Almost Half of Small Businesses Marketing Products on Social Media (INFOGRAPHIC)

According to this infographic that reveals how small businesses are using social media, About half are marketing their products.

Small businesses are waking up to the potential for using social media to market their products, a new study has found.

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media

According to the report by SCORE, a nonprofit association for small businesses, 45 percent of these small companies use social media marketing to promote a specific product or service.

Apart from product promotion, small businesses use social media marketing for the following purposes:

  • To share information about sales and discounts (38 percent).
  • To gain likes and fans (38 percent).
  • To solicit/respond to customer feedback (34 percent).

Other purposes include providing videos to highlight products or services (29 percent), sharing a company blog post (20 percent) and establishing their personal expertise (23 percent).

Facebook: Top Choice of Small Businesses

Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the most preferred social networking site for a majority of small businesses (70 percent). Twitter (38 percent) and LinkedIn (37 percent) are a distant second and third choice.

Facebook’s unparalleled popularity among small businesses can be attributed to its massive user base, which allows businesses to connect with more customers. On top of that, the social networking giant has made its platform more business-friendly to help smaller firms leverage it for marketing purposes.

From time to time, Facebook introduces new tools and features to support small businesses’ marketing initiatives. Take the recently launched Lookalike Audience tool, for instance. Designed to help small businesses reach a global audience, the tool makes it easier for firms to expand their customer base.

“What I hear from small businesses around the world is their time and their money is precious, and we want to be the best minute and the best dollar that they spend every day,” Facebook’s VP of global SMB Dan Levy told Forbes. “We want to be number one growth driver for their business.”

Social media is all about creating that personal bond with your audience. Therefore, to make the most of it requires adopting a more personalized tone of voice. Humor works really well and any information presented in a simple to understand language gets maximum audience attention.

How can you make it simple for your audience to understand what you’re talking about? That’s the question you must always answer when you develop your content strategy for social media marketing.

Check out the infographic below for more information.

According to this infographic that reveals how small businesses are using social media, About half are marketing their products. 5

Image: Score

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Lenovo, Fujitsu Said to Discuss Merger of PC Businesses

Lenovo, Fujitsu Said to Discuss Merger of PC BusinessesLenovo, Fujitsu Said to Discuss Merger of PC Businesses
HIGHLIGHTS
The companies are aiming to reach agreement this month: Nikkei
Lenovo is also seeking to make further inroads into smartphones
Fujitsu would move its PC planning, development, manufacturing divisions
Lenovo Group Ltd. is in talks with Fujitsu Ltd. to merge their personal-computer businesses, with the Chinese manufacturer taking a majority stake in the venture, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The two sides are still discussing pricing and terms, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The companies are aiming to reach agreement this month, according to the Nikkei newspaper, which reported the deal earlier Thursday.

An alliance with Fujitsu would give Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC maker, a bigger foundation to expand its share. Lenovo had 19.4 percent of the global PC market in 2015, compared with 2.1 percent for Fujitsu, according to IDC. Lenovo is also seeking to make further inroads into smartphones, while embarking on a plan to cut $1.35 billion from annual costs and eliminate 3,200 jobs. The company said in August that it was making progress and would turn around its business next year.

Fujitsu shares rose about 7 percent to JPY 575.7 as of 10:45am in Tokyo, after climbing as much as 8.6 percent. The stock had declined 11 percent this year through Wednesday. Lenovo’s shares climbed as much as 2.7 percent in Hong Kong, but remain down more than 30 percent in 2016.
Japan’s PC makers have been scaling back their operations or exiting the business entirely, as more people use mobile devices to check e-mail, manage their finances and access the web. Fujitsu had been struggling to find a partner, and talks with Vaio and Toshiba Corp. were on the verge of collapse, the Wall Street Journal reported in April.

The Nikkei reported that the Lenovo-Fujitsu business may merge in the future with Lenovo’s PC venture with NEC Corp., which was formed in 2011. Fujitsu would move its PC planning, development, manufacturing divisions to Lenovo as part of the deal, the Nikkei said, with about 2,000 Fujitsu workers likely to be relocated to Lenovo.

