Small Business Social Media Trends

Interested in seeing how small businesses use social media to generate sales? Curious about which social media platforms are working well for small firms?
For its seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner surveyed 3,720 marketers, business owners, and solopreneurs from the United States and overseas, to uncover various trends. Here are 12 of the most important trends:
  1. Social Media Critical for Small Business — “96% of survey participants use social media marketing, and 92% of those agree or strongly agree with the phrase, ‘Social media marketing is important for my business.'”
  2. Facebook Dominates Small Business Social Media Marketing — “The majority of respondents carry out social media marketing on Facebook. 93% use Facebook, ahead of Twitter at 79%.”
  3. B2B Small Businesses Use Social Differently Than B2C — “Breaking down Social Media Marketing Industry Report averages is useful. B2B respondents for this survey report that LinkedIn is their number-one choice for social networking.”
  4. Most Small Business Marketers Don’t Know if Facebook Efforts Are Working — “Despite the fact that 92% of small businesses agree that social media is important for their business AND that the majority use Facebook for their social media marketing, most also report that they don’t know whether their Facebook outreach is ‘working.’”
  5. Small Businesses Plan to Expand Facebook Activities This Year — “The Social Media Marketing Industry Report also found that, again, despite the cloudiness surrounding Facebook’s effectiveness, 62% plan to increase activities on it.”
  6. Most Small Businesses Spend 6 Hours or More Weekly on Social Media — “Because of the crush of responsibilities they have, small business owners worry about the time it takes to keep an audience engaged on social channels. Tools like Hootsuite and Post Planner cut down on time spent, but social media marketing still requires significant time.”
  7. Small Businesses Identify Increased Exposure as Social’s Top Benefit — “Even though ‘increased exposure’ is more difficult to measure than a metric like traffic or bounce rate, marketers and small business owners rank it the number-one benefit of marketing on social media.”
  8. Increased Traffic to Website Is Number-Two Benefit of Social Marketing — “77% of the survey respondents have appreciated the traffic that comes to their sites via social referral (clicking from Facebook or LinkedIn to the website for a blog post or landing page offer). Google Analytics and other tools make getting this data possible, even easy.”
  9. Social Media Cuts Marketing Expenses for Small Businesses — “Early on, social media developed the reputation of reaching audiences at a low price.”
  10. Small Business Direct Social Sales Rise Over Time — “More than half of marketers who have been using social media for more than 2 years report their channels helped them improve sales. Seventy percent of those with a 5-year social media marketing investment report it helps improve sales.”
  11. Facebook Dominates Social Media Paid Ads — “The low cost associated with social media ads is just one aspect that appeals to small businesses. The ability to target ads to a narrow geographic (down to the zip code) and demographic market provides another.”
  12. Types of Social Media Content — “Blogging and visual assets nearly tied at 70% and 71% respectively. The self-employed depend on blogging, with 79% of that faction reporting they blog. At this time, just 10% of marketers use podcasting, but some speculate that podcasting could be an opportunity. Requiring higher budgets and more technology, video content finishes third.”

 

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Posted in Online Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Technology Words Added to the Oxford English Dictionary :-)

Each year, new words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Some are culturally-driven; others are technology-driven. Many are unusual.
As Lindsay Kolowich writes for HubSpot:
“Although the Oxford English Dictionary editors get the final say, they actually look to us to dictate whether a word should be added. In other words, we have no one but ourselves to blame for all the weird words that make the cut every year.”
But we can at least share the blame with technology. None of us would be saying “srsly” if we hadn’t felt the urge to shorten words for text messages and E-mails. We wouldn’t be voting anyone off the island if not for the television series Survivor.”
Want to see what [20] weird words were added to the OED thanks to Internet slang and technology? Read on.”

 

Here are ten of the words. They are in alphabetical order:
  • Cyberchondriac (n.) – “A person who compulsively searches the Internet for information about particular real or imagined symptoms of illness.”
  • Dox (v.) – “To search for and publish private or identifying information about a particular individual on the Internet, typically with malicious intent.”
  • Egosurf (v.) – “To search the Internet for instances of one’s own name or links to one’s own Web site.”
  • Lamestream (adj. & n.) – “Used to refer contemptuously to the mainstream media.”
  • MOOC (n.) – “A free course of study made available over the Internet to a very large number of people.”
  • Netiquette (n.) – “The correct or acceptable way to use the Internet.”
  • Phablet (n.) – “A smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.”
  • Screenager (n.) – “A person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the Internet.”
  • Slacktivism (n.) – “Actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, (e.g. signing an online petition).”
  • Woot (exclamation) – “Used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph, especially in electronic communication.”

