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Social Media for Small Businesses Workshop

“Online Marketing & Social Media for Small Businesses” Workshop Held on May 19

Have you ever wondered what social media could do for your small business? That question (and more) was answered on May 19, 2009 at Small Business Week’s “Online Marketing & Social Media for Small Businesses” workshop. The workshop was a joint effort of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s digital media industry initiative and the Small Business Assistance Center. An impressive 150 people attended the workshop and heard presentations by Luther Lowe, Manager of Local Business Outreach at Yelp and Anamitra Banerji, Product Manager at Twitter on how small businesses can use social media and online networking websites to promote their businesses.

Anamitra from Twitter kicked off the event with a basic introduction to Twitter, explaining the nuts and bolts of tweeting. The majority of his presentation focused on what might be the most powerful (and under utilized) application of Twitter—search. Did you know that a query to searches all tweets happening all over the world at this very minute? You can find out what people are talking about right now. You can even specify your search by location and find out what everyone is talking about in ‘San Francisco.’ Anamitra also discussed some of the most successful users of Twitter. Kogi Barbecue (@kogibbq) is a Los Angeles-based Korean barbecue/taco truck that tweets where it will be at any given time. This has resulted in lines around the block of eager, hungry Twitter users excited about spicy pork tacos. A local example is Mission Pie (@missionpie) on Mission and 25th street—they tweet as pies come fresh out of the oven to the delight of hungry Mission residents. In each example, Twitter is more than advertising—it is a way for business owners to keep potential customers engaged with their product, in real time.

Luther from Yelp spoke about the benefits of claiming your business’ page on Yelp for free. His main directive was for business owners to check out and claim their page and access their free Yelp for Business Owners account. A great example of an enhanced Yelp page is that of Tennis Lessons by Mcclain.  He has added photos, testimonials, videos and a blog. Luther also offered tips for dealing with negative reviews and answered questions about Yelp’s reviewing system.

Workshop attendees were able to see social media tools in action and to interact directly with representatives from websites that are at the forefront of the social media revolution. The event promoted a unique and mutual beneficial partnership—traditional small businesses and tech startups, which are the small businesses of the online world. This workshop is the first of many events that OEWD plans to initiate to help small businesses take full advantage of the online marketing and social media opportunities that are available from our own San Francisco tech community.

Kelly Pretzer, OEWD’s new Project Manager for Digital Media and IT, organized the workshop. She has been working directly with new media companies, which includes everything from gaming, film, consumer internet and IT services, to support, sustain, enhance and grow this industry in San Francisco. If you are interested in contacting her she can be reached at 415-554-6045 or You can also follow her on Twitter at @kellypretzer.

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