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WCU students teach business owners to use social media

When John Miele, co-owner of the Golden Carp, left a social media class recently taught by Western Carolina University students, his Dillsboro business had a new home. Now, visitors can find information such as the store’s hours and location on its official Web site, as well as subscribe to the Golden Carp’s news and updates by becoming a “fan” of the business’s Facebook page.

“I wanted to know what Facebook was all about and how to properly use the media of the moment,” said Miele.

The social media class at WCU was held as part of the Dillsboro-Western Carolina University partnership effort to support community revitalization. At the class, WCU public relations students Lauren Gray, Garrett Richardson and Ashley Funderburk led business owners step-by-step in how to use Facebook pages.

Participants learned to upload photos and business information, create events, set privacy controls and post status updates. In addition, they discussed tools such as email and Twitter, and the effectiveness of using social media tools for marketing.

Miele said it is important for the Golden Carp to have an online presence. He noted that about 75 percent of customers of the 20-year-old business, which specializes in accessories for the home, fine art and unique gifts, are tourists, and many conduct online research when they plan their trips.

In the week after the class, the town of Dillsboro’s fan page on Facebook increased by 63 fans and experienced nearly triple the activity and visits to the page. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.227.3804.

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