On the 17th of September, we presented a workshop at the Enterprise Center at Salem State College on using social networking for business. The workshop, "Using Social Networking to Drive Traffic," was led by our CEO Ben Bassi, Director of Marketing Jesse Buss, and myself. We were delighted to attract an audience of about 100 small business owners, and share our knowledge and experience with them.
The overarching message of our presentation can be divided into two parts: things you can do on your own website, and what you can (and should!) be doing outside of your site. On your own site, we encouraged those in attendance to make their sites more social, and open the lines of communication between them and their users. Suggestions included blogging, commenting, forums, and third party login tools such as Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect.
The second half of our presentation concerned what you can be doing on other sites to promote your business. We encouraged people to find the places where their customers were gathering and conversing, and join those conversations. This includes social networks such as Facebook, microblogs such as Twitter, and bookmaking sites such as Digg and Reddit. We concluded by offering a few case studies of businesses both large and small that have used these strategies and achieved amazing results.
In the questions portion of the workshop, the most common theme I noticed was a concern that these small business owners simply did not have the time to apply all of these strategies and establish a presence in all of these places. Multiple times, I heard a question along the lines of, "If you only had time to do 'x' number of things, which would you choose?" or, "What should I do first?" With these questions in mind, I'm working on a post for Monday that will offer a short list of actions items for those looking for a place to start. So stay tuned!