Chamber of Commerce luncheon highlights the power of social media
Marketers are faced with more than 1,000 media outlets from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to LinkedIn, YouTube and WhatsApp and an ever-changing number of tactics, channels and tools to promote their business.
The question is, what do you choose?
That was the focus at the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon held Wednesday at the Carson Valley Inn.
The Chamber’s mission is to identify and address the changing needs of the business community and to promote tourism in the Carson Valley.
“Networking is the heart of the Chamber,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Chernock.
The luncheon highlighted local businesses — including business of the month The Record-Courier — as well as strategies to increase awareness and engagement for businesses.
The Record-Courier uses several marketing tactics, daily.
“Not only do we do newspapers, we also do several digital avenues not just in our area, but to help reach outside communities,” said former Record-Courier Publisher Pat Bridges. “We are proud to be a part of Douglas County and to be here in support of the Chamber.”
Members of Sierra Nevada Media Group, The Record-Courier’s parent company, made a presentation to chamber members on Wednesday to discuss social media marketing strategies, and how businesses can make their marketing dollars work for them.
“We are the generation of distraction,” said Nevada Appeal Publisher Mick Raher. “I’m not just talking about the 12- to 14-year-olds. We have all become this way. Whether you are engaged with me or not, whether you find me boring or not, at some point you will check your phone. The question is, how do you reach (customers) as a business.”
The most important factor a business needs to understand in marketing is to know the demographics of their area and the demographics of their audience, said Raher.
“From a business stand point, these are the things you need to know,” said Raher, pointing out that Western Nevada is all in the same marketing area.
“You need to engage with your audience, you need to engage with your client,” he said. “To do that, you need personalization; get to know your audience. As much as we think it is anti-social, social media is absolute king when it comes to engagement.”
Raher said 90 percent of Americans have conquered the Internet and more than 80 percent of consumers research online before making any purchasing decision.
“You guys have the ability to use the same form of media as the big boys. The question is: what do you choose? All these pieces are what you need to use to influence your customers, no one else but yours. You need to let people know who you guys are. You might have the best product, you might have the best service, you might have the best cause, but if no one knows about it, it really doesn’t matter.
“Reach out to them, interact with them. You need to engage and you need to have personalization.”
Group Director of Content Caren Roblin said it is important to push content, not products, on social media.
“There’s been times I have gone into a site because it was something I thought I was going to be interested in, but there is no helpful information,” she said. “There’s no contact or ‘about’ information. You need to share your story whenever possible, so people know what your business is about.”
The most valuable piece of information the audience took away from the presentation was the power of social media.
“You have to be connected on social media these days, otherwise you will be left behind,” said Alex Urbine from State Farm Insurance.
Urbine was especially interested in geo-fencing, which uses GPS mechanisms on cell phones that market businesses based on the geographical location of the consumer.
“That was interesting and something I think will be useful in letting people who drive by the area know there is a State Farm agent in the area,” he said.
Ironwood Stadium Cinema 8 General Manager Stephanie Licon said using social media for a business standpoint is going to be her biggest challenge.
“I post on social media as it is, but am hesitant for the business because I’m worried about the wordage and what’s appropriate,” she said. “It was very informational for me, and being of the younger generation, it showed me a lot more outlets than what I was aware of. I think it will improve our media marketing and help us pinpoint who we market to.”