By Kalea Hall
Mark Tirabassi has owned Hubbard Music for 24 years, so he knows about marketing his business.
He started by going to local gigs and meeting musicians, and now he uses a tool he says has expanded his business prospects beyond Hubbard and even beyond the country’s borders.
That tool is Facebook.
“Grab one of your young employees to hold your hand in it, jump in the water, and don’t be afraid,” Tirabassi said as a message to small-business owners considering Facebook as a platform to gain exposure.
Tirabassi was one of three panelists at a Facebook workshop for small businesses at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center on North Palmyra Road on Tuesday sponsored by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber with U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, there to kick off the event.
This was the second workshop Facebook had in Ohio. Facebook also stopped in the Cleveland and Columbus areas.
“I think [having Facebook in Youngstown] speaks to the business people and the small-business people who work in the community,” Ryan said. “There isn’t an area in the country that has been pounded economically like we have. If you have survived, then you have some great skills.”
One of those skills is marketing small business to a broader audience.
Nina Ferritto, Facebook small-business expert, presented ways to use the Facebook page and to build awareness of a small business with content that can drive people to the company’s website and then increase website conversion.
Facebook has a page-manager application to help businesses control content on their pages.
Businesses can use the boost option on a post to create an advertisement and garner more traffic to a page, Ferritto said.
On average, Facebook can fit 1,500 stories on news feed a day, and a percentage of that includes small-business posts from the pages the users like.
“It’s becoming extremely competitive,” Ferritto said.
Other panelists included Karrin Campf of Forever State Farms and David Cook of Sledgehammer Bobbers.
Tirabassi told attendees he joins groups with similar interests to get more people to his page. He recently finished a campaign to promote that he is now doubling the warranty on his products for free. He used teases with twins on Facebook to lead up to the “double, double” promotion.
“I care about my customers, and I want an edge,” he said.