The Unwitting Entrepreneur

Information and Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs

We’re excited to feature an article today from our guest blogger Nicole Duhoski, founder of VineSprout, a social media strategy and public relations firm based in Chicago. Read on for her insightful and eye-opening piece on what you can do right now to raise the profile of your business or organization.


How to Promote Your Startup Using Social Media

5 Steps to Build Your Brand

Before your set up any social media accounts, ask yourself, who is your audience?  Consider the demographics of your customers and potential customers and determine where they spend their time online. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be everywhere. Create a presence on 1-2 networks at a time and focus on providing value there.

1. Reach out to all friends, family and contacts. Tell everyone you know what you’re up to and ask them to keep you in mind if and when they (or their contacts) are looking for the type of service or product that you provide. Include your concise 30-second elevator pitch that even your Grandma would understand. When people know exactly how to describe your company, they are more likely to refer you to their network.  Point them to your website, ask them to like your page, or follow you on Twitter.

2. Start a Facebook page for your business. This is an easy way to grow your brand and get your name out there. Once you’ve obtained 25 “Likes,” you can create a vanity URL. So instead of you can have a much cleaner, more marketing friendly URL:

3. Keep the social in social media. Have a personality, be a real person, connect, interact. Do not push your brand 100% of the time. When you’re first starting out and developing a new community, you might feel like you’re doing a lot of talking, but nobody is listening. This is ok. Continue to provide content and value, and eventually, they will come. Once they are there, be sure to recognize them and participate in their conversations. Respond to all questions, compliments, feedback and complaints.

4. Set up Google alerts for your name, company name, products, key words that relate to your company, product and competition. This takes very little time, but allows you to monitor what people are saying about your brand, competitors, trends within your industry, and potential leads for your business.

5. Do you have a storefront? If so, you must set up a Foursquare account. Promote this at your place of business with a Foursquare sticker in the window and a special discount for all those who check-in. Whenever a customer checks-in, offer them a free cup of coffee or 10% off their purchase. And the most important fact to realize here is that most Foursquare users have their accounts tethered to Facebook and/or Twitter. So when they check-in at your establishment, they are telling hundreds of potential customers where they are and what they are doing.

If you’d like to learn more, check out ‘Social Media for Business,’ the online training webinar series for business professionals from Instant E-Training. This 5-week course is taught by 12 social media experts and begins on May 25. Early bird price of $299 ends on May 13.


Nicole Duhoski

Co-Founder, VineSprout, Inc.


bdg2011 On May - 13 - 2011

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