Local small businesses got some tips on successfully establishing themselves online at Patch's Mainstreet U Summit Thursday.
Experts in social media, SEO marketing and other Web-related fields spoke to the crowd of about 160 at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton Thursday morning. Business owners said they came seeking answers to common issues like growing their companies, improving their websites and figuring out the best ways to navigate social media.
"It's easy to do and it's easy to get out there if you have a plan," panelist Darren Magarro said.
The featured speakers and panelists included Magarro, the chief strategist of the DSM Group, Sean Stahlman of Outspoken Media, Scott Doty of BrainStorm Tutoring & Arts, Patch's own Deputy Editor Stephanie Wagle, Mario Mirabella of MSM DesignZ, Collin McCarthy of Yext, Dan Beldowicz of Single Throw Internet Marketing, Allison Fass of Inc.com and Patch co-founder Warren Webster.
"Be the loudest voice talking about your business," Webster advised the business owners.
The Internet has a lot of potential for small businesses, but owners need to learn what tools their customers are using and how to use those tools effectively, according to Mirabella.
"Don't expect it to be a magic sales tool," Mirabella said. "You have to build up the brand first."
Diane Hellriegel, who attended the event representing Saint Joseph Church in Oradell and New Milford, said the summit was useful. The variety of speakers provided good information for both the experienced and those newer to the Web, she said.
"I thought the range of complex and simple was helpful," Hellriegel said.