Tags: Fujitsu, Fujitsu PCs and Laptops, PC, Laptops, Lenovo

[“Source-Gadgets”]

3D Printer Returns: Will MakerBot’s Replicator+ Suit Small Businesses?

Will the new MakerBot Replicator Plus series suit small businesses?

MakerBot started shipping 3D printer kits in 2009, and since then the company has been having its ups and downs as the market continues to define itself. With the DIY market for 3D printing so crowded, MakerBot has decided to change directions by going after the professional and educational segment with the new Replicator+ 3D printers.

This is a great move by MakerBot, because it can now focus on creating high-quality printers specifically designed to give professionals and educators a reliable device that is affordable from an industry leader.

The New Makerbot Replicator Plus Series

The new line of printers called the MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ have a more robust construction with features that take into account today’s mobile and connected world, along with many other features. Whether you are a small engineering and design firm or an educator, these printers have the hardware and software to easily integrate into workflows for creating prototypes, one-off items, replacement parts, and more.

According to the company, both units have been completely reengineered with an extensive printer and subsystem testing of more than 380,000 hours during the development phase to ensure reliable, high-quality performance across multiple facilities.

The MakerBot Replicator+ is around 30 percent faster with a build volume that is 25 percent larger, while being 27 percent quieter. As for the Mini, it is 10 percent faster, with a build volume that is 28 percent larger and the noise has been decreased by 58 percent.

MakerBot Smart Extruder+

They both have the swappable MakerBot Smart Extruder+. This extruder has been tested to deliver better performance with a long life. It was tested for more than 160,000 hours, and it is backed by a 6-month warranty.

Being able to swap the extruder reduces downtimes by allowing businesses to quickly change the part if there is a problem. The company sells the extruders separately, which according to MakerBot is the only brand to offer a swappable extruder.

On-Board Camera and Connectivity

The on-board camera lets you monitor your print progress remotely with Wi-Fi, USB stick, USB cable, or Ethernet connectivity.

MakerBot Print and MakerBot Mobile

The MakerBot Print software and MakerBot Mobile applications give you more control by auto-arranging and importing native files from different formats for print preparation. The MakerBot Mobile on the other hand simplifies remote access with an all-new wireless guided setup. And if you have more than one printer, you can control them remotely to begin printing.

MakerBot Slate Gray Tough PLA Filament Bundle

The new filament has been designed so professionals can create durable, high-impact strength prototypes and fixtures. While it is much stronger, it is also designed to flex more before breaking just like ABS filaments. The company said these filaments are especially suitable for functional prototypes and prototyping jigs and fixtures that require threaded and snap fits.

Thingiverse Education

The Thingiverse Education is a platform for educators so they can connect with each other in order to collaborate and learn about 3-D printing best practices. Currently there are more than 100 lesson plans that have been created by other educators that has been thoroughly evaluated by MakerBot’s curriculum and education experts.

As MakerBot Learning Manager, Drew Lentz, said, “We believe that Implementing 3D printing in the classroom can only be successful if the technology complements a teacher’s goals for their students. With a new section of Thingiverse dedicated to educational content, teachers can engage in a rich community of educators to find lesson plans, resources, and to find more ways to use 3D Printing in the classroom than ever before.”

The change in direction by MakerBot to address professionals and educators will help it differentiate itself from the crop of 3D printers currently available in the market place. The price point and quality of the Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ are well positioned to meet the needs of a growing segment of small businesses that have adopted the technology. However, it is not so expensive that it will price out individual consumers.

The MakerBot Replicator+ and MakerBot Replicator Mini+ have an MSRP of $2,499 and $1,299 respectively, but the company is offering them at an introductory price of $1,999 and $999 until October 31, 2016.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

GoPro HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session Provide Action Video for Outdoor, Other Businesses

GoPro HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session Provide Action Video for Outdoor, Other Businesses

The internet, mobile technology, video and social media have merged together to give businesses and consumers a platform to share, connect and market with rich media. What GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) has tried to do with the new HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session cameras is simplify the process of capturing,sharing, storing and editing video so much, it becomes effortless.

