discussion with your potential marketing team about what a reasonable timeframe is to accomplish the goals you’ve defined.  That way you’ll know how much you need to invest before you see measurable results. Now Offers Done-for-You Social Media Services

Because our members have asked us for years to provide done-for-you services, we’re debuting our Social Media Services this month.

We help your business grow using social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization.  No questionable tactics. Only highly trained consultants you can trust.

You’ll have the assurance that our team uses only the best marketing tactics, understands your business and product offerings as well as an in-house team, and can produce measurable results to meet your business goals.

Apr 28

The State of Social Media for Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Maria Peagler

We posed questions to members (almost 300 of them!) to take the pulse of social media for small business in 2014.  Some results were expected, while others were shocking.  All are shown in the infographic below.  (Following the infographic is a brief explanation of the finding for each question) state of social media for small business

Share this Image On Your Site

Majority of Small Business Owners Do Have a Website


Most small business owner do have their own website, which is big jump from 2011, when less than 50% did (according to the SBA).  That means more entrepreneurs sare making the transition from traditional marketing to digital.  It’s also a positive step in owning your space online: social networks may change, but you own your website and your domain, and can control its look, feel, and what you share on it.

More Business-to-Consumer Brands Use Social Media

b2c It’s no surprise that more business-to-consumer brands (B2C) use social media, as far more social networks exist for those channels.  Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are definitely stronger in the B2C market, while LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slideshare are focused more on the B2B space. Google, Google+, and YouTube cross both spectrums.

Are Your Clients Mostly Women?

pinterest The response to this question was surprising:  women are more active on social networks, and Pinterest is primarily a social network for women.  But a clear 63% of members said that women were not the majority of their clients.  Greater than half of small brands reach out to both men and women in their marketing.

Everyone Watches YouTube

youtube YouTube remains the biggest missed opportunity for small business, as over 98% of members have watched a video there, but fewer than 10% actually use video marketing.   Brands can learn to record and produce video quickly with smartphones, webcams, and even use YouTube’s built-in editing features to get started marketing their business with video.

Search Engine Rank is Essential

google Ranking highly in search engine results is critical to small brands for growing their business, as a clear 87% responded it was important. However, SEO services remain out of reach to small business budgets, with the average SEO project costing $4,000 (according to  Entrepreneurs can improve their own SEO rankings by focusing on their domain names, content marketing, and earning high quality links to their websites.

Few Brands Give Presentations, Workshops, or Lectures

slideshare Only 36% of small business owners give presentations, workshops or lectures.  Educational marketing offer a tremendous opportunity for brands to reach a wider audience, provide “infotainment,” and build their client list.

Both B2B and B2C brands can benefit:  Fun Finds and Designs, a retail consignment store in Canton, GA, gives monthly how-to workshops in their store.  Here at we repurpose many of our infographics and webinars into excerpts on – both are great marketing tools.

Small Business Needs Influencer Outreachtwitter

A little more than half — 57% — of small brands said they need to get the attention of influencers in their industry.  Twitter is an excellent, low-maintenance way to do influencer outreach, yet many entrepreneurs still see Twitter as a celebrity social network.

While the definition of an influencer will vary from one industry to another, you’re quite likely to find those key players on Twitter engaging in multiple conversations daily.  Brands should be on Twitter, focusing on their industry influencers, and engaging in those conversations.

Tip: a great way to group conversations by industry in both Twitter and Hootsuite is to use a list.  You can have separate lists for the media, vendors, potential joint venture (JV) partners, and more.

Biggest Challenge Facing Small Brands: How to Start with Social Media?


The top challenge facing small brands is this: they’re overwhelmed, with 48% responding they don’t where to start.  Almost every brand assumes they need Facebook: in reality, only those B2C businesses or those using Facebook regularly will benefit.

Few brands have a clear strategy, and usually don’t know the questions to ask to develop one.  (Register for the free Social Media Strategy class on the Home page to build your own strategy.)

A close second is being faced with far too many social networks, and not knowing which one holds the best potential for their business.  Too many brands feel the need to be everywhere, and end up burned out and frustrated over a watered-down presence not generating results.

