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Hammond offers business promotion classes

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HAMMOND — Business in Hammond looking for free opportunities to expand their reach on the Internet are invited to attend ecommerce training seminars hosted by SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center in April.

The classes are geared towards businesses with limited or no online presence “and don’t know where to begin,” Business Advisor Michelle A. Collins said Friday. “We’ll focus on basic things, such as how to be featured on online business registries and directories and how to make a Facebook page — basic, easy ways to get your business is searchable on the Internet.”

Ms. Collins said the event is specifically geared toward Hammond business owners, but no one will be turned away.

“We will incorporate seasonal and tourism businesses, including fishing and camping — those that come back year after year,” Ms. Collins said. “We will show them ways to stay connected with their customers year-round. It’s just an easy and inexpensive way for them to continue to communicate with their customers.”

Although the Small Business Development Center has offered several classes around St. Lawrence County, this is the first time a series has been offered, Ms. Collins said.

“I think participants will find connecting with customers through Facebook — really any social media — the most valuable,” Ms. Collins said. “Its user friendly and a great way to connect with customers in the beginning stages, especially in an area like St. Lawrence County where the customer base is spread out.”

The classes are being hosted in conjunction with the Hammond Economic Development Committee, which has been working on promoting and marketing local businesses since it was formed last year.

“These sessions are intended to help our town and unique businesses better market their products and services to customers, near and far,” Economic Development Committee Co-Chairwoman Erica C. Demick said. “We believe that these workshops will prove to be very valuable – serving also as a starting point for future topics of interest to our community businesses.”

The following classes will be offered:

n Get Your Business on the Map: Business listings and Customer Review Sites — This is a hands-on computer workshop with instruction on how to list a business on search engines, encourage reviews from customers and be seen on the Internet and mobile map applications. This session is ideal for business who have not built an online listing presence or who have limited experience with listings. The class is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 1.

n Facebook for Business — This is a hands-on computer workshop for businesses that are currently have no Facebook presence or that may have a page set up but have not used it. Participants will learn how to set up their business Facebook page and the basics of developing and managing it. The class will be held April 8 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

n Hands-On Workshop — This session will give attendees of the previous two workshops a change to troubleshoot and ask more detailed questions after having some time to practice new skills on their own. SUNY Canton SBDC staff will be on hand to guide participants through any issues they may be having. The session will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 15.

Participants are encouraged to bring laptop computers. A limited number of computers will be available.

Pre-registration is required. The classes are $5 at the door for Economic Committee Development members and $10 for nonmembers. The Hands-On Workshop is free to those who participated in the Facebook for Business and Get Your Business on the Map sessions.

All sessions will be held at Hammond Free Library, 17 North Main St. To register, call SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center at 386-7312.

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