GoPro is well known for capturing extreme sports and action sequences by professionals and amateurs alike. So the company has a customer base that greatly relies on its cameras. But going beyond this base required GoPro to add new features so anyone can pick up the new cameras and start recording 4K videos with greater ease than its previous versions.

The new HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session are cheaper and more powerful, with features the company says you can use out of the box to capture video and still images.

GoPro HERO 5 Black

The HERO 5 Black has a 2-inch touch display to simplify the controls of the camera, but it all begins with a one-button control to power on the camera to start recording automatically. Once it is on, you can capture videos with resolutions up to 4K at 30 frames per second and professional still images of 12 MP with enhanced low-light performance on RAW and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) formats.

Voice control has been added to further simplify the use of different functions. The camera has 10 commands in seven different languages, just in case you happen to be hurling down a slope and your hands are busy. So whether you speak English, German, French, Italian, Spanish or Chinese (with more languages on the way), voice control should understand you.

And if you happen to be, say, jumping out of an airplane, the new professional-grade electronic video stabilization feature will keep all of your images steady. And when it comes to audio, the stereo audio recording has an advanced wind noise reduction feature to better capture what you are saying — or screaming.

GoPro HERO 5 Session

The HERO 5 Session is a smaller version of the Black, but it pretty much keeps most of the features, including 4K video capture, image stabilization, enhanced low-light performance, WiFi and Bluetooth, waterproofing and voice control.

What you won’t find on the Session are the touch screen, GPS and RAW or WDR capture modes. Additionally, the still image capture is 10MP instead of the 12MP of the Black.

HERO Session

This is the cheapest version of the new line, however it still has some impressive features at this price. They include waterproofing, WiFi and Bluetooth, one-button control, and advanced noise and wind reduction.

The video and still capture are still high definition, with 1440P30/1080P60 for video and 8MP/10 fps burst time lapse for still images.

GoPro Plus

GoPro was and is still great at capturing video, but the company didn’t have the right set of apps to edit the millions of hours its customers were recording on its cameras. To overcome this problem, GoPro purchased two editing apps in February of this year: Splice and Replay, which the company has renamed Quik. With the new services users can now edit long videos into two minute highlight reels.

Quik, as the name implies, has been designed to quickly let you edit your videos by cutting off the boring footage and keeping the exciting stuff so you can post it on your social media site and share it with the world.  Splice, on the other hand, has more features, so, if you want more control, this is the app for you. Both apps are available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for your desktop.

GoPro Plus is a subscription service that is available for $4.99 per month, which includes an auto upload feature when you are charging your HERO cameras from your computer. The editing capability is available through the cloud on your smartphone, so you can quickly edit your videos no matter where you are.

The subscription plan also has a soundtrack library, premium support, among other features and accessories.

Small Businesses and GoPro

Video has become the preferred way of communicating for a growing number of online consumers.

If you own a small business running an outdoor/adventure company offering hiking, mountain climbing, hand gliding, whitewater rafting, camping, motocross, racing or other activities, you can now capture the experiences your customers are having — or can expect — with greater ease, better images and sound.

You can also use the cameras to interact with your customers by creating product tours, webinars, hands on lessons, and more.

With the new added features on the HERO 5 Black, HERO 5 Session, and HERO Session, there really is no limitation on how you can capture and share video.

The HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session will be available beginning October 2, but there is no date for the HERO Session on the company site.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

10 Features of Apple’s iOS 10 Small Businesses Need to Know About

10 iOS 10 Features for Business That Small Businesses Need to Know About

The new iOS 10 by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been described by the company as its biggest release yet, and as an operating system with more personal, powerful and playful features. The good thing for small business owners is that the new features would seem to drastically enhance the way you can run your business on your iPhone or iPad.

