Go for the Greens: Panelists provide social media tips for businesses

Published by the Orlando Business Journal on September 17, 2012

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Before logging onto Facebook or signing into Twitter, consider this: Who is your audience and what are your objectives?

Those are vital questions businesses should be able to answer so they can get the most out of social media, said panelists at the Go for the Greens 2012 Business Development Conference for Women Entrepreneurs.

The event, held Sept. 13-15 at Walt Disney World’s BoardWalk Resort, offered various sessions to help female business owners expand their companies in a fast-paced, digital world.

One of the sessions focused on social media and featured guest speakers Ruth Bastedo of Toronto, Ontario-based Social Media Group; Chris McLaughlin of Tampa-based Maximize Social Media; and Hollis Thomases of Havre de Grace, Md.-based Web Ad.vantage.

Here are some tips from this year’s panelists:

  • Advertise your company to your audience, but be sure to interact with and listen to what they want from you: “Social media is a listening and a push tool,” Thomases said. She stressed that social media is interactive. It is important to respond to your audience, rather than just letting their comments and questions go unacknowledged. This may leave them with the perception that the company does not have time for them.
  • Know your objectives: “Figure out where your customer is and go there,” McLaughlin said. If your company is business-to-business, you may want to look into LinkedIn. But if your company does business with homeowners, you may decide to start a Facebook page. If you figure this out early, you can more easily decipher which platform is best for your company.
  • Keep it organized: “Create an editorial or ‘conversation calendar’ to figure out what you’re going to talk about and when,” Bastedo said. A calendar guides a firm’s content and helps organize posts around central themes. It also allows you to figure out what to post ahead of time, rather than coming into the office and scrambling for ideas.
  • Mix it up: Thomases advises beginners to vary the format of the content to keep the audience interested and engaged. Instead of posting only written information, also use some videos and pictures.

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