ChatterJet helps small businesses maintain strong social media presence

Business owners are often told they should be using social media to help market their offerings. If they own a small company, it’s likely they’ve responded with at least one of the following statements:

“I don’t know where to start.”

“I don’t have time to do it.”

“I don’t have the budget to pay someone to do it.”

Enter ChatterJet.

By combining automated search and ranking algorithms with social media best practices, Matthew Russo and Bryce Thornton have created a service that helps businesses maintain a strong social media presence and, hopfully, drive more sales through their online efforts.

Each morning, ChatterJet delivers conversation starters, online marketing tips, industry headlines, and links to conversations taking place near a business to users via email, based on their location and the products or services they offer.

Its co-founders claim ChatterJet is the first service to allow users to post to social sites directly from their email.

ChatterJet Co-Founders Matthew Russo and Bryce Thornton

Russo says more people are spending more time on social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, so it only makes sense to allocate some marketing resources to those newer platforms.

“Just being present and active on social networks creates an opportunity to connect with a new group of potential customers, especially if you are listening for the right things,” he adds.

Prior to launching ChatterJet, Russo was the director of online marketing & social media for Columbus-based BULX.com, a role that allowed him to see firsthand the value of building an audience through social media. Over nine months, tens of thousands of members from across the country joined the site, something he says would have typically taken a massive advertising budget to accomplish.

Fittingly, Russo met Thornton through Twitter.

Thornton has experience developing several sites of his own and has been working as the data services director at Columbus-based eSchool Consultants for more than eight years. With his development expertise and Russo’s marketing and social media background, working together to create ChatterJet just seemed logical.

The duo started developing the business in September. It took months to get a functioning prototype up and running, so user tests started in January.

In the months leading up to ChatterJet’s launch on April 10, visitors from three continents and numerous industries signed up for early access to the service. As a result, Russo and Thornton were able to run a wide variety of users through the service to see how they were using it and work out any bugs, and gather feedback on what worked well and what needed improvement.

“The most interesting part was watching people use  it in ways that we never expected,” Russo says. “It’s amazing what happens when you give people access to relevant information and tools.”

Since ChatterJet’s launch had a local focus, the majority of its users are based in Ohio. However, the service has users as far east as Massachusetts and as far west as California.

“The entire goal of social media is to use technology to connect people, so we have a number of features currently in development to do just that,” Russo says. “As each feature is tested and verified, we will roll it into our existing monthly subscription.”

Currently, subscriptions are $29 a month.

“Business owners also want to see results and track their progress, so we are building a weekly report that lets users analyze their effectiveness and reach of their efforts through the service,” he says.

Though ChatterJet was built with small businesses in mind, it has become apparent to Russo and Thornton that a similar service would help brand managers handle and optimize results for their own clients, so an agency version in the pipeline.

To learn more about ChatterJet, visit ChatterJet.com.