Whether you are using the new iPhone 7 or many of the previous versions also supported by iOS 10, there are some new features that will make you more productive, the company says.

Here are 10 features small business owners can start experimenting with right away with iOS 10.

iOS 10 Features for Business

Comprehensive Privacy and Advanced Security

With smartphones and tablets now inexorably linked to the way we do business, and the threat of digital security also an inevitable part of this ecosystem, it is extremely important to have a comprehensive privacy and advance security solution in place.

The privacy features in iOS 10 now requires your permission if an app in Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Photos or others want your location information or personal data. This features extends with even more control to the way in which HealthKit and HomeKit access your data.

Your conversations in iMessages and FaceTime are encrypted, so hackers waiting in the middle of a conversation won’t be able to see, hear or read what you are communicating. And when you are on Safari surfing the web, you can browse privately, block cookies, and prevent websites from tracking you.

The security, according to Apple, is the most advanced security of any mobile operating system. The new features help secure your personal protection with hardware and firmware that have been designed to protect against malware and viruses throughout the entire system. The device is protected with Touch ID and the apps have high-grade encryption, app transport security, and more.

Maximized Graphic Performance

When you are on a smartphone or tablet the last thing you want is lackluster performance from your device. Since iOS has been engineered specifically for the iPhone and iPad with a framework the company calls Metal, it is able to maximize graphic performance whether you are videoconferencing, accessing applications from the cloud, viewing a PowerPoint presentation, moving from app to app or playing the most complex 3D video game after a hard day of work.

Enchanced Machine Intelligence

The new OS has been designed to take advantage of the progress that has taken place in software intelligence. This includes Apple-developed machine-learning technology, which has also been incorporated into Siri.

The result is a more intuitive system that makes everything you do with your device easier and faster.  Proactive suggestion, and predictive typing have been combined with Siri for a personal assistant that will answer many of your questions and take your requests by speaking naturally. Siri now works with your favorite apps, so you can request a ride, send payments using Square Cash, book a reservation through OpenTable, and more.

Continuity Across All Devices

Even if your business is mobile first, there are multiple computing devices that are part of the total technological solutions in place in your company. This generally means laptops and desktops both at the office and at home. In order to ensure continuity across all devices, iCloud and iOS automatically connect many of Apple’s products.

You can start a task on the iPad and finish it on your Mac and stream video from your iPhone or iPad to your television through Apple TV. Everything gets synced automatically, so any time you add a new document, image or video the latest version will appear on all your devices.

AirDrop for Large File Sharing

You now work outside of the office just as much as you do inside, and this means sharing large files that far exceed the limitations of email servers. AirDrop is a feature that lets you send large files wirelessly no matter where you are, so you won’t have to go back to the office when you are on location.

Handoff Email and Messaging Across Devices and Solutions

The continuity feature extends to an application called Handoff which lets you write an email and hand it off to Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Podcasts, Clock, and News.

When you are ready to text you can send messages from any of your devices, receive it on your iPhone and reply on your iPad or Mac. You can choose a number from Safari, Contacts or Calendar to quickly send a text message.

Multilingual Typing

We live in a very connected world, and even the smallest of businesses now interacts with people in many countries around the world. This means multiple languages, and the multilingual typing feature lets you type in two languages at the same time without having to switch keyboards.

The OS recognizes English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish pairs, as well as Chinese.

CarPlay

As a small business owner on  the go, you can sometimes use your car as your second office. CarPlay makes it possible to safely and easily use your iPhone to make calls, send and receive messages, get directions and more so you can focus on your driving. It puts the functions you want to use on the built-in display of the vehicle so you can control them with your voice, touch or the knobs and controls of the car. Currently CarPlay is available on more than 100 automobile models, with more on the way.

Unsecured WiFi Network Warning

Free WiFi is so tempting but if you are not 100 percent sure it is secure, you can easily fall victim to an attack. Unsecured WiFi Network Warning makes recommendations when you connect your iOS device to an unsecured network.

