Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Social media an ‘important tool’

A Social Media for Business and Entrepreneurs forum is coming to the Innovation Center today.

The Whitewater University Technology Park Innovation Center is hosting a forum on social media designed to educate small businesses, entrepreneurs, students and faculty on how to utilize social media in a professional capacity.

Headlining the event will be nationally-acclaimed social media strategist Sarah Meaney, vice president of social media and public relations at Hanson Dodge Creative in Milwaukee.  Meaney plans to speak about the importance of social media in today’s digitally and mobile-driven world.

In addition to Meaney, other program highlights include a roundtable of social media experts who will discuss the best ways for businesses and entrepreneurs to “enhance their brand, outreach and relationships with key stakeholders.”

The program will conclude with a presentation from Matt Scherer, an expert in online networking for businesses and individuals.  He will speak about how to use LinkedIn to enhance organizations’ reputations and online communities while building loyal stakeholder groups.

Ann Knabe, a public relations instructor at UW-Whitewater, is responsible for planning the forum.  She says that bringing this type of event to Whitewater will be beneficial to the community.

“So many companies are using social media as a way to reach their target audiences,” Knabe said. “[Knowing how to use social media] makes students very marketable … and competitive in the work force.”

Knabe also says that this type of forum is not only making students more marketable, but the city of Whitewater as well.

“It is helping put us on the map, it’s showing that Whitewater is interested in small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Knabe said. “The Innovation Center, which is a part of a larger grant called the State of Ingenuity, is helping revitalize the area and bring business in.”

Dana VanDen Heuvel, an award-winning marketing blogger from the Green Bay area, says that utilizing social media helps build a relationship between businesses and their customers.

“If you can establish better relationships than your competitor, then you are going to be a better marketer and a better organization,” VanDen Heuvel said. “If [businesses] use social media [and] understand that the whole idea is to develop relationships with their customers, then they will be successful.”

VanDen Heuvel is also an adjunct professor at St. Nobert’s College and teaches a course on social media and thought leadership marketing.  He says that the most important thing students need to learn about social media is how to understand the professional side of it.

“Students don’t really understand the business etiquette of [social media] … I think it’s really important that students find a class that teaches the serious aspects of social media,” VanDen Heuvel said. “That way they can understand how social media will impact them in the future.”

This is not the first time such an event has come to Whitewater.  However, it appears that interest has grown stronger in the community.  According to Knabe, tickets to the event are sold out.

“We had a social media summit two years ago, and quite a few people came to it,” Knabe said. “This event is limited to 120 [people], and it’s sold out.”

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Founded 1901
Social media an ‘important tool’