‘No Bull’ about it

Social media is buzzing all around us. Some of us are dabbling with Facebook and Twitter as a virtual diary bragging of our recent family vacations. Some use the constant “Status” updates on Facebook to literally post what they had for dinner. If your so-called list of “Friends” has you questioning from time to time why you should care about their day-to-day boredoms, it’s simple: social media is about people and people drive business.

“Social media is like a party,” said Lani Voivod, co-owner of Epiphanies Inc., a social marketing and success strategies firm based in the Lakes Region. “It’s a virtual event, but there’s stimulating conversation and people are engaging you in their lives. You can toast your glass by interacting, and you can stay involved by building an emotional connection to communities that matter most to your business.”

The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development sees the importance of integrating social media with traditional marketing efforts.

“We have always prided ourselves on doing business differently in New Hampshire,” said Steve Boucher, communications and legislative director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development. “We want to be very proactive by reaching out to demographics like young professionals and emerging entrepreneurs in a progressive and powerful way.”

The mission of the Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center is to retain and help expand existing New Hampshire businesses and to attract new companies to the state. To that end, the center recently launched its “No Bull Business Blog,” (blog.nheconomy.com) a Web-based offering that doesn’t qualify as your typical state-run business blog.

“Economic development public relations practitioners throughout the nation have been tasked with three major goals – informing, entertaining and interpreting,” said Boucher. “Somewhere along the way, the entertainment aspect was lost and audiences migrated elsewhere for their news. Our goal is to engage and entertain through our blog.”

According to Boucher, businesses can successfully use the “No Bull Business Blog” as a recruitment and retention tool. “We realize social media is a process with persistency, and that’s why we partnered with Epiphanies to help us and businesses in the state benefit from the viral power behind the social media phenomena.”

“Social media can absolutely increase interest in your organization and lead to growth in sales,” said Allen Voivod, co-owner of Epiphanies. “When executed correctly, the return on investment for time spent building relationships, creating a community, and connecting with like-minded individuals can be financially rewarding. A blog is a legitimate business tool and the use of Twitter and Facebook is becoming more the norm for businesses.”

If you think you’re a day late and a dollar short on the social media circuit – there’s good news. It’s free and it’s not too late.

“Nobody is late or behind yet,” says Lani Voivod. “It feels that way because when you step in, it feels like the whole world is already there. Once you see the power and see how to adapt that power to work for you and your business, that’s when the fun starts.”

“The Business Resource Center will soon be the social media hub for businesses in the state,” said Boucher. “We are reaching businesses at every level of engagement and encourage businesses to join us as we take social media by the horns.”