New Notifications with 3D Touch

The new rich Notifications feature lets you quickly view videos, photos and reply. All it takes is tapping on the notification to launch the app or force press with the new feature rich 3D Touch to popup a preview. It also lets you clear the notification and delete emails from the expanded notification.

New APIs for Developers

Although Apple is notorious for protecting its intellectual property, the company has been coming around after witnessing the great benefits of what APIs have accomplished for other companies.  The Apple iOS 10 SDK has new APIs and services that now contain its more popular applications, including Messages, Siri, and Maps. Developers will now be able to create innovative functionalities using Apple’s platform creating more business models for small developers.

Greater Compatibility with Other Apple — and Android — Devices

The new iOS 10 is compatible with: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus; iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 6, 6 Plus; iPhone SE; iPhone 5s, 5c, 5; iPad Pro 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch; iPad Air 2; iPad Air; iPad 4th generation; iPad mini 4; iPad mini 3; iPad mini 2; and iPod touch 6th generation.

Apple has also made it much easier to move to iOS on your Android device. You can download the Move to iOS app on your Android device from any Android app store, and it supports all phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and later. You can get more information from Apple here.

[“source-ndtv”]

Can Sustainable Businesses Also Be Profitable?

sustainable business profitability

More and more businesses are “going green.” But are sustainability practices actually sustainable for businesses?

For years, profit and social good were seen as conflicting ideals. Some companies were able to do both. But it seemed they were able to turn a profit despite their social efforts, and not because of them. After all, good intentions don’t lead to profits, do they?

Well, that attitude seems to be changing. From environmental concerns to other causes, plenty of businesses have found a way to partner profit with social good.

One such company is Green Floral Crafts (pictured above), a company that sources environmentally sustainable home decor. Owner Leia Tunnaye discussed with Forbes how focusing on social good can actually have a positive impact on profits:

“When we tell our customers we are a green business and our products are handcrafted by families in villages around the world, not only does it differentiate our products, but it makes our customers feel that they’ve made a good purchase both in terms of value, and contributing socially to others and the environment. Social consciousness is on the forefront of issues for today’s generation.”

Consumers today do seem to be more informed about their purchases. They know when they are supporting a business that supports a good cause. And often, they will even go out of their way to do so.

Small businesses like Green Floral Crafts are not the only ones showcasing the power that socially and environmentally conscious businesses can have. Larger companies like Toms Shoes and Seventh Generation have succeeded largely on a platform of social good. These success stories have even raised the bar for huge retailers like Walmart and Target, challenging them to put more emphasis on their corporate social responsibility programs.

However, there are companies that just stick a green label on their products or pledge a small amount of profits to a vague cause. So how do businesses honestly committed to environmental or social responsibility stand out from the rest? And how do cause-driven companies make sure their efforts are sustainable?

Having a clear mission is important, and can help to drive customers to a brand. But it’s difficult to do good without any money. So socially conscious businesses still need to focus on profits and make smart business decisions in order to be sustainable.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

How Can Businesses Use Facebook Continuous Live Video?

facebook live

When it comes to social media, Facebook is undeniably king. That’s why businesses bend over backwards to try and engage with users via the social media platform — and it’s also why they’ve been working hard to take advantage of Facebook’s video capabilities.

With the launch of the new Facebook continuous live video API, those capabilities have drastically expanded.

Announced in April, this latest expansion of Facebook Live will enable users to stream 24-hour live coverage of anything and everything — from a window filled with adorable puppies to the backstage goings-on during an awards show.

Facebook Continuous Live Video Growing

A few weeks on, the new Facebook continuous live video API has grown by leaps and bounds. Over 100 broadcasters have already hopped on the bandwagon, and global brands are leveraging these new platform capabilities in order to reach users in new and engaging ways.

Disney has used Live API to hand fans sneak peaks from the red carpet, CSPAN has used it to bring viewers closer to this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner and Bleacher Report has been using it to answer questions about the NFL Draft.

