How much time and money do small businesses spend on social media?
A new survey of almost 500 businesses, nearly all of them with 100 or fewer employees, reveals some changes in how small businesses are using social media today. Time spent on social media is up, but small businesses still struggle with finding time and people resources to use it effectively. Nearly 55% of the companies in the survey now have blogs, and 36% spend some money on software tools to help gather and publish content and for analytics. Most of the action in social media is on Facebook and Twitter, and businesses are passing over Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Experts believe they're missing great opportunities in those channels and that many more businesses could profit from using them.
Simple tricks to improve your Facebook engagement
This article and infographic features statistics and tips on customer engagement, and what works well on Facebook pages to increase it. For example, every Facebook member who "likes" your page has 34 friends who become reachable through the connection. Short posts are preferred by Facebook pictures, and people really like pictures. There's much more to be learned in this piece on socialmouths.com.
Facebook reaches 1 billion-member mark
Facebook's billionth member joined the online service in early October. As popular as it has become, it's hard to believe that Facebook was launched as recently as February 2004. This infographic rounds up the truly astonishing statistics about Facebook's growth. Some highlights: 44% of Internet users are Facebook users; 219 billion photographs have been uploaded; the "Like" button (introduced in 2009) has been hit 1.13 trillion times; and the average age of a Facebook user is 22.
Pinterest joins list of top 50 U.S. websites
Photo sharing site Pinterest is now one of the top 50 most-visited websites in the U.S., with more than 25.3 million visitors in September, as reported by comScore. The site is closing in on other popular social media sites such as MySpace, Instagram, and Tumblr, and is expected to pass them in visits before the end of the year.
LinkedIn adds video to its advertising platform
LinkedIn's self-service advertising platform is a very effective tool for B2B marketers, who can use it to reach decision-makers precisely targeted by industry, seniority, and geographic location, among other parameters (LinkedIn now has 175 million members). Now LinkedIn has added the ability to use video, a proven winner in social advertising, in their ads.
Social media calls to action: a 13-point checklist
Once you've managed to attract people to your social media properties, what happens next? Calls to action are needed on any kind of a web page or social media site. It's a mistake to think that people will know what to do without being told--and it's been proven that calls to action work. Here's a 13-point checklist you can use to optimize your social media calls to action.
Identify top online "influencers" for great word of mouth
Word of mouth is well known to be the single most trusted and effective way for customers to find out about your products and services. One of the best ways to get word of mouth working for your business is to identify the people who most influence your customers and potential new customers. Smart marketers recognize this and work to reach the "influencers" in the communities they serve. Social media makes it easy to find the top influencers in your market, contact them, and get them to use their influence on your behalf. This piece tells you how to do it.
Lessons from presidential election spending?
The presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent more than $1 billion in 2012. What did they get for their money, and how did their marketing stack up? Jason Wells, CEO of ContactPoint, evaluated (and graded) the two campaigns on social media site viralblog.com. Writing a week before the election, he said both campaigns made effective use of video, and their ads were extremely well done (whatever you think about the messaging); that they fielded beautiful logos that have become instantly recognizable, so give them an "A" for visual branding; and that both campaigns took full advantage of social media this cycle, gathering followers and trending on Twitter, and collecting Facebook Likes and Google+ "+1s" on their websites. In addition, he wrote, mobile marketing is coming into its own in the political space: the Romney campaign built its own mobile app and used it to let people who downloaded it know who the vice presidential pick would be before they announced it to the media. One interesting observation by Wells: "Within 5 minutes of every debate this cycle, the pundits and networks turn to Twitter to get immediate and real-time reaction on the debate performances. It is nothing short of stunning to see longtime political talking heads--people that have worked in past administrations, and now teach at Ivy League schools--turn to social media to quote random people in Colorado Springs and Des Moines." Do you know who's talking about you and your brand online?
Make your online checkout more user-friendly
Abandoned virtual shopping carts are an unpleasant fact of life for e-commerce website owners. Here are some tips to improve online checkout, including the most important reasons shoppers don't finish their transactions on your website.
Ready to try Pinterest? Learn from the best!
The top 10 Pinterest boards have millions of followers. How can your brand use the visual power of Pinterest to tell your story? Blogger Jeff Bullas, author of "Blogging the Smart Way," illustrates how - through 10 examples of successful Pinterest boards from such diverse sectors as hair and beauty, food, cars, architecture, travel, design, gardening, weddings, and of course photography.
Yelp adds Restaurant menus and images
Social review site Yelp (founded in 2004 to help people find local businesses like dentists, hair stylists, and mechanics) has added restaurant menus and user-generated photos to its popular online service. Menus and photos will be added to restaurant listings on the website, as well as to the very popular mobile Yelp apps for smartphones and tablets.
Google anticipates surge in holiday smartphone search
Search giant Google expects record-setting search volume from smartphones and tablets over the holiday shopping season, continuing the trend of increasing use of mobile platforms. The article, by Greg Sterling, which appeared on Search Engine Land, includes a chart that compares tablet and smartphone search volume from this Labor Day with Labor Day 2011. Smartphone search volume was up about 10%, while tablet search rose almost 40% on the holiday. There's also a link to a set of recommendations from Google to help marketers get ready for the season, and a link to Google's general mobile website best practices information
Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to."). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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