Modern marketing techniques need to encompass the latest technology in order to provide competitive service in virtually every industry. That means that social media networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and others need to be an integral part of the way that start-ups reach out to their potential customers.

Marketing budgets are often tight for start-up firms. This doesn't necessarily put great social media marketing out of reach; you just need to approach your promotional efforts in this arena with a little bit of wisdom.

Get off to a good start with our six essential tips for start-up social media marketing:

1) Define Your Goals

Your promotional activities all need to have a goal, and that goal needs to be defined as clearly as possible. Are you looking to social media to foster greater brand awareness, or are you trying to generate new leads? Do you want to reach out to new customers or strengthen ties with existing ones? You can work on multiple goals in these areas simultaneously, but you need to prioritize them and have ways to measure your progress toward them.

2) Commit Your Strategy To Paper

Effective marketing isn't just a matter of "going with the flow" or making decisions instinctively. Posting the occasional update to Twitter or Facebook as the mood strikes you isn't a viable strategy. You need to have a plan available to refer back to when there are choices to make.

According to Rose Roberts, one of the social media marketing specialists at, a clarified strategy is absolutely essential. After setting goals, you need to lay out a step-by-step plan for achieving them. Rose's personal advice is to foster direct, informal interaction with the people you encounter through social media. Freedom of expression is especially important on social media channels. Your particular niche doesn't really matter; the people you interact with will appreciate direct and clear responses from you.

3) Find The Perfect Platform

Your social media marketing needs to be where your customers are. If you're promoting a yoga resort, for instance, the most fertile opportunities for social media marketing will be found on Tumblr and Instagram. If your business is more in the B2B line, though, a strong LinkedIn presence will be invaluable. If you're seeking a younger audience, using Snapchat is likely a good idea.

Without a little research, it can be difficult to determine which social media platforms are right for your start up. Invest the necessary work to learn more about your audience before launching your campaigns. Track your ideal customers and find out which communities they're most active in.

4) Foster More Engagement

There are a lot of business owners - and even professional marketers - who get frustrated with social media marketing because they overlook one of the core attributes of the medium: It's designed for interaction, not one-way communication. It's not about dictating a message to a passive audience but engaging in a real exchange of ideas.

One good way to get more engagement with your account is to use a tool for likes such as Instamacro or Botsify. These can help automate the process.

The best social media campaigns involve audience interaction wherever possible. Tools like polls, quizzes, and surveys all help to get your audience engaged. As an added bonus, framing your social media efforts in a way that maximizes interaction will also allow you to gather valuable insights into what your customers really want. If you're looking for bigger numbers, consider giving away products or services through social media promotions. People do love freebies!

Bear in mind that visual content is more engaging and easier to respond to. Use images, memes, and infographics to get your point across in a more impactful way.