Stephanie Boyette Nelson, owner of SBN Marketing, calls herself a “Social Media Maven.” She is highly skilled in social media and search engine optimization (SEO). We met at Earl’s Grocery to talk about how keyword-rich contents help match people to a business. SBN Marketing capitalizes on the algorithms used by Google and other search engines to rank websites.

Nelson, 41, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from UNC Chapel Hill. After graduation in 1997, she started in a sales position with Philip Morris tobacco company, but quickly realized that it was not for her. She moved through several positions in corporate America, all the while developing her marketing skills through seminars and hands-on experience. Nelson noticed how the marketing world was changing from the traditional hard copy mailers to online platforms.

Stephanie Nelson
Stephanie Nelson

By 2011, Nelson had a clear understanding of social media and SEO. With the support of her employer, she decided to go out on her own to form SBN Marketing. For the past six years, she has helped local and regional businesses reach their potential using keyword searches to match businesses to potential customers. Nelson, who works from her home office in Oakhurst, offers consulting and full social media management.

Nelson answered questions for C5’s Small Business Series:

How do you stay on top of the latest trends in your field?

“I read a lot of blogs. I stay on top of Google Webmaster Central Blog, Search Engine Land and Moz Blog are ones that I read. I network with colleagues in the field to see what they’re doing, what they’re hearing and learn from them. There are a few SEO and social media marketing meet-ups in town that I attend.”

Everyone wants something for nothing. How do you answer people when they want free advice?

“When I first launched, the whole ‘pick-your-brain’ thing — I was so intrigued that they wanted to know what I know. I kind of fell for it. In the last year, I have started saying something along the lines of, ‘That’s a great idea. I would love to help you with that. Would you like me to put together a proposal for you?’”

What would the perfect client look like?

“Definitely small business, somewhere between one and 50 employees. A business in the health and wellness or beauty and style industries. I like my clients to be located in Charlotte. Locale is not prohibitive, but I find I am able to do a better job because I know the neighborhoods here, and lots of people include neighborhood or zip code in their search queries.”

Of your skill-set, which one helps you the most in being a small business owner?

“Knowing what my strengths are and what my passions are versus what I really dislike doing. I am good at Facebook marketing. I love SEO and keyword research and tweaking copy to have that keyword rich content. (I like) putting all those pieces together and figuring out how it is going to look good to the actual human reading it and the search engine that will rank it. There is a fine line.”

Where have you visited that has had an impact on your life?

“The place that is jumping out at me is Rome. My spouse and I like to wander down the side alleys, then find out where the locals eat and go to those places.”

SBN Marketing: www.sbnmktg.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Photos: SBN Marketing, Poprock Photography

Family history and my own fascination with people and their motivations prompted me to begin this series about Charlotte’s small business owners. Industry, situation and questions will vary. Have a suggestion for a small business owner or entrepreneur to interview? Email it to vanessainfanzon@gmail.com with the subject line “Small Business Series.”

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