Workshop topics

Opportunity for businesses to improve digital marketing with new workshop

By Darren Lum
An upcoming workshop seeks to help businesses stand out in the 21st century with a series of “how to” digital marketing workshops.
Hosted by the Haliburton County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, this free offering for Haliburton County business owners and entrepreneurs goes beyond most general social media workshops and provides a targeted and applicable coaching on very specific social media skills, said Tourism Department content creator Thom Lambert.
He said digital marketing is an affordable and effective way for businesses and organizations to communicate with their customers and stakeholders.
“Because of the ease with which content can be shared, it’s also one of the most effective ways for businesses in an area like the Haliburton Highlands to collaborate with each other. Social media platforms continue to be one of the most important tools through which potential visitors to the Haliburton Highlands discover new experiences and make travel decisions,” he wrote in a prepared statement. .

There are four workshops, offered every two weeks starting February 3. Interested business owners, entrepreneurs and digital marketing workers can register by contacting Lambert at [email protected], or by registering directly via links posted on social media.
The first workshop focuses on creating and posting Instagram reels, one of the fastest growing social media segments. Workshops will last up to 60 minutes and include time for participants to ask questions at the end. Each workshop is centered on a theme. The free series is made possible through funding from the Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization through its Tourism Recovery and Innovation Program.
The workshops will be offered via Zoom and are hosted by local marketing expert Autumn Wilson, owner of AJW Services.
Lambert wrote Wilson “provides social media marketing, training and consulting. She is the former Coordinator of Programs and Operations for the Haliburton County Development Corporation and former Business Manager for the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce.

Wilson said the best attribute of digital marketing for rural businesses is authenticity.
“To see success on social media, brands (businesses) need to show the people behind the business. Consumers demand connection. This is something that has become more prevalent since the pandemic with an increase in people who turn to social media to find a sense of connection and community,” she wrote in an email message. “Consumers seek to build meaningful relationships with the brands they follow. They want to know who they are, what they like, what their vision is, what their goals are, etc. The best thing a brand can do is be true and authentic to who they are as a person in order to build relationships with their audience. “
Wilson has helped area businesses for the past six years with their social media strategies, teaching people “the ins and outs” of how social media can lead to business growth and sales.
“The County Tourism Department is increasingly supporting businesses to improve their digital marketing. So we have seen many improvements over the years. Ongoing work to expand broadband connectivity in the county over the past 10 years has also made it easier for rural businesses to be online,” she wrote.

The ever-changing feature of social media adds to the challenge.
“Consumers are using it in different ways and new platforms are emerging all the time. Tracking these trends and determining which ones to implement for your business can be very difficult. The way to improve is to be connected to your target audience – knowing what they like, where they are, what they do and what they interact with online. You don’t want to jump on a new platform or trend just because it’s there. You want to make sure this is where your target audience is before determining how you can use it for your business,” she wrote.