Photo from Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce newsletter.

At a recent Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce lunch (March 7), Michelle O’Brien of Ketchikan Radio Center presented the first in a series of discussions on “How to Get the Most Out of Social Media Marketing.” 


With smart phones and social media the dominant forms of communication,  businesses need to adapt and change their marketing strategies. That was one of the points made by Michelle O’Brien during her presentation.  In the past, she says businesses would focus on newspaper, radio and television advertising, but now social media dominates.

“You need to be having a real conversation, a real conversation, face to face, a really authentic conversation. Because if you’re not having a conversation with someone, whether you’re using social media or not, I guarantee they’re talking about you.”

O’Brien says it’s important to be connected with customers through social media as more and more are using it.  She says before, most people selected businesses based on friends’ recommendations, but that is no longer the case.

“Most people are looking online. In excess of 70 percent of consumers trust what they see online as opposed to what they hear from a friend when they’re making a buying decision. And it could be something as simple as going to Jerimiah’s for dinner, or closing on my house. So it’s really important.”

She says with social media and the ability for anyone to share messages broadly, it’s important to acknowledge all comments posted about your business.

“You have to respond to the positive and the negative. And how are you going to do that? And each of you have very different personalities for your business. We all have different personalities.”

O’Brien says it’s important to consider the persona and personality of your business when crafting a response.  She says the response should always be done in a positive manner.  O’Brien says if a conversation becomes negative, it should be moved to a private place.

“Everyone feels that they can sit behind the protection of their keyboard and rant and rave and say whatever they would say, usually something that they wouldn’t say while they’re at your place of business. Because they feel protected behind their little lap top screen and they can say whatever they want. You need to move that conversation over to a private forum. Immediately. As quickly as possible. Because usually that’s when it explodes.”

O’Brien says Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the First City. She refers to it as the 24 / 7 live news stream of real and fake news in Ketchikan.

“How many times have you seen someone give an opinion about something or someone in this town, and then 30 other people share it, and the vitriol is horrifying. Now imagine if that were your business, and you can divert that person over to a private message and deal with them on a one-on-one without all these other people swooping in and grabbing it. That would be pretty good for you, right?”

O’Brien says employees and business owners also should consider what they post on their private Facebook pages because this will reflect back to your business.  She says if you don’t have anything interesting to share that day about your own business, consider sharing interesting posts from other businesses.

“Because guess what? They will remember that and help you out sometime down the road. And what is that? Free advertising.”

O’Brien suggests that every business set up an auto-reply to social media posts. The reply would note that the message was received and someone will get back to them within a certain amount of time. She says a Facebook page should also have links to the business apps and website. O’Brien suggests periodically checking your website and social media pages to make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date.