By Jodie Riccelli
On August 1st, YIKES had the pleasure of hosting a Technology Forum with The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) at the amazing offices of Benjamin’s Desk in Center City Philadelphia. The original idea was to create an event that catered to small and medium size businesses and helped address some of the biggest technology concerns. From there the event evolved into an open forum with a panel of experts that addressed topics such as web design, mobile app development, SEO, and social media.
SBN has been an intricate part of the sustainable business community for many years now. YIKES, Inc. has been a member since the beginning, and we jump at any chance to partner up with them to provide original content to the community.
Members of the panel were as follows:
- John Spencer, CEO – Teach Information Technology
- Stephanie Beadel, Associate – SEER Interactive
- Mather Wiswall, President and Director – [G] Wis Concepts
- Jodie E. Saueraker, Sales and Marketing Director – YIKES, Inc.
The discussion was greatly varied, but the panel of experts shared some really valuable information. Mr. Spencer talked about branding and consistency within your online marketing plan. He also addressed combining traditional marketing methods with your online strategy. A big topic of conversation was whether or not a business should be on all social networks. The answer to that was big resounding “No”. Find the social networks that are appropriate for your business.
Ms. Beadel had some wonderful information to share about SEO. “Create content that tells the right story, the Google stuff will come naturally”, said Stephanie. She also had some great suggestions about contacting journalists and bloggers. Press releases seem to be too broad. She encouraged folks to reach out with one or two sentences and one call to action. “Be so relevant that they will think it’s awesome”, she added.
Mather Wiswall talked about the advantages of having a mobile app and whether your business should have one. There was also discussion about the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app. He mentioned some statistics regarding mobile usage and also talked about how showing up in the app store can assist with better SEO. Additionally, Mr. Wiswall talked about QR codes and how they can assist in your online marketing efforts.
Myself, I talked about creating solid content for your website by asking yourself some very important questions such as “What do people ask when they call my business?” We also discussed design vs. function and how important it is to create a website that is easy to navigate through. Most importantly, when it comes to websites, why you must maintain them and keep them current. “Think of your website as an employee at your business.”
The entire event was moderated by the magnificent Joe Taylor Jr. Joe was able to keep the panel right on track and direct all audience questions while keeping the event entertaining. He also was able to offer up some insight in regards to delivering “snack size” chunks of information to your audience and the idea of “astroturfing” – the artificial creation of a grassroots buzz for a product, service or political viewpoint. Commercially-motivated astroturfing is called “astroturf marketing.” (Definition courtesy of SearchCRM)
Following the panel discussion members were able to sit one on one with the panel and participate in our version of a “Happiness Bar.” There, specific questions were addressed and connections were made!
Special thanks to:
- Laila Coelho Reilly for her hard work in organizing this event.
- Jamie Gauthier, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network, for her opening remarks.
- Katie Cohen, Community Manager at Benjamin’s Desk for helping put this event together and preparing such a beautiful space!
- Everyone at Benjamin’s Desk – you are amazing.
- Mugshot’s Coffeehouse for the delicious breakfast.
All in all in was an information filled morning with some great networking. We had a ridiculously good time and look forward to doing it again soon. You can continue the conversation about the topics covered at the forum by using #SBNTech on Twitter!