Tahlequah Daily Press

August 27, 2013

Getting socially savvy

The Chamber and TMSA organized a digital media workshop for local businesses.

By SEAN ROWLEY
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

With digital media becoming more important for publicizing events and promoting organizations and small businesses, a few dozen local proprieters attended a workshop to teach them how to use these platforms to their advantage.

The seminar, “Managing Digital Platforms,” was Monday at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center and led by Jacqueline Wolven, director of the Main Street Association in Eureka Springs, Ark.

“I am also a small business and small-town consultant nationwide,” Wolven said. “The director of the Tahlequah Main Street Association [Drew Haley] saw me speak during the National Main Street Conference in New Orleans. That’s why I’m here.”

Organizers were the TMSA and the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce. Admission to the 90-minute group session was $25 per person, and Wolven consulted one-on-one with representatives from local businesses and organizations in 15-minute blocks.

“The room was full during the general presentation,” Wolven said. “We had a few students and a few nonprofit folks, but the rest were from small businesses.”

Platforms discussed included Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

“But those are just mediums to promote a message,” Wolven said. “The purpose of the workshop was for me to try to figure out where they are, then try to put them on a path that works for them.”

Wolven said small businesses need inexpensive, practical methods through which to employ digital media.

“They can only handle so much work themselves, so it is important to identify what is most efficient and effective,” she said.

Attending the first one-on-one consultation was Larry Clark, manager of the Dream Theater and owner of On the Fly, a provides fly fishing lessons and guide service.

“It was extremely informative,” Clark said. “I thought I was pretty advanced in digital media. During the workshop, I realized I wasn’t that advanced. During the early days of the Internet, I was on the forefront of that stuff.”

Clark wanted to improve his use of social media to promote the theater and his business.

“I use Facebook a lot to promote fly fishing and it is an extremely useful tool,” he said. “But I really didn’t realize what I was missing by not using other platforms, such as Twitter. I now have a list of things I can address immediately.”

During the break between the morning and afternoon session, Wolven visited during lunch with Haley, Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols and David Moore, chamber director.

“This town is blessed to have all these partners working together,” she said.

“That is quite unusual for a small town. We discussed some of the challenges they are dealing with along their main street, but they are not any different from anywhere else, and any effect can be accomplished.”

Wolven added that Tahlequah has many assets not found in many other communities.

“There is a university, a tech school, two hospitals, the tribe, small independent businesses and large corporations,” she said.

“Tahlequah also has natural beauty - I was stunned. There are so many resources that this city can celebrate.”

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