“Engagement” was the recurring theme at the Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership's Tech Tuesday panel discussion about social media and next generation mobile applications last evening (Tues 7/17).
As much as the in-depth information, the venue – the Hyatt Regency Coconut Palm – the great hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and the power networking, left attendees wanting more. "Is it always this fun at your meetings?" asked John Murdock, President of The Murdock Group. What better testimonial can an organization ask for?
A seven person panel of local mobile technology and social media experts shared their insights and recommendations with local business professionals, many of whom expressed their desire for help and guidance in this field.
Shelly Osterhout, President of Computer Solutions of America (CSA) advised the audience to embrace social media. She shared that CSA gets two to three new clients from Facebook weekly, and she helps other businesses to achieve that kind of success.
Mark Cyr, President of Dolphin Global Technology Solutions, said that at least half of all online searches are now conducted on mobile devices. He advised business owners to evaluate their website on a mobile device, including tablets. He said load-times longer than three seconds, or not having a clickable phone number, are deficiencies that cause you to lose business to your competitors.
Phil Turner, Vice President at Uptown Network [with agreement from other panelists] said that social media never replaces traditional marketing. It is simply one additional component of an overall marketing plan.
Joe Rossini, founder of VizMarket.com illustrated that content is king, with a demonstration of his totally mobile app: an extensive database of businesses and professionals in the 239 area code. He explained that his focus is designing an app that will help businesses grow by rewarding them for creating online relationships.
While promoting social media for business development, panelists also discussed some of the negative dimensions of social media, which has permeated our education system -- meaning the emerging demographics expect it.
Patriot Promotions owner Jill Trammell warned that whatever you post online and gets crawled by Google is there to stay. In other words, there is no privacy online. Google controls YouTube, Flick, and Picasa, among other platforms where people post pictures, videos and other content. The good news is that Google gives heavier weighting to this content, but the bad news is they essentially own it once you use their platform to upload and post.
Social media consultant Michele Lorito-Chase said she is always mindful of protecting her privacy – for example, checking in with FourSquare only as she leaves an establishment, rather than when she arrives.
Nolan Collins, founder of BizGrowExpo SWFL, recommended that people who want to learn more about social media and other online tools use resources such as udemy.com and lynda.com. Alternatively, those who don't have the time to learn it on their own should "hire a geek" and outsource this part of their business rather than be overwhelmed by it.
The panelists agreed that many U.S. businesses feel overwhelmed in recent years by the rapid pace of new social media and mobile applications. But they also said that these tools are in their infancy compared with Asian countries such as South Korea and Singapore, which have telecommunication infrastructures far superior (faster and reliable) than that of the United States.
The Partnership is presenting a follow-on program on August 21 on another significant IT trend: cloud computing. More info at www.swfrtp.org.
See you there!
Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership Inc. | P.O. Box 884 | Estero, FL 33928 | firstname.lastname@example.org