“We’ve already seen some interesting use cases — for example, it was used by explore.org to power nature cameras — and we’re looking forward to seeing what Live API developers come up with in the future,” Facebook video head Fidji Simo told TechCrunch. “We expect developers and publishers to get creative with this new capability.”

That being said, there are plenty of ways that smaller businesses can get creative with the new Facebook continuous live video API.

According to Simo, restaurants can utilize Facebook Live in order to walk diners through a typical service, cottage manufacturers can showcase their processes and B2B companies can stage live tutorials. Weather-driven industries like ski resorts or surf shops can even host a continuous stream of local weather conditions so that customers from across the globe know when it’s time to come in.

Better yet, businesses can then directly interact with those viewers in order to generate leads and forge stronger consumer relationships.

“Live video on Facebook is truly interactive ,as broadcasters engage with their commenters and respond to their suggestions and questions,” Simo said. “In fact, from initial data, we’ve seen that people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.”

Continuous streaming isn’t the only new addition Facebook is making to its Live API. The social media giant will also enable businesses to post videos that are only visible to users based in particular locations that are relevant to that business.

Businesses can also select a video to expire after a certain amount of time in order to generate a sense of urgency around their continuous stream — and Facebook has introduced an age-gate that ensures underage users cannot view certain videos. That will prove a huge benefit for alcohol brands or local bars looking to leverage Facebook’s Continuous Video Live API capabilities.

“We’ve been humbled by all the amazing and creative ways that people have used Facebook Continuous Live Video so far, and we’re committed to creating the best experience for everyone who wants to create, watch and interact with live videos on Facebook,” Simo said. “We’ll keep working to bring you the best ways to broadcast, interact with, and discover live video. Stay tuned.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

FBI Wants US Businesses to Help as Cyber Extortion Gains Urgency

FBI Wants US Businesses to Help as Cyber Extortion Gains Urgency

The FBI is asking businesses and software security experts for emergency assistance in its investigation into a pernicious new type of “ransomware” virus used by hackers for extortion.

“We need your help!” the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a confidential “Flash” advisory that was dated March 25 and obtained by Reuters over the weekend.

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a victim’s data so they cannot gain access to it on their computers, then offers to unlock the system in exchange for payment.

Friday’s FBI alert was focused on ransomware known as MSIL/Samas.A that the agency said seeks to encrypt data on entire networks, an alarming change because typically, ransomware has sought to encrypt data one computer at a time.

The plea asked recipients to immediately contact the FBI’s CYWATCH cyber-centre if they find evidence that they have been attacked or have other information that might help in its investigation.

It is the latest in a series of FBI advisories and warnings from security researchers about new ransomware tools and techniques.

“This is basically becoming a national cyber-emergency,” said Ben Johnson, co-founder of Carbon Black, a cyber-security firm that on Friday uncovered another type of ransomware that seeks to attack PCs through infected Microsoft Word documents.

The FBI first reported on MSIL/Samas.A in a Feb. 18 alert that lacked the urgency of Friday’s warning. The February message contained some technicals details but did not call for help. It said that MSIL/Samas.A targets servers running out-of-date versions of a type of business software known as JBOSS.

In its latest report, the FBI said that investigators have since found that hackers are using a software tool dubbed JexBoss to automate discovery of vulnerable JBOSS systems and launch attacks, allowing them to remotely install ransomware on computers across the network.

The FBI provided a list of technical indicators to help companies determine if they were victims of such an attack.

“The FBI is distributing these indicators to enable network defense activities and reduce the risk of similar attacks in the future,” the advisory said.

FBI representatives did not respond to requests for comment on the confidential warning.

