Pictured: Kevin Poulin, Kelsey Roach and Chris Bowman stand outside of their downtown Welland office.
They’re creative, web-savvy, and they never underestimate the power of social media.
Meet NC grads Chris Bowman and Kelsey Roach, and Kevin Poulin – three NC grads leading the way when it comes to marketing through websites and social media. Through their company vxfusion, they help clients keep up with ever-changing technologies and trends to establish an effective internet presence that has become essential in today’s world.
All three founders of the company are NC grads who met while working for the College’s Niagara Research department. Twenty-six-year-old Bowman graduated from the College’s New Media and Web Design program in 2009 and still works in web design and development for Niagara Research part-time in addition to his role as creative director at vxfusion. Kelsey Roach, who is the company’s lead developer, graduated from the College’s New Media program in 2008 and Computer Programming in 2009. President and technical lead Kevin Poulin, 33, comes to the company with several NC diplomas including Computer Programming, Computer Network Operations, and Network Specialist. He worked as a systems administrator for Niagara Research for six years.
They decided to join forces and launch vxfusion in January 2009.
Vxfusion’s specialty is digital brand storytelling. The NC grads create custom websites, web and mobile apps, marketing and social media plans, and brochures and email campaigns for their clients. In just a few years, they’ve clicked and scrolled their way to an expanding client base which includes companies and businesses of all sizes – those with international franchises and local mom-and-pop shops alike – from the Niagara region to Toronto and beyond.
Businesses struggling to find the time to keep up with ever-changing technologies and trends turn to vxfusion’s experts who offer solutions tailored to meet their needs and budget.
Social media tips
Many clients they encounter don’t know much about social media at all.
“Many people come to us because they know they need a website and that they should be using social media but they don’t know how,” says Bowman. “I’ve even been asked how they can access Facebook. One client asked ‘is it Facebook.com?”
Of those who are already using social media, Bowman finds that they are not using it effectively. It’s all about engagement, he says, not how many ‘likes’ a company has.
“Social media is a huge communication tool and people who are going to be engaged will be brand ambassadors or customers for our clients,” he says.
Treating social media as a purely promotional too is a definite faux pas which Bowman likens to someone standing on a podium at a networking event and shouting repeatedly that they have a sale while everyone else is trying to have a conversation.
“People are going to tune you out,” he says.
Instead, he advises implementing the 20-80 rule when it comes to a company’s social media postings.
“Twenty percent should be about your business, and 80% should be about other things, such as what’s happening in your industry or engaging other people.”
Another mistake: Treating social media as a billboard or an advertisement, instead of two-way communication.
“Only about 5% of businesses get back to people on Facebook and actually engage in two-way conversation, which is ridiculously low,” says Bowman. “Imagine a business not answering 95% of its phone calls.”
Some business owners also use their personal social media profiles for business which Bowman advises his clients against. He recommends that businesses owners establish separate business pages and profiles.
Looking back to NC
With business in full swing, and the addition of another staff member Melinda Sawyer – who just graduated from the college’s New Media program in June – they are grateful to NC where they learned everything they needed to know to launch their careers.
“The education we received at NC was extremely valuable because it was so hands-on,” says Roach, who notes they were able to gain real-world training through their work with Niagara Research as well as make connections with programmers and industry partners along the way.
“Our professors were really great and they’ve been a big help to us,” he says.
Bowman and Roach take great pride in creating quality websites that reflect the nature of the companies and their goals, while making them stand out from their competitors. They enjoy the artistic freedom they have, as well as the personal and professional growth that comes from having their own company.
For them, the most rewarding part of their job is the excitement building around the launch of a new site, and hearing feedback from their clients.
“It’s all about our passion for the work and shooting for quality,” says Bowman. “There are too many cookie cutters out there. We create custom designs and solutions that will really help our clients.”
While they have only been in business for a few years, they have already achieved success and recognition in the community, as winners of the TD Canada Trust Small Business Award in March 2010 Business of the Month by the Welland/Pelham Chamber of commerce in September 2011.
For more info on the company visit vxfusion.com.