10Aug/09

Marketing Mondays | Five Tips for Facebook

The great Duct Tape Marketing blog provides us with this week’s Marketing Mondays post.  If you’ve been trying to figure out how to make facebook work for your business, consider utilizing the following:

1. Fan page – Facebook had personal profiles and groups from the start, but a few months ago they added to the function called fan pages and made them more business friendly. Any business on Facebook should create a fan page for their business and start optimizing additional content there. The cool thing about fan pages is that it’s now a lot like having another web site. You can add applications, newsletter sign-up pages and events and promote them to your friends on Facebook. When someone becomes a fan of your page, your updates on the page show up on their wall giving additional exposure. I wrote a pretty comprehensive post on the subject of Facebook Fan Pages here. Also, check out the Duct Tape Marketing Fan Page -http://www.facebook.com/ducttapemarketing – note the brand optimized URL – that’s pretty new and something you should take advantage of.

2. Custom HTML – this one’s a little more technical but when you create a fan page you will see that your page comes with tabs for various categories of content you create (each tab has it’s own URL so you can promote each section on your fan page around the web). Using the Facebook Mark-up Language (FBML) you can create custom boxes of HTML content, like newsletter sign-up pages, blog RSS feeds, and white paper downloads just like you might on your web site. FBML is a Facebook application you can get here. I’ve also done a quick little video showing you how to add FBML custom HTML here.

3. Special content – Give your Facebook fans a little something extra they might not find on your blog or web site. Upload images from your PowerPoint presentations, articles from the local publication you contribute to, or on the fly videos created using the Facebook video application. You’re bound to find some crossover from other social networks like twitter, so give the Facebook users something unique. I know some people caution about reposting twitter here, but I think it’s perfectly fine. I get lots of comments from people who just happen to like to use Facebook more than twitter and this way they still get updates.

4. Events, videos and apps – Use the heck out of all of the Facebook applications. (Here’s a post I did some time ago aboutsome of the best Facebook business applications, many of which are now compatible with pages.) Promote events, upload or record video, hold contests and polls. All of this extra engagement is so easy to do using pre-built tools. And don’t forget to integrate your Facebook activity back to your web site and blog using a Facebook Fan Box – I wrote about the Facebook FanBox tool here.

5. Ads for awareness – I think that Facebook has built one of the better ad targeting tools going. You can target ads to Facebook members on all kinds of criteria and run pretty low cost campaigns. The trick though is to run campaigns that are compelling and promote your FaceBook Fan Page instead of trying to sell something. Promote your white paper, events, and educational content – create awareness about your great content and your will get the chance to earn the trust it takes to actually sell something to someone. Here’s where you go to find more info about Facebook Ads. And, I wrote about using Facebook ads to create awareness here.

Even if you don’t sell anything online or provide support via email, you need to include social media in your marketing plan.  If you have any questions about using facebook or other social media tools for your local business, you can email Matthew Wengerd.

06Aug/09

USF Poly Now Accepting Incubator Applications

(Lakeland, Fla., Aug. 6, 2009) – The University of South Florida Polytechnic’s Blue Sky business incubation program is now accepting applications for space in its two facilities — a business accelerator, Blue Sky East in Winter Haven, and an entry-level incubator, Blue Sky West in Lakeland.

            “We want a diverse group of entrepreneurs with the potential to create a significant economic impact in central Florida,” says Marshall Goodman, VP and CEO of USF Polytechnic. “These facilities provide opportunities for a wide range of enterprises. Some will be raw start-ups, and some will be more advanced. Regardless of the stage, Blue Sky represents an opportunity to thrive."

            The application is available online at http://poly.usf.edu/BlueSky. Applicants must be for-profit technology corporations, with proprietary technologies preferred. Applicants can be a start-up company, an existing small business in a growth phase, an existing business launching a new business project, or an international business looking for a soft-landing site.

            The Blue Sky facilities are the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They will focus on attracting and nurturing entrepreneurial businesses by creating a place where USF Poly faculty, staff and students can work with businesses to develop innovative technology. Incubated companies will benefit from the proximity to and resources of a national research university as well as the assets of economic development networks.

 

05Aug/09

August Business & Breakfast to Talk Stress

Stress is a hot topic these days- like going green or buying local- but it certainly doesn’t seem like quite as much fun to discuss! Dr. Parker from True M.D. hopes to change all that at the August Business & Breakfast on 8/13 at 7:30 a.m. You won’t want to miss out on the information, hands on tips and give-aways that are in store!

gilit true card front

3627 South Florida Ave | Lakeland, FL 33803

August 13, 2009 | 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.

$5 for members; $15 for guests

Cash or check only at the door. To pre-register using our online payment system, click here.

04Aug/09

Participate in Revitalizing Neighborhoods

Chamber Members Swan Development Advisors & Keystone Challenge Funds have partnered with Polk County to redevelop foreclosed properties and offer down-payment assistance for low and moderate income families. In July, Polk County was allocated nearly $14.5 million to create the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Read more about this program at LakelandLocal.com, TheLedger.com, Fox 13 News, and Channel 10 News.

Right now, the NSP is searching for local vendors to join the effort. The list of needs includes, but is not limited to:

 

  • Appraisers
  • Attorneys/Title Work
  • Carpentry and Cabinetry
  • Concrete
  • Construction Site and House Cleaning Services
  • Demolition
  • Electrical
  • Environmental Consulting/Remediation
  • Fencing
  • General Contracting
  • General Maintenance
  • Landscaping and Lawn Care
  • Locksmiths
  • Mechanical
  • Painting
  • Pest Control
  • Plumbing
  • Property Management
  • Roofing
  • Tree Trimming/Removal

 

There is a vendor application at www.polkhousing.com, as well as additional information about the program, it’s funding, management and resources available to the targeted neighborhoods.

31Jul/09

Business Disaster Survival Kit Now Available

Thinking about disaster preparedness may not be at the top of your priority list this Friday… in fact, at the top of mine was heading downtown to catch up on some much needed coffee & Facebook time. But let’s just keep that little plan to ourselves…

Thanks to the folks at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Business Continuity Planning Alliance, The State of Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Regional Planning Councils, (and Barb here in our office), we now have CDs to share!

Disaster and crisis response plans should be in place for everything from natural events and hazards to technological changes or threats. While many of us may not consider Lakeland to be in a threatened area, we’ve seen proof in other close-knit communities that disaster and violence are not reserved for the big city.

disaster CD In addition to the CD resource, there is also a Web site set up for businesses to explore. By visiting http://www.fldisasterkit.org, you and your business can be well on the way to developing your Business Continuity Plan. That, and there’s a pirate-themed “game” for you to play. It won’t seem like you’re learning, but I guarantee you will… This game, by the way, is the only game that I endorse as appropriate for business. If you try to use this post as evidence that Facebook is a viable use of work time, I will not vouch for you.

Please, stop by the Chamber to pick up your Business Disaster Survival Kit CD and take some time (after you’ve played the pirate game) to write down your Business Continuity Plan. When you do, and you can provide evidence of a plan, we’ll do a special feature here and in December’s Forum for Business Monthly of our member companies who are prepared.*

*Businesses that have a plan must provide evidence of that plan on or before October 23, 2009 by emailing Amy Wiggins or Terry Ottinger in order to be included in the December feature.