World of opportunities for business on web

PEOPLE thought Steve Pace was crazy when he spoke of the business opportunities within in the World Wide Web in the early 90s.

Now the CQUniversity digital media associate professor says it's more essential than ever for businesses to embrace the online world.

Queensland Small Business Week was this week, with the state-wide campaign promoting the benefits of embracing digital media, including social networking and websites.

Steve Pace CQUniversity
Steve Pace CQUniversity CQUniversity

"I can remember the time when people from state development came to the campus because they wanted to find out more about the World Wide Web," Mr Pace said.

"They wondered as I gave this demonstration if this could ever be used for business. I don't think many people realised the potential of the web for businesses in the early days. They saw it as something for academics," he said.

By the mid-90s Mr Pace said businesses started to take notice. It wasn't until the early 2000s when social media was created that Mr Pace saw a second wave of digital business change.

"That was something people didn't see coming.

"Social media completely changes the way businesses interact with their customers."

This week, Queensland Small Business used events and social media competitions to promote their digital message.

This included the #fit4change competition, where businesses uploaded photos with the hashtag to go in the running for a $10,000 prize.

Three Gladstone businesses got involved, showing their dedication to digital.

Gallery 67

Marion Hughes and renowned artist Paul Margocsy at Gallery 67. Photo: Paul Braven / The Observer
Marion Hughes and renowned artist Paul Margocsy at Gallery 67. Photo: Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

MARION Hughes has attracted artists from around Australia to Gladstone because of her presence on social media.

Using social media, like Facebook, has been a learning curve for the Gallery 67 owner, but she says it's slowly paying off.

At a recent artist workshop she had visitors from as far as Adelaide attend.

"I don't have the budget to pay for a business account and I am certainly still learning a lot of it but online is so important," Mrs Hughes said.

This week she shared a photo with the #fit4change, to enter the $10,000 prize competition.

Rod's Food

Rod Neill works seven days a week at Rod s Food Market, passionate about selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Rod Neill works seven days a week at Rod s Food Market, passionate about selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

BUSINESS owner of more than 20 years, Rod Neill hopes his online presence gives him a edge over competitors.

Mr Neill was one of the Gladstone business owners who tossed his hat in the ring for the $10,000 prize for the Queensland Small Business Week social media competition.

Mr Neill and store manager Taylah Currie share a video on the Rods Food Market Facebook page every Friday showing off the store's specials and the winner of their weekly competitions.

"We've found the videos do work well because they are getting lots of likes and shares," Ms Currie said.

D&S Supplies

Darren Humphreys D&S; Supplies
Darren Humphreys D&S; Supplies Mara Pattison-Sowden

STEEL supplier business D & S Supplies uses social media to remind their customers of its services.

This week it was one of the businesses who entered the Queensland Small Business Week #fit4change competition.

Owner Darren Humphrey said they had been on Facebook for three years.

"For us to market and push ourselves out there we use Facebook and we update it regularly," Mr Humphrey said.

"If we do go out on a job that could be a little bit different we'll take photos and share it on there," he said.

"It's also a good space for customer feedback."