Local businesses wanting to improve their online presence can get a hand up through the Umpqua Small Business Development Center’s Social Media and Online Marketing class.
Justin Deedon, the course instructor, teaches business owners to effectively and efficiently market their products and services through their websites, Facebook and other online accounts.
Deedon also runs Umpqua Technology Nexus, a combination of businesses working together to provide technological services in Douglas County. He said online marketing takes a lot of time, which most people do not have much of.
“So what this class is about is being able to definitively see the results, hour by hour and minute by minute, on the return of what you put into your online marketing,” Deedon said. Instead of teaching his students specifically what to post on Facebook, he teaches them how to analyze the data showing how their audience is responding to their posts, he said, which will help students measure the effectiveness of their marketing.
Deedon said the students will walk away with a marketing plan he expects them to follow for the next six months and measure their analytical data to see if they’re making money off of the marketing.
Jerrie Thomas, owner of Goodog Bakery in Myrtle Creek, attended the course in the winter and said it helped her understand for the first time what Facebook is all about. She said she learned how to use it to comment back and forth with customers, and get rid of internet “trolls,” people who try to cause discord by provoking others with their comments.
“He also custom formulated plans for each one of our businesses for advertising campaigns using Facebook,” she said of Deedon, who showed the business owners how to create an ad campaign and analyze the results.
Thomas, who makes and sells both dog treats and human treats at her bakery, said she also learned what not to do on Facebook, such as ask people to like a business page in an ad.
“They need to do that on their own,” she said. The analytic data, she said, has shown her page gained more than 150 new likes since she took the class, which she said is significant.
Deedon reviews and gives advice for the businesses’ websites as well.
“It’s well worth the effort to sign up and the fee is not terribly expensive, and the knowledge gained is very to-the-point,” Thomas said. “He is really immersed in Facebook and how to do this so you’re getting the freshest, smartest information from him.”
Deedon said he helps business owners discover if online marketing is viable for their businesses, and if it is, he teaches them techniques to improve and get the most out of their marketing.
“We work together to come up with best practices to continue to grow their efficiency to make sure they’re always doing better than they were previously,” Deedon said.
The next class will begin April 10 at the Umpqua Business Center, 522 SE Washington Ave., Roseburg, and run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday through June 5. The class cost is $199 and also includes one-on-one work with Deedon.