Ballarat business owners embrace social media

BALLARAT businesses should be taking more advantage of social media, according to an industry expert. 

Social media educator Laurel Papworth will conduct a seminar as part of Commerce Ballarat’s Business Day Out on how businesses should use social media to gain the greatest benefits. 

Mitchell Harris Wines, with wine bar Mitchell Harris Cellar Door on Doveton Street North, has been active on social media for years, engaging with customers and other wine makers around Australia through social media.

One of the four managers/partners, Craig Mitchell, has been instrumental in using the business’s Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and Tumblr accounts. 

Mr Mitchell said they had been making wine for more than five years, and started using mediums like Facebook and Twitter in 2008 before expanding to other platforms.

“There have been many benefits – it gives a small business like us access to industry experts and the media in the early days that otherwise we wouldn’t have access to,” he said. 

“On Instagram we try and post a couple of photos every day; they may be of the wine-making process, general photos of Ballarat, or photos from the cellar door. 

“People were able to follow the progress of the building, and build up a bit of excitement about the opening.”

The business also uses LinkedIn and Google+ for professional social networking. 

“It’s a great way to keep in touch with customers and the industry,” Mr Mitchell said. “We still hope to expand the interactive side of things, have ‘hangouts’ via video conference, maybe a wine webinar via video link.”

Ms Papworth said a lot of Ballarat businesses were using social media well, but not reaping all the benefits they could. 

“Businesses can get in the habit of talking to the same couple of hundred people instead of expanding to global stage,” she said.

“For example a fashion shop doesn’t just have to talk to just locals and regular customers, but can talk to experts all over the world and communicate on a global stage.”