Biz Bits: Give your small business a social facelift

Posted Online: March 23, 2013, 11:10 am
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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

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 Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.

(More History)