If you have a business, you need to be online. It doesn’t matter what your business is. Even if you’re a hairdresser or a plumber or a manicurist and none of your revenue comes directly from e-commerce, your clients are still going to expect to find information about you online.

And if you’re looking for new clients, no matter how much you might think Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter are nothing but time-sucking distractions for idiots, you have to accept that most of us today are those idiots. You either have to understand how social media marketing works, or hire someone who does. “That’s life” today also means “That’s life online.”

One of Peter’s lunch guests on this edition of Out to Lunch is an expert at getting you online. His other guest is an expert at getting you noticed online.

Steven Ellis from Bellwether Technology, your antivirus program isn't nearly enough for cyber security any more

Steven Ellis from Bellwether Technology, your antivirus program isn’t nearly enough for cybersecurity any more

Steven Ellis is President of Bellwether Technology. Bellwether Technology is the largest IT company in New Orleans. They have over 60 employees, a total of 100-plus local business clients, and since the game-changing onset of the COVID-19 19 pandemic they’ve set up over 1,000 people locally to work from home.

Social media marketer Stephanie Benitez, if you're trying to reach the next generation of purchasers they're not on Facebook or Instagram

Social media marketer Stephanie Benitez, if you’re trying to reach the next generation of purchasers they’re not on Facebook or Instagram

Stephanie Benitez is founder of Stephanie Benitez Digital Marketing. Stephanie has done digital and social media marketing for brands like Warby Parker, and for local businesses as diverse as Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines, Defend New Orleans, and Mignon Faget.

Getting online, staying safe online, and getting noticed online are all essential elements to being in business and staying in business. Like most things that evolve, as the internet continues to grow, the more complex life online becomes. Maybe eventually Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will replace us all. But until that day arrives, the increasingly specialized skills we need to have a business presence online is going to increasingly require specialists, like Steven and Stephanie.

Steven Ellis, Peter Ricchiuti and Stephanie Benitez Out to Lunch

Steven Ellis, Peter Ricchiuti and Stephanie Benitez Out to socially distanced Lunch

Photos by Jill Lafleur. Here’s more local lunchtime tech talk about local innovations including a Covid warning system.

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