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Businesses Get Social Media Savvy

J.C. Martin was among the business owners hoping to learn more about using social media at a workshop run by Adria Pearl-Belport at the Weston Library on Wednesday. But he admitted he might be a bit behind the times.

"Social media is snowballing and becoming more and more important for my business and other businesses," said Martin, who owns a photography and graphic design company. And although he has a personal Facebook page, Martin does not check it regularly nor does he use it much to promote his business.

"Everything is moving so quickly, we face the risk of becoming a dinosaur," said Pearl-Belport, president of Van Pearl Associates Inc ., which offers social media consulting services. "Most large corporations are involved in some sort of social media." She encouraged those in attendance to jump on board before they fell behind, pointing out that the largest-growing group of Facebook users is adults.

The benefits of creating a business fan page on Facebook, she said, include marketing your business, publicizing seminars and promoting special offers or new services. Twitter offers similar benefits, keeping those who follow your business in the loop.

Although Martin may not spring to start Twittering, he is considering a LinkedIn account, which Pearl-Belport says is "to the business network what Facebook is to the personal network." Once you create a profile, you can find old and new colleagues, create connections for job opportunities and chat on discussion boards.

Though many gained a better understanding of social media and its benefits, others were overwhelmed and out of their comfort zones by the leap in technology.

But Pearl-Belport stressed the importance of learning new tools. "You can't ignore it," she said, adding that she drags many of her clients "kicking and screaming" into the world of social media. "The way people communicate is changing and if you're in a business, you're reaching out to a variety of ages."

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