The McKinney Chamber of Commerce kicked off their new Competitive Edge Business Education Series, a program sponsored jointly with the McKinney Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), on Tuesday, Jan. 14.  Social media and the Internet, two of the most powerful tools for business success, was the theme of the first session.

Jim Wehmeier of the McKinney Economic Development Corporation welcomed those in attendance for the first presentation entitled “Leveraging Your Presence Online” with a clear message: “Before you spend your money on marketing, spend your money on your website.”

Nate Henry Luedtke of Advice Interactive Group, a privately-owned and “Nationally Local” company headquartered in McKinney, was the instructor for Tuesday’s session. Advice Interactive Groups works with small and medium sized businesses and has over 400 clients globally with a 90% retention rate.

Luedtke emphasized that with more and more people electronically plugged into the world, businesses who haven’t tapped in to that audience need to do so ASAP.  “Every business needs to be involved in social media,” Luedtke said, “because your competition is already doing it.”

Before you jump headfirst into the online world, Luedtke advises you to do your research and define your goals.  “Your entire plan to leverage your business online needs to be built around your goals,” he said. “If you don’t know your end goal, you will waste a lot of money.”

In order to define your audience, Luedtke says some characteristics include the usual ones like age, gender and location, to the unique, like personality, passion and emotion. “It’s good to clearly define characteristics of your audience,” he said. “The more data you have, the better decision you can make.”

Your online presence can take many forms, including a website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and mobile apps or sites. All are related, yet unique.

Customers visiting your site will be looking for content (written and visual) and ways to interact (Facebook, Twitter and blogs). Having a mobile-friendly site is vital. Research shows that 45 percent of American adults have a smartphone and 90 percent of adults use their phone to participate online, spending an average of 1.4 hours per day surfing the Internet on a mobile device.

In closing, Luedtke advised that businesses cover their bases when making online decisions. “You have to own your domain,” he said. “You need to own the URL, the design and the content. Without this, it doesn’t allow you to make good decisions.

“Do your research and ask other businesses you trust. Our industry changes so fast. Get quotes from multiple people. Pay more attention on how they pitch it to you rather than cost, and how much information they disclose to you.”

The next session, Small Business Tax Workshop, will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the McKinney Chamber office. Karen Mensch of Murray & Mensch, PC will be the instructor.

If you have a suggestion for a topic, please contact either MEDC or the McKinney Chamber of Commerce.

 

About the McKinney Chamber of Commerce

The McKinney Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for the McKinney business community and proudly serves as the unified business voice of McKinney. The Chamber represents over 39,000 employees from more than 1,250 business investors in McKinney and throughout the North Texas region. With a rich heritage of leadership and collaboration, the Chamber works in concert with the City of McKinney, community partners and the corporate community to promote, advocate for and expand business. As publisher of McKinney Magazine, McKinneyOnline.com and McKinneyChamber.com, the McKinney Chamber markets the community’s advantages as the foremost location for doing business.

About the McKinney Economic Development Corporation

The McKinney Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) was created in 1993 to support the development, expansion and relocation of new and existing companies. The MEDC is an organization with a mission to work to create an environment in which community-oriented businesses can thrive. The MEDC is actively pursuing investments in Aeronautics/Aviation, Corporate headquarters, Emerging technology, Healthcare and Medical Device Manufacturing, Professional services, and Renewable energy. For more information, visit mckinneyedc.com.