Saturday morning, area business owners and local residents are invited to learn how social networking platforms are creating the next great advertising platform for small business.

The Hope Area Chamber of Commerce will present its first Social Media Networking event at 8 a.m. at WILLow LeaVes of Hope. The event will kick off with a free-will offering buffet-style breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by a presentation by Josh Burnett, CEO of JAB Media Group, at 9 a.m.

Open to the public, the event is for anyone who is interested in learning how to maximize the power of social media to benefit their business, says Jake Miller, president of the Hope Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event will offer attendees the opportunity to mingle, talk and get face time that they may normally not get, Miller says.

The genesis of the event was introduced in talks with colleagues at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Miller says. After learning of the success of Columbus' monthly chamber events, Miller decided to give it a try locally. And the reception has been great.

But what should be the focus of the inaugural event? It's in front of each of us every day.

Everyone's eyes are on social media more than we are likely to admit. So why not tap into the one market that is often underutilized in business?

"Even as a business owner, I underutilize it," Miller says. "You don't see as many business pages on Facebook as what could be done. Most businesses' presence is through advertising on Facebook."

Burnett hopes his presentation will offer small business owners the tools needed to use social media in an effective way so that they may share their story, products and services with the public in a relevant way.

Beyond simply posting pics of products and employees, it is possible to advertise in a more personal way, he says. Essentially, business owners can translate traditional personal conversation into real life conversation through social media.

"One thing I have noticed is that the more our world becomes digitized, it is that much more important we become more human," Burnett says. "Just because social media is a tool, that doesn't mean you have to use it like a robot."

Small business thrives on face-to-face, personalized service and there is no reason that should be lost in the digital age.

Some topics of discussion during Saturday's event will include how to maximize social media content, basic social media best practices, ad targeting and the current state of social media. There will be ample time for a Q&A session, Burnett says.

"If you can learn to use social media effectively, then your business (or brand) can grow in a way that will literally change your life in a good way," Burnett says. "I want people to understand the possibilities of what social media can do for your business. It is not hard, it is learning key elements, being consistent, and realizing there are real people who are listening to your message on the other end."