We hosted a Business Owners Sharing Solutions (BOSS) breakfast on March 20th with a panel of local business owners. At this session, our panel discussed how businesses can generate sales with social media and online marketing!
Our panel included:
- Mallory Graham, Rosey’s Trading Post & Marketing Strategist
- Heather Watson, acorn30
- Matt Stimpson, We Design Group
Madeleine Hurrell of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development moderated the discussion.
The Bridgenorth Deli catered the event and made us a delicious breakfast spread of quiche and fruit salad.
A Little About Our Panel
Moderator: Madeleine Hurrell, Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development
Madeleine was born and raised in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. After a brief sojourn as an archaeologist following studies at Queen’s University, Madeleine returned to Peterborough where she completed Fleming College’s Advanced Diploma in Marketing. For the past three years, Madeleine has been an Economic Development Officer with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. She is focused mainly in the Business Advisory Centre, where she has developed relationships with hundreds of local entrepreneurs, providing resources and business support to problem solve as they start and grow their businesses.
Panelist: Heather Watson, Founder, Partner, and CEO of acorn30
Heather has been recognized as one of the Peterborough Chamber’s Top 4 Under 40 and is the Director of acorn30, a marketing agency that she founded in 2016. Heather started her marketing path when she was just 15 years old when she began working after school for a market research firm doing surveys. After graduating from Fleming College, Heather gained experience in traditional marketing with a focus on public relations and copywriting. She has a passion for all things digital and has extensive knowledge in digital marketing, social media and brand management.
Matt Stimpson, Founder & Creative Genius at We Design
Inspired by Canada’s lakeside wilderness, Matt emigrated from the UK in 2005 to become fresh food for the bugs and critters. Matt brings proven experience and a strong portfolio of successful work. After five years of agency experience, Matt established his own business in 1999 and proceeded to steadily develop an extensive client-base that included a number of high-profile companies. Since moving to Canada, Matt has helped to successfully implement design solutions that involve award-winning branding, advertising, brochures and websites. Matt started We Design with his partner David Jonkers in 2010.
Mallory completed her Honors degree in Business at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. After competing in a business pitch competition and winning the KPMG Award in Entrepreneurship, for RezPoints Rewards, Mallory launched the coalition loyalty program for her parents’ businesses in Curve Lake. Mallory founded Rosey’s Trading Post in 2013 – an online retail store with a brick and mortar location in Curve Lake. For 7 years Mallory has worked with small businesses to develop marketing strategies that drive more sales leads, reach more customers with social media and digital marketing, and to maximize their online and offline business presence.
Social Media and Online Marketing are Paramount for Businesses Today
One of the main takeaways from our B.O.S.S discussion was how important social media and online marketing have become for businesses. Social media and online marketing have become the new gold standard for generating revenue, and are resources that businesses need to start utilizing if they haven’t already. As Mallory Graham aptly stated, online marketing isn’t the future, it’s now.
Benefits of Social Media and Online Marketing
- Social media and online marketing provide businesses with a greater reach in terms of audience/clients/customers. Traditional media, such as print, radio and television, provides businesses with a 1:1 ratio. New media, such as social media platforms and websites, provides businesses with a 1:many ratio. Ultimately, the unprecedented reach that social media and online marketing provides, both domestically and globally, makes them unparalleled marketing avenues for businesses.
- Social media and online marketing allow businesses to avoid stagnating by requiring them to be up-to-date with their events, products and/or content.
- Social media platforms are under priced marketing platforms. Not only is posting on social media free, but you can also learn the skill yourself. And, if you decide to go the paid advertising route on your social media platforms (e.g. sponsored posts), it is relatively cheap in comparison to advertising on traditional forms of media and even on Google.
Do-It-Yourself or Outsource
Becoming savvy at social media and online marketing takes time, and staying on top of your social media and online marketing can take equally as much time, depending on the content you’re looking to share and how often you’re looking to share it.
While social media and online marketing are skills that business owners can learn themselves (and do!), our panel talked about the importance of developing marketing and content strategies. Marketing and content strategies seek to accomplish different things but are nonetheless interdependent; a marketing strategy develops a plan for how a business will reach its customers whereas a content strategy narrows down a business’s target audience and develops a plan to create audience-specific content. Both work towards the same goals, namely to expand a business’s reach and generate business. One thing that our panel members all recognized is that many small business owners don’t have the time to develop and execute marketing and content strategy plans themselves. This is where outsourcing to a marketing firm can come in handy for business owners.
SEO, Performance Analytics & Hashtags
Our panel also discussed the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), web analytics and hashtags. SEO allows a business to be found organically on the internet (rather than through paid placement in a search engine like Google). They touched on some of the key criteria that your website should meet in order to strengthen your business’s SEO such as content, back links, optimized site, SSL, fast-pace load times and title tags.
Key performance analytics are also important for businesses. In particular, our panel recommended that businesses monitor their metrics overtime and keep on top of monitoring them, as they provide businesses with useful insight into their customers/web visitors.
In our Q&A period, our panel received a question about hashtags, their importance and when to use them. Hashtags are important for increasing a business’s visibility online and are used mainly on Twitter and Instagram, but are also used on Facebook and LinkedIn. One tip that our panel had concerning hashtags was to make sure that businesses do not to use the same hashtags on every post. By switching up the set of hashtags you use, businesses can avoid having their posts categorized as a robot/spam by apps algorithms. They also recommended that businesses take a balanced approach to using specific sand broad hashtags, as using too many of either type could decrease visibility.
We’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone who came out to the event this morning! We hope you learned some things to help your business increase its sales through social media and online marketing.
Thank you to our Professional Development Sponsor, Lynn Woodcroft, Sales Rep., Royal LePage Frank Real Estate.
Check out our photos below from the event!