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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.

4 Beginner Twitter Tips for Business

Twitter for Business

© Can Stock Photo Inc.

From 2014-2015 the number of Twitter users grew by 50 million, and it’s estimated that close to 1/5 of Internet users have Twitter accounts. The average Twitter user follows 5 businesses so if you’re not trying to reach your customers on Twitter you’re missing an opportunity.

Twitter is easy enough to understand, just share something 140 characters or less. You can share links, images, or videos. Here are a few other tips for businesses just starting out on Twitter:

Use Hashtags

Twitter is as hard to follow as the ticker tape on a stock page. It’s a constant barrage of messaging, particularly for those accounts that follow a lot of people. Hashtags, or pound signs (#), help people search for the information they want.

Using an appropriate hashtag can expand your business’ reach and help potential customers find what they’re looking for. Employ one specific to your business and use hashtags that are relevant. For instance, Jake’s Jewelry Store might use all, or any, of the following hashtags in tweets with images of gifts for mom: #jakes, #mothersday, #gift.

You can also use popular hashtags of trending topics, when applicable, like #marchmadness or #50shadesofgrey.

Share Images

This tip applies to most of social media but Twitter will display images prominently in the stream so it’s a good way to get your followers’ attention.

Rise Above the Noise

Find ways to stand out from others who are merely posting articles they’ve written. Ask questions. Have conversations. Thank people for sharing your content.

One of the easiest ways to create loyal followers, at least initially, is through commenting on what they share – either by providing your own opinions or asking them follow-up questions.

Avoid sending out automated thank you messages to new followers. While the concept seems nice – thanking them for following you – they come off as exactly what they are, robotic. Plus many Twitter users don’t check their messages box because of the large number of these they receive.

In addition to finding customers and potential customers on Twitter, it’s good to connect with influencers in your industry or audience such as mommy bloggers or niche bloggers.

Follow the Golden Rule

To follow back or not to follow back. That is the question and the answer for business is follow back, or do unto others as you would like them to do to you.

There are exceptions to this rule.

Twitter will cap you at 2,000 following (people you follow) if your followers (number of people who follow you) are not fairly equal. For instance, if you followed 2,000 people but only 500 followed you, Twitter will not allow you to follow any more until those numbers get within (about) 200 of each other. Twitter won’t tell you the exact number that it takes but you will be limited until those follower numbers rise.

You also don’t want your followers and following number too far off of one another because:

  • If you are following too many people, and a relatively equal number is not following you back, it looks like you’re not sharing worthwhile information.

On the other hand,

  • If a lot of people are following you and you’re only following a handful, you look like a bit of a jerk. That’s okay for reality TV stars but people who are using Twitter for business should be a little more congenial.

You can manage your Twitter followers through tools like ManageFlitter, Followerwonk (a Moz app) or Friend or Follow. Many of these tools can help you tell which accounts are spam bots or fake accounts or inactive accounts. (You don’t want to spend time engaging those.) They also help you isolate influencers in your area.

There are pages and pages of tips written on topics like Twitter for business but the best thing to keep in mind is your humanity. Don’t make it all about your business and be gracious. Find ways to connect with people on a more personal level and imagine every tweet you’re sending could be seen by your grandmother, unless you’re in the type of business you don’t want your grandmother to know about.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and Memberclicks.
She’s just a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.