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Business Bash speaker: ‘Be instagramable’ and ‘involved’ with community

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By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

The first Bastrop Business Bash was well attended. (Photos by Terry Hagerty)Austin radio host and keynote speaker Kelly Stocker pumped up the enthusiasm and energy of local entrepreneurs during the Bastrop Business Bash held May 1 at the Bastrop Convention Center. A marketing consultant and host at Austin’s KGSR, Stocker urged businesses to be both “involved” with their community and be “instagramable” – by sharing impromptu photos of their business activities.

Kelly Stocker, radio host at Austin’s KGSR, gave a riveting keynote talk on business strategies.During her talk, keyed by PowerPoint slides, Stocker recommended that businesses “give back” to their local community by partnering with schools, “Do a monthly charity event” and create some imaginative interaction with customers by “Having customers vote on the charity of the month.” Stocker also advised the audience to go online at least an hour a day to help promote their business and interact with the community. She termed it “a fantastic way to find a new audience.” She added, “Make it easy to ‘share’ your business – Make it #easy to #share” and ask – “Is this instagramable?” Stocker further challenged audience members by posing the questions, “What do you want your business to look like in 10 years? Move your business toward that,” and “What are your hopes for Bastrop’s identity in 25 years?”

Area entrepreneurs listen to speaker Kelly Stocker.Bonnie Coffey, a Main Street Program volunteer, said the Business Bash was a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs “to meet each other and have a good time. I buy locally every chance I get and choose to do business with people I know and can say ‘Hi’ to – that’s what this all about.” (During the event, participants also enjoyed delectable hors d’oeuvres from Southwest Foodservice Excellence.) BEDC Assistant Director Angela Ryan added, “The Business Bash gives people a chance to network and maybe meet some new people.” She said Stocker had been a “great inspirational speaker.” Bastrop Chamber of Commerce President Becki Womble said, “As community partners, we (the BEDC, Chamber and Main Street Program) recognized the momentum created on social media as a Top-5 finalist for the Small Business Revolution. We wanted to ‘ride the wave’ no matter what the outcome. We found ‘a voice’ on social media and we want that momentum to continue.” Stocker ended with sage advice: “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”