Chamber members hear how to make social media work for them

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

For the year 2019, the Chamber of Commerce had set a goal to offer businesses engaging meetings with a new format, which will take a half-hour of each meeting for a professional development session.

Executive Administrator Kim Hughes said she just wanted to spread the word that the Chamber is changing things up a bit and try to encourage higher attendance at their meetings.

The first session was given by Hughes at the January 28th meeting. She discussed social media trends for 2019.

Hughes talked about what is coming this year as far as apps and tools to use to increase visibility on social media. She explained that currently, she does social media freelance on the side.

“Right now I have a couple of businesses in town that I am working with and what I do is actually just kind of go in and initially meet with them go over their analytics and discuss where they want their social media to go and then sort of help grow them from there.”

Hughes said it’s no secret that social media has had an impact on businesses the last five to 10 years as it continues to grow in popularity. She added people are seeing more and more of what can arise from such a powerful tool.

In 2019 social media is going to be more important than ever as that power continues to grow, explained Hughes.

Hughes said the way people shop is now heavily influenced by social media. She added it no longer matters if you’re selling products or services.

Services online or offline, having a social media presence will be the first thing that people are looking at before purchasing from you.

That’s become more and more apparent here, especially these last few years states Hughes.

“I do have a retail store in town so I kind of have a lot of retail access on some of the things we’ll be talking about.”

Hughes said there are three key things your social media presence needs.These are the top three things that will heavily influence whether or not people will shop your company or if they will go to someone else who has the online presence that they might be looking for.

Hughes shifted gears a little bit and moved into eight trends going into 2019 that are going to matter most to help influence your media. She said the first thing is to love and care about your audience.

Hughes explained the top focus for marketers in 2019 should be on being responsive to the people that follow you.

Number two, tell authentic stories and share “behind the scenes”

Stories create a more transparent and meaningful relationship between the user and the brand.

Let them see behind the scenes or new stock etc. and they will feel like they are getting to know you and your brand.”

Number three, work with influencers.

Hughes said when it comes to social media everyone is someone and engaging with an influencer is key.

Number four is video.

Be sure to have a video strategy for 2019, stated Hughes. She said live video partnerships with influencers and developing content that has a real human touch.

This could be crafting short videos that can run as ads.

Number five is Facebook messenger.

Hughes said Facebook messenger marketing is the new and improved e-mail marketing. She suggested businesses build a Facebook messenger chat-bot to grow messenger contacts and strategically deliver content via messenger.

Number six: earn, rebuild or keep the trust of your followers.

Brands will be working harder to capture and retain the trust of their target audience after all of the “fake news” of 2018.

“Put yourself at the heart of your social media and make connections with people that will keep them loyal.”

Number seven, the year of LinkedIn.

Hughes said LinkedIn is the platform to watch and get serious about. She explained many businesses report 10 times the number of video views on LinkedIn vs. Facebook.

“Test out LinkedIn if it’s applicable to your audience, whether it’s a younger demographic or executives.”

Hughes added LinkedIn has created alluring features for the younger generation and a lot of them are using the network as they begin entering the workforce or head into higher education.

Last but not least: employee advocacy program.

“Are you getting your employees engaged in content creation? If not, start now. Empower your employees to power your brand.”

Hughes said studies show employee-created content receives eight times more engagement than content shared from the company itself.

“Your employees are the best way to humanize and personalize your brand and involving them helps create a sense of common purpose.”

Hughes said your business and bottom line stand to earn many great benefits from social media.

Aside from the obvious more customers, using social media can save you a lot of money. Social media equals cheaper advertising, free exposure and a new sales channel all add to the reasons why social media will have a huge impact on supporting you in running your business.

Greater sales with less overhead is always good news for business owners mentioned Hughes.

“Remember even if you are a brick and mortar business that appears to have no need for an online presence such as a law firm or professional service, having an online presence will change your business. Getting this exposure is crucial for 2019.”

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