“What do you offer that others don’t?” Sandy Goe asked, looking for an intriguing way new business owners can ramp up their visibility, which is the topic of choice at the annual Santa Barbara Business Expo being held April 25. “Everyone gets excited to get a URL,” she went on, talking about business use of websites. “But they don’t realize there’s a lot of strategy that goes into it to attract your target clients.”
Getting savvy about marketing and “building a robust online following, one that converts to actual clients, customers, and dollars,” said public relations consultant Lauren Salaun, “requires time, resources, and a well-thought-out strategy.” Salaun said many business owners mistakenly think they can forgo social media or “just post something here and there,” but that’s not exactly true. And keeping social media fresh can be overwhelming, and businesses don’t always know where to begin.
Spinning off themes of “going physical” and “you are the celebrity of your own business,” the Business Expo invites owners and entrepreneurs to find out how to focus on branding, use social media and video, manage finances, keep up with new business and insurance laws, and maximize free advertising options. About 500 people are expected to attend the expo, which was founded by husband-and-wife duo Sandy and Gino Goe as a networking and instructional event. Creative people such as musicians and artists often are very passionate but sometimes have difficulty monetizing their work, Sandy said. With a background in numerous organizations, including Santa Barbara Research Center and her Professional Fashion Accessorizing service, Goe founded the Women’s Community Business Network in 2011. Gino owns a construction and management company.
Salaun offered a few tips for social media newbies: Outline your goals and then determine which metrics to use to track your progress. Also, decide how frequently to post new content and “stick to it!” And review your analytics on a weekly or monthly basis to better understand how to distribute your resources.
Goe has also found that new professionals often do not have a good headshot, and she’s bringing a photographer to the expo to take portraits at a discounted rate. The nonprofit TV Santa Barbara is showcased this year, and a portion of the profits will go to creating a business-themed TV series. Preregistration remains open at SantaBarbaraBusinessExpo.com, and general admission is $25. The event takes place 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the DoubleTree Resort.