“I know people get overwhelmed and think ‘Oh no, I have to keep up with my Facebook and my Twitter and my Instagram.’ It feels overwhelming. But for most small businesses, if they consistently monitored their Yelp page, their Facebook page, and their website, they would be on top of it. There are a lot of other things they could be listed on, especially if they’ve done work with an SEO company. But those three, if they keep on top of those, they’ll be looking a lot better than most of the businesses in town.”

Pacific Sky is one of the most tech-savvy businesses in Redding. We talked with one of their developers, Tyler Shuster, about their best technology tips for businesses wanting to keep up with the changing technological reality.

What is Pacific Sky?

Tyler Shuster describes his company, Pacific Sky, as “a full service marketing agency.”  They create print media, video, and websites. They also interact with radio and TV outlets and produce business cards. “We do pretty much any form of marketing for small business. Also education and government agencies as well,” Tyler says. “We’re definitely the most comprehensive marketing or web development group here in Redding.”

As such, Pacific Sky is one of a handful of businesses in town which truly understand how technology is changing the business landscape.

Tyler is an application developer. “Most of what I do is writing code,” he says, “but I also write some copy, do a bit of graphic design, and some tooling. I also set up and configure the server.”

Technology tips for businesses

As Redding slowly moves to embrace the web world, Pacific Sky has gotten a lot of business because of its status as a highly tech-aware firm. “I think the majority of our business is in the area,” Tyler says. But he, like many, believe that Redding does need to embrace technology to a much greater extent if the area is to become truly prosperous.

One of the most important thing business owners need to do, he explains, is to “take their website seriously.”

“I see a lot of businesses that have a website, but their content is several years old,” he continues. “So a customer goes on there and they think, ‘Are they out of business? Do I even want to bother with this? How do I read their website on my phone?’ Businesses need to know that their customers are using the Internet. It’s not just something that kids and geeks are doing. And even if it used to be, those kids are now grown up and are their customers. So there’s a serious issue with people not taking it seriously.”

However, Tyler points out that starting to manage one’s web presence is not as difficult as many people think. “I know people get overwhelmed and think ‘Oh no, I have to keep up with my Facebook and my Twitter and my Instagram.’ It feels overwhelming. But for most small businesses, if they consistently monitored their Yelp page, their Facebook page, and their website, they would be on top of it. There are a lot of other things they could be listed on, especially if they’ve done work with an SEO company. But those three, if they keep on top of those, they’ll be looking a lot better than most of the businesses in town.”

How change comes to Redding

Tyler does see an encouraging trend emerge as more businesses begin to take the steps he describes. Yet the businesses that are succeeding online tend to be new to town. “From the Hearth, Savory Spoon, California Street Shop and a few other ones,” he recalls. “They’re fairly new businesses in town, and those are the ones I see taking this seriously.”

“But there’s an old guard,” he says, “who have the perception that people have been using the Yellow Pages to find them for years, and so they think, ‘why can’t I just keep using the Yellow Pages?” And that’s all right for now, because they have an established clientele. But I see the newer businesses being able to edge their way in, because they’re taking advantage of the Internet.”

Several months ago, Pacific Sky put on a get-your-business-online-workshop, which Tyler thought was rather successful. He also praises the work of Cloud Wise Academy, which is dedicated to educating businesses about the changing technological landscape. “Change in Redding really comes down to individual and group education, where someone does something like read this article,” says Tyler. “Or they go to a seminar or take web development courses.”

But he cautions that for all their efforts to educate businesses, companies like Pacific Sky and Cloud Wise Academy cannot simply drag Redding kicking and screaming into the technological light. “I don’t think you can convince someone who doesn’t want to do it,” he says. “They’re just going to have to see the benefit of it.”

“We’re more than happy to help present people online and in print,” he says, “and that’s great. We’re more than happy to provide technology tips for businesses. But it’s more expensive to hire someone to do something. While we love more business, and we love getting people online, having a real person interacting with other real people online is one of the most valuable things a business can do. For instance, having someone updating the Facebook feed, or having someone responding to comments. Without a real person putting energy into it, sites decay.”

“You can pay someone to make you look good for a while, but in the end you just have to expend your energy or your employees’ energy to keep your online presence relevant and vibrant.”

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