Information on the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook group and the Young Professionals was presented to encourage business promotion for chamber members at the Marina Affairs Committee meeting Wednesday, September 16th in Marina del Rey.

Tom Flintoft, the chamber chair, said that the chamber is involved with the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau and intends to become more engaged and work with committee members. He said that this committee is a “nucleus” in the Marina and a place to generate public policy.

Ashley Diestel, the chamber’s director of public affairs, told chamber members that the chamber profile on the social networking site Facebook allows them to sign on and join the group. Members can access the profile to search the chamber’s Web site, as well as to receive reminders of upcoming events and invitations to social networking lunches and happy hour events around the LAX coastal area.

The Facebook networking site is privately owned by Facebook, Inc., according to Facebook.com/.

Diestel provided some preliminary information about Facebook including: there are an estimated 250 million Facebook users in the world, and a study found that three billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day; it is an international market with 70 percent of users outside the U.S.; the largest demographic is now ages 35 and older, with 50 percent of users outside of college.

Diestel, a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, said she began using Facebook in 2004, and that LMU was reportedly one of the first five schools to begin using the site.

A much larger demographic of Facebook involves businesses, and Diestel believes that Facebook is one of the best social networking groups at promoting business compared to what it was originally set up to do.

She said the LAX chamber has had Facebook access for eight months and that 139 of the 600 members utilize it.

“There are many ways to promote your business through Facebook, but it’s not for everyone because it does take part of your day to promote your business page,” said Diestel.

A chamber member company can write on the group’s business page “wall” to promote its business, essentially getting free advertising and updates, she said.

Groups originally added members to their profile who had the same interests, and then businesses began to apply the same concept, becoming a group or “fan” of the business, such as Tony P’s restaurant in Marina del Rey, she explained.

Facebook can help maximize members’ business contacts by allowing them to spend approximately 30 minutes at Facebook and potentially network with thousands of people, as opposed to spending three hours with four clients, Diestel said.

Exact demographics — age, gender, location, ethnicity or any other specific requirement — would be available on the group’s business page from an internal point of view while tracking its own page.

Facebook makes money through advertising, either being paid per click or per impression (how many times an advertisement shows up on the page), and based on the time of day.

Based on one’s interests, such as sports or politics, they can choose if they want a certain type of advertiser to appear. If they feel that the advertiser is irrelevant to what they are looking for, the advertiser is then notified why the user wanted them removed.

Diestel said users can also link their page to the Twitter site.

Diestel said she has offered basic training on Facebook in the past, and will be offering it again, possibly in November. The training would be in three separate classes.

The first class covers the creation of the business page; the second is how to promote your business; and the third shows how to advertise your business without paying.

Diestel noted that users can create a personal page without a business page and vice versa.

While some people say they only want to use the site to reconnect with old friends and family, others only want to promote their business.

The personal page maxes out at 5,000 friends, but the business page is unlimited, she said.

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS —

The Young Professionals group is a good target to link with Facebook, such as for mixers or other events, said Diestel.

Events can be created and promoted by being sent to all chamber members and to personal friends.

Diestel said that guests are encouraged to attend the Young Professionals mixers because it’s also beneficial for the chamber to attract new members.

Many times, the business owner will attend mixers, and the younger staff may not go. This Young Professionals group is a good opportunity for them to get out, she said.

Attending mixers can be very intimidating for younger people, said Diestel, since they are among very experienced business members and may feel awkward or unsure of their knowledge.

By networking with one another, they can get familiar with the process, and there is also an opportunity for business owners and representatives that target the younger market, from age 21 to 35, to attend, she said.

She added that the younger generation is the “future work force,” and that they do things differently. They have the ability to multi-task and constantly move on to the next thing, but they still pay attention to their jobs, she said.

“Young Professionals and Facebook are very social and fun ways to bridge the gap, rather than sitting in a workshop where someone tells you how to reach out to younger workers,” said Diestel.

Information on how to receive a handbook as well as a handout of “Top Ten Things to Remember on Facebook,” (310) 645-5151, or

Ashley@laxcoastal.com/.

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