The third challenge facing small brands is not seeing a return on their investment (ROI).  Not surprisingly, if brands are unsure where to start or which online platform will perform best for them, their ROI will suffer.  It’s critical to develop a strategy, identify your highest potential social network (take the quiz from our Home page), and measure results over time.

Action Steps: How to Capitalize on These Results

What can you take away from these results to improve your own marketing?

  • If you don’t already have a website, you need to get one
  • No matter who your audience is, there’s a social network for you
  • Every business should start video marketing in 2014. You’ll see improved search engine rank and increased traffic to your website.
  • Educational marketing offers major opportunities to build your brand
  • Search Engine Optimization is important, and small brands can do basic SEO themselves
  • Influencer outreach can be simple & low-maintenance on Twitter
  • Develop and clarify your marketing strategy and your highest potential social network
social media for local business webinar excerpt
Apr 07

Social Media for Local Business Webinar Sneak Peek

By Maria Peagler

Members had so many questions during the Social Media for Local Business webinar they stayed for an additional 30 minutes with loads of questions!

The best member takeways were:

  • how to get a steady stream of new customers
  • which local resources were best for their business type
  • how to optimize social resources to help local consumers find your brand
  • and much more!

Webinar Sneak Peek

Here’s an exclusive excerpt from the webinar:

Not a member? Start learning today by becoming a Socialmediaonlineclasses member.  Click here to learn more:

Feb 25

Small Business Content Marketing [Case Study]: How to Turn One Major Piece of Content into a Month’s Worth of Marketing

By Maria Peagler

small biz case study fi2Last week I shared with you my content generation & marketing secrets that simplify social media marketing.

This week, you get a case study of how a small business can build one major piece of content and use it as the basis for a month’s worth of content and social media marketing.

Case Study: Your First Business Video Webinar

Every month I offer a members-only webinar focusing on tactics that apply to all social networks. In Oct. 2013, it was Your First Business Video: a webinar demonstrating how simple it can be to make your first video, which most small businesses find incredibly intimidating.

While the webinar was members-only content, I used it as the foundation for a month’s worth of related content & social media marketing, including:

Blog post announcing the members-only webinar

Because I offer a new webinar every month, the blog post is basically the same.  I duplicated the previous month’s post and changed the webinar details:

Blog post announcing webinar, created from a template

Blog post announcing webinar, created from a template

Social media posts

I shared across all social networks to announce the webinar, give member reminders, and offer best member takeaways from the webinar:

content marketing sm content marketing twitter content marketing twitter 2
Images and infographics

I created a webinar announcement image and two infographics.  I created these from templates, which sped up the process considerably.  I updated the content & colors to reflect the new webinar:
bonus webinar first video
youtube infographic
youtube checklist

Blog post on colleague’s website

Mary Ellen Miller guest posted at my local social media blog in 2011 on How to Be Comfortable on Camera.  She was excited about the checklist I developed for the webinar (based on her guest post and video), and shared it on her blog MarketingMel.

Members-only video and audio

Ultimately the main piece of content was the webinar itself, from which I developed these members-only content resources:

  • Webinar video replay
  • the “first business video” example I recorded as a demo during the webinar
  • Mary Ellen Miller’s How to Be Comfortable on Camera video (not developed by me)
  • Audio .mp3 file of the webinar members-only videos & audio members-only videos & audio


I could have taken this even farther, and still could in the future.  The possibilities for repurposing this content are immense.

Simplify by using a template for content & images

The secret to simplifying content generation and marketing is to use a template for blog posts and images.  The majority of the work is up front in creating the original template: once you have that, all you do is change the content to suit your new topic.

I used a template for the webinar announcement blog post & image, webinar video intro, infographics, and checklists.

How do they simplify the process?

The blog post template has all the content, subheads, and copywriting I need. I duplicate it every month, updating the details  for the new webinar and hit publish. That takes less than 10 minutes.