The sectors hardest hit by ransomware include industries that rely on computer access for performing critical functions, such as healthcare and law enforcement. Publicly reported attacks in which hospitals and police have paid ransoms, then recovered data, has encouraged attackers to further target those groups, cyber-security experts said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Cyber attack, Cyber security, FBI, Hacking, Internet, MSIL, Ransomware, Samas
[“source-Gadgets”]

10 Essential Building Blocks for Successful Businesses

blocks

There are so many things that go into building a successful business. Each business can arrange those building blocks differently. But there are some essential elements that should go into every business plan. Here, members of the small business community share some essential building blocks for successful businesses.

Understand the Importance of Logos for Business Success

Your company’s logo is one of the first things potential customers will notice about your brand. It’s something that should represent your offerings and tie all of your different platforms together. In this article from Solopreneurs, Sam Davtyan discusses the importance of a good business logo.

Grab Social Media Attention Without Looking Foolish

Getting people’s attention is essential to any successful social campaign. But you want to make sure that it’s the right kind of attention, so that it can actually benefit your business. April Heavens-Woodcock shares some tips for grabbing attention on social media without looking foolish in this article from Agora Pulse.

Create an Experience for Your Brand

Some businesses get so caught up in trying to create a brand that they forget to create an experience for customers. But in this video and accompanying article, Brian Solis discusses how the two are really connected. And BizSugar members discuss the post further here.

Get a Blog for Your Ecommerce Website

Blogging has been around for years. But some business owners still may not realize the benefits. Even ecommerce businesses can benefit from having a blog. This Exit Bee article by Vanhishikha Bhargava includes some of the reasons why your ecommerce website needs a blog.

Write Epic Content

Once you have a blog, or any other content sharing platform, you need to fill it with really epic content so that potential customers will keep reading and even get it to go viral. In this article, Neil Patel shares the ultimate guide to writing epic content that will do just that.

Get Your Business Off the Road to Nowhere

At some point while running a business, you’re likely to experience that burned out or uninspired feeling. But if your business starts to experience some of the signs outlined in this 3Bug Media article by Gary Souldis, you might be on the road to nowhere. You can also see more discussion about the post over on BizSugar.

Don’t Forget About Offline Marketing

Online marketing gets a lot of attention. But there are still some offline marketing efforts that can be worthwhile for businesses. In this SMB CEO article, Ivan Widjaya discusses some of the offline marketing methods that can still be beneficial for businesses.

Master the Art of Engagement

Being engaging is important in every part of your business, whether it’s communicating through email marketing, social media, blogs, videos or other formats. Here in Target Marketing, Jessica Noonan discusses the importance of being engaging when it comes to email campaigns.

Don’t Compare Your Business to Others

With so many small businesses out there, it can be easy to fall into the comparison trap. But your business is different. So you shouldn’t waste all of your time worrying about measuring up to others, as Kimberly Crossland points out in this article in the Savvy Copywriter. The BizSugar community also shares input on the article here.

Keep Using Google Plus

Using the right social platforms can be a big part of your online marketing success. Although some people think that Google Plus is heading toward its last days, there are still plenty of benefits of using it. In this article from Bigshot, Karen Eisenbraun discusses some of the benefits of using Google Plus for business.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: [email protected]

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

7 Social Media Tools For Small Businesses To Manage Their Social Presence

social media tools

With the positive effects of social media marketing becoming more and more apparent, most small businesses have started working on a social media marketing strategy.

One of the main aims of social media marketing is to stay relevant to your audience. This might be harder for small businesses as they have more to juggle, in terms of handling tasks. Social media tools and apps can help reduce the stress of multi-tasking and keep your social media activities consistent. Below are social media tools for small business to help make your life as a social media marketer easier.

Social Media Tools for Small Business

DrumUp

DrumUp is a must have app for managing your social media presence on multiple accounts. For small businesses, content curation can be a life saver when it comes to maintaining consistency. Curation allows you to seem knowledgeable by posting others’ content with a mix of your own.

DrumUp has multiple functions that are great for content curation and sharing like content recommendations, feeds, scheduling and re-posting. It delivers a list of fresh, relevant content based on your keywords — straight to your dashboard. You can also add feeds to get content from. You can then schedule out posts with a single click or plan it out specifically.

