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Community Activations Kick Off At WSL Hawaii Headquarters

The World Surf League (WSL) Hawaii opened their doors for the first community event of the surf season, a Social Media For Small Business Night designed to share social marketing tools and tips for local entrepreneurs. Over 40 attendees gathered at WSL's new Haleiwa Headquarters, eager to learn about social platforms and which practices are best for small businesses. The night's guest presenters included WSL Social Media Manager, Maya Bengston, Hobnob Co-Founder and CEO Tina Fitch, and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii Marketing Manager Mugdha Flores.

Each guest speaker offered up fresh strategies for reaching target audiences and valuable insight from their professional world of business.

Bengston presented at WSL Hawaii's Social Media For Small Business Night Maya Bengston engages the audience. WSL / Rolland

"The top strategy for small business owners to figure out how to market on social media is to define their target audience," said Bengston. "Who is your demographic? What are you trying to achieve? Use targeting tools to create a refined audience so your efforts don't get lost in the shuffle, and engage with the consumers who are in your niche market."

As of this year, 78 percent of the United States population has a social networking profile, with 2.34 billion users worldwide. With such a vast audience, small business owners questioned how they could hone in on their specific demographic.

Community members from a variety of backgrounds engaged with presenters during the Q&A sessions including Il Gelato, Freesurf magazine, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, Brazilian Showroom and Noelani Hawaii.

Chatting after the social media presentation at WSL Hawaii Bengston (left) and Noelani Love (right) chat after the presentation. Elise (middle) is Love's social media manager. WSL / Rolland

Noelani Love of Noelani Hawaii started her jewelry business in 2005 and later opened a brick and mortar shop in 2013. She has grown an international client base yet maintains her Haleiwa roots and small business appeal. Bustling with good vibes, the retail store is a hotspot for locals and visitors seeking anything from crystal jewelry and candles to yogawear, skincare and boutique clothing. The business has 5.5k followers on Instagram and 2.3k page likes on Facebook and is looking to grow more fans in an organic way.

"We have had our Instagram account since we opened up shop in 2013 and that has been huge for people - locals as well as visitors - to know about us and what we are all about," said Love. "We have so many tools available at our fingertips through social media to share our wonderful products and services that my business offers, as well as what we represent. And utilizing those tools benefits business immensely!"

Tina Fitch, Co-Founder and CEO of Hobnob, also provided valuable advice from a technological background and mentioned that Pinterest, the uber popular inspiration curation app, is one of the best platforms to drive traffic and ultimately monetize posts.

Presenter at the WSL Hawaii Social Media For Small Business Night Tina Fitch offers insight into the social media realm of marketing. WSL / Rolland

"People referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make purchases on e-commerce sites than users of other social networks, and they tend to spend twice as much as those referred by Facebook," said Fitch. "The average order value of sales coming from Pinterest is $50 - higher than any other major social platform and a major driver of online traffic. Pinterest is also the #2 overall source of all social media traffic to Shopify stores."

Fitch focused on sharing specific resources that are free or low-cost to users, to make the most out of their social media program, as well as the building blocks to set realistic goals.

"I hope that local business owners can get the foundation for a concrete, action-oriented plan to not only build a social media strategy, but also a plan to measure and manage it effectively," Fitch finished. Throughout the year, WSL Hawaii has partnered with Hobnob on various activations including the Social Media For Small Business Night and their Junior Development Day program. Utilizing the invite app to generate rsvp's and event details, WSL Hawaii has improved their communication techniques for 2016 onward and Hobnob has been a significant part of the social impact.

WSL Hawaii hosts their second Junior Development Day in 2016 The second WSL Hawaii Junior Development Day took place at Pipeline. WSL / Freesurf/Heff

A fundraiser for WSL Hawaii's nonprofit, Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization (HYSDO), the Social Media For Small Business Night was one of many community activations on the horizon for Oahu residents. Hobnob provided a generous donation for the evening, a $500 contribution which will help fund the youth programs that focus on career mentoring, competitive readiness and positive pathways for WSL Hawaii junior surf members.

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