A Yarn Marketer and Chiropractor Present Alongside Executives from Bing, the New York Times, Google and Intel at SearchFest 2010

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All types of businesses, large and small, are engaging in social media - but are they doing it right?

“We need a Facebook page,” “lets tweet about it,” or “just throw this up on the blog,” are some common phrases that can be heard in most workplaces these days. A staggering number of businesses - no matter their size, industry, or mission statement - want to be part of the social media phenomenon. According to current Facebook statistics, more than 1.5 million local businesses have active pages on Facebook, more than 20 million people become fans of these pages each day, resulting in more than 5.3 billion page fans.

For the first time, SearchFest - Portland’s premier social media and search engine marketing (SEM) conference - will help non-technical audiences leverage this powerful marketing tool. A new social media track is a highlight of the conference slated for Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at the Governor Hotel (614 SW 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97205). A full agenda is located here: SearchFest Agenda.

“We have recognized that many businesses are failing to use social media tools to their maximum capacity. Bringing in some non-technical insight will help attendees learn how to effectively purpose these tools to increase their bottom lines,” said Kent Schnepp, SEMpdx board member and Chief Strategy Officer for EngineWorks (a Portland-based SEM company). “Moreover, a fresh perspective from experts in different fields will offer our technology-minded peers some valuable insight.”

Yarn marketer, Ilana Rabinowitz from Lion Brand Yarn and Chiropractor, Michael Dorausch from Planet Chiropractic are included in a presenting lineup that rivals nationally-recognized SEM conferences as heavy-hitters with Microsoft, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! and Google will be represented.

“Social media has allowed us to show that we are more than a faceless corporation. Consumers have been able to ‘meet’ our CEO through a Facebook video and connect with our employees - many of whom share a passion for knitting - through the blog,” said Rabinowitz. “The most important piece of advice I can offer a business that wants to engage in social media is to provide useful information and to inspire your audiences. This will help you earn a following that will listen and react to your messages.”

Dorausch is a practicing chiropractor who also runs Planet Chiropractic, a website that offers advice to fellow chiropractors. He has been so successful in utilizing social media that he can attribute most of his business to it. His scheduling process has moved passed the phone as most of his appointment requests come through Twitter. While tweeting, his patients can easily refer him to their networks, who then immediately contact him without needing to look up his website or phone number. Leads are captured immediately; eliminating the possibility that other providers will be sought or that leads will simply move on.

“I tell chiropractors to aim to engage with their audience everyday. Too often we enthusiastically start the process with good intentions but after a week we fail to maintain it,” said Dorausch. “I also tell them to create purposeful plans and resist the urge to make communications self-serving.”

This full-day conference will cover a variety of topics, including: social media strategy, search engine optimization, pay-per-click fundamentals, local search, Web analytics and future trends. Keynote speaker, Stefan Weitz, Director of Microsoft’s Bing Search, will discuss the shift in the behaviors of searchers and how marketers will need to adjust their strategies. SearchFest is hosted by SEMpdx (a Portland-based, non-profit dedicated to nurturing the development of the social media and search engine marketing industry in the greater northwest), ten percent of the event proceeds will benefit the Oregon Humane Society.


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