Wyoming Business Tips for June 6

May 28, 2010

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Bruce Morse, WSBDC Region 2 director

"Should I be using social media for my business? I already have a Web site and it does not seem to do me much good." Tina, Sheridan

As people become more enthused with social media like Facebook, Twitter and others, more business owners are asking this question. Far be it for me to claim to be an expert on social media, but I dabble a bit and have worked with several clients that use it successfully.

First, let me address the Web site. Again, I am no expert, but I know what I like when I am the consumer using a company or organization's site. A turn off is one that does not look professional. An inexpensive template can be used to build a do-it-yourself site, but it will look like it. Especially annoying are ads for other companies that are in the top banner or right hand column. I generally do not trust these and will leave quickly.

Another disappointment is if the information has not been updated. If you truly want a Web presence, time should be dedicated to keep it updated. While most experts indicate it is important for a company to have a Web site, there is some evidence that suggests it is better not have a one then to develop one that makes a business look bad.

I recently had a conversation with a local economic developer who was working with a client that lamented they could not afford to build a professional looking Web site, yet this business relied almost entirely on internet sales. They must find a way to allocate enough resources toward a Web presence or the owners will continue to struggle.

The same theory holds true for the new social media craze. Good coordination with Facebook, Twitter, maybe a blog and a Web site, can drive traffic to a local business, but not if it is put together poorly and forgotten.

While it may be an inexpensive form of marketing, it is not ‘free." A business owner needs to allocate personal time to making this happen and presenting the proper image to the public.

One of my clients spends at least two hours each day keeping her online tools current. While it seems like you have to jump on the bandwagon, I would reconsider if you do not have the time to do it right.

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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