Chamber speaker pitches social media advertising

Websites like Facebook, Twitter and Urban Spoon have changed advertising, Frank J. Kenny, a self-proclaimed “social media marketing expert,” said at the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce September luncheon.

People take into account the reviews and recommendations they read on those websites and other social media outlets when they make buying choices, he said.

“Ninety-five percent of people are imitators — most are not initiators,” he said. “People naturally follow other people. People are persuaded more by the actions of others than any other proof we can offer.”

And that’s not all bad, he said.

Businesses can advertise effectively and cheaply, he said, by cultivating a good online image.

“Nobody believes you when you say your own business is great,” he said. “Let your customers say your business is great.”

He offered several tips.

Businesses should encourage their loyal customers to write positive reviews for them online, and they should support members of their online groups.

They should give gifts to their fans and be generous with them.

Businesses should also try to tell a story that “cuts through the clutter” and differentiates them from their competition.

“Fox News,” for example, “had a massive target market no one was speaking to,” he said.

The network saw that a lot of people thought that other media outlets were reporting in a left-leaning way, and Fox tried to set itself apart by claiming to be “fair and balanced.”

Businesses should also try to connect with consumers online through an emotional human appeal.

“You are the story, not the business,” Kenny said. “If you really want to use social media right, it’s about you as a person. It’s about the relationship with the person. It’s personal. It’s human.”

People don’t feel as emotionally connected with a business as they do with a person, he said, so it’s important to find a human, emotional connection with the audience.

“Every business has an emotional pull, from some angle,” he said.

While managing a business’s online image, it’s important not to get “bogged down,” Kenny said.

You bring content and relationships — leave all the technical to the geeks,” he said.

People tend to check the social media sites when they’re at work, he said, so Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the best time to post.

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