by Lou Mancinelli
Running your business without a social media presence is like watching opportunity walk away. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — these are free ways to connect with consumers, packed with personal information about buyers.
“This is data that hasn’t been available at this level for free, ever,” says DeAnn Cox, entrepreneur, activist, social media teacher and founder of Cox Consultant & Management Firm, a branding and marketing group that has worked with businesses in numerous industries — from hair salons, to daycare that is faith-based. “We have entered a stage in business where it’s critical to have a presence on social media.”
Cox will teach “A Business’ Crash-Course in Social Media,” Tuesday, June 16, at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, starting at 6:30 p.m. She’ll explore how social media offers business owners a platform where they can engage with people in their daily lives; analytics that show a person’s age, sex, location, when they accessed your Facebook page (if you’ve registered as a business) and how they got there.
Facebook information will show what the person likes and whom that person is connected to, allowing business owners, or their social media teams, to glimpse into the personal lives of the people they’re trying to attract. It’s a market study, Cox explained, that in the past businesses would have paid big money for.
And it offers global access. LesBe Real Radio Talk is a program dedicated to establishing a platform of communication for dialogue, mainly, as a platform for empowering the LGBQTA (the A stands for “affiliated”) world. It broadcasts from Germantown to more than 75,000 people in the U.S. and countries as far away as Australia and Uganda.
Cox, the show’s co-host and program director, also runs its social media. Between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr (and other names in the social media palette), the show has 100,000 followers. Launched in August 2013, this April the show won the Philly Black Pride 2K15 LIGHTS Award for arts and entertainment.
While she’s worked with clients in over 30 industries, one of her most complicated cases was for a photographer. This photographer also happened to take many photos of LGBQTA culture. Cox had to decide which photos to use on social media, considering if certain potential clients might be turned off by certain photos. This is a case of knowing your client base, which Cox says social media puts in a new light.
Before you give birth to your social media presence, Cox said, “If you don’t have a website, don’t even bother … If you don’t have a website, you essentially don’t have a resume; no one can find you.” She’s talking about a new era of consumers whose usual first move when making a purchase is to look it up online. If you know what people are doing, based on their tweets, likes on Facebook or posts on Instagram, you can cater your message to reach people with a new accuracy.
But, Cox says, the basics of hard work and due diligence still apply. On occasion, she’s had to stop working with clients who lacked a strong work ethic. The success of a brand “has a lot do with the client,” she said. When you keep “putting that energy out there, people get into that.”
Cox’ social media crash course, offered through Mt. Airy Learning Tree, is a chance to work with various business owners, marketing and advertising professionals and those of all different skill-levels.
One should keep in mind that social media marketing can be overdone. Your social media presence could be too much or obnoxious or a turn-off to people you never thought would see your remark. There have been cases of this in the national media. Just as people have lost their jobs over social media blunders, a business can share its message the wrong way.
Raised in Camden, Cox, 33, made it through bad schools without books until a teacher at Camden County Vocational Tech and High School who saw potential, discipline and smarts in Cox — a teacher Cox thought didn’t like her — arranged a cooperative program, where Cox worked 20 hours a week at a law firm. She eventually graduated from Camden County College in 2010 with an associates degree.
Her life in Camden had rough edges: she had seen a man murdered in front of her house; one night the man she was dancing with at a night club was shot in the head in front of her a few minutes later. She started her life in LGBTQA advocacy by founding Jersey Lyfe in 2007.
In 2008 she founded Southern New Jersey LGBTQA Pride, as well as her consulting firm. Since 2007 she has been a senior development administrative professional at The Jewish Foundation, and she will graduate next spring from Temple University with a bachelor’s in marketing. Recently, she tried reaching out to her parents. They no longer speak with her. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and when someone leaves that community — which Cox did, by identifying as bisexual — you are essentially, excommunicated.
For more information about the class at Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave., call 215-843-6333 or visit mtairylearningtree.org More information about Cox Consultant & Management Firm at coxbestmarketing.com; about LesBe Real Radio Talk at lesberealradio.com; about Southern New Jersey GLBTQA Pride on its Facebook page.