STAYING CONNECTED: An attendee at last week’s PBN-sponsored Social Media & Marketing Summit checks her mobile device.
PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
FACE TIME: Ryan Bonifacino, right, Alex and Ani vice president of digital strategy, says that Facebook is his company’s biggest revenue driver. Social media, he says, has helped take the firm from a small business to a multimillion dollar company.
Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ present benefits and dangers for businesses, according to panelists at the third annual Providence Business News Social Media & Marketing Summit. The Feb. 27 event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Providence-Warwick attracted more than 250 members of the Rhode Island business community.
Speakers at the two-panel event sought to provide insights and advice for companies hoping to use social media in an integrated marketing plan that increases leads and generates business.
“We’re in the trenches all the time with our LinkedIn,” said TribalVision Founder and CEO Christopher Ciunci. “You’ve got to really make sure that you’re treating LinkedIn as a vibrant, living, breathing organism, just like your website,” said Ciunci, adding that LinkedIn is especially useful for companies whose main website is relatively static.
The danger comes when companies’ LinkedIn profiles aren’t indicative of the current state of their actual business. “Just like any network, these are things that are … reflective of you,” said Corissa St. Laurent, Constant Contact director of regional development for New England.
“If your information is out of date, it shows that you’re out of date. If you’re taking the time to create a social profile, keep it up to date,” she urged attendees. “Don’t just do it because you read an article somewhere that said you should.”
But social media is about more than just creating and updating a profile, agreed the panelists. “Once you feel like you’re credible and dressed appropriately to the cocktail party, what do you do now?” joked Ciunci.
LinkedIn’s mail service InMail was lauded by Ciunci for its response rates. According to TribalVision’s presentation statistics, LinkedIn’s mail response rates are 30 times higher than cold calling and 10 times higher than a standard email. The other benefit, he said, was that LinkedIn searches can be filtered by many parameters, including industry, company size and location.
With all its benefits, LinkedIn isn’t the perfect site, warned Brian Lamoureux, partner at the law firm of Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC. He said that while answers from LinkedIn are “great for the target audience” he can think of “a whole population of folks under 25 or folks of a certain socioeconomic status that aren’t on LinkedIn.”