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‘Tweetup’ brings virtual business to the real world

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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About 10 years ago, a claim that “Tweeting” is a great way to promote your business might have drawn some blank stares. Today, however, the word “Tweet” has become synonymous with everyday culture and so-called “Tweetups” are beginning to pop up nearly everywhere. But what is a “Tweetup” and how can it benefit local businesses? Josh Unfried and Ray Young believe they have the answer. “A Tweetup is an offline opportunity to build connections with people that you are somehow connected to online,” said Unfried, who cofounded the event with Young. Unfried’s company, Windfarm Online Marketing, teamed up with Young’s Public Relationship firm, Razor Sharp PR, to create the Placer Biz Tweetup. Together, they feel their partnership is a match made in virtual heaven, taking the concept of a Tweetup, which is usually just a social gathering (a play on words for “meet up”), and applying it to business marketing. “There are a lot of business owners in Placer County who are using social media to grow their business and connect with other business owners,” Unfried said. “This Tweetup is designed to bring people out of isolation.” Unfried and Young have been holding the Placer Biz Tweetup once each month for about a year and a half and say the event is growing more each time. “The idea that Josh and I had was to get the whole community of South Placer together for those who want to use social media to build their business,” Young said. Jared Thomas, owner of Thomas Chiropractic in Roseville, has attended many of the Tweetup events and says he has made many in-person connections with people he normally only associates with online. “I follow a lot of these people on Twitter or Facebook, and that’s great in a lot of ways,” Thomas said. “But then you meet them and you actually really get to know them. It’s a way to connect and stay connected.” He said connections he has had made through the Tweetup has made him highly searchable through online search engines such as Google and Yelp, which has helped him solicit new clients. Unfried agrees that today’s business climate is becoming more and more social media driven. “Because the economy is tight, marketing budgets are tight,” he said. “The return on investment compared to the price of traditional (advertising) is becoming really expensive.” Unfried says that the average person spends 11 hours each month on Facebook and that has forced many small business owners to re-evaluate the way they advertise. “The business has to become savvy,” Unfried said. “They have to go where their customers are, and they have an opportunity to reach them in a way that is more cost effective.” Andrew Bradley is a public relations specialist with Augustine Ideas and says making online connections with other businesses via Twitter and Facebook creates a reciprocal relationship. “It allows business owners to network with each other and see what other people are doing,” Bradley said. Each month, a different business will host the Tweetup, usually in Roseville. Last month’s Tweetup was held on Sept. 14 at Nugget Market in Roseville. Nugget store director Jonathan Giannini said the Placer Biz Tweetup is a great way to promote your business in a positive way and build relationships. “Especially in the economic climate that we have, it’s just smart,” Giannini said. Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT. ---------- SAVE THE DATE: The next Placer Biz Tweetup will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Legends at Woodcreek, 5880 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd. in Roseville. For more information, go to http://PlacerBusinessTweetup.com or @PlacerBiz on Twitter.