Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone Social Media Expert Offers SM Business Tips during Social Media Week

Newswise — Social Media Week begins February 7 in New York, San Francisco, Rome, Paris, São Paulo, London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Toronto. To mark the occasion, Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) issues a reminder that social media is no longer just about being social. It’s a key strategy for any business and especially for entrepreneurs and startups.

The DMZ’s resident social media expert, DMZ advisor, CoFounder and CEO of TeamSave, Chris Nguyen says: “Social media may have become popular as a frivolous time-waster, but today it is a legitimate business tool. For start-up companies with limited budget and resources, it can be an invaluable – and cost-effective – tool to extend reach, create a rapport with customers and build business. Leveraging the technology to its full potential can really generate positive returns.” Nguyen offers startups these tips on using social media to build a small business:

1. Start by creating a Facebook and Twitter pageThese two social media heavyweights are free and easy to turn into marketing tools, connecting you with your target market and building relationships with your customers. Facebook now has 500 million users, giving you a huge potential customer base to market to, and Twitter allows you to quickly interact with all your followers. Measure your impact using Facebook Insight, a free tool that allows you to track the traffic on your page and break it down by location, gender, age, etc.

2. Content is kingThe saying: “If you build it, they will come” no longer holds true. They may come, but they won’t come back unless you keep it fresh. You need to constantly update your social media pages with content, whether it’s company news, industry information, pictures or comments. Make your social media profiles and pages consumer destinations, offering them content that is interesting and useful to them, not just content that pushes your own agenda.

3. More followers lead to more followers lead to more customersEncourage your existing customers to follow your social media profiles. Once they’re followers you’re exposed to their social networks and your potential customer base expands exponentially. With your outstanding content, you should be able to reel in these new potential “friends” easily. Get your existing customers on board by making following you easy and attractive: put connect buttons prominently on your website and offer incentives for signing up.

4. Refresh the promotions in your marketing mixTake the old concept of using price incentives to attract new customers and give it an updated spin. Social media provides numerous opportunities for promotions. Try group buying sites like TeamSave to offer deep discounts to a vast pool of new customers. Try the ‘specials’ function on FourSquare, as well as special offers and contests on Facebook and Twitter. Creating a social media calendar for holidays, awareness days and seasonal occasions can help you match them to both promotion ideas and content.

5. Follow and engage with your peersSeek advice and get ideas from other entrepreneurs by engaging with entrepreneur networking sites like Sprouter.com. Follow other businesses to see what they’re doing and interact with them. Retweet their comments, link to their blogs, etc. You could build potential partnerships while also increasing your exposure.

Social Media Week is a multi-city global conference to encourage and discuss the latest trends in social media and mobile. Chris Nguyen will be speaking at SMW’s The Group Buying Game, February 8 at 2 p.m.


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