Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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36 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EKCEP's training on digital marketing and social networks was similarly challenging – "We haven't been able to get to it yet," the Garland brothers admit. But the program helped them update their website (though it could still use more "tweaking"), which has led to more inquiries from potential customers, and EKCEP also provided training for one new hire. "It's like turning a big ship in the harbor," they say. ONLINE BRANDING FOR RETAILERS EKCEP has had some success teaching retail businesses about digital marketing, social media and online branding. According to Mooers, participating companies have become acutely aware that they need to be visible online. ey learn to use search engine optimization and online ads to drive customers to their websites or Facebook pages. Mooers says that of 17 business owners at a branding workshop, "every one came up to me and said 'Wow, we needed this.'" One clothing retailer, Daffodils Boutique, learned to use Facebook Live and now broadcasts videos twice a week, getting as many as 7,000 views. e videos feature new products, events, celebrity visits to the store and even trade shows. When customers can see and vote on new products at the trade shows, Daffodils has a better idea what to order. Business has boomed as a result. Kindra Horne-Baker, a principal of the company, attended the EKCEP workshops. "I learned a lot," she says. "ey gave us a push." Now she is experimenting with other social media in addition to Facebook, including YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, with varying degrees of success. "at's where all our audience is," she says. "Hopefully, in 2018 we can have an e-commerce website." Even though individual business owners feel they have much more to learn and implement, the program as a whole has exceeded its goals. EKCEP's grant originally called for creating 15 jobs. ough the program is not yet completed, it has already saved 142 jobs and expects to create 25 new jobs. Most important, it's brought a changed outlook to the program's participants. "ey're learning to leverage real-life vibe into an online strategy," Mooers says. v Masha Zager is the editor of Broad B and Communities . You can reach her at Hilda Legg is a consultant and an advocate for rural broadband and economic development. She is the vice chairman of Broad B and Communities . Reach her at hilda@

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