Wade Nembhard, himself a member of the Cutler Bay Business Association (CBBA) and a marketing and branding professional, addressed the organization on Thursday, July 12, on the topic of using social media to boost its members’ businesses.
Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Linkedin aren’t just places to say “hi” to friends, post pictures and swap jokes, according to Nembhard. They also can be valuable tools for small businesses to use to get the word out and find new customers.
“Currently, if you’re a local business, you’ve got to be on social media,” Nembhard said. “If you’re not on social media, get on now, because it’s going to be the wave of the future. No matter what you do, you could have a small boutique at a mall somewhere — Southland Mall, Dadeland or Aventura. You still need to be on social media, because that’s where your customers are now.”
Nembhard said that social media marketing means that business owners need to go to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus — that’s the newest one — and take their local brand, their name, their local business or individual person and create a public profile on those websites.
“Those profiles are going to bring in a lot of brand recognition, instant brand recognition, to your company,” Nembhard said. “You’re going to be seeing a larger sales conversion as you build relationships online. You’re going to be getting a lot more referrals.”
Nembhard, originally from New York, studied at Syracuse University. His marketing business focuses on Web design and social media marketing. He said that profiles on social media sites are free except for pay-per-click advertising, and that while only 2 to 6 percent of Facebook and Twitter followers click on ads, up to 50 percent of Facebook followers click on posted links on profiles or daily postings.
“Why is it useful for local business? If you’re in Pinecrest, Cutler Bay, South Miami, your customers are there on Facebook now. Your friend is there or someone else they know who they can refer to you are also on Facebook,” Nembhard said.
“So while they might not want to get out their living room and go down to your shop in Cutler Bay or your store in South Miami or the Falls, they’re going to go on Facebook or your website to check you out first. That’s how social media is helping local businesses today. It’s the same as local advertising — you’re building relationships. That’s how it all starts.”