Establishing a small business means that it some similar parallels, your institution will have to contend with other businesses across a multitude of market points. Competition will be stiff, rival entrepreneurs will always try to pull off outrageous stunts and tongue-in-cheek publicities just for them to stay within the game.

According to the Small Business Association (SBA), small businesses have provided the USA with impressive employment numbers
that covered 55% of all jobs in the country. This figure is projected to rise in years, and it’s no surprise why people are starting to ponder of starting a small business themselves for personal financial security and of course, sustainable employment in their territories.

Starting a small business is a challenging pursuit that does cultivate rewarding results even if the idea originated from something bold or unique. There’s a lot of process and brainstorming involved and if your business doesn’t, in any form, accelerate the needs of a growing, dynamic community, failure should be waiting outside of your doorsteps.

I’m a firm believer of inspiration. Ideas are born from something inspiring and motivating, and it is through motivation that successful brands are built. Inspiration sends a mind-pulsing jolt that makes us even more determined to try our best even though failure is just within a fingertip’s reach. Likewise, it is by personal belief that I think inspiration plays a global role in the foundation of small businesses that are taking it seriously against their larger, more profitable counterparts.

This inspiring tale of Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake of Shopify tells the frustrating side of a software with limited funding from families and investors then suddenly transform it into a sought after E-commerce solution for online merchants:

It was a rough start: The co-founders went without salaries for nearly two years, and shortly after launch, Lake departed. “It took a while and the beginning was slow, but then people started realizing we had a good product,” says CEO Lütke. The slow start now seems like ancient history. More than 21,000 storefronts are powered by Shopify, selling merchandise from loads of small business owners as well as big names like Angry Birds, the Foo Fighter and 50 Cent. Shopify stores sold $124 million in products in 2010, and Lütke says figures reached $275 million last year.”

– This part of the interview was taken from Entrepreneurs’s startups, spring 2012 issue 

Lütke’s entrepreneurial story sounds and looks like a shot taken straight from Hollywood: guy launches product, product fails to produce revenues to regenerate funds, product gets back on its feet shortly afterwards and finally, it penetrates public consciousness. There are a lot of entrepreneurs out there with the same inspiring story that never headlined traditional print resources, and it doesn’t make sense because entrepreneurship builds and fastens economies together.

Converting Inspiration into Profits: Social Media Is Free, By The Way

The selling point of Lütke’s interview is how said that Shopify has materialized into a good product. A good product means it’s innovative and intuitive. I’m not going to pick apart Shopify’s individuals features but after watching a video demonstration of it, the E-commerce platform is indeed a valuable, stand-out software that online sellers can sink their teeth into.

Now that you have inspiration circulating around your brain and executed it, it’s time launch the second phase of your plan: Use social media to let people locate your business. Social media networks are trying to overshadow the importance of costly websites since you can brand your business efficiently with a Facebook page, announce events with a Tweet delivered to all your respective followers, and collaborate professionally with other entrepreneurs with Linkedin.

Social media is also influencing the stale relevance of search engine optimization (SEO) in nailing an impenetrable presence throughout major search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. According to gShift Labs, the lines between social media and SEO continue to thin, social media will gain importance to SEO.

Lütke’s programming skill and assertiveness championed Shopify to succeed. He may not tapped into social media in promoting his product, but the level of engagement you’ll be giving your prospects will be reminiscent of Shopify’s dominating performance in the E-commerce taxonomy.

1. Build interaction and genuine relationships on Facebook – Facebook has undergone a metamorphosis that a few users may find manipulative. Status updates ranging from images to uploaded videos don’t appear completely in the profile page, and instead gets categorized by month. Nonetheless, the Facebook Timeline design is quite appealing and advantageous for businesses looking for more branding strength and audience leverage.

Design a Facebook page that intelligently blends together personal branding and natural engagement through resources and links that are relevant to your business. Create a timeline header that displays your business in the most creative fashion and never forget to set your business logo as your fan page’s primary photo. Finally, engage your fans with resources that talk more about your business; tickle them with a comic strip, spark discussions with a controversial blog post from an authority of the subject, broadcast giveaways, and always insert a personal touch into the approach. Solicit responses from your fans with trivia or mind-teasing questions If I were a businessman, what color will I choose when shopping for an attaché case?

2. Use Twitter in delivering snappy promotions and announcements that might make into the list of Trending topics – Twitter remains popular because of its most notable tagging feature of making someone or something Trend for a day. It’s also useful in sending short proclamations that your business is up to something interactive or beyond that. Digital strategists consider Trending topics as social media’s pot of gold because it shows the interaction shown by a collective of users into a single word or group of linked together phrases.

Trend your business with a mind-blowing Tweet, and make sure you have followers that actually engage and pro-actively re-tweet something they find absolutely useful or valuable – craft rewarding Tweets that will spur your audience to enter the conversation funnel, or announce something of great importance.

3. Engineer a social media wheel that taps into a heterogeneous audience demographics – Don’t stop with Facebook or Twitter. Escalate engagement by maintaining different accounts in social media networks like Pinterest and Tagged. Intensify your social media campaign by maintaining consistent engagement with users who think that both Facebook or Twitter are over-rated pieces of Internet smudge. Exploring the vast wilderness of social media is a must if your business wants to compete with conglomerates with irremovable footprints on other social media trademarks.

The Social Media Campaign Failed? Alternatives, Alternatives…

Here are some alternatives that you can consider when you think the social media campaign isn’t performing well as expected.

  • Join contests and promotions geared in helping businesses achieve more – Abandoning social networks after a month or so of concentrated engagement is foolish. While you’re away promoting your business on Facebook or Twitter, look for other (risky) opportunities that are worth a shot. Microsoft usually provides special offers related to helping small businesses empower and upgrade their IT infrastructure. Tap into global corporations allocating the same level of assistance, and you may find your business clicking on all cylinders in terms of growth and financial stability.