For baby boomers and retirees who want to invest in a small business after they exit the corporate arena, it is necessary to address the advantages of using technology and the benefits of social media to aid in your business success.

Those caught between the old way of doing business – and the new advances in technology for businesses today, are tempted to shy away from continuing their “computer education” much to their detriment for starting a small business.

One good example is Social Media. Social media lends itself in a very big way to promoting small businesses. It provides self-marketing in a way that no prior techniques could take advantage of, and in most cases with no upfront financial outlay.

Communities are created by online users, and they share valuable content, including messages, updates, pictures, ideas, video’s, business tips, mail, and personal information about how they run their businesses. Even beyond the community, the links that are shared, websites, and the network of people such as on Facebook or Linked In, have proven valuable to any startup business.

Expensive flyers, TV Advertising dollars, billboards, radio ads, newspaper’s ads have all bought into much of their marketing tactics by using social media. Competition is even better because the open communication of social media allow ideas to be shared and expanded upon – in contrast to the “secrets” of yesterday’s competitors.

Social Media is also used as a testing ground for products and services; it encourages comments on the viability use of the product.

There are tools to record the impact of social media for your company. It includes software to monitor your chats for several social media outlets like Facebook, Google’s talk, Google Analytics, Yahoo chats, MSN chats, etc. Used on Facebook, for example, it would monitor how many “like” clicks you received, track the comments and feedback, and with Twitter, track how many times the tweets you send out, records just how your audience responds to you.

You can also have your own “FAN” page on Facebook, and this is for the public not just for friends. You can link all the social media sites together using Hoot Suite, or Tweet Deck, to automate your dashboard – meaning you only use one site to get your chat out to all social media sites like Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook. While you are at it, set a goal as to how many traffic hits you get on your site to increase your awareness for your business.

Finally, monitor, monitor, and monitor all your social media sites. Alternatively, you can hire or contract employees just for this purpose. Today, it is essential to provide Social Media Marketing so your business can benefit from all the “free” advertising, comments, and popularity of your “Like.”