B2B Seminar Prepares Local Businesses to Think Beyond “Likes”

(from left to right) Montecito Bank & Trust COO Rob Skinner, Guest Speaker Matt Hicks, Montecito Bank & Trust Chairman Michael Towbes.

The event featured guest speaker Matt Hicks, former Facebook Communications Manager and Current Advisor to R to Z Studios, who presented Thinking Beyond “Likes”, and shared valuable insights into the ever-evolving social media space. As one of the first members of Facebook’s Communications and PR team, Mr. Hicks helped define the company’s public voice. He also managed advertising and business communications, worked with top executives to position Facebook as an essential tool for marketers and consumers, and led its early international growth and political outreach campaigns. Today, Mr. Hicks is an advisor to R to Z Studios, the social marketing and production company founded by Randi Zuckerberg, and is an independent strategic consultant on social media and communications. Over the years, his clients have included the Clinton Global Initiative, Cirque du Soleil, and YouTube, which he helped to launch publicly. He’s currently working on his first book about the impact of social media.

Earlier in the day, local business owners and professionals looking to learn more about using social media for their businesses attended a workshop entitled “Facebook 101 for Business”. The workshop, facilitated by lynda.com authors, Lorrie Thomas Ross and Justin Seely, was designed to help beginner and intermediate Facebook users who are responsible for their business’ social media presence build their Facebook Business pages, and boost business. Mr. Seely assisted guests in real-time, as they sat in front of laptops – some even building a Business page for the first time – to understand the basics likes status updates, the newsfeed, and content for posts including photos, videos, and more. Ms. Ross explained and demonstrated how to optimize the pages with tech tips, how to make social media pages more search engine visible, and gave marketing ideas to brand, build, and boost business.

For the evening portion of the event, guests mingled and had the opportunity to network with each other, and make new connections during the first hour. Members of the local business and nonprofit communities also had the chance to discover more about local business resources available to them, including the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, lynda.com, Marketing U, MediaM8, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Coast Business Times, Pumpflix, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara NAWBO, Scheinfeld Center, Web Marketing Therapy, and WSI Global Marketing who each had informational booths at the event.

During the evening’s keynote presentation, Mr. Hicks took guests on an in-depth tour on how businesses can use Facebook to develop their social voice and authentic persona, how to compete for attention on News Feed, and how to take advantage of emerging opportunities beyond the “Page.” Mr. Hicks shared that one in every seven people is on Facebook, a total of just over one billion people on the site, and that they estimate users spend one in every seven minutes online on the Facebook site. According to Hicks, there are 11 million small businesses on Facebook, but only 7 million of those businesses have an active page, and only 3 million of those pages post on a regular basis. Mr. Hicks also gave guests four “Power Tips” to help develop their Facebook Business Pages: 1) track ‘People Talking About” vs. “Likes”; 2) “Serialize Content”; 3) “Targeted Posts”; and 4) “Create Limits”. For each of these informative pointers, Mr. Hicks included examples of actual small businesses effectively utilizing Facebook to generate awareness and ultimately grow their business.

Mr. Hicks explained that, “It is incredibly important to speak like a person, and less like a company. Stay relevant to people’s lives, tell stories, and always put people first, as Facebook fundamentally is a personal medium. Use the site as yourself and think about potential consumers as people just like you.”

The B2B series is designed to bring local businesses together to network and learn from nationally recognized experts on a number of topics that matter most to Santa Barbara and Ventura County businesses. The topics for this year’s B2B series came as a result of surveys completed by attendees of last year’s series. To find out more about the B2B series, click here.

Matt Hicks asks the audience to think about their brand persona.


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