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Second Digital Summit Draws Crowds

Experts discuss changing digital landscape.

Long Island’s second digital summit brought more than 400 professionals Tuesday to the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Attendees had the chance to hear about best practices from Facebook and Bing – companies you don’t always see on Long Island  ­­– as well as local names, including Carle Place-based 1-800-Flowers.com, Melville-based Canon, Farmingdale-based D’Addario, Hauppauge-based Audiovox, as well as Melville-based EGC Group, which presented the conference.

These experts spoke about the challenges and rewards found in the digital landscape, whether it’s communicating with employees, customers or prospects.

Some takeaways:

  • Build community with a spread-out workforce – whether for work-at-home employees, or for those in offices at various locations – through platforms like Google+, which allows for video-chatting, said Chris McCann, president and chief executive of 1-800-Flowers.com.
  • Understand that new platforms may take time for employees and management to get used to, said Jim D’Addario, chairman and chief executive of D’Addario, who added that while his employees do work remotely, he finds collaboration “most effective” when he’s able to stop by someone’s office.
  • Maintain open communication by keeping a database that includes company announcements, news about product development and other pertinent information so that employees can go to one place to find material about the business, whether it's for their department, or even other subsidiaries, said Pat Lavelle, president of Audiovox.
  • Look to cultivate brand ambassadors who are passionate about your product, and whose online reviews can help to generate an even bigger following, said David Pasternack, president and chief executive of Mineola-based DidIt, a digital marketing firm.
  • Recognize the likelihood that your digital customers are similar to you in that they have many of the same online practices, whether it’s searching for directions on a GPS, or ordering a purchase on-the-spot on Amazon, said Ernie Canadeo, president and CEO of The EGC Group.
  • Think of social media as word-of-mouth media, said Hilary Topper of Melville-based HJMT.
  • Make sure mobile sites don’t have black screens, so that customers don’t leave your site without seeing your content, said Monica Barber, SEO manager of EGC Group.

Beth Granger, a Port Washington-based marketing consultant, said she attends and speaks at so many digital and social media conferences, they’ve become “a blur.” Still, she noted, “I did enjoy this one because it was on Long Island, I got to see people I knew, and meet new people.”

She noted too that it can be tough for one conference to accommodate the needs of all, from novice to beginners.

And even the experts say the changing digital landscape is challenging.

So how do they do it?

Most of the experts at the CEO Roundtable agreed that think-time is critical. And counterintuitive as it may seem, sometimes it’s most productive to allot the time to simply unplug. 

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