Helping Sault businesses use Social Media in a Crowded Marketplace

By Posted in - Social Media on March 27th, 2009 0 Comments

Last night I had the privilege of presenting a session on social media, the final installment in the Economic Development Corporation’s 3 part series on online marketing strategies. The audience was small but engaged, making for a fun evening. I spent about 1/3 of my time just answering questions. The group was diverse, including an Alpaca farmer, a manager at a local bank, a newcomer to the Sault, and someone from Sault Tourism.

Reasons people came to the event:

  • Expand network
  • Connect more with people
  • Create awareness about business
  • Promote in a new market
  • Learn how to present product
  • Learn social media tools
  • Engage people, and how to manage the effort
  • How to use social media tools efficiently
  • How to reach a young audience

The group finished up the evening by coming up with a top 10 list of tips for a small business using social media, based on what was presented. Here is there must-do list, in no particular order, with some additional comments from me:

  1. Update content constantly. You are only as good as your last post / tweet / comment.
  2. Be honest. You can’t hide deception online.
  3. Start small. Pick something, try, learn, assess.
  4. Find a sustainable pace. Don’t burn yourself out.
  5. Stay focused. Have a clear message.
  6. Know your audience.
  7. Use tools to (your) fullest potential. Keep learning, experimenting. Read about what others are doing.
  8. Be open and transparent in your communication. Let people get to know both about you and your business.
  9. Work hard to keep customers happy. Address negative comments and turn frustrated patrons into your evangelists through over-the-top service.
  10. Choose the right digital channels. There are lots to choose from, and you can’t do everything.

Here are 5 additional resource links for small businesses trying to use social media:

Social media isn’t what I do for a day job. I don’t consider myself a social media expert. I like to use the term ‘social media swimmer’. I’m a fish navigating the rivers of online connectedness, and have been splashing in the waters heavily for some time. My desire is to help people and organizations in Sault Ste. Marie benefit from using social media, which is why I do these presentations.

Next month people can learn about Twitter in an interactive, hands-on session I’ve put together at Algoma University. Course is limited to first 20 registrants. Cost covers my costs plus some of my time taken away from my regular work to prepare for it. If you’ve wondered what Twitter is about and how to make the best use of it, you won’t be disappointed. You can register and pay online. How easy is that?

The slides from the presentation are below. Huge dose of gratitude to Fred Roed of WorldWideCreative for giving me permission to use some of his slides from a similar presentation. Sharing ideas FTW!

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