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MoneyWorks - Spotlight on Social Media

Written by Nell McCormack Abom | Oct 17, 2012 11:12 AM

If you’re not in the realm of social media, you’re nowhere ... or at least heading that way. That’s the consensus in the marketing industry of where small, medium and large businesses need to operate if they expect to survive, let alone profit.

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We’ll take you inside the world of social media and discuss its profound impact on business and consumers as part of our “MoneyWorks” segment on Smart Talk, Thursday night at 8 on witf TV.

witf co-sponsored this week’s Social Media at Work forum at the Wildwood Conference Center on HACC’s campus. The founder of the Harrisburg Social Media Club, Anne Deeter Gallaher, will share her SM wisdom with us. She owns a marketing and PR firm and admits that she was “an old school journalism communications” expert but had to school herself in the nuances of the new media.

“You are what Google says you are,” Deeter Gallaher explains. Massaging a company’s message and image is critical in today’s 24/7, lightning-quick global economy. And even if you are a “traditional” business and don’t think you need Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google, Deeter Gallaher warns, “Facebook recently hit one billion users. Whether you are a retail bank or a big brand, you have customers in those channels. You want to tell your story in as many of those channels as possible before your competitor does.”

Also on the panel is Sara Bozich, the self-proclaimed “unofficial ambassador to Harrisburg.” Bozich’s travel and tourism blog for the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau and her weekly column for The Patriot-News are must-reads for dining, drinking and entertainment seekers throughout south-central Pennsylvania.

“I use it (social media) as my personal brand. It’s a way of promoting my freelance business,” she says. Bozich has forged partnerships with local bars, restaurants and tourist destinations. “It’s become such a community,” she notes. “We have such a vibrant and active Twitter community. People follow me because they look to see what’s happening. A lot of times, I have weekly giveaways and that’s a really great way for small businesses to promote themselves. Or, if they’re new to social media, to get a little bump in their followers or on Facebook or whatever site they happen to be using.”

Bozich attended a blogging conference in Boston over the summer and mentioned to other attendees that Harrisburg has a local “TweetUp” on the third Wednesday of every month. “We have forged business relationships, personal relationships, just friendships, where people want to help each other out,” Bozich says. “You meet someone at the TweetUp and then you see their Tweet about a charity they’re raising money for and then you want to retweet it. It’s pretty incredible that we’re not seeing this in Boston but we’re seeing it here in Harrisburg. It’s pretty cool.” The #hbgtweetup is tonight at the Abbey Bar at the Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg.

Also joining our panel is Kendra Metz, director of digital strategy and analytics for Pavone, an advertising, marketing and public relations firm in Harrisburg. The Patriot-News recently published a major piece on Pavone's creative campaign for Yuengling beer in which the beer is the star.

How has social media changed your business? Have a social-media question for the PR pros? Call in live Thursday night at 8 to 1-800-729-7532, email smarttalk@witf.org, post a comment here, or to Facebook or Twitter.

(Note:  This article has been modified to correct the origin of the #hbgtweetup. It was started by Harrisburg-based bloggers, not the Harrisburg Social Media Club.  The author regrets the error.

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