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Five different generations are now business owners in the United States. The way each generation runs their business is reflective of their generational uniqueness. This is very evident in the use of social media, specifically facebook.

Recently I spoke with two of our Chamber members from the Baby Boomer generation about social media and the importance of facebook. One member simply said he really didn’t know what to say about his business. The other member said he was too old to start a facebook page.

If you plan on running your business for the next several years, (versus selling it and retiring), you cannot afford to not use facebook to promote your business.   Yes, face to face selling is still valuable, but things have changed with the engagement of the younger generations. So if you plan on sustaining your business and growing it, you need to start a facebook page because that is where the younger professionals are who are making purchasing decisions.

It can be daunting as it can be a big change for some business owners; however, it is critical in getting your business more exposure. Think of it as a dynamic website that tells your story several times a week. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Hire an intern or young college volunteer to help you get started.   We have many colleges in the area that have students looking for internship opportunities to add to their resume. Contact the Career Planning & Placement Office at Lakeland Community College or your local college campus.
  • You may have a high school/college age daughter or son at home who could help you get started for free! Several of our Chamber members have used the technology skills of their family to get started.
  • Hire a young college student or college graduate part-time to get you started. It is worth the investment. This investment is not only a way to grow your business; it is also a great retention tool for customers.
  • Start slow and build up your presence on facebook. It can be initially intimidating so start with committing to one post per week and then build up to several posts per week. Depending on your audience, you may want to increase to once per day.   You can also create posts all at the same time for a week and schedule them to go out at different times.
  • Tell your story! We have amazing chamber members that produce interesting products or provide an important service. You have a lot to share! Is your specialty customer service? Ask a customer to share a quote and get their picture to share on facebook with their quote.
  • Are you a manufacturer? Tell about the importance of your ISO 9001 certification and take a picture holding your certification.
  • Take a picture of your staff and share on facebook.   If your customers talk to your staff on the phone but don’t see them, this is a great way to connect.
  • Share information that would be of interest to your customers.   Are you expanding your service, introducing a new product, changing a product, bringing on a new employee?   Share, share, share!
  • Don’t get too personal. Stay away from politics and religion—focus on sharing a story about your business. Before you create the post think about how that post is of value to your customer.
  • If you are B 2 B, “like” your business customers as this is another great way to connect.
  • Build your facebook page by adding “friends”. These friends of course are your customers so pull out all of those business cards from your drawer or excel spreadsheet of their e-mails and sit in front of the TV some night on your computer, inviting them to be your friend on facebook.
  • What is your competition posting? Sometimes you can get ideas of what to post and what not to post by looking at your competitor’s facebook page.
  • Google! Start with “effective facebook posts for businesses”. That should give you a good start too!

These are just a few ideas to get you started with facebook. Happy posting!

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland is about 16 months away, but the effort in Lake County already has begun to develop planning efforts to attract convention visitors and events to Lake County.

The Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce and a group of organizations that includes a bipartisan mix from business, tourism and nonprofit organizations, have been meeting for the past six months to help to plan and promote the county to the RNC decision makers.   These organizations involved on the committee include Kevin Malecek, Lake County Commissioner, Bob Ulas, Lake County Visitors Bureau executive director; Brad Seymour, General Manager of the Lake County Captains, Dennis Morley, Mayor of Eastlake, Amy Sabath, political consultant and Lake County Republican Party vice president; Linda Reed, Executive Director of the Painesville Chamber of Commerce, and Bob Cahen from the Lakeland Foundation.

The ultimate goal is not only to give the county a boost during the convention, but also to enhance the visibility of Lake County to visitors and all of Northeast Ohio.   The Republican National Committee on Jan. 14 announced the official dates of the Republican National Convention will be July 18-21, 2016.

The Lake County committee to promote the County, has put together a preliminary booklet containing highlights of the county and what is available that will continue to be shared with people in Cleveland who organize the Republican National Convention.  The Lake County Captains already have made the stadium available in 2016 during the convention and are hoping to schedule a concert that weekend or a watch party for people who can’t get into Cleveland.     The committee also hopes to promote fishing on Lake Erie, visiting wineries, the Holden Arboretum, Lake Metroparks, public and private golf courses, and the Historic Kirtland sites.

The committee has hired a governmental relationship consulting group, Strategic Public Partners in Columbus, to assist the effort in promoting Lake County to the RNC.   Strategic Public Partners has been very active working with organizations during past national political party conventions and already works with the 2016 RNC convention.

Lake County organizations like the Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber, the Mentor Chamber of Commerce, the Lake County Visitor’s Bureau, the Lake County Commissioners and numerous private companies have assisted in donating over $30,000 to promote Lake County for this huge event.   As a bi-partisan group, we are currently seeking additional donations, large or small to support Lake County’s promotional efforts and visibility during the Convention.  The long term effects of promoting the County is an exciting opportunity for many of our chamber members and other businesses in Lake County.  If chamber members/businesses are interested in attending a general informational meeting on our promotional efforts, our next general meeting is Wednesday, May 27th at 4:30 pm at the Holden University.  Any company interested in donating to the promotional efforts of Lake County, please contact the Chamber office at 942-1632.