Upshur Chamber gets social media tips

Social media sites should be more than a place to post pictures of cute puppies and funny sayings, a marketing strategist told the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Monday.

Nikki Bowmar, who handles public affairs and economic development for the U.S. Small Business Administration, said social media sites should be used to lead customers into your business.

“Make sure your post is relevant to your target market,” she said. “Include a call to action to get your audience engaged.”

Bowmar told the gathering that businesses need to define their target market, find those within it and then learn about them and their habits.

“You are spending money on these customers,” she said. “Make sure you reach them.”

She said social media sites can be used to increase word-of-mouth traffic to a business and serve as a customer service channel.

She said where consumers formerly searched Google for business information sites, they are now searching Facebook.

“If you’re not there, they notice,” Bowmar said.

But, she said, businesses should not be caught up in the number of “likes” on a page.

“A lot of ‘likes’ is great, but engaged users are what you really want,” Bowmar said.

Bowmar said there are about 1 billion Facebook users in the world, and that 60 percent of those people log in for about an hour every day. She said about 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube, and 72 hours of video are uploaded to that site every minute. LinkedIn, a more professional-use website, has two people sign up every second, Bowmar said.

“A brand is no longer what we tell our customers it is,” she said using a paraphrased quote. “It is what consumers tell each other it is.”