The usefulness of social media in business has come under intense scrutiny in Rockland County. The Palisades Institute, created in 1990 as part of the Dominican College located in Blauvelt, organized a virtual event on March 1 aimed at helping companies do more with the Internet and social media. The forum also recognized that building and maintaining a virtual presence can be a full-time job for small business owners.
Stan Jacobi, Executive Director of the Palisades Institute, moderated the online forum which was attended by Matthew Schiering, a Dominican faculty member specializing in marketing, and Chrisopher Jagielski, social media specialist for Orange & Rockland Utilities. Both have extensive experience working with the social media sites most used by business owners: Linkedin; Facebook; Instagram; Snapchat; and Tik Tok.
“Forty-four percent of millennials and more than 50% of Gen Z individuals aren’t looking for a direct rep experience,” Shiering said, “They prefer to check out what social media has to say.”
Schiering said that of the business sites that offer the most B2B connections and services, Linkedin is the perfect place to start diving into the world of social media. He said 25% of business owners use Linkedin daily.
“Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the time people spend online has accelerated dramatically…they’re even posting their Wordle scores,” Schiering said. “In 2010, people spent an average of half an hour a day online; today, they spend an average of 4.5 hours a day, a growth of 500%.
Schiering said business customers and prospects spend so much time staring at their phones that if companies aren’t actively trying to reach them through their phones, they’re likely not reaching them.
Jagielski has been with Orange & Rockland since 2019. Starting out as a graphic designer, he moved more into copywriting and social media, especially as O&R clients turn to social media when they want to contact the ‘business.
“Time is a precious thing…and many prefer to speak virtually,” Jagielski said. “It also gives the company a great way to share information, letting the public know what it is doing for the community it serves.”
Jagielski recommended using photos of employees performing real-time services and participating in community-related events and avoiding using stock photos when designing visual content for the internet.
Jagielski said the internet also helps businesses communicate with customers in times of crisis.
“One of the worst things a business can do is come across as ‘deaf,'” Jagielski said. “When Covid-19 hit two years ago, many companies began to humanize their interactions with the public. Rather than promoting services, successful businesses used their social media pages to reflect company values and highlight local participation where possible. »
Schiering and Jagielski both recommended using LinkedIn tutorials and gave the site high marks for helping companies start a dialogue with customers, either by sharing blog posts or creating links that will bring them back. on a company’s homepage.
A Frequently Asked Questions page has been recommended for businesses that want to share the core values and challenges they are prepared to take on for their potential customers. Building a buyer’s profile helps a business understand its target audience, and knowing where your target audience is coming from can be measured. Schierling recommended companies new to social media not to overdo the posts, limiting them to once or twice a week.
Jagielski said the best way to connect with a virtual audience is to understand the challenges they face.
“Take small but measured steps. Pick a platform and make sure your employees are on board and (know) the role they play in your social media business and slow down,” Jagielski said. “There are experts in this field who tend to work hourly. They understand how the platforms work. Interview two or three and choose the one that best suits your business. »
As for internet codes and jargon such as hashtags, viewers of the Palisades Institute forum were urged to learn how to use them. They were also told that if a review of a business appears on an online site like Trip Advisor or Yelp!, it is essential to respond in a non-combative manner. They were reminded that outside experts can easily be hired to help manage a company’s social media presence.