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Mamaroneck Daily Voice serves Larchmont & Mamaroneck
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Mamaroneck Business Owners Explore Social Media

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Victoria Foulke's expertise is in realty, but knows nothing about Facebook or Twitter. Thursday, she took the first step toward learning how to translate that expertise through social media at the Tweets and Eats luncheon at Plates.

Like Foulke, many of the local businessmen and entrepenuers attending the noon luncheon have little to no experience, or presense, on Facebook or Twitter, but understand the need to use it.

"I'm not on any of that stuff, but we have to realize that it's a very powerful tool," said Foulke, a Mamaroneck resident who works from home.

The speaker, Ellen DiPasquale, walked the group of over 30 through the ABCs of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, stressing the importance of maintaining a consistent message and presence across the board. As of 2010, there were 500 million active Facebook users and 160 million active Twitter users, DiPasquale said. United States users spend one-third of their time online on Facebook, while 51 percent of Twitter users follow companies, brands or products.

Foulke is a manager at Zip Realty, which recently began training their agents in social media. "Our company is very forward thinking," she said. "They're always thinking about how they can do more marketing and how to use social media to take that next step."

Zip Realty just recently created a Facebook page, and plan to create individual pages for each house that they have a listing on, replicating the virtual store front they have created with their website. After the listing has closed, Foulke said the company will post the ratings the agent receives from the buyer, even if they're negative.

DiPasquale pointed out during the lecture that "Negative social media is good." She explained 10 years ago people were saying these things, but now they're doing it through Facebook comments and businesses have the chance to respond.

"Once you create a Facebook page, it's really the maintainance," said Frankie Rowland, director of marketing and advertising at Community Markets in Ossning, which launched a social media plan at the beginning of the year. "You can't just put it up there, you have to give people a reason to come back."

Rowland's company, which runs farmer's markets in Westchester and Rockland County and New York City, has 8,600 people signed up for their e-mail newletter, which is another tool DiPasquale discussed. "Tell people how to find your Facebook page on your e-mail newsletter, and how to sign-up for your newletter on your Facebook page," DiPasquale said.

"I grew up here, I know a lot of people in the community and to be able to easily keep them up-to-date on what's going on at the shop is great," said Nancy White, owner of The Flower Bar in Larchmont.

How have you utilized social media to grow your business? Comment below, or joing the Coversation on Facebook and Twitter .

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