Big Bend MED week promotes social media usage


Nearly three dozen businessmen and women gathered at the FSU Turnbull Conference Center Thursday morning in celebration of the 20th Annual Big Bend Minority Enterprise Development Week.

Tallahassee area minority businesses plan to begin advertising through social networks like Facebook and Twitter..

Dr. Carolyn Ryals, owner of KopyKat Copy Center on Okaloosa Street, was among the guests.

“I have been attending MED Week since I opened [my business] in 2002,” Ryals said. “It helps me better serve my community.”

Workshop facilitators Sean Doughtie and Stacey Getz of Taproot Creative provided strategies for minority business owners to strengthen relationships with their clientele via business accounts on Facebook and similar sites.

According to Ryals, relationships are the key to a successful small business.

“My business has an edge over larger companies because of the relationships I form with people,” Ryals said. “My business relies on relationships.”

Several attendees were curious about whether they would reach their respective audiences by using social media advertisements. Doughtie asserted that “young people are not the only users of social media; recently, the number of persons aged 55 and older with a Facebook account has risen by over 88 percent.”

However, both presenters emphasized that social media is not a “get-rich-quick” strategy.

 “Creating a Facebook or Twitter account is a way to establish a connection over time,” said Getz. “It is public relations at its core.”

Keith Bowers, director of the Small Business Development Center at FAMU, believes local minority businesses are a window of opportunity for young entrepreneurs to “learn the ins-and-outs of business by volunteering and perhaps assisting a minority business with their marketing strategies.” Several FAMU students enrolled in the School of Business and Industry (SBI) are given such opportunities through the mandates of their curriculum.

LaShaunda White, of Structure8 Image Consulting, reflected on the workshop.

“The session was very informative,” said White. “I am more comfortable with social media now.”

Big Bend MED Week concluded Thursday night with an awards banquet. Ryals will be recognized as the Reginald L. Rolle Economic Development Champion of the Year.