At a seminar sponsored by the City of Bayonne’s Urban Enterprise Zone/Special Improvement District (UEZ/SID), twenty local business people learned how Facebook could help their enterprises. Mayor Mark A. Smith led off the program by pointing out that NJBIZ, a prominent New Jersey business publication, has just called Bayonne “the next development hot spot.” Mayor Smith told the business people, “We want you to succeed, because your success means the success of the City of Bayonne.” He referred to small business as “the backbone of Bayonne,” and said that “we succeed together.” The mayor said that his office at City Hall stood ready to help local businesses solve their problems.
Matt Krayton, a digital strategy associate with the Lenox Group, gave the main presentation. Krayton’s point of view is that the Internet is like a crowded bar, and that it is difficult to break through the noise. He urged the business people of Bayonne to recognize that today’s consumers “expect a certain level of engagement” on the Internet. Krayton reminded everyone that customers of numerous businesses are already talking about them online, and that business owners are expected to respond to what the public has to say on Facebook and other social media. Despite some recent claims in the press that Facebook is no longer relevant, Krayton stressed that Facebook remains the largest of the social media. For example, he pointed out that 62% of American Internet users are on Facebook, and that over 200 million people use Facebook on their cell phones. Consumers compare prices at different businesses via their cell phones and shop accordingly, Krayton said. The Internet expert advised Bayonne business people to connect with current and potential customers on Facebook, and then to cultivate business relationships with them with them.
Krayton advised business owners that Facebook allows them to target potential customers by Zip Code, and to send electronic advertisements to them for a modest fee. For example, he said that thousands of messages can be sent via Facebook for as little as $30 to $50. Krayton urged local business owners to follow the example of various large enterprises that have used Facebook successfully to promote their products, services, and corporate images.
In future sessions, the UEZ/SID will offer presentations on using e-mail, Twitter, and other Internet tools to boost sales at Bayonne businesses.