Mention social media to the owner of a local business and the response is often an anguished groan. Why? Because most will admit that, so far, the return on their efforts has been disappointing . . . if not downright dismal.

Take a close look at what most businesses post on their social sites. It seems they’ve misinterpreted SOCIAL media for SALES media. They are using these channels like old-fashioned bulletin boards. They’re only posting advertisements; and who really likes advertisements? No one!

Transitioning from traditional marketing methods like mass mailing and telesales, to today’s use of social channels requires a change in mindset. The key is to engage, not broadcast. Using social media, businesses need to earn, not sell.

The challenge for businesses is to find a way to be part of the online conversation – to be conversational. This is easier to do if you know your audience . . . personally. When you do, conversation flows naturally.

Enter Digital Neighborhoods

One way for businesses to use social media to connect with people they know is to become part of a digital neighborhood.

A digital neighborhood shares a structure of Facebook “Interests”, Twitter lists, Google circles, Pinterest boards, and YouTube playlists; all of which link socially-active businesses in your neighborhood. Monitor the local online activity within this structure and your off-line conversations can naturally extend to your on-line conversations. This is where Bringing your LOCAL appeal to your ONLINE presence™becomes a reality.

Access to Golden’s Digital Neighborhood is part of a free two-hour workshop hosted by Connects Workspace, on September 16, from 10 a.m. to noon. Bring your laptop and learn how social media becomes social marketing. Contact owner, Jen Thoemke to register.

Debi Davis is a local digital strategist in Lakewood; Bringing your LOCAL appeal to your ONLINE presence. She is the owner of 3D Communications –, 303-903-2163,