With Facebook users topping 350 million people and Twitter increasing by 1700% in 2009, social media is no longer a “phase”, but a new way of doing business that will stay. The majority of large companies and executives are now embracing these tools as mainstream, but only about 20% of small businesses are incorporating them into their current business practices.

Why? Because these new tools not only require a learning curve, but they also require staff and/or consultants who can help set everything up. With tight budgets and small staff, how do small businesses adopt these new tools? Here are just 5 simple ways to get started:

1. If you have a local college near you, call the Marketing department and find out if they have any “interns” available. Most college students are already using these tools, so it is a simple switch.
2. Contact your local SBDC or Chamber and find out if they are offering any classes or seminars on these subjects. MTECH has spoken at a number of Chamber and SBDC sessions in Pagosa Springs, Durango and Cortez and these sessions break down “next steps” into small pieces for the individual business owner.
3. Start with One Social Media Channel. Create a WordPress blog. Set up a Facebook page for business. Upload a video in YouTube. Don’t feel you need to master the entire world…just start small and get comfortable with it.
4. Survey your staff and find out if anyone is interested in pursuing this as an extra job. You might be surprised by the talent you already have on staff!
5. Talk with your web designer and find out what he/she knows about social media and how to integrate it into your overall web strategy.

These are just a few first steps that can get you started. Break them down into baby steps, take a breath and just move a little forward!