Duluth's Social Media Breakfast helps local businesses hone their web presences

With the world of social media ever changing, it can be hard to keep up with your personal pages. Local businesses also find their social media presence somewhat difficult to keep up with, so they come up with solutions over donuts and coffee. This is known as Social Media Breakfast. The Social Media Breakfast group was started by Molly Solberg, director of sales and marketing at Duluth Pack. She based it off of a loose nationwide network of people who were trying to reach out to customers through social media. She decided to start her own local branch of this network, inviting people from Twin Ports businesses to learn about this social media phenomena every second Friday of the month.

“We started in June 2010 with only 10 of us standing in the Duluth Pack store,” Solberg said.

Those 10 people have grown with each monthly meeting; about 50 showed up at the meeting on March 9. They have reached upward of 80 people depending on the topic and giveaways. Solberg, now better known by her Facebook name 'Duluth Pack Molly,' said that social media has helped Duluth Pack gain more exposure while not spending very much money for advertising.

“It’s a very economical way to get the business going,” Solberg said. “Social media is the next wave of advertising.”

Popularity the of Social Media Breakfast has grown with the variety of topics and experts that have been a part of the meetings. The most recent topic was “Google+ Hangouts” and how they can be used for anything from business meetings to possible customer service interactions. Previous topics include social network seminars such as properly using Facebook and Linkedin. They have also included experts on Google and Facebook analytics and how to incorporate them to social media pages to monitor the amount of traffic going to the web pages.

The Social Media Breakfast group

Hank Amundsen, a City of Duluth Workforce Development employee, has been to every meeting. He builds pages and accounts based on the experts’ advice during that particular meeting. Better known as Software Hank, he takes many notes to check off the pages that he builds.

“I take notes and build things as I learn them,” Amundsen said. “I check boxes such as the Google Hangout box in my notes once I get them started.”

Amundsen, along with many others, has learned many new ideas and tools that can be beneficial to his body of work.

“I’ve always come away with a storm in my brain whether it’s Facebook, Google, or anything,” Amundsen said.

Solberg has many new ideas up her sleeve for upcoming meetings, as she hopes to have more in depth discussions about the social networks as well as a meeting on privacy settings for all the social networks. She also knows that some businesses are much bigger than others in Duluth, so she tries to make sure that they appeal to everyone.

The difficulty is planning the meetings, as the venues rotate to places such as conference rooms at local businesses and classrooms at the University of Minnesota Duluth, The College of St. Scholastica, and Lake Superior College. Scheduling the experts can also be difficult — they almost have to wait until the last second to do so because of how fast social media can change. They do their best to set up a variety of meetings throughout the year for everyone that shows up.

“We plan a little ahead of time, but Twitter will be soon and we’ll focus on how different sectors of businesses are using it,” Solberg said.


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