My infographics have a distinct branded look & feel: the size & shape remain the same. I changed the colors and the content to reflect the new topic. I got bonus points for sharing on colleague Mary Ellen Miller’s website.

My images also have a distinct branded look.  Again, I changed the text to reflect the new webinar topic and uploaded them to my website and social networks.

If content generation isn’t your strength, you can train an employee or outsource to a contractor to use this repeatable process.  Purchasing a membership for them here at is a cost-effective method for your business to train your staff at their own pace.

How you can adapt this case study for your own small business

Small businesses need to be ruthless about how they spend their time and resources. That’s why this process works beautifully for you:  using templated content for blog posts and images saves an incredible amount of time.

It’s also a repeatable process easily completed by your social media manager: that could be a small agency, someone in-house, or even yourself.

They key to making this process relevant & applicable for your business is to identify your main piece of content and what related content you can develop from it.  The form that content will take will be determined by your market:

  • Business-to-business (B2B) company? A presentation or a white paper is perfect for your audience
  • Business-to-consumer (B2C) company? A blog post or infographic works best for your readers
  • both B2B and B2C can use images and video across all social networks.

How to Develop Your Cornerstone Content

Generating that main piece of content is what this entire process depends on.  It’s the foundation that supports the rest of your content & social media marketing.

What’s the secret to developing an impressive piece of content quickly and simply?

That’s what you’ll learn in the February bonus webinar:  Content Marketing Made Simple.  I’ll be sharing my secrets, including:

  • how to brainstorm content ideas for your entire year
  • the secret to writing a detailed blog post in only 10 minutes
  • how to easily schedule your content so you’re always on track
  • how to outsource content creation if you don’t have time

The webinar is a $297.00 value, free for members in February.  I look forward to helping you in your content marketing efforts!

Feb 10

Content Marketing Secrets to Simplify Your Social Media [EXAMPLES]

By Maria Peagler

what is content marketing fiContent is at the heart of social media marketing: without it, what do you have to offer?

In this post, I’m revealing my content generation & marketing secrets to improve your marketing, make content easier to generate, and get more mileage out of the content you’ve already got.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is creating information, from your brand’s unique perspective,  you can use to differentiate and promote your business.

Content Takes Many Forms

Because I’m a writer, I think of content as a blog post or an article – something in written form.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Your content can take whatever form you’re most comfortable generating:

  • audio recording (podcast)
  • video
  • slideshow
  • blog post
  • white paper
  • infographic

Here’s an example: for a recent members-only bonus webinar, I wrote a brief article, recorded a video, but also saved the audio file as an .mp3, and summarized the content in an infographic.  It’s the same content, just taking different forms:

content marketing forms

Content Should Have Your Brand’s Distinct Voice

Your brand, product, service and team are unique.  Great content plays up that uniqueness to your advantage.

Content from your organization should always use your “voice.”  For example, here at, our voice is “simple, elegant solutions.”  While I don’t use those words in my marketing copy or my lessons, those are my goals and they’re at the forefront of any content I create.

Here’s an infographic from me, and I assure you it’s completely recognizable as coming from SMOC:

wp website infographic

SMOC’s infographics have a distinct look & feel so they’re instantly recognizable

What is your brand’s voice? Make sure you’re projecting it in every piece of content you develop & promote.

Content Should Have a Specific Marketing Goal

When you’re developing your content, what do you want to achieve with it?

The goal for my infographics?  Branding.  They provide helpful tactics to people in search of social media solutions, and they learn about me & my training at the same time.

The goal for my YouTube videos?  Branding & traffic generation.  Videos rock at providing quick solutions for people who are searching for help:  this Hootsuite video is an excerpt of a bonus webinar I developed for members-only.  It’s one of the most popular videos on my channel, and it drives people to my website to find out more:

How can you achieve your marketing goal with your content?

Content Should Be Shared

Don’t be selfish with your content.  While your first instinct might be to debut your content baby on your own blog, a smarter strategy is to offer it to a top-rated industry blog that’s always in need of content.

