Do you remember the first time you saw a music video? Do you remember the first time you used the Internet? I do.
Do you remember being so impressed by the speed of dial-up? Yes, me too.
Do you remember hearing that these were just fads that were going to fade away?
Novel trends, not real progress. That nothing was ever going to replace the tried and true.
Well, I remember hearing that too, and boy, were those people wrong.
Right now there is a revolution happening in how technology can help us do business. It is called the web and social media.
I would argue that without utilizing these tools, Summerland business is missing a business-building opportunity.
We know that each generation (I am thinking about the x, y , boomer and millennial!) has a preferred method of receiving their information, and in fact, many don’t want to receive it at all.
They want to share or dialogue information. No longer is one way of trying to reach your audience, your customer, going to work.
And no longer will a one-sided broadcast of information increase your bottom line.
If you want to see web and social media in action, visit the Summerland Chamber website (www.summerlandchamber.com) for examples.
You will see local businesses utilizing the web with blogs and interactive sites. The real estate pages on our website are leaders in this field.
You will notice Facebook and Twitter links right on the home page, a SCEDT blog as well as a brand new Summerland YouTube Channel.
You will also notice we still use e-mail, the preferred method for boomers.
Now, have you experienced people who will not change with the times? Yes, we all have! If you choose to stay mono in a stereo world, that is just fine. If you choose to keep your business there, you are allowing yourself to fail.
Business needs to adapt to changing trends in order to stay alive. Those businesses that embrace them prosper. It really is that simple.
A perfect example is the Summerland Review.
The Review has taken a traditional business model and medium and grown to embrace the trends.
The Summerland Review has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a website with an interactive forum.
By sharing information in many different formats, the Summerland Review is reaching their broadest customer base by giving their readers choice of conduit.
That is good for business.
There are people who are called “early adapters”, those are the folks who grab onto every new trend and run with it.
They are the very first to have the latest smart phone, the most up to date programs, those who had a Facebook account five years ago.
It is really important for your business to keep an eye on what the early adapters are doing.
Chances are, that will be the norm in a few short years.
There are excellent resources for businesses on the web and every business should have a basic, regularly updated website that showcases your business, whether it is a retail storefront or a construction trade.
One of our favourite You Tube clips about the power of social media is found at youtube.com/watch?v=lFZ0z5Fm-Ng.
If you are on the fence about the business reasons for utilizing social media, this video may just change your mind.
Something to keep in mind: You know those kids you see walking down the street with their fingers flying across a key board on their tiny, little phones?
Well, they are the next generation of your customers.
Better to learn how to communicate with them, and sell your product to them, now.
Learn their technology, and loyalty, now so when they are your primary demographic in 10 years. Your business will be ready for them.
Lisa Jaager is the manager of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism.