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On the Street: How do you use social networking in your business?

By Amy Mitchell        

In recent months several companies, large and small, have reported profits related to their use of social networking Websocialnetworking sites. News stories and business magazine articles indicate that this new medium has promise for promoting and developing small businesses. Jacksonville Advantage asked five small business owners their impressions of online networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn as a way to publicize and build their business.

 

Targeting their market

Kimberly Deppe

Kimberly Deppe

We do some advertising on Facebook because it allows us to pinpoint our messaging to specific groups of individuals. We don’t have an active Facebook page, but we are in the process of studying that to see how it might make sense and how it would best serve our members. We are piloting a small social networking project with Twitter and are eager to see the results.

— Kimberly Deppe, vice president of marketing,
Community First Credit Union,
 www.communityfirstfl.org

 

Choosing the appropriate site

I just recently heard about LinkedIn. I like the concept and am willing to try it out. I’m not convinced Facebook is going to promote business. It seems more appropriate for personal socializing. However, I do think Facebook has staying power. It will be interesting to see if the novelty of some of these sites fades. I still like the idea of picking up a telephone and actually talking to someone.

— Tim Blin, president,

Premier Garage,

www.premiergarage.com

A necessity, along with traditional methods

Brent L. Paris

Brent L. Paris

Online networking is a must in today’s environment. However, one must do so with caution and purpose. Though Facebook may be an appropriate marketing method for some types of businesses such as retailers, I prefer to categorize it as an informal venue of communication. It is a means of personal expression and a way to stay connected with friends. As such, the information shared is not within one’s control, and can, at times, not be appropriate for business relationships. Therefore, Facebook is not a business networking tool for me. On the other hand, LinkedIn is a powerful and required business networking tool. My favorite attributes are the weekly update on my contacts and the “People You May Know” section.

My advice: Don’t lose site of the impact of face-to-face networking. Shaking a hand, enjoying a meal, or sharing a laugh can build memorable relationships.

Brent L. Paris, president,

PVB Capital LLC,

www.pvbcapital.com

 

Translating into ROI

Myron Pincomb

Myron Pincomb

We have plans to implement a small-scale social network campaign in August. My concern with this has been determining how to track the ROI out of the investment in time and resources required. The common answer from people involved in this space is “It will drive Web traffic” or “It’s not about ROI.” In today’s economy, that is not the answer most business owners are looking for. I am very intrigued by this medium and I think if someone can show how it directly contributes to the bottom line it will become a major advertising medium.

Myron Pincomb, president/CEO,

Educational Tools,

www.educationaltools.com

 

For now, traditional methods

Aaron Marston

Aaron Marston

We currently do not use social networking to promote and build our business. However, we do a great deal of more traditional social networking. Since the inception of our business, we have made a concerted effort to attend events that our clients are involved in. Whether it is a triathlon, a weight-loss support group, athletic events, high school graduations, or even weddings, we like to be there to encourage and support the clients that are supporting us. We are looking at ways we can better use technology to build those relationships.

— Aaron Marston, executive director,

The HIT Center of Jacksonville,

www.thehitcenters.com

 


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