Caren Roblin gives social media advice to business owners at Carson City Chamber of Commerce’s Soup’s On | NevadaAppeal.com

Caren Roblin gives social media advice to business owners at Carson City Chamber of Commerce’s Soup’s On

Caren Roblin, Sierra Nevada Media Group's director of content speaks about the impact of social media on Tuesday at the Chamber's Soup's On luncheon.

Leading methods of communication — including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — gained popularity over the last decade.

And the rapid development of technology with phones, tablets, and smart watches has made social media even more important — especially when it comes to local businesses.

In a town like Carson City — considered small but definitely growing with restaurants, shops, and organizations — the use of social media can be intimidating to proprietors.

The key to making social media work for your business is engaging with the audience and not solely focusing on the topic being discussed.

That word of advice comes from regional social media guru Caren Roblin, whom presented solutions at Soup's On! luncheon held at Gold Dust West on Tuesday, hosted by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

"Anyone with a cell phone can help make and break a business," she said. "It's important to be aware of the tools available on social media and how to use them to further boost a business."

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With at least 12 years of experience in journalism and uniquely signatured purple hair, the director of content of the Sierra Nevada Media Group understands the struggle of customer service and promotion through media platforms in all industries.

She often advises newsrooms around Northern Nevada on social media practices and trends.

"Social media has supported the evolution of breaking news," she said. "All industries have been impacted by it, especially in journalism. But how it relates to customer service, it's a vital listening tool."

Roblin said more than 60 million statuses are updated on Facebook daily. She added that according to social media experts 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies won't exist in 10 years because of their failure to adapt to social media.

She informed attendees on how to handle situations such as negative comments, rogue tweets and statuses, and company incidents as it affects relationships with followers and customers.

In one of Roblin's examples, she used United Airlines' social media response to the April 9 flight 341 incident when a passenger was bloodied and dragged off a flight.

"You have to accept responsibility," she said. "For any mistake, apologize publicly, release a plan, and don't ignore comment threads. Anything less is doomed to fail."

Many of the attendees said this section of Roblin's seminar was the most crucial, as some experience disgruntled users on social media.

"The apologizing strategy helped a lot," said Stan Jones, past president of Chamber of Commerce. "There were a lot of statistics to learn but it's important to know for any social media page."

"Having a strategy for this turns it into something positive," said Elinor Bugli, president of the Carson City Symphony Association. "Nothing was systematic."

Roblin's presentation also included tips on Twitter usage and how many hashtags are suggested to use per platform.

For hashtag lovers, it's one or none for Facebook; maximum of two for Twitter; and between 11 and 14 for Instagram.

Ariel Heinz, human resources analyst for the Carson City School District, said Roblin's presentation encouraged her to apply her ideas to social media platforms, especially since this generation consists of teachers and students who use technology on a regular basis.

"I'm pretty new with social media in business," she said. "As a recruiter, there are creative ways to hire quality people."

As a millennial herself and Reno local, Roblin's way of giving back to Carson City is to provide solutions and ease for those learning to enhance social media.

"Carson City is no different from every other community," she said. "With the demographics and businesses, locals need proper understanding."

Roblin is the last guest of the luncheon until it resumes in October.

Roblin also worked for Reno Gazette-Journal as digital editor and social media manager and currently serves on the Reynolds School of Journalism Advisory Council at the University of Nevada, Reno. She's the 2014 recipient of the Nevada Women's Fund Women of Achievement Award.

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