13 Marketing Tips From Local Business LeadersA panel of local Orlando business leaders recently led a lively discussion at the Dex Media Local Leaders Forum for Small Business. The focus of the Orlando event was social media. The panel included president/CEO of the Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce Frank S. Hale, program manager of Entrepreneur Education at Seminole State College Robert Goetz, president of the National Association of Women Business Owners Orlando Sheryl Batchelder, chapter chair of SCORE Doug Ware, director of Florida Small Business Resources Association Richard Quinn, and social media strategist of Fox Interactive Consultants Penney Fox. The discussion was led by business author, entrepreneur and radio host of Business Insanity Talk Radio Barry Moltz. Here are smart business tips from the panel of experts:

  1. Social media is one of the best opportunities business owners have to move out of their local market into a national market. (Penney Fox)
  2. Fish where the fish are when it comes to social media. You don’t have to use every social medium. See where your customers and competition are and get on that social medium. (Penney Fox)
  3. Building relationships one-on-one is as important as social media. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who can help your business. Tap your resources. (Frank S. Hale)
  4. Know how you can help someone build their business and how they can help you build theirs. (Frank S. Hale)
  5. You don’t have to do everything when it comes to social media. Research and start slowly. Start with one medium and figure out the best way to do it. Create your own system. I schedule everything for a week in an hour and a half through HootSuite. (Penney Fox)
  6. Ask, “How did you learn of us?” It’s a good way of tracking how customers find you. (Robert Goetz)
  7. You need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Mobile has become one of the arms of social media. (Penney Fox)
  8. Create a relationship with a big company. If you post on Coke’s Facebook page, they’ll respond. You can interact with big brands and this could potentially benefit your business. (Penney Fox)
  9. Do not react immediately to a bad user review. Just listen to start. Don’t assume they’re off-base. Respond online to apologize, and then take the discussion off-line. (Penney Fox)
  10. Use the list feature on Facebook. I have a list for social media experts, a list for clients, etc. (Penney Fox)
  11. How do you get traffic to your blog? Join communities. Participate and comment on other’s blogs – but only if you have something to say. This allows you to include a link to your blog or website. Also, tie your blog posts to current events. (Penney Fox)
  12. Network by using LinkedIn groups to find people in your industry. (Penney Fox)
  13. Find a place where you can present yourself as an expert. Whether it’s LinkedIn or blogging, etc. Perception is reality. If you appear to be an expert, people will view you as one — and that’s when the business will flow in. (Penney Fox)

As you can see, a reoccurring concern for small businesses was managing their social media outlets. If you have similar concerns, check out our article “Reputation Management Basics for Local Businesses.”

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