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Closely is one of 65 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.

If you’re a small business, it can be a challenge to figure out the best way to take advantage of social networking services like Facebook and Twitter. A startup called Closely wants to help.

In this case, the Denver, Colo. company is launching an invite-only beta test of Closely Business Edition. Of course, there’s no shortage of social media and marketing services for businesses, such as CloudProfile and CoTweet. But founder and chief executive Perry Evans said Closely’s combination of social, real-time, and group offer features should make a particularly compelling package.

For example, with Closely a bakery could decide that it wants to offer a “buy one, get one free” deal for a day, so it creates a page advertising the deal with a special code, as well as a countdown timer showing how long until the offer is over. It could also include a group code, so that customers get something else for free if they bring a couple of friends.

Then the business schedules the page to publish once the special deal begins, and it would be shared on Facebook and Twitter, perhaps with a schedule of periodic reminder posts. The bakery could monitor real-time data on how many clicks, Facebook shares, and retweets they’re going through the Closely dashboard.

It sounds like Evans has more features and products planned. You can read about his vision for the company in this blog post published last week. Closely said its full product launch will come this summer.

The company is angel-funded for less than $1 million.


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