CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Small business owners in West Virginia are learning how to better expand their reach on social media platforms after being impacted by more than two years by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Meta Boost training event was held at the Clay Center in Charleston Tuesday. Meta is formerly known as Facebook.
Jill Scarbro, CEO of Bright Futures Learning Services in Putnam County, told MetroNews the pandemic has changed the way they communicate with the public.
“We really use all the social media to promote our services, our events and fundraisers, so we’re happy Meta is here to help us learn how to do it better,” she said.
Bright Futures provides applied behavior analysis therapy for children with autism. Scarbro said less than 10 percent of kids in West Virginia have autism, so they’re always looking for additional resources to develop tools to recruit more staff.
“That’s the biggest reason we have a wait list for services — trying to find workforce,” she said.
Scarbro said it’s not as simple as hiring a social media manager. She said it’s an all-hands-on-deck approach when it comes to creating meaningful online content.
“In a small business world, you wear every hat. It would be great to have somebody specialized, but it’s a small team so everybody has to know how to do a little bit of everything,” she said.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke to reporters at Tuesday’s event. She said the effort to train small businesses to have a more effective online presence goes hand-in-hand with her push to provide broadband access statewide.
“I’ve been very passionate about ‘Capito Connect‘ that’s getting the digital divide closed and internet to every last business and individuals,” Capito said. “With the infrastructure package that we passed, we’re going to get a lot of money and we’re going to go a long way toward that.”
West Virginia Chamber of Commerce members can be found in every county and every region of West Virginia. Those members collectively employ half of the state’s workforce, according to spokesperson Kaylin Jorge.
“About 95 percent of our members are small businesses. They are in every county in West Virginia, so this is huge for us to be here,” Jorge said.
Jorge said a lot of small business owners are looking to improve their digital footprint, but don’t know where to start.
“Now, everyone has to be a content creator, everyone needs a Facebook and Instagram page and know how to make their own ads. They’ve really had to adapt,” she said.
More than 146,000 small businesses are in West Virginia.