For example, my first infographic debuted on AllFacebook – a top-rated blog publishing multiple posts per day about all things Facebook.  There’s no way they can produce every piece of content they need to feed the constant thirst for Facebook news, so they rely on trusted guest posters.

Content Should Market with a Whisper, Not a Scream

Content marketing is subtle: you don’t hit visitors over the head with BUY NOW messages.  Rather, you leave a breadcrumb trail back to your website, like Hansel and Gretel.  Not only is that far more interesting, it allows people to develop trust & a relationship with your brand when they’re ready.

Screaming marketing tactics are pop-ups, requesting contact information before revealing pricing, and sending a barrage of offer emails to your weary subscribers.

Subtle content marketing is publishing resources so helpful & entertaining your audience can’t ignore you.  They see your brand over and over again delivering value. It’s a breadcrumb trail too good to resist.

How to Develop Enough Content to Feed Your Online Marketing

Generating solid content that delivers exceptional value to your audience is hard. No doubt about it.

It takes a lot of time: every week you need fresh content to keep your audience’s attention.  So how do create enough content and still have time to actually run your business?

That’s what you’ll learn in the February bonus webinar:  Content Marketing Made Simple.  I’ll be sharing my secrets, including:

  • how to brainstorm content ideas for your entire year
  • the secret to writing a detailed blog post in only 10 minutes
  • how to easily schedule your content so you’re always on track
  • how to outsource content creation if you don’t have time

The webinar is a $297.00 value, free for members in February.  I look forward to helping you in your content marketing efforts!

Feb 03

Content Marketing Made Simple: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio

By Maria Peagler

bonus webinar content marketing made simple fiJoin Maria Peagler for this brief live webinar:

    • Learn how to generate compelling content (especially if you’re not a writer)
    • Thurs Feb 27th, 1pm EST, 6pm GMT
    • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio
    • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

Already a member?  Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox by Feb 26.

Do you wonder where you’ll come up with all the content you need for your blog, email newsletter, and social networks?

You’ll find out in this jam-packed webinar, when Maria Peagler reveals her secrets for easily creating content in only a few minutes a day.

In this 30-minute webinar, you’ll learn:

  • how to brainstorm content ideas for your entire year
  • the secret to writing a detailed blog post in only 10 minutes
  • how to easily schedule your content so you’re always on track

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions and sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar ticket FREE When You Join  Today

Purchase your Webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime. is a continuous service, including instant access to over 200 online lessons valued at $1,997.00 plus $397.00 worth of new Bonus Webinars & infographics each month, billed to your payment card every 30 days at the lowest rate then in effect, currently just $57.

In total, you’ll get instant access to $2,297.00 (and growing!) worth of practical Members-Only training to grow your business using social media. Membership helps you:

#1. Get Access to One Billion Customers in 10 Minutes

Learn how to identify the social networks best for your unique business, then build a profile that turns more visitors into paying customers. SMOC brings you ‘what works’  training that cuts through the noise & crushes social media overwhelm.

Members  instantly access how-to videos, screen shots, checklists, infographics, and case studies — tools which can be put to work on your website & social networking right away.

#2. Get More Fans in Less Time

Discover how to get fans & connections without spending all day in social media.  You really can post to all of your social networks in as little as 15 minutes a day, and you’ll learn how to generate content & posts that get your business noticed, attract fans, and turn them into paying customers.

Members immediately get their hands on how-to checklists (like 13 Ways to Get More Facebook Fans), videos that teach you how to do search engine optimization yourself, and real-life examples of successful small businesses who’ve achieved great success.

#3. Customize Your Learning Track

Online training is often a one-sized fits all plan, but not for SMOC Members.  You’ll get a customized social media assessment that details the optimum social networks for your unique business & industry, and you can use it as your guide for what classes you’ll need (Members are often surprised at the results).   Plus, Members can instantly access:

  • hands-on video tutorials
  • monthly social media makeovers (for your website or any social network)
  • bonus webinars that dive deep into profitable tactics
  • infographics to print as your cheat sheets
  • a private community forum
  • virtual office hours

#4. SMOC networking plus exclusive Q&A Webinars & Workshops

Members get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t for them.  Each week, members also get one-on-one Q&A time with Maria during Virtual Office Hours.

Plus, your Membership includes a complimentary pass to SMOC’s monthly Bonus Webinar or virtual workshop focused on a hot social media business topic — ranging from one & done posting to getting listed on search results — with plenty of time for extended Q&As . The webinar alone is a value of $297.00 per month.

As a member you’ll get immediate access to all the materials on the site plus that month’s Bonus Webinar. After that, you’ll be billed the lowest available monthly fee (currently just $57) via convenient automated billing. It’s risk-free and guaranteed, you can easily cancel at any time.

So why not join today and see how can help your business grow!

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

Aug 06

Social Media System: How to Get It All Done for August’s Bonus Webinar

By Maria Peagler

It’s the #1 question I get from new clients:

“I don’t know where to start and I’m overwhelmed. How do I get it all done?”

I’m pulling back the curtain and giving you a backstage pass to exactly how I accomplish all of my social media: content development, sharing, measurement, scheduling, and a system to get it all done.

You won’t believe how simple it can actually be. Even though social media is my business, I spend very little time doing it. I spend far more time on email, phone calls, consulting, course development, and accounting (the same activities any small business owner needs to do).

But it hasn’t always been this way. I remember, early on, when I was promoting my book, I started out with a blog.  I was overwhelmed at the idea of having so many social media accounts and an email newsletter. What on earth was I going to say in all of it?

It took me years to develop a finely-tuned system that works for me every week, no matter what emergencies crop up in my business.

Remember: this webinar is available for August only, and it disappears in September. You just need to be a registered student in any class here at If you’re not, don’t wait to register for your class. The webinar will be available only this month, then it’s gone!

May 09

May Success Story #1: Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy Quilts

By Maria Peagler

Updated Jan 2013.

I’m featuring student success stories, and we’re starting off with Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy quilts. Margaret is part of the 3 Billion dollar quilt industry, and she designs accessories – handbags, pincushions, eyeglass cases, and specialty items for those in wheelchairs and walkers.

Margaret began here as a student in Facebook 101, revamping her Facebook page to be colorful, showcasing her beautiful designs, building a community and engaging her Eazy-Peazy fans. She’s built custom tabs to Welcome visitors to her page, and she has a separate tab for her YouTube videos as well.

Margaret focuses her email marketing on B2B, targeting quilt shops, helping them showcase her Eazy Peazy patterns to generate more sales for their shops. In Margaret’s Mastermind Consulting session, we discussed making it easier to for shops to order her patterns by linking directly to distributor webpages offering her products. Amazon has made 1-Click shopping the standard – so I suggested making it as easy as possible for shop owners to buy from her. She also integrates it into her Facebook page, letting people know when a new issue is coming out.

Margaret also took YouTube 101, making an outstanding video showcasing her Twistin’ Diamonds bag. Quilts and quilted accessories, like many products, show up better in video than they do in photographs. In a simple 30-second video, Margaret demos the features of the bag which shows up beautifully in her video!

So where has all this taken Margaret and her Eazy Peazy pattern line?

  • Increased her Facebook fans by 700%
  • Featured designer at the grand opening of Cottontail Quilts, a new retail quilt shop opening in Kennesaw, Georgia, where she wowed visitors and she sold out of many of her products.
  • Featured designer at Quilter’s Warehous
  • She’s constantly on the road making guest appearances at local quilt shops. She’s a one-woman boost to the local economy!
  • Showchased her patterns at the wholesale spring Quilt Market in Kansas City, where she engaged quilt shop owners and wowed them with her polish and style.

Well done Margaret!  I’m proud of your success and that could be part of it.

Want to be showcased here as a student success story? Register for a class on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or get the best value with an Unlimited Class Pass, and I could be telling your amazing success story here.


Dec 05

Content Strategy: Where Do I Get It All?

By Maria Peagler

Overwhelmed by the prospect of coming up with enough content to keep your blog, email newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels fresh? That was my reaction when I began my own social media journey. I didn’t know WHERE I’d come up with all that content, and when would I find the TIME to do it all and run my business.

No worries. Here’s a road map for busy entrepreneurs to keep all of your social media platforms updated with interesting content on a regular basis, and not have to neglect your core business to do it.

  1. Use your blog as your main content channel. Why? That’s where you can post deep content: articles, columns, the longer stuff that won’t fit on Twitter or Facebook. Here’s where you can really shine and show your clients you can help them.
  2. Create a schedule for blog topics and when you plan to post them. Planning your topics well in advance keeps you on track with what to write and how often. Believe me, when your company is in their peak time, you won’t remember what you planned on blogging nor will you have the time. A schedule allows you to write the posts and schedule them so you can get on to managing your business.
  3. Feed your blog posts automatically to Facebook and Twitter.  Readers will see a snippet in both networks and can click to read more on your blog.  Pushing your posts automatically is by no means a substitute for being active on Facebook or Twitter, but it’s smart delegation to allow a tool to manage that so you can focus on building relationships with your fan base.
  4. Use your email newsletter to serve as a roundup of all that’s happening on your blog and social networks.  You’ll find clients may subscribe to either your blog or your Facebook page, but rarely do they subscribe to all of your content channels.  Your email newsletter is a great opportunity to show them what’s happening with each and encourage them to follow you on the one that fits their needs.
  5. Use YouTube video both as content for each of your networks and its own platform by creating a YouTube Channel.  I keep my Social Media Minute videos short:  clients are busy, and it keeps my production time to a minimum.  Make your videos relevant to the topics you’re blogging about or have fun and get really creative.

Still overwhelmed at the thought of tackling all this on your own? You might be interested in partnering with Maria in consulting on your Content Planning: it will jumpstart your business, establish you as an expert in your niche, and give you a framework which you can build on as your grow your business.

Nov 14

Why Aren’t You Using YouTube to Market Your Business?

By Maria Peagler

I presented two standing-room-only sessions at Digital Atlanta last week, and one thing stood out as I talked to the attendees:  they are not using YouTube to market their businesses.  When I asked how many people had not watched a YouTube video, not a single hand went up. And that included the 70+ year-old mother who worked with her daughter in their kitchen and bath design business.

But, when I asked how many of those same people were using video to market their business, almost no hands went up: none at my Wednesday evening session, and maybe three out of 50 at my Thursday session.  Everyone had a smart phone, which they could use to record a simple 30-second video. In fact, I challenged attendees to record a simple 30-second video telling their best takeaway from the conference and upload it to my Facebook page.  How many did it? Uh, how about none?

Enormous missed opportunity.

So here’s my question: if everyone is watching YouTube, why aren’t you there? Why would you ignore an opportunity to reach an open social network that reaches consumers, increases your SEO, and puts a personal face to your business?

Vanessa Wilson,TheCraftyGemini has over one million views on her YouTube channel for sewing, quilting, and crafting videos.  She recorded her videos in her apartment dining room with nothing more than what you have.  No fancy equipment or editing software.  Just interesting content and authenticity. That’s what makes Vanessa so effective as the instructor for my YouTube 101 course: she is just like most business owners who don’t have a background in video, but she got amazing results anyway by using the most basic equipment.

Here are my tips for creating effective video for your brand:

  1. Keep it short.  My Social Media Minute videos are intentionally brief so you can learn in small bites.
  2. If you’re unsure about appearing on camera, don’t. My first videos were demonstrations where all you see are my hands.
  3. Use what you have. You really can create good video using your computer’s webcam, your smart phone, a Flip video camera, or your digital camera.
  4. Include a call to action at the end. Tell people what you want them to do: visit your website, come into your store, or subscribe to your newsletter.
Here’s my challenge to you: create a simple 30-second video introducing yourself and your business, and post it to my SocialMediaOnlineClasses Facebook page.  What easier way than to get started using one of the most effective tools for marketing your business? If you’re really serious about marketing your business using video, register for Vanessa’s YouTube 101 class here on so you can learn from the best.