While scheduling, it suggests a list of hashtags you can use with the posts. You can also create custom posts effortlessly and schedule them out. The app allows you to re-post your content over a period of time so your queue is never empty.

DrumUp has a Chrome extension that recommends content and lets you schedule it while you’re reading other material.

IFTTT

Social media automation can save small businesses a ton of time — it eliminates mundane tasks, so you can focus on more important ones. IFTTT stands for If This Then That — it’s a tool that takes social media automation to a whole new level.

As the name suggests, IFTTT lets you create functions or “recipes” that make apps work together. For example, if you have a blog on Blogger, you can create a recipe that automatically schedules tweets every time a new post is published. You can have an unlimited number of recipes to perform functions as simple as keeping your profile pictures in sync to saving photos to Dropbox.

For beginners, the app also suggests recipes that are useful based on a niche of your choice. It works with over 280 channels/services and is a must have tool for serious marketers.

RiteTag

RiteTag is a social media management toolkit that works across 14 major websites including Twitter, Facebook and Tweetdeck. The app is most useful for Twitter as it can enhance your tweets with a single click. While creating a tweet, clicking on the RiteTag button lets you add images, hashtags, GIFs, emojis and customized CTAs on all your shared links.

One of its main features is the ability to analyze hashtags — it shows you recommended hashtags, which ones are most used, which ones are trending, and which ones aren’t popular. You can also automate sharing by connecting it with your favorite content curation services or RSS feeds.

The app also has a Chrome extension to make it more accessible.

Commun.it

Commun.it is a Twitter tool that is a favorite among big brands but is extremely valuable for smaller businesses as well. The tool eliminates all the noise from your timeline so you can see the most important updates.

It’s most important feature is the ability to show you whom to follow and unfollow. It lists users into three groups: Influencers, Supporters and Engaged Members, based on a variety of factors — this enables you to target your audience more efficiently.

It also provides free Twitter analytics, allows team members to manage your account and recommends people whom you should respond to.

Feedly

As mentioned before, content curation is vital for small businesses. Feedly is one of the best tools for discovering great content from a variety of sources. It is an RSS reader that can gather feeds from multiple sites based on your preferences. You can add feeds from publications, blogs and even YouTube channels. You can also monitor news about your company, product and competitors by plugging in Google Alerts.

Feedly also gives you secure access to your company’s internal portals and SaaS applications. All your feeds can be organized into collections so that they are easily accessible in the future.

You can integrate Feedly with a multitude of other apps that enable you to save content for later and share it on your social accounts.

Canva

With social media, visuals are a great way to grab your user’s attention.  However, social media managers for small businesses rarely have enough time to create detailed visuals — this is where Canva comes in. Canva is the easiest way to design beautiful images to go along with your social media posts.

The tool provides features that make it easy to turn ideas into visuals. You can create images with quotes, conversation bubbles, custom icons, and stickers. It can enhance images further with it’s various amazing filters/effects and the ability to straighten, crop and resize images. In case you’re too busy to start from scratch, it comes loaded with a ton of customizable layouts that can be changed to suit any occasion.

Canva is great for creating visuals for anything from social media to blog posts.

ManageFlitter

As you grow your social presence on Twitter, it is necessary to keep track of your followers, your reach and analytics. ManageFlitter has numerous features, including PowerPost — which shows you the best time to post your Tweets for maximum reach. It also provides you with free analytics to make sure your campaigns are getting the desired engagement.

One of ManageFlitter’s best known features is the group Unfollow or Follow option that lets you unfollow/follow a large number of people based on a number of criteria including influence, date of follow and many more. The search feature also comes in handy when you want to find influencers.

At the end of the day, social media is about connecting with your audience and creating new opportunities for business growth. You can use all the tools in the world but if you’re not being smart, then it’ll all go to waste. Using a combination of these tools can free up your schedule and give you time for new ventures.

Just remember to choose social media tools for small business wisely and to use them smartly.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]