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Social Media for business – Interview with Sharon

Businesses nowadays, including Bright Ideas Event Coordinators, have realized the power of social media and know it has to be part of their marketing and PR mix. A recent report from BMO Financial Group shows 57% of small businesses in Canada now use social media, a 42% increase from last year. Sharon Bonner, CEO and President of Bright Ideas Events, talks about how social media has changed the way she does business.

How do you feel social media has changed the way you do business?

It has completely changed the way we do business! In the past we spent most of our advertising dollars on print advertising. I have now cancelled all print advertising and am focusing all of our marketing dollars on a cohesive marketing plan which includes extensive social media support.

Do you think it’s essential for small and medium businesses to be on social media and why?

It is imperative that they be on social media. I feel every business today needs to have at least a Facebook page for their business and be active on Twitter. Having a presence on LinkedIn is good too, as this platform is very business-focused. We received our latest marketing report and I was surprised to see that the top 3 drivers of traffic to our website were Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Google was 5th on the list. This was a huge wake up call for me and solidified the need to continue to strengthen our Social Media Channels.

What are the disadvantages of not being on social media?

Building your brand has to occur over several marketing platforms. Social Media holds one of the top significant placements. If your company does not have a presence on Social Media it sends a message to your customers and potential customers that you don’t consider it important enough to invest in this marketing vehicle. This is a mistake.
Another disadvantage of not being on social media is the lost opportunity for business. We have secured many event jobs by having a strong, cohesive brand presence on all of our social media platforms, delivering a confident and reliable image to our customers.

What can be the biggest risks for a company with regard to social media?

The most obvious risk for a company on Social Media is the person running your channels and the messages they send out on behalf of the company. Even if the person is an in-house staff person, you must develop strict guidelines of what is appropriate to post and what is a no-no. Depending on your industry and clientele, political or provocative materials might not be the best content to post on your professional business channel.

How do you think social media can help you to grow your business?

Identify your target market and learn as much as you can about them. Find out where they drink coffee, what type of restaurants they frequent, the movies they love, the magazines they read, etc. Then once you feel that you know them find them on your social media channels and start to build a relationship. Slowly share what your brand is all about and what it has to offer. Over time your target market will feel that they know you and when it is time to book a product or service, you will be at the top of their list to contact.

When it comes to marketing, social media is leveling the playing field. Even small businesses can gain the attention of a global audience – with a strong social media strategy and compelling content. It’s also becoming a great way to expand the reach and impact of corporate events. Contact Bright Ideas to find out how social media can build interest in your event and increase its impact with your audience.

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