Adam Kmiec gives a Powerpoint presentation on social media and building blocks for small businesses at "Vernon Is Open For Business." Credits: Alley Shubert
[From left to right]: Jessi Palladini and Diane Wexler from the Land of Use Board, Beverly Budz, owner of Creative Media Concepts, NJ and Michael Cheski of MichaelCheski.com brainstorm their ideas and suggestions for the town. Credits: Alley Shubert
Small business owner, Gary Martinsen of the Nordic House shares his suggestions on a flip chart to the town. Credits: Alley Shubert
Gentlemen of small businesses discuss their suggestions for the town. Credits: Alley Shubert
Facilitators discuss certain topics in the town during the event. Credits: Alley Shubert
Vernon Township Holds First Annual Seminar For 'Vernon Is Open For Business'
Thursday, October 4, 2012 • 11:06pm
VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ --- Vernon Township caters to dozens of small local businesses, which do not necessarily have a revenue for advertising available in their budgets and this is a problem that councilman Eddie Dunn said he recognizes.
The township held their first annual “Vernon Is Open For Business” seminar this past Wednesday night October 3 Minerals Spa & Resort, in an effort to be involved with small business owners in the area; and to hear their feedback, needs, and concerns as a community.
Dunn stated how over the past couple of years, social media has plunged its way into our daily lives. Any person with the internet or a smart phone can simply engage into a brand new world with the click of a button.With social media modules such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, FourSquare, Pinterest and others, anyone can share their life and interests with those around them in less than 20 seconds.
“Doing business in Vernon has always been a challenge for us,” said Dunn. “We need to change the reputation that Vernon is open for business. It’s about having a thriving local economy. We want to talk about the value of social media and what it means to our businesses.”
Dunn went on to ask, “How many people have Facebook accounts?”
After a significant number of hands were raised Dunn then stated, “This is the power of what social media can do. Putting a check-in is free advertising. Social media is the electronic version of word of mouth.”
Craig Thompson of the Vernon Economic Development Advisory Committee had presented a short speech introducing a business professional.
“There are a wide range of business professionals in Vernon, and Vernon has it’s fingerprints on the business world,” Thompson said.
Adam Kmiec was that professional, and is a graduate from Vernon Township High School, who now serves as a Director of Global Digital Marketing for Campbell's Soup.
Kmiec introduced the public to a Powerpoint presentation on social media, with building blocks for small businesses.
Kmiec showed a graph in his presentation, which illustrated ages zero to 65+ with the different social networks available. The graph had shown the highest number in age of those who use social media is 35 to 44.
Kmiec explained how small businesses are using social media by stating, “It’s inexpensive and your customers are already there. When you go to Google and type something in, you normally end up on some sort of social site. Big businesses started out as small businesses.”
Another graph was then shown in the presentation, which represented how many years it took for certain inventions to become popular. They are as follows:
Radio - 38 years
Television - 13 years
Internet - Four years
iPod - Three years
Facebook - Two years
Instagram - Less than 12 months
Pinterest - Less than 14 months
“Facebook added the timeline feature to put in events of your life, put breaking news, photography with all these apps that customize everything, scrap booking turned into Pinterest and purchasing vinyl is now an Ipod,” said Kmiec as he progressed through the slides.
Kmiec used several examples of businesses that have achieved high standards through the power of social media.
“Normally Ford spends $25 million on television ads,” said Kmiec. “When the Ford Fiesta came out they spent 90 percent on social media, and 10 percent on television, after it launched it had the highest purchasing in history.”
Others involved in a local coffee shop in Boston now delivers to its customers between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m,. after a customer had tweeted a question if they would. The company went from 100 customers a week, to 6,011 followers, and the owner hosted a party shortly after for its followers.
One other analogy that Kmiec used, was one’s ability to do so many things with just a cell phone. “When something is negative what is one of the first things you do? Text it to someone. When something is positive what is the first thing you do? Text it to someone.”
Another graph had then listed what social media networks should be used for certain topics. They are as follows:
Networks: LinkedIn, American Express
Connect: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, FourSquare
Contribute: YouTube, Yahoo! Answers
Insights: Social Mention, Yelp, Google Alerts
Afterward, each guest participated in round table discussions with one of the facilitators running the event. Each table had a flip chart to brainstorm and write down ideas and concerns.
“Give people something for free and they will come and sit,” stated Thompson during the brainstorming session, with the group at table number four.
“People are coming because they are interested and care too,” said Beverly Budz, Owner of Creative Media Concepts, NJ, also at table four., “The biggest audience is the children. We should go to the schools.”
“Councilman [Dan] Kadish mentioned farming in Vernon. I am buying food from another country at the A&P,” suggested Michael Cheski, owner of MichaelCheski.com, and another member of that table.
Table two mentioned concierge service for business owners, table three a shop locally campaign and vacancies in town, table five a bike path, table six said businesses need more liquor licenses and businesses who need to work around their entrepreneurial status, and table seven had suggested a town directory stating where each business is located.
Mayor Victor Marotta addressed the guests, and said, “Shopping local is a great idea and a directory is fantastic. You are right, that is why we are going to jump on that. This is why we are here. For everyone here I want to say thank you and here is to the new year of 2013.”
Since 2011, Vernon Township had adopted $35 million in commercial advertising.
Facilitators took all the flip charts to hand them in.
During the end, guests nswered three questions anonymously on a piece of paper, which asked the following:
1. Did you like the event?
2. Did you think the presentation was helpful for your business?
3. Would you participate in future EDAC events like quarterly roundtable discussions and annual “Vernon Is Open For Business” events like tonight?”
In other business:
Marotta had presented the family of Pochuck Valley Farms with a plaque to celebrate their 100th anniversary.