Leveraging social media for your startup or small business

The powerful online tools now available for promoting your enterprise and creating awareness of your brand have become indispensable. 

Your website is the world’s window to your business. If you operate a local store or shop, by using social media, your customers and friends can keep in touch with you as your business progresses. If you intend to create an internet-based business, your visibility is largely through social media. Either way, if you’re not using social media to attract and bond with new customers and create brand awareness, you’re leaving money and the possible survival of your business on the table.

Blogs, press releases and white papers

…are useful for generating awareness and traffic. Once set up, non-technical people can easily communicate the latest information in their field and discuss new products or services. Become an expert and communicate your knowledge. Blog posts can take the form of white papers and press releases, drawings, photographs, opinions and gossip. Knowing your target market, adjust information/entertainment ratios accordingly.

Press releases and white papers can be a way to reach out to general readers who will often link back to your site and refer others.

Blogposts are often more fully developed than other social media, which have a different function -to refer and attract.

Friends and followers

Twitter and Facebook are the current default starting points in a social media environment that is always in flux. The basic principal is to refer the reader to your website, your physical location, to learn more, to make loyal friends, to be shared, to join in your conversation and ultimately to make transactions.

Twitter is a sharing and referral medium writ small. To develop a following, follow others. Do searches for topics and interests as reflected in others’ twitter themes, then follow. Many of them will follow you back, and their followers are potentially yours too. Over weeks and months, watch it grow. Experiment with your twitter communiques.

Facebook starts with your existing friends and supporters and grows from there as they are willing to share what you’re saying and showing. Invite friends of friends at a judicious rate and build up a community.

LinkedIn is a good b2b site to share your business-related information through discussion groups and to look for alliances and clients, partners and employees.

Email Give your followers the opportunity to sign-up for newsletters and offers and news bulletins. Build this up and keep in touch.

Virtual doesn’t mean empty. Social media creates seemingly limitless levels of outreach. To use it successfully you’ll have to have a great answer to the question; outreach for what? Creating fans begins and ends with the great experiences and ideas that inspire people to move forward, or come back for more. If you’re not investing time in social media marketing, your business is an island, and no successful enterprise of the coming era -bait shops to governments- can be social media-isolated.

Funding RoadmapTM is an innovative, networked business planning and due diligence reporting system for funding professionals and entrepreneurs alike. It also includes a video pitching platform, a document repository and deal flow marketplace so entrepreneurs will have an online medium to brilliantly communicate all the essential data – along with their personal passion and commitment.

Ruth. E. Hedges is the creator and CEO of Fundingroadmap.com. and Startups Across America. She has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC’s Home Show, and the Financial News Network did a two-part series on her for their show entitled ‘American Entrepreneur’.

For more information please visit http://fundingroadmap.com and http://www.startupsacrossamerica.com/SAA/