By David F. Rooney
Local businesses were urged to embrace a Web-based future during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting last Wednesday.
“Y0u can leverage social networks to build and promote your own websites,” Jean Marc Laflamme told an interested group of about 25 business people.
LaFlamme has spent more than 15 years developing websites and Internet-based marketing strategies for clients as varied as the Government of Canada, West Jet and other entities, including the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), for which he is currently the web director. He believes intelligent use of web-based technologies, social media and Internet marketing can be a true boon for local business.
He advocates the establishment by the Chamber of a single Revestoke website that could act as a portal to members and include a facility that would allow member businesses to discuss and vote on issues of importance to the Chamber and the general business community. The Chamber is already planning construction of a new website for itself as well as a new tourism portal to be called seerevelstoke.ca.
“Seerevelstoke.cawill be rolled out first followed by the Chamber’s new site,” Judy Goodman, the Chamber’s executive director, told the crowd.
She said Web-based consultation and consensus building can be an immense boon to the Chamber as “we need to know what our members want” regarding the issues they regard as important, issues such as signage, taxation, marketing and more.
LaFlamme said websites and social marketing techniques are excellent ways to reach the thousands of local people who use the Internet for more than just Web surfing. The Current, for instance, is now read by about 4,500 people a week and that number is climbing. Thousands have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts and yet local businesses have, in general, been slow to use the Web to push their goods and services. Consequently they will slowly lose business to those companies that do market themselves on the web.
Some owners likely think that’ll never happen. They remain stuck in their ways, imagining that just because they are the only game in town they don’t have to advertise.
They will, unfortunately, eventually discover just how wrong they are, LaFlamme said.