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  • Social media tips for entrepreneurs and startups

    Marketing via social media can be a valuable tool for small and large businesses alike.

    Twitter can be a great social media tool for startups.Consistent online exposure, elevated levels of website traffic, increased brand awareness, and direct customer feedback and service are a few of the benefits an effective social media strategy can give a business.

    Here are a few social media tips for fledging businesses.

    1. Create a plan.
      Many small-business owners believe utilizing social media means creating a new account and sharing a few updates. That's not necessarily the right tactic to take. Creating a social media account is just the start. Owners must take time each day to water that seed - putting out updates, photos, videos of the business - in order to gain any sort of traction or grow.

      Many users start strong but fall fast when they don't see immediate results. Sticking to a long term plan will help you, your business and your social media account grow.

      But what specifically do you want to measure? Are you looking for 20 new followers per month? Are you hoping to spread the word about new promotions or looking to get 50 new visitors to your company's website each month? These are just a few examples of specific goals to take, and it's important to establish these when you create your social media plan.

    2. Don't take on more than you can chew.
      Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are just the tip of the iceberg, so it can be difficult to navigate the crowded social media landscape. It's important, though, that you start with one or two social media outlets before taking them all on. Each channel takes time to build into a reliable feed, and starting too many channels at once will spread your time thin, not allowing you to focus on one before it takes off.

      If you are a business owner, look to effectively engage customers on a channel or two before opening more social media accounts. Discover who your customers are. You should take the time to set up customized alerts for terms that are relevant to your line of business, your customers and progressive influences. You can even keep tabs on the competition to see what may or may not be working for them.

      It's vital to create custom searches on social networks by using keywords. The more a business can listen and respond to growing trends, the easier it becomes to serve their customers through a social media connection.

    3. Captivate your customers.
      When first starting out, look to connect with a few customers. You can do so by promoting a customer's update or sharing what they say on social media This helps promote consumer interaction, which can lead to better customer satisfaction and higher sales.

      It also keeps your business on the mind of not only those you are interacting with, but other people that connect with those consumers through social media.

      Asking questions is another great way to captivate customers. The percentage of responses typically go up when a business asks a question in their updates.

    4. Look into oGoing.
      A small-business social network that promotes entrepreneurs and startups, oGoing allows small businesses to connect with customers and other small businesses easily. Users receive a profile on which they can share real-time updates about their business. It's also free to join.

      "oGoing is helping many small businesses build their social media presence, promote and share their products and services, generate warm leads and attract new customers," said Sanjay Dalal, founder and CEO of oGoing. "Social media is not a one shot approach though, and it takes patience, persistence and passion to realize some of these benefits."