Polaris Global reports: Young entrepreneurs making the most of Social Media

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2010-07-27

Technology is still a hot favorite for entrepreneurs: more than half the finalists for Businessweek’s Young Entrepreneur started Web-based/online social media companies. One of the finalists, Derek Johnson of Bellingham-based Tatango, saw an opportunity in keeping groups connected through text messaging. Tatango is permission-based, spam-free and cost-free to consumers. It doesn't require any special phone and users don’t have to download any software to use the service.

The original idea was to connect groups with their members via mobile phones. For example, you can send one text message to every member’s phone – a perfect way to send invitations, reminders or notices of group meetings.

When he launched the company in 2007, it was free. This year the company started charging a monthly fee and reached profitability one month ahead of schedule. Over 1,000 groups are registered in the plan with almost half a million users. 25 million text messages have been sent to a wide variety of groups, including college clubs, religious organizations, non-profit associations, athletic teams and businesses.

Johnson always had a big entrepreneurial bug – he had several companies prior to Tatango. He started this venture while in College, took one semester off to see if it was a worthwhile business and it took off. He dropped out of school to concentrate on the business. Tatango now has six employees on staff, including two developers and one designer.

Not satisfied with this successful online business Johnson now has another venture called Derek Media, which helps businesses start and maintain their social media presence. He started the company earlier this year after receiving numerous questions from members of the business sector, who either didn't have time or didn't know how to get going on Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Derek Media is already starting to draw interest from national clients.

For any company strengthening its bond with customers is imperative, whether it's by telling the company's story or handling feedback by direct interaction. Although it seems hard to quantify the results of social media marketing, companies report a marked jump in sales when social media is combined with conventional marketing. These results are backed by research, such as the Engagementdb study from the Wetpaint/Altimeter Group, which found that the corporations most engaged in social media had the best financial results over the last year.

That might explain why so many of the Young Entrepreneur finalists started Web based/online social media companies, and why the business world is changing at such a rapid pace.

Tags: Polaris Global, Polaris Global review, Young Entrepreneur, entrepreneur

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