Biz Bits: Give your small business a social facelift

Posted Online: March 23, 2013, 11:10 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
Small businesses that adopt online marketing strategies see significant business benefits, ranging from improved campaign performance to higher return on investment (ROI), according to a recent study conducted by Forrester.

However, small businesses are likely still favoring newspaper advertising and direct mail, which are time-intensive and costly.

There is no better time than now for business owners to take a fresh look at how best to take advantage of social channels to reach consumers in a relevant way.

For example, 150 million people visit Facebook pages (home to brands and businesses) every day, where they share word-of-mouth recommendations.

With social platforms, business owners can listen, respond, take part in real-time conversations with their customers, and see how these recommendations drive sales.

Millions of business owners have seen big business growth through social marketing. Below are a few tips to enhance your business' presence on social media and more effectively reach the right audience to grow sales in 2013.

1. Build your social hub
A business' social profile, such as a Facebook page, is the central hub for any business, and it's free and easy to set up. Fill out business hours on the page, then people can easily see when you're open (there's a green dot on your page when you're open).
Also, put your page's URL on in-store materials - receipts, napkins, brochures, etc., to increase the number of people who can become fans of the page. These are all free ways to get the word out about your business.

2. Engage with your customers
Create content that will keep your audience interested and coming back for more. Post quality content regularly by listening to what customers have to say and making sure posts are relevant to your audience.
Post at least two to three times per week to stay relevant to the people who are fans or followers. Mix up the content with engaging photos and videos. Be timely by posting about current events, holidays or recent news.

3. Boost your results
After engaging with your customers, amplify your results by using social ad offerings geared towards small businesses.

If you're on Facebook, promoted posts are an easy way to reach more people with your important messages. Promoting a post turns your posts into ads, right from your page, ensuring that more of your audience sees your posts. Promoted posts can be targeted according to gender, age, geography and other factors to reach the best audience.

Local businesses ranging from restaurants to salons to retailers can all take this opportunity to get a much-needed social facelift. Regardless of the industry or budget, now is the time to consider social as an integral part of your marketing strategy.

Any business owner starting with these three tips will be on the way to building strong relationships with customers, reaching new people and, most importantly, driving sales.

-- Brandpoint

Better Business Bureau Watch
As a new generation increasingly uses the internet, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns parents that mobile applications for smart phones and tablets are siphoning children's data and sharing it.

In most cases, the applications' developers do not disclose whether data is being collected, with whom it is being shared nor how it is used.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, a study called "Mobile Apps for Kids - Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade," nearly 60 percent of children's applications available from the iTunes store and Google Play that were examined by researchers "... failed to provide any information about the data collected through the app, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose of the collection and who would obtain access to the data."

The BBB offers the following tips for keeping children's information safe prior to using an app:

- Check into the app before downloading. It is important to research and look into the details, such as the developer information and privacy policies.

- Be aware of the service of the app. Many free apps are used for advertising purposes and as a result can lead to different, unexpected pages without your permission. Make sure that the app does not bring your child to an unwanted page.

- Monitor how much your children share. Look into the amount of information that your children are sharing over the app and make sure that you are comfortable with that information being released to cyber space.

- Check out a company with the BBB.Before buying an app, always check reviews on bbb.org.

The List
Five beloved tech products no longer in existence:
1. Flip camcorder
2. Napster
3. Newton
4. Guitar Hero
5. Google Reader (barring a last-minute reprieve)
-- Verne Kopytoff, CNN Money

Tech News
Samsung launched the Galaxy S IV last week, and while the jury's still out on the phone, the presentation of the release didn't impress anyone. The event, which took place in Radio City Music Hall, has drawn comparisons to a Broadway play, as actors took to the stage to describe the phone's new features.

People also took issue with the presentation's portrayal of women as technologically illiterate, and who only wanted smart phones that wouldn't chip their nails or mess up their hair as they ran fitness apps. While this is suspected to be a ploy by Samsung to appeal to the American main stream, it left many more confused than excited.

-- Adrian Covert, CNN Money
GateHouse News Service


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)