Read some of the highlights from our recent article in the Farragut Press about the event “Growing Your Business with Social and Other Media,” presented by Smarter Searches, the Town of Farragut, and the Farragut Business Alliance.

Representatives from 14 Farragut area businesses dropped by Town Hall Tuesday morning, Oct. 30, each seeking advice on maximizing use of social media.

A former marketing team member of no-borrow/anti-credit talk show guru Dave Ramsey was among three speakers giving such advice.

Town of Farragut and Farragut Business Alliance partnered in the workshop themed “Maximi-zing Your Facebook Page and Other Social Media Tips.”

One key is “figuring out which social media you need to use … based on where your customers are,” said Courtney Herda, founder/owner of Smarter Searches, an Internet marketing agency.

“If you’re targeting wealthier, middle-management males, you should be on Google Plus,” added Herda, a former Ramsey team member.

Among “visual industry” such as “restaurants or fitness … You can join Pinterest and expose people to fitness tips or pictures of events that you’ve planned,” Herda said. “YouTube is the second largest search engine,” she added.

To “incentivise,” Herda pointed out that one restaurant recently offered “a free appetizer if you liked them on Facebook.”

Allison Sousa, executive director of FBA, said if advertising through Facebook, “You can offer some sort of incentives via that ad. Just set a $50 or $100 budget. I would do pay-per-click, not pay-per-exposure.”

On Facebook, “One to two [posts] per day” is the proper amount, Herda said.

Avoid “posting when your customers aren’t on Facebook,” Herda added.

“Highest interaction rates, if you’re an immediacy business, is 8 p.m. on a weekend night. A lot of people check it before bed or first thing in the morning.”

Herda said the best plan toward choosing which social media to use is “focus on one or two and do it really well.”

“There are a billion people on Facebook … 405 minutes a month is what the average user is spending,” Herda added. “There are almost 600 million on Twitter now. … This is where your customers are.

“Eighty-five percent of Internet users have Facebook accounts. … 70 percent of local businesses have Facebook accounts.”

Get creative. Sousa pointed out a donut company that used “National Pirates Day” as a successful promotion.

“If you went in to Krispy Kreme and said, ‘Ahoy mateys,’ you got a free donut,” Sousa said. “If you went into Krispy Kreme and you were dressed like a pirate, you got a dozen free donuts.

“It burned up social media … when it burns up social media, traditional media picks it up, which is what happened,” she added.

Target your market audience in areas such as gender, age and ZIP Code, Sousa said.

Both Herda and Sousa pointed out that, for free, Facebook users can track various responses to their posts and advertising through “metrics … a wide range of analytics and downloadable reports,” Herda said.

“Entertain people,” Herda added, pointing out, for example, “that a funny, slightly relevant hat box may end up being the biggest thing in your business.”

Negative can turn positive. “If someone complains about your business on your Facebook page, that’s a gift,” Herda said. “If you own a restaurant and they have a terrible experience, come back and say, ‘I’m so sorry you had terrible experience. Come back and we’ll give you a free lunch.’”

On the other hand, encourage happy customers to post their reactions, Herda added.