Social Media – What to Post

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

As a facilitator and a user of social media, the most common question I get is “What do I post?” Here’s a list some content ideas for your social media platforms:

social-media-419944_1920Basic information of your business; such as hours, location, contact information, and website address.

• Pictures of your location, new products, behind the scenes, employees, and happy customers (note, please get your customers’ permission before posting their picture). Create a hashtag for your customers to share their own pictures of your products. From Hubspot, a post gets 53% more likes if there is a photo.

• YouTube videos or Vines of product demonstrations, services, virtual tours, or customer feedback.

• Links to your website (to drive traffic to your site) or to other small businesses in your area. Work with other small businesses to trade off information to promote both businesses.

• Posts that develop relationships and conversations about your brand or business. For example, if you sell strawberries, post a question asking for the best uses for strawberries.

• Flash sales or specific offers to your social media customers. Offer $3.00 off a pizza if they show the coupon.

• Share (some) relevant content from other outlets. An occasional share or repost of another business, recipes, or article is ok in moderation.

With any social media post, make sure your grammar is correct, avoid any controversial topics, and try to post something every day to stay relevant.

Earning Your Employees’ Trust

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Managing people can be a challenge. Employee trust is vital for successful interaction. Below is an article that gives key points to help gain employee trust as well as shares a list of important “Do’s” and “Don’ts.”

Proven Ways to Earn Your Employees’ Trust

trust-482655_1920 (2)

A little bit of crazy makes an impression

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Creating a business card should be one of your first marketing considerations as an entrepreneur. It’s often the first hard evidence of your dream. In addition to eye contact and a firm handshake, placing a 2 x 3 ½ inch business card into a potential customers hand is the first professional contact. More importantly, it’s a first impression of who you are and what you represent. Making a powerful business card is not easy…

Here are a few tips to help you leave a lasting impression:

Don’t give them a reason to throw it away:

If your card looks just like everyone else’s card, you failed. It should look different, feel different, and have a little bit of crazy. For example, Lego employees have miniature figures that look like them (name on front of figure, email on back of figure). A floral shop owner handed out a packet of seeds with their contact information along with sowing instructions, brilliant. If you’re a corrugated paper box manufacturer, you card could be printed on a wafer of cardboard. My point is this…Be so good or unique that they can’t ignore you.
gummi-bears-318417_1920 (2)
It shouldn’t just fit in a wallet because it’s not supposed to. You want that thing sitting on their desk out in the open. When it is time for the business card recipient to clean off their desk, your card ends up in the “keep” pile. The people who receive your card should be so impressed with the creativeness that they show their friends and colleagues.

Design is WAY more important than you think:

Consumers perceive the quality of your business card design as a direct reflection of the quality of your product or service. If your card lacks luster, you’re company is lackluster. If your card is hard to read, you’re not good at communicating. Every detail creates an impression. The fonts selected, the color of paper it’s printed on, the placement of your logo, and even the spacing between letters are incredibly important.

Take look at the infographic I found– How to Design Your Business Card with Psychology in Mind for highlights of the top 5 elements of a well-designed business card. It explains the details and “how to’s” of crafting a well-designed business card that will leave a lasting impression.

Assistance Sources for your Business Start-Up or Expansion

(Links shared by Chris Smalley, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

puzzle-654110_1920 (2)Knowing where to go when you run into issues that may be outside of your business expertise is vital to business success.

Below are a few key links and phone numbers in our southern Ohio area for important assistance sources. You may reference contacts as needs arise during your business start-up or expansion:

SBDC at OSU South Centers
740-289-2071
http://southcenters.osu.edu/business/

Southern Ohio Procurement Outreach Center
800-408-1334
www.sopoc.org

Community Action Committee of Pike County
740-289-2371
www.pikecac.org

Lawrence Economic Development Corporation
800-408-1334
www.lawrencecountyohio.org

Portsmouth Inner City Development Corporation
740-353-8395
www.pidcovmba.org

Economic Development Alliance of Southern Ohio
740-772-5100
www.edaso.org

Ohio Valley Regional Development Corporation
800-223-7491
www.ovrdc.org

Internal Revenue Service
800-829-1040
www.irs.gov

Jackson County Economic Development Office
740-286-2838
www.jcedb.com

Adams County Chamber of Commerce
937-544-5454
www.adamscountychamber.org

Brown County Chamber of Commerce
937-378-4784
www.browncountyohiochamber.com

Gallia County Chamber of Commerce
740-446-0596
www.galliacounty.org

Highland County Chamber of Commerce
937-393-1111
www.highlandcountychamber.com

Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
740-286-2722
www.jacksonohio.org

Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce
740-377-4550
www.lawrencecountyohio.org

Pike County Chamber of Commerce
740-947-7715
www.pikechamber.org

Ross County Chamber of Commerce
740-702-2722
www.chillicotheohio.com

Scioto County Chamber of Commerce
740-353-7647
www.portsmouth.org

Vinton County Chamber of Commerce
800-596-4459
www.vintoncounty.com

Seed Grants Available for Cooperatives!

(Submitted by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

OCDC administers a reimbursement seed grant program available to groups interested in exploring or growing a cooperative. Funds for the 2014-2015 program year are available on a first come, first served basis.

The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at Ohio State University South Centers offers reimbursement seed grants to groups interested in exploring or growing a cooperative. Over the last five program years, OCDC has awarded over $60,000 to over 25 groups. Seed grants have been used to provide training 2015 5-4 Seed Grant Picsregarding cooperative governance, obtain professional assistance with cooperative formation including legal reviews of bylaws and articles of incorporation, and development of marketing tools and materials, among other activities.

Groups interested in forming a new cooperative may request up to $1,500 for research and early planning, feasibility study activities, or formation services. Eligible costs may include legal and/or professional fees, focus groups, development of articles of incorporation, and financial projections, among other preformation work. Groups that are already incorporated as cooperatives or member controlled businesses may request up to $3,000 for assistance with expansion into new markets and/or enterprises. Examples of eligible expenses include marketing and promotions, contract services, training and development, accounting systems, bylaw completion, and contractual document development, among others.

Currently, the seed grant program for 2014-2015 is still accepting applications. Seed grants are available on a first come, first served basis until funds are depleted. This is a reimbursement program; recipients must provide 35% matching funds for project costs. Because of program updates, project deadlines have been extended. Projects must be completed and proper documentation provided to OCDC no later than August 15, 2015 in order to receive reimbursement funds.

For further information about seed grant availability and other program details, email Kimberly Roush at roush.143@osu.edu, call 740-289-2071 x232, or go to southcenters.osu.edu/cooperatives under the Seed Grants tab to view the request for proposals and download an application.

Congratulations, Tom Snyder!

(Submitted by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Dr. Tom Snyder recently retired from The Ohio State University South Centers after 8 years of service with the center and a career in public service exceeding 50 years! Tom worked with the Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC), helping develop many new and emerging cooperatives throughout Ohio and West Virginia. Tom was instrumental in forging a successful partnership between OCDC and West Virginia University Extension and in developing the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network, which is focused on the cooperative development of local and regional food systems. We thank Tom for his great work and wish him well in his retirement!

2015 6-4 Tom Snyder Retirement Pic