2016-02-03 / Front Page

Sunnyside Chamber Holds First Meeting Of 2016

By Thomas Cogan
Though usually a luncheon, the first Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce meeting of the year was different, being a night meeting at Quaint, the bar/restaurant at 46-10 Skillman Ave.  There were beverages from Quaint itself and the food was pizza, with several pies coming from Uncle Jimmy’s on 49th Street. Thus informal, the meeting was nevertheless serious, including as it did another address by Cat Penfold-Waxman and the election of four new board members.

Penfold, who runs a Web site called CuriousCatAdvertising.com, previously talked to SCC’s September luncheon about social media.  This time, she talked about digital marketing, offering what she called primary advice to those running a business online, as a few in the audience were.  She began by saying that there are two vital aims in marketing for brands:  making a product popular enough that it enables you to “charge a premium” over other, similar brands; and keeping purchasers mindful of you and your brand when they are ready to buy.

It’s up to you to define your brand, she said.  Put out a mission statement or manifesto and set a voice and tone that is yours.  She called the brand “the foundation” on which you and any partners you might have can build.  In the process, you should establish a logo.  She said you should never design your own

logo, even if you are a designer (which is simply fool-for-a-client advice such as is given to lawyers having a notion to defend themselves should they be brought to trial).  Let a designer who’s not you do the job, but get it done.

Fortified with a well-defined idea of your brand and a well-designed logo, you are ready to create a Web site, even if you’ve no idea of how to build one, Penfold said.  Web sites with names like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Typepad and Wordpress are just a few of those that can do it for you if you pay for both a domain name and to have other advertisements removed.  After that, it should cost no more than $250-350 annually to maintain it, she said. 

Next stop, email marketing.  Penfold cautioned that email must contain matter worth reading.  However obvious that may sound, it’s apparently something a lot of email marketers fail to realize.  She had a long list of email rules.  Grow your own mailing list, don’t buy one, it stresses; add an email subscription link to your Web site and, assuming you have them, your Facebook page, blog and email signature.  Tell subscribers the kind of information you’ll be mailing them and how often.  Add serial links to your email so content can be shared, and social icons so others can follow you.

Penfold returned to the social network to talk about social platforms and their value in e-commerce.  She said that teens and early adults use Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr and Instagram; family-oriented types use Pinterest; businesspersons are all into LinkedIn; and practically everybody uses Facebook.  Some deprecate Facebook, but a survey in late 2014 showed that nearly three-quarters of online adults use it, while among the same adults, not one of the other social sites can attract a third of them.  “Facebook is ubiquitous,” Penfold said, “everything has a share to Facebook button.”  A Facebook page can be an e-commerce site.  

Facebook is the most important social platform, but not to the exclusion of Twitter, she said.  Twitter is a smartphone-only medium and skews toward a younger audience, though not entirely.  It’s the place for sending and receiving news hot from the oven, and a message or “tweet” with a picture is additionally effective.  “Reacting to trends is a good use of Twitter,” Penfold said.  It’s free and all you need to do is create a hashtag (such as #reactingtotrends).  “Used correctly,” she said, “hashtags act as a means to not only discover, but to create conversations.”  It can be used over multiple platforms, she added.  You can re-tweet things that you believe will interest your followers.

There was more, involving different platforms, in what was a good survey to get e-commerce started.

QCC business included a move to change a bylaw regarding a quorum number and the board election.  Members qualified to vote, having voted at an earlier date to reduce the number from 7 to 6, agreed unanimously to raise the number, restoring the 7.  Elected to the board, also unanimously, were:  Amanda Barker, a painter and founder of the Boulevard Film Festival; Eric Barthels, founder of Cooldown Juice, 39-11 47th Ave., Sunnyside; Matthew Carlson of Artforum magazine; and Kris Czerniachowitz of riverfront.org.











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