Dear Santa Rosa City Council Members,
I am a Social Media Educator & Consultant here in Santa Rosa and I’ve been watching New York City forge a path of digital resources for small business owners. They have specifically chosen to be proactive and provide a tremendous amount of opportunities for their business owning citizens: NYC Business Express, new wifi units all over the city, opening Cornell NYC Tech, new workforce veteran’s career center, and more. I think we can do a lot to support our local business owners and today they released a new program of which I want you to be aware.
New York City’s Press Release
NYC “today launched a new set of free tools to help small businesses in New York City use digital technologies and social media to grow their businesses and create jobs. The new set of resources is called the Small Business Digital Toolkit. Through a partnership with NYC Digital, the Department of Small Business Services will offer small businesses free training and resources to digitally attract customers, conduct business online and market their products or services through the use of e-commerce technology.”
Small Business Digital Toolkit Initiative (easy reading version)
NYC’s Digital Roadmap of Progress & Innovation
I understand that job creation and growth is important in all communities. I am also painfully aware of lack of funds but I know that we have a ready and willing tech community that can help grow these types of programs right here at home. I am doing what I can to ensure that those working (and not working) have the technology skill set they need in order to thrive. Please know that any effort the city can put into this kind of an initiative will only do more to help Santa Rosa succeed.
cc: Mayor Ernesto Olivares, Vice Mayor John Sawyer, Scott Bartley, Jake Ours, Marsha Vas Dupre, Gary Wysocky, Danielle O’Leary, Rachel Haot
I gave Efren Carrillo, Sonoma County Supervisor, a hand in developing a social media presentation on using social media to engage the community in local decision making. This presentation was given on August 12, 2011, at the California State Association of Counties Institute for Excellence in County Government session, “Public Engagement: Involving the Community in Decision Making.”
I frequently hear this statement, “Go find a college student/teenager/young person to do your social media. They are young. They know how to do this better than I do.” What’s your reaction to that? Does it sound right to you? If I were to swap out social media for a car, do you think it would be the same? Just because they are young and social media is new doesn’t mean they know how to use it well.
It’s your brand. Are you prepared to give complete control to a teenager?
I learned about New York City’s first digital officer, Rachel Sterne (@rachelsterne), recently. She is only the world’s second person to have such a title. The New York Times article talking about the challenges she faces highlight the new frontier that government is entering into. She is helping one of the most iconic cities in the world transform their digital face and interaction with citizens. For such an important role, I would consider her young at 28 (I’m 34 and still considered a baby by many). She is constantly asked the question why she deserves a 6 figure salary when a high schooler could do it for free. (I love her ability to graciously navigate this fairly offensive question.)
Sure, go get yourself a neighbor kid to manage your digital reputation. What could go wrong?
Just because it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Stop underestimating the power and degree of difficulty involved in social media. Make sure you do your homework, research your target audience, craft communications that will resonate, and deploy your plan. Regardless of your tool, the strategic plan is the same.