needium1 260x216 Needium: Helping businesses make money from Social MediaMontreal based start-up Needium, aims to help companies look for opportunities and engage potential customers within the social media space.

Small to medium sized business’ have different goals for their social media accounts, but generally speaking, people commonly want their social media accounts to do two things; monitor what people are saying about their brand and convert new customers. And Needium targets both.

Needium offers a SMB’s (small to medium sized business) a solution to manage business opportunities and talk with customers while keeping an eye on any mentions of the brand’s name.

Needium’s dashboard (web app) gives business owners a series of tools including a way to find business opportunities on social networks like Twitter. As an example, if you owned a restaurant in Toronto, you’d receive a ‘business opportunity’ when someone tweets “I’m looking for a good restaurant in Toronto”. Within the dashboard, a restaurant owner could then say something like “We’re located in Toronto and we have great food”

The dashboard looks similar to a desktop Twitter app however they claim it monitors “all social media sites individually”, we’re assuming this means multiple social media sites are streamed within their web-app.  If it does manage multiple sites, that would be one of the cooler things about this service. Aside from the opportunity finder we mentioned, within the dashboard, merchants can also have conversations with customers through Twitter.

Needium aggregates and structures that information in a Web-based dashboard where merchants can log-in to easily join conversations (and more) without having to monitor all social media sites individually

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No time to attract new customers or use the dashboard? Needium also offers a fully-managed solution. If you choose to go this route, for an additional charge, Needium will seek out opportunities to sell and will engage your customers for you.

The Needium service is currently only available in selected cities and the pricing starts at $100/month. Selected cities include; Boston, Montreal, Calgary, London (UK), San Francisco, Moncton, Austin and Paris.

Aside from services like Needium, there are tons of other “free” tools to assist companies in their social media adventures. Twitter, recently launched a new guide to help companies ensure their campaigns on Twitter are successful. And, you could potentially create your own Needium-esque dashboard by using a Twitter client such as TweetDeck. By using TweetDeck, users can add columns for searched words like “your brand name” or any key opportunity words and phrases that are relevant to your business or industry.