A HIGH profile event was held in Cookstown last week, where over 130 businesses from across the Cookstown District attended to learn about the benefits of social media.
This free event provided local companies with the opportunity to hear how social media is now becoming part of our everyday lives. The main aims of the event were to outline why local businesses should use social media as a means of engaging with new and existing customers, the benefits social media can bring to businesses, the various forms of social media platforms, and tips on how to engage and influence the target audience.
The event was opened by Councillor Tony Quinn, Chairman of Cookstown District Council who explained that the event was funded by Cookstown District Council, Cookstown Enterprise Centre and Cookstown Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking at the event Councillor Tony Quinn said “Customers today expect businesses to have a social media presence. This can be difficult for small businesses as it requires time to maintain and develop social media platforms on a daily basis. I would however, encourage local businesses to recognise the value of engaging in social media as it can help to quickly communicate with your existing customers and attract new customers, drive additional traffic to your website and build relationships with your customers which helps improve customer service. I am delighted Cookstown District Council agreed to co-fund this event and even more pleased to witness such a large turnout of businesses in attendance.”
The Keynote Speaker at the event was the much sought after Bill McCartney who is recognised as an expert in social media. Bill has worked closely with a substantial number of businesses, charities, and membership organisations throughout Northern Ireland, helping them develop and implement successful social media strategies. Bill outlined the main reasons why businesses now use social media and provided the audience with an overview of the main platforms available, such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linkedin. The audience was also provided with fresh ideas and tips on how to make best use of the various forms of social media channels.
Peter Craven, Head of Marketing and Sales Support at CDE Global, based in Cookstown, provided an excellent insight into how CDE had embraced the various forms of social media and how it benefitted their business in accessing new customers and new markets.
Following the main speakers a Question and Answer session took place following which attendees had the opportunity to speak to a number of exhibitors in attendance representing a number of organisations and agencies offering support to local businesses.
Cookstown District Council
Department for Employment and Learning
Cookstown Enterprise Centre
Cookstown Chamber of Commerce
Digital Advertising NI
Federation for Small Businesses
Commenting on the event Councillor Trevor Wilson, Chairman of Cookstown Enterprise Centre, said, “Cookstown Enterprise Centre was delighted to be associated with the Social Media event. We are conscious of the fact that Social Media is becoming more and more important in allowing businesses to reach more customers with a view to generating more business and the event was designed to help small businesses use Social Media effectively to engage with existing and potential customers in order to increase their sales. The excellent attendance at the event by local businesses reflects the fact that they recognise Social Media can bring substantial benefits to their business”.
Alan Hogshaw, President of Cookstown Chamber of Commerce said “the idea for this event came from Cookstown Chamber of Commerce and it was great to see Cookstown Enterprise Centre and Cookstown District Council working together to help and benefit local businesses in the Cookstown district. We are delighted by the turn out and feedback we got from the event. We invite any businesses in the district to join the chamber and make a difference to the businesses in the Cookstown District. We would also like to thank Cookstown Enterprise Centre for organising the event and Cookstown District Council for all their support”.