Wanting to generate more business from the Internet, a group of local business people met last Thursday for a class on how to better use social media tools.
Jointly sponsored by the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, Shingle Springs Cameron Park Chamber of Commerce, Coloma Lotus Chamber of Commerce, the Divide Chamber of Commerce and Business Workspaces, the Social Media Business School is being taught by Julie Gallaher, who owns a digital marketing agency in Sacramento called Get on the Map.
The eight-part series is designed to help businesses become more savvy using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.
Thursday’s topic was how to make and post videos on YouTube.
Adding to Gallaher’s presentation was Jason Shoultz, who is a television producer for KVIE Public Television in Sacramento. He gave the audience tips on how to pull together videos and use YouTube effectively.
Gallaher reminded everyone that most people have a smart phone with a built-in camera so no one needs to buy expensive video equipment to make short but engaging videos to post on the Internet.
Even those without a camera can make a video using PowerPoint. By putting together slides or still photos and using the sound function in PowerPoint, a short film can be produced. And for those who want to animate, there is free software available on the Internet such as GoAnimate.
“People buy from people they like,” said Gallaher. “Video is a great way to communicate who a person is and to personalize information. Show people using your product and give away a little bit of information as a way of attracting more customers.”
Bill Robinson of WHR Studios already saw a way to use the information in his business. “I’m involved with the gallery and the Placerville Downtown Association,” he said, “and I wanted to make better use of the social media for both. I’m particularly interested in video and wanted to get some pointers. I really like Julie’s classes. She’s very down to earth, has practical experience with social media, and she’s comfortable in front of a class.”
Gallaher said that since first coming on the scene, YouTube has made a number of changes to the way businesses create a channel for videos and their ease of use and effectiveness. “You can be your own TV channel on the Internet,” she said. She also remarked that people can get paid for their videos if they attract enough viewers. Big corporations will often pay a residual if they can place an ad on a video that has captured the public’s fancy.
Also planning to make a video was John Buonauro of Comfort Solutions in El Dorado Hills. He said he was in the class for the marketing opportunities and to establish a stronger Internet presence for his heating and air company. He planned to take what he learned at the session to create a short video of some of the work he has done and then put it on YouTube.
Gallaher said her classes have attracted a mixed group of business people including those from wineries, realtors, art gallery owners, staff from Camp Richardson Resort in Tahoe, and a host of small business owners.
She said most social media platforms are free or inexpensive but there’s no customer service, so if you want to use them, you need a coach because there’s no one to help you. That’s where she comes in.
“The people in the class represent a broad level of interest and experience level,” she said. “Some people can take the tips and run with them. But others are not always happy with the results on their own. I feel that’s a big part of my client base, people who want to benefit from the time I’ve spent learning how to use the social media.”
Gallaher said she also does consulting on search engine optimization, one-on-one media consulting and reputation management.
“Sometimes I find prospects who think the Internet is only for the young. They are wrong. Twenty-two percent of people check social media sites five times a day or more. The only way to reach those people is via social media,” she said. Twenty-five percent of American women are already on Pinterest, noted Gallaher, and she said she expects that number to be 50 percent by the end of this year.
Gallaher said one of the messages she tries to get across in her classes is the importance of customer service. “Treat each person like they have a large following so they tweet or pass along information about your business. Businesses have to be nicer these days because unhappy customers will put it all over their Facebook page,” she said.
The next class of the Social Media Business School will be on using LinkedIn, which is a professional networking tool.
It will be held on April 11 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the El Dorado County Office of Education, 6767 Green Valley Road, Room B2, Placerville. The last class in the series will be on May 9, at the same time and location. It will cover how to manage all of the social media platforms.
The cost to attend is $25 per class for Chamber of Commerce members. Non-members pay $45. People interested in signing up for the class can contact their local Chamber of Commerce or Gallaher at [email protected] or at 916-265-2521.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.