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SACRAMENTO, CA - Close to 40 people attended a free workshop put on by the Sacramento Social Media Club entitled "Facebook for the Floundering" Wednesday evening. The workshop covered everything from the basics of setting up a Facebook profile page to creating customized welcome pages using FBML (Facebook's version of HTML).
Sponsored by The Sacramento Press and Chipotle, about 85 percent of people attending had some experience using Facebook, but were looking for guidance on how to use the social media tool to boost their business and/or public image -- especially those who had a limited marketing budget.
"Facebook gives businesses and individuals power, and you need to learn how to use that power to do good," said Leslie Miller, public relations director of 3fold Communications and one of the speakers of the event.
Miller says Facebook can be an effective tool for businesses to create awareness about specific aspects of their company, whether they are event driven like Sacramento 365 or product driven like Icing on the Cupcake.
In addition to providing tips on how to grow your Facebook fan base, build relationships and drive traffic to events, products and non-profit campaigns, the workshop leaders also warned the group about the dangers of sending too much content to their social media "friends."
"I recommend you don't spam your fans. If you have an event you want to promote, don't send the same message continuously. Highlight different things such as a key speaker or specific details," said Laura Good, workshop leader and Director of Programs & Operations at SARTA.
Good, who is known as "Good Laura" in the social media realm, says in her opinion the most powerful viral tool on Facebook is the sharing button. It lets users share links, photos, videos and anything else posted on Facebook to their wall feed. From there, the content spreads from wall-to-wall and snowballs into the "six degrees of separation" syndrome.
"I see it [the shared content], my friends see it, their friends see it and eventually Kevin Bacon sees it," Good said.
Jeff Marmins, the founder and principal of Social Media Path, also spoke to the group. While Miller and Good shed light on how to use Facebook, Marmins enlightened the attendees with how effective the social media tool can be in building a business.
"Facebook helps build your online credibility," Marmins said.
When it comes to lead generation, Marmins told the group Facebook covers the entire sales funnel and is a necessary tool for businesses who want to have a leading edge. The secret, however, is using the tool correctly to not only target the right customers, but to maintain them as fan of your page.
He summerized the purpose of today's three most popular social media tools with this quote:"Linked-In is the professional resume; Facebook is the relationship builder and Twitter is the cocktail party."
While the night was definitely not a cocktail party, it was a night of building relationships -- even if it was only creating a stronger bond between Facebook and the business world.
By Michelle Ponto/News10
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