Ocean Beach merchants were given a primer on how best to use social media and other technology to promote their businesses.
Ivana Ramirez of Brown Marketing, and Ocean Beach MainStreet Association executive director Denise (Denny) Knox, both presented.
Pointing out OBMA celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, Knox noted, “We started out with five people and grew to 45, then 50 — just like that.”
“The only constant is change,” Ramirez told merchants counseling them to “know who your audience is. What are their needs? What makes them buy your products or services?”
Ramirez added it’s critical for business owners to “personalize your services, customizing the product for your audience.”
Of the event’s significance, Knox, said: “We hope our annual marketing breakfast gives our members the edge when taking advantage of many opportunities to drive their businesses. One new idea can be the linchpin to a successful business career.”
Ramirez characterized Yelp business reviews as important in establishing “a first impression.”
“If you don’t have Yelp right now — get one,” she recommended.
The significance of Instagram was described by Ramirez as “big.”
But whatever social media merchant’s choose to get their message out there, Ramirez added the objective “is all about being authentic.”
In addressing marketing opportunities available through OBMA, Knox noted, “There are lots of things you can do on our website that are free.” She added it’s also important, in listing a business in the OBMA directory to “select key words describing your business, like food if you’re a restaurant.”
Knox said pets have been selected from a contest last year to be put on community banners strung across streets leading into and out of the beach community.
It’s also important for businesses “to promote yourselves. You really have to brag about yourself,” Knox said half-jokingly while suggesting monthly sundowner business mixers are a good way to “meet your neighbors and hobnob with other merchants.”
Ramirez pointed out OBMA’s website “gets more than half a million hits a year.” She added, “Most of those are from non-local people searching.”
Knox characterized OB’s weekly farmers markets on Wednesdays on Newport Avenue as having great potential for business promotion adding “discounted booths are available for OBMA members.”
This year’s OBMA business philosophy is simple, noted Knox.
“Let’s celebrate what’s working for us,” she said.
New business openings planned in ocean beach
Dirty Birds: corner of Santa Monica Avenue and Cable Street.
Mr. Moto Pizza: corner of Santa Monica Avenue and Cable Street.
Blue Water Bar & Grill: where Tower 2 was at 5083 Santa Monica Ave.
The Holding Company: where Gallagher’s was at 5046 Newport Ave.
Pop Pies: where Nati’s was at 1852 Bacon St.
Shara: where Vintage Revival was, a new jewelry business at 4847 Newport Ave.
Mad Munch: at 4871 Newport Ave. will open in February.
Target: estimated July 1 opening at 4864 Newport Ave.