Tampa, FL, October 03, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- In a time when businesses are cutting back marketing budgets and have limited resources, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to engage in new media formats like social media. But according to the panelists at the Tech Trends forum on Sept. 23, it is critical that businesses find a way to join the online conversation and interact with their customers.
“There has been a shift in the control of brand reputation from corporations to the consumer in the online space,” said panelist Christopher Barger, Director of Global Communications Technology for General Motors. “We’ve taken this as a great opportunity to help present General Motors in a new light and also to listen to our customers’ feedback.”
Tom Wagner, Public Relations Director for the Florida Aquarium, understands the importance of reaching these potential customers via the Internet. For the past 10 months, he engaged in social media dialogues online and found great results specifically through his use of Twitter. One of his first Twitter campaigns reached over 125,000 people through 10 influencers without the use of traditional advertising or public relations.
Both Wagner and Barger agreed that the best way for businesses to learn about effective ways to use social media is to start listening online: to other brands, to their customers, and to their competitors.
“The conversations are happening online whether you choose to get involved or not,” said Barger. “If you do decide to step in, you can help to drive a particular message to your customers.”
Wagner added that a critical element of a social media plan is to find the right identity and voice online while presenting valuable information to the consumer.
“Many businesses will jump into social media without putting together a strategy first,” said Kevin Hourigan, moderator of the forum and owner of Internet marketing firm Bayshore Solutions- http://www.BayshoreSolutions.com. “Our first step with clients entering into social media is to identify the channel that will be most effective for their campaign’s success based on their goals and strategy.”
Panelists Diane Chang from Google and Shivan Ramji from Nielsen both expressed the importance of staying on top of emerging media trends in order to identify the right media for each audience.
“We planned this event to help educate our 450 member companies about these emerging trends like social media,” said Amy Norman, president of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum. “I feel like the 300 people in attendance left thinking about how social media could help their own business practices.”
If you are interested in hearing more from the panelists, you can follow them on Twitter: @BayshoreWebPros @GMBlogs and @FloridaAquarium.
About Bayshore Solutions
Bayshore Solutions offers award-winning capabilities in Web design, Web development and interactive marketing. The Tampa Web site design company has delivered custom Web applications to over 1,500 clients in 54 countries. For more visit http://www.BayshoreSolutions.com