ECBC Business lunch: Using social networks
Tyler Jeffs has been named the president of the Emery County Business Chamber. Jeffs owns the business Farm Bureau Financial in Castle Dale. He hosted the recent ECBC luncheon. The next luncheon will be on May 18 at noon with Bev Evans from the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
Jeffs told a little about his business. He said in selling insurance, it's an intangible item that people can't see and don't want. He helps people become financially ready to retire when the time comes. With the national debt increasing and higher taxes, it gets harder and harder to plan for the future and Jeffs is there to help guide his customers through the process.
The keynote speaker for the event was Alan Christensen from Snow College. He spoke about social media and marketing. He complimented those present for helping to get a chamber going in Emery County. "It will be a benefit for your community," said Christensen.
Christensen went over the evolution of communication through the years. Communication has evolved from the spoken word, written word, telegraphs, telephone, cell phones, to the internet. This has led to social networking sites. "It's time to expand. You can utilize the advertising mediums that you are currently using and add to what you're doing. Don't forget it. Just expand what you're doing. One of my friends has a Google alert system where anytime Sanpete County is mentioned it alerts him. So when an article appeared in the Emery County Progress announcing I would be here today, my friend received an alert and he sent me a link to the article that said I was speaking today. How can it work for you? There are dozens of social media categories and hundreds of uses. It could be hazardous to try all of them. Pick a couple and learn about them and try them. Social media transforms a passive audience into active participants through conversations. You can do anything from these social networking sites. You can buy tickets on Facebook for Delta airlines. There are thousands of retailers on Facebook. But, people don't always want you to be trying to sell them something.
"There's YouTube for instance, in the last 60 years of television, and movies creating video, that is less than what's been uploaded to YouTube in the last two months.
"You don't have to be a pro to use these sites, but you need to start. Fifteen minutes a day is what the average users spend on YouTube. A lot of you market local. If you sell outside of the local area then social networking can help you go broader. It brings in money from outside the area. Money is circulated in your community. Exporting brings in this outside money. You may have a product or a service you could sell more widely.
"A video profile on YouTube brings name recognition. It took me two years to figure out why I should use Twitter. Twitter has changed. Try microblogging, this is where you post something about yourself in 140 characters or less. I served a mission in Japan and am interested in what's going on there. There was a Twitter message that said, 'Are there any Mormon missionaries who want to go help in Japan.' I was able to contact this sender and tell him yes, I was interested. There are 100 million users and more each day. There are 1 million searches each day. People now spend more time on blogs and social networks than they do on email. The age 50+ users are more than the 18 and under users. Seventy-five percent of Americans visit social networks. Of those 93 percent said companies should have a presence on social sites. The old model is monologue the new model is dialogue. Get people talking about you and your services on social networks," said Christensen.
Almost all Generation Y people use social networking. Peer review is more important to them.
"You make money by doing business with people who know and like you and trust you. In the social networking world, it's the same way. You need to build social relationships with people so they will know, like and trust you. Then and only then will they buy from you," said Christensen.
He said there are four steps to doing it right with marketing. You need to stay in touch. Capture information. Deliver quality content and find interested people. Post an article on you and what you do. People will begin to follow you and it creates interest. Have quality content on your site. Christensen suggested going to businessmodelgeneration.com for an information book on incorporating social media. Christensen said you may need some help getting started. As you get started you need to be selective and know you can't do it all. You need to budget your time and get help as needed. Start small but get started with Twitter, YouTube, Linked In, Facebook and others. Learn more about social networking. Go to www.business.twitter.com, it will give you ideas on how to get started.
"Think of ways to make it work and apply it. There is a pottery maker who sells his product internationally. There is a scissor sharpener who sets up appointments to sharpen scissors at beauty shops through social networking. He is building his business with new clients. There is a way to enhance your business with social networking," said Christensen.
Jeffs thanked Christensen for taking part in the ECBC luncheon and sharing his experience. Social networking can be an exciting venture for business growth and development.