 

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Posted in Online Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Must Reading: How Vulnerable are YOU to Being Tracked by Hackers?

Earlier this week, we posted aboutWhat Happens to Our Privacy If a Company Is Sold?” The answer was pretty disconcerting!!
In this post, we are furthering the discussion by publicizing a very recent article How Many Times Has Your Personal Information Been Exposed to Hackers?This article includes a a brief vulnerability quiz and many useful observations:
“Half of American adults had their personal information exposed to hackers last year alone. In a recent attack at the federal Office of Personnel Management, hackers stole the most sensitive personal data for 21.5 million people.”
“Answer the questions below to learn which parts of your identity may have been stolen in some of the major hacking attacks over the last two years and what you can do about it. Not all attacks are included here, and many attacks go undetected, so think of your results as a minimum level of exposure.”

Click the image below to take the quiz and to learn more about this important subject.

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Privacy and Identity Theft Issues | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Happens to Our Privacy If a Company Is Sold?

Most of us are not fully aware of the privacy policies and rules that go into effect if a company sold is sold or goes into bankruptcy. Suppose we signed up for a Web site that had specific restrictions on how our personal information could be used, such as not providing it to a third party. Do these restrictions remain if the company is bought by another firm?
Not surprisingly, our privacy rights are not as strong as they should be in these situations. Therefore, we need to give out personal information very carefully — and monitor its use.
As Natasha Singer and Jeremy B. Merrill recently reported for the New York Times:
“The privacy policy for Hulu, a video-streaming service with about nine million subscribers, opens with a declaration that the company ‘respects your privacy.’ That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details that Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations, and more — could be transferred to ‘one or more third parties as part of the transaction.’ The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.”
“Provisions like that act as a sort of data fire sale clause. They are becoming standard among the most popular sites, according to a recent analysis by the New York Times of the top 100 Web sites in the United States as ranked by Alexa, an Internet analytics firm. Of the 99 sites with English-language terms of service or privacy policies, 85 said they might transfer users’ information if a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, asset sale, or other transaction occurred, the Times’ analysis found. The sites with these provisions include prominent consumer technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, in addition to Hulu.”
Click the image to read more from the NY Times.

 

 

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Privacy and Identity Theft Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where Consumers Shop by Age

Among popular retail chains, where are people most likely to shop by age category?
InfoScout recently conducted research on this subject. As reported by Jack Neff for Advertising Age, there were some unexpected results:
” What’s the hottest big retailer with millennials [young adults]? Wal-Mart. The reason may be its investment in E-commerce and mobile, or it could be that its low prices resonated during the economic downturn. Or it could be specialty Tommee Tippee baby bottles [ :-) ].”
“‘Millennials now, as a generation, like Wal-Mart the best, more so than Generation X, more so than boomers,’ said Matt Kistler, Wal-Mart senior VP-consumer insights and analytics. ‘That kind of shocks a lot of people, including inside the company,’ admitted Wal-Mart Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn.”
“It doesn’t exactly jibe with the perception that big-box supercenters are losing ground to niche brands, small stores, and E-commerce. Mr. Quinn sees it differently. ‘As millennials become time-crunched with relationships and kids coming along, it’s opening up a strong need for them to have a one-stop shop,’ he said.”
Click the chart to read more from Neff.

 

 

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Strategy Mix | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pinterest Pins Becoming “Buyable”

Pinterest is more popular than ever, and just keeps on growing.
Consider these statistics compiled by Craig Smith of DMR: 42 percent of all online U.S. adult women (and 13 percent of men) utilize Pinterest. In the U.S., as of 2015, Pinterest has more than 47 million total users (expected to reach 59 million by 2019); an additional 40 percent of users are from outside the United States. The average visit time is 14 minutes (98 minutes per month). 18 percent of Pinterest users have annual household incomes above $75,000.
Based on these figures, it really is a big deal that Pinterest has now decided to allow “buyable” pins. Here’s how the program will work, as reported by Suzannah Morris for HubSpot:
How Does it Work for Consumers? Next to the red ‘Pin it’ button, there will be a blue ‘Buy it’ button on pins. Any product with the blue ‘Buy it’ button will be available for purchase, directly from Pinterest. Consumers can filter by price and see different color and size options right on the pin. Then, when they’re ready to checkout, all they have to do is click the ‘Buy it’ button and pay with Apple Pay or a credit card. Pinterest is working with payment processors and Apple Pay, so that the consumers’ credit card information is secure. This is initially being rolled out in the U.S. on iPhones and iPads. Desktop and Android users will have to wait for future releases to be able to ‘Buy it.'”
How Can Your Business Get Involved? For the launch, Pinterest anticipates having more than 2 million buyