Starburst Media featured in “Business Inspires” podcast

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Did you know that the first website Laura ever made was paid for in bacon? Starburst Media accepts real money now, but starting your own business is a great way to collect odd anecdotes and, more importantly, useful professional experience.

The Tri-Village Chamber of Commerce invited Laura on as the first guest of their new podcast to share some of those stories and tips from the past seven (!) years of running her own business. “Business Inspires” is a new monthly program from the TVCP that aims to provide small businesses with tools and resources while promoting regional business.

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New year, new website design

Starburst Media WordPress Copy and Social

The great thing about building websites for a living is that you can freshen up your own website anytime you want…unless you’re crazy busy, and then it happens, oh, pretty much never. I haven’t really had the time to give my own website the love it deserves, so I decided to give it a quick makeover to start 2015.

Starburst Media PortfolioI’ve flexed my graphic design muscles a bit on the new homepage and simplified all content of the website. The new website imagery matches me and my brand so much better than any iteration of my website I’ve had in the past, and I am more or less obsessed with the portfolio fox. Who knew Illustrator could pump out so much cute with a little know-how?!

I’ve also added a TON of new clients to my portfolio and have also cleaned up some of the old portfolio content so visitors and prospective clients can get to the meat of what I’m up to these days much quicker.

My hope is to update my blog in 2015 more frequently (which wouldn’t be that difficult after the past few years…eek), so I super simplified the blog format so I’d have absolutely no excuses for lack of updates.

I’m coming up on my fifth anniversary in business, and I want to thank all of my clients who have trusted me with their businesses over the past five years. I’m proud to have helped more than 100 businesses over these first five years, and I expect many more in the future.

Cheers!

I’ve been featured in Get It, Girl

Laura Oldham Get It Girl

I was honored when my friend Carolyn asked me to help her bring her blog, Get It, Girl, to life. But when she asked if she could feature me as her first It Girl, I was absolutely floored.

Thank you so much, Carolyn! I’m honored and humbled to be featured on your new website all about female badasses.

Read the article on Get It, Girl here: It Girl: Laura Oldham

Starburst Media wins Small Business Person of the Year award

smallbusinessaward

I’m incredibly proud and humbled to share that I was recently given the Small Business Person of the Year award from the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce. We were honored at Saturday’s Talk Derby to Me party, and I was both surprised and grateful.

Thank you for the opportunity to become so involved in the Grandview community, and thank you so much for the wonderful award!

Grandview Chamber of Commerce Member Awards Starburst Media

Here are all the winners of this year’s awards. Congratulations to you all!

Most Involved Member: Curtis Onofri, Pathways Financial Credit Union
Community Service Award: Jon McKnight, Rife’s Autobody
Small Business Person of the Year: Laura Oldham, Starburst Media
Meridian Award: Ed O’Reilly, Superintendent, Grandview Heights City Schools

New Name, Same Biz: Introducing Starburst Media

Starburst Media Columbus WordPress, Copy and Social Media

El-Be Social Marketing was a wonderful place for me to start my business; my nickname pre-marriage was LB, and it seemed like a safe name to start off this freelance adventure. I’m nearly four years into the world of daily WordPress, copy and social media work for clients all over the country, and I realized it was time to take a leap into a new identity.

I really don’t have a lot of experience in logo design myself, so I decided to take a few classes on Skillshare (Learn the Ins and Outs of Illustrator and Logo Design: Let the Type Do the Talking) to dig deeper into Adobe Illustrator. And by dig deeper, I mean open the program for the first time in seven years.

I’ve been a little swamped with work the past few weeks, so it took me a while to actually finish both classes. I decided late February that it was time to change my brand, but I wasn’t really sure what version 2 of my business should be. I walked around the house and realized that I definitely have a love for the styles from the ’50s. This is evidenced in my vintage Royal typewriter, my starburst clock and mirror, and numerous other pieces throughout my 1954 Prairie style home.

Starburst Media Inspiration Columbus Ohio

Fast forward a few weeks, and I still didn’t have a name. But I’d learned the basics of Illustrator, and I knew that I generally wanted a bright, fun, ’50s-inspired logo that showed the energy that I bring to my work. I knew I wanted to drop the “Social Marketing” and feature a simple tag of “WordPress, Copy, Social” since my focus is split evenly among the three. I envisioned peach, turquoise and cream for the logo and had an idea on the type of fonts, but I wasn’t quite there yet. I needed a name that could bring the whole vision together.

Over the weekend as I was catching up on work, I had a burst of inspiration after walking past my starburst clock for the 50th or so time this week. Starburst Media. The logo came together quickly once I had the name, and I shot it over to my incredibly talented friend Aireen Arellano of Aerial Ardour; I very nervously waited for her feedback. She’s a branding wizard and has been working with impressive companies nationwide on their logos for years, so her opinion mattered the world to me. Fortunately, she liked it! She offered a few suggestions, but that nod of approval meant all systems go as far as I was concerned.

I searched the Secretary of State’s website to make sure another Starburst Media didn’t exist in Ohio (woohoo!) and contacted my lawyer to make sure he thought it was safe to move forward with an LLC (he did–double woohoo!).

So the ball was rolling, I was seven coffees deep, and I felt pretty confident that I had my new brand.

Introducing Starburst Media:

Starburst Media Vertical Logo

I’ve updated my information online, changed over my website (LauraOldham.com and El-Be.com now point to Starburstcolumbus.com), and am working on finalizing my LLC and new business cards. I will always love where I began with El-Be, but I’m excited about this next chapter. While my business is still the same, I have a ton of confidence in this bright, colorful new logo and where it will take me. (And you, my clients!)

Thank you for reading, and thank you to all for the positive comments and encouragement in taking this step. Here’s to springing forward in 2014!

A Lesson in Social Media Crisis Control

I certainly don’t know everything, but I do know that a basic rule in life is to not treat people like crap. And when you do accidentally treat people like crap, make it right. I know this thanks to years of working for myself in online marketing, years of working in the service industry and decades of being a decent human being. While social media folks will tell you plenty of rules to follow when it comes to social media, one that is always true in social media and in life is to be good. Be a good soul to your customers, your friends, your followers, etc.

Over the weekend I watched a brand I formerly managed online (I broke up with them in early 2013) implode. It broke my heart, and it continues to do so. Don’t go halfway when it comes to dealing with a crisis online, ever. The Internet is forever, folks.

Said brand allegedly turned away a potential paying customer with a flimsy excuse regarding potentially running out of product. Under normal circumstances this would likely warrant an angry Yelp review or perhaps an expletive-filled tweet. But the potential paying customer was disabled, and said customer’s brother happened to be a pretty big deal throughout the city. Uh-oh. So, someone was wrong here, and it’s time to own up to it, right? Unfortunately in this instance, the brand chose the opposite route. They deleted all comments (roughly 15 of them) from their Facebook page. They turned off the ability for customers to comment on their page. They removed every negative review on their page. They had no apology on any online networks for what could blow up to be a pretty huge mistake. They attempted to erase something that they did wrong with more wrong and took away the social part of social media. And that’s really where my heart started breaking, because this is/was a well-respected brand with a cult-like following. But cults can quickly turn on you, especially when they’re well-organized online.

In a crisis, own up to it. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen, because the same people who angrily comment on your Facebook page are the same who will talk about you negatively on Twitter, on blogs and leave terrible (and possibly deservedly so) reviews on Yelp and other sites. These people won’t just comment online–they’re likely to be vocal with their opinions among friends and family, too. In this particular instance, nearly every negative comment that has come in has promised to tell every friend, family and community member to boycott this location. And now that commenting is off, the brand continues to get messages to the page filled with anger and promises to bring the brand down for good.

Own up to your mistakes, and do what you can to make it right. In this instance, the brand should have individually apologized to every person who commented on their page. They should have shown absolute horror at their terrible customer service and offered to go above and beyond to make it right. They should have had a status declaring their sincere remorse and explaining what they’re doing to make it right to the people affected. A sincere apology will go a long way in a social media crisis.

A lot of small businesses owners I work with decide they can manage their own pages, and a lot of times they certainly can. Day-to-day posting of photos in the shop, statuses about specials and behind-the-scenes looks at employees can be in anyone’s wheelhouse with good communication skills and a decent phone camera. But knowing how to deal with a crisis in the right way is truly where a social media consultant can come in handy. I’m not saying every small business should hire someone to do their social media for them. But I am definitely saying that in life, in your business, and in your social media, just please be good. My heart thanks you.

New Website, New Headshot, New Year Goals Going Great

I gave my website an extreme makeover this week, and I love the final result! This is El-Be’s third official website, and man, I’m super proud of how far I’ve come since I started this little business in 2010. Huge check on my 2013 to-do list!

When I first built my website I struggled with exactly what to share. After almost three years and nearly 50 clients, I struggled this time more with what not to share. I’ve been so fortunate to have amazing clients through the years, and the goal of my new site is to show off all of these fine folks.

I also finally have a responsive website. I’ve been building sites responsive for clients for the last year, so it was completely embarrassing to still have my old website up when it was such an important feature for each of my clients’ sites.

To continue with my personal horn-tooting regarding completing 2013 goals, I’m also proud to have a much more professional headshot. Yes, a few of my Instagram friends enjoyed making choice comments about it, but I’m proud to have a photo that captures the direction I want to go with my business as opposed to a Hipstamatic photo that captures NYE 2010.

I’ve had a couple of exciting new client meetings this week, and I can’t wait to (hopefully) add some of these logos to my portfolio. Thanks for making the first two years of El-Be Social Marketing awesome, and I’m pumped for what the rest of the year holds.

I am Now on the Grandview Area Chamber Board

El-Be Joins the Grandview Chamber Board
It’s Instagram Official
I’m excited to announce that I am now a member of the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees! Last year I had a great time helping plan Grandview Digfest, and I’m looking forward to becoming more involved with other great events like the Grandview HOP and Taste of Grandview. I’ve met some wonderful people during my first year in the Grandview Heights neighborhood, and some of my favorites have come from the Chamber. I feel very grateful to have been welcomed into this group so quickly after just moving here from Chicago, and I am excited to put down roots in Grandview.