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Wyoming Business Tips for Sept. 4-10


August 29, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Michael Lambert, Wyoming Entrepreneur Market Research Center manager

"With all of the new social media tools like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, do I still need a website?" Ruth, Sheridan.

Social media has really exploded the past several years. So why maintain a website in the face of the barrage of social media?

In a recent published item, among the most popular websites is Facebook at No. 2, topped only by Google. YouTube is third, Twitter ninth, LinkedIn 13th and WordPress 18th. I'm pretty sure that our WyEn.biz isn't in the top 1,000 and I guess that yours is not either, but handling all of the options available to market your business online is a huge challenge.

Customers are faced with a deluge of information and data, and if you want to help them, they need a central location to go on the interest that all social media efforts you may be doing has generated. Social media is changing rapidly and social media sites come and go. Your website can be a source of stability for both you and customers. The website is where customers go when they want to get detailed information about your products and services.

Another reason to maintain your site is that you control the content. Social media, by its very nature, is uncontrolled. On your own website, you can present the story you want customers to read and address any problems on your own terms. That doesn't mean people won't look you up and confirm your information on social media sites, but it does mean that in at least one area you can manage the discussion.

A final reason to keep your website is to avoid limitations. Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace can all have e-commerce tools. However, these tend to be limited in terms of layouts, size and content. With a personal website, you can tell your story and be much more creative and unique.

In today's world, social media is a vital part of the marketing mix for any business, but don't neglect your home base - your own website.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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