You named your small business, you set up a Web site, and you even started seeing profits from it. What's next? You could set up a profile page on a social networking site, such as Facebook or Myspace. And/or you may want to head to Twitter, the member-based site that boasts of allowing you to virtually shout your company's message from a technological rooftop.
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Every week, Fox Small Business Center will highlight companies that are making their brand known through social media. As small businesses, you are on the frontlines of re-starting our economy, and we want your voice to be heard.
You can't start a fire without a spark, and you can't start a small business without an idea. But transforming that idea into a lucrative business can be daunting.
The litany of tasks and procedures that are required to keep a business running is eye glazing. But there’s help out there in the virtual world for entrepreneurs working on a shoestring budget.
Check out these companies who can help turn the business of your dreams into reality.
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Founded in 1998, MyCorporation offers annual document filings and services to small businesses. The company has more than 500,000 customers, with most of its clients coming from mom-and-pop Web-based businesses. The company also works with frozen yogurt giant Pinkberry.
The company places a heavy emphasis on customer interaction. In addition to maintaining a Facebook and Twitter account where it posts tips for small businesses, MyCorporation also has a newsletter, blog and an interactive Q&A tool. The site features entrepreneurs on its homepage to share success stories and great customer services stories to inspire others.
The traditional office is not the right setting for every small business. With this in mind, Bill Grodnik founded Davinci Virtual Office Solutions in January 2006 -- a company that provides virtual office solutions and services including digital voicemail, electronic fax, virtual assistants and receptionist services.
The company currently supports more than 8,000 business clients across a variety of industries including legal, financial, high technology, medical and media. Grodnik credits much of the company’s growth to social media since it allows him to communicate directly with small-business owners to help define strategies that directly meet to their needs.
Twitter specifically has proven helpful in expanding the company’s clientele by making it easy to track small-business news and to drive traffic to Davinc’s blog, which offers tools, services and tips for small-business owners.
After years of working in the fashion industry, Sheena Repath grew tired of seeing peoples’ business ideas being taken advantage of and she decided to do something about it. Repath founded Ideal Samples to offer aspiring entrepreneurs guidance on how to make their big idea into a reality.
Ideal Samples uses social media to guide and educate people on the process of bringing an idea to the market. Repath says social media attracts the most driven entrepreneurs who are committed to seeing their idea through until the end.
Frustrated by what they saw as a lack of reliable small business accounting software, Kevin Reeth and Ben Curren launched Outright in summer 2008.
The online accounting company helps small business owners capture all of their business deductions and pay the right taxes.
Social media has proven a valuable tool in connecting with the online small business community. Reeth says the company uses social media in two ways: to carry conversations with customers and to help get the word out about things going on with the company.
Outright also uses social media to share news about small businesses and share clients’ success stories. "We tend to profile customers on our blog, re-tweet their messages and generally share useful tips and inspirational stories. In many cases, that helps drive awareness for those businesses."
Founder and CEO Mike Mothner started his company Wpromote with a simple mission: to help new Web sites get picked up by search engines.
The entrepreneurial bug bit Mothner at a young age, but every time he'd create a Web site, he always found himself wondering, "How do I get this on the search engines?" As result, he created Wpromote, which started out as a simple subscription service that submitted customers' Web sites each month to several hundred search engines. Over time, Wpromote developed into a full-service online marketing suite, including paid search, search engine optimization, online media buying, social media and conversion optimization services.
Today, Wpromote has thousands of small business clients, including household brands TOMS shoes, Wine.com and Perflow.com.
Mothner says social media is one of the company’s most exciting and fastest growing services. But, he cautions that social media is like a small business -- it is not just the size of your following, but how relevant your updates are to your followers.