LEDA/Opportunity Machine

Develop Those Social Media Muscles There’s nothing better than a boot camp to get in shape — and to effectively reach customers and maximize opportunities.

With more than 1.3 billion users accessing Facebook each month, businesses need to understand the ins and outs of social media marketing. At least 46 percent of people who surf the internet on a daily basis say a company’s website and/or Facebook page is the No. 1 criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. If the layout and content of a business’s Facebook page are of low quality, the average social media user may feel that it echoes the quality of the product or service provided by that company.

Social media platform algorithms change constantly, leaving little time for business owners to learn and implement marketing strategies in line with current best practices. Even the most dedicated social media business user only has so much time during the week to post content, which can cause him to miss out on engagement with the public.

Posts on Sundays typically garner 25 percent more likes, shares and comments than posts made in the middle of the week. With users sharing 1 million links every 20 minutes, that extra 25 percent can mean a lot of free marketing.

With that in mind, the Opportunity Machine will soon add a Social Media Bootcamp to its curriculum to teach entrepreneurs, startups and local businesses about the statistics, best practices and useful tools on the most popular social media platforms. The Social Media Bootcamp is an eight-class course that will take participants from the very basics of social media to the creation of complete marketing campaigns across six social media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and YouTube.

The Social Media Bootcamp will also cover social media analytics. Posting quality content and building successful ads are not just about colorful pictures and engaging text. To craft appropriate content for its audiences on social media, a business must understand the demographic that individual platforms appeal to. This is why Facebook has become a marketing giant in the social media world. Key platform demographics are easy to research and are available at no extra cost to users.

For example, the Facebook Analytics tool reports that Facebook users in Lafayette Parish are 83 percent more likely to have an active lifestyle than the average person. Facebook users in Lafayette Parish are also 150 percent more likely to be middle-income, married couples with children of all ages, supporting their families while establishing roots in their communities. This type of information only takes a few seconds to find, once you know where to locate it, and can be critical to a company as it plans its social media marketing efforts.

While Facebook analytics can sometimes be surprising, they can also validate certain assumptions — such as Facebook users in Lafayette Parish that are 57 percent more likely to be in the market for a pickup truck and 26 percent less likely to buy a hybrid car than the average Facebook user.

Opportunity Machine’s Social Media Bootcamp will help local businesses increase their utilization of these valuable social media platforms and tools.

Classes for the Social Media Bootcamp will be held on Tuesdays, beginning on April 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the OM office in LITE, 537 Cajundome Blvd. Registration is now available at opportunitymachine.org under the events tab and is limited to 25 attendees.

Destin Ortego serves as program administrator for the Opportunity Machine, where he runs the OM main facility and has worked with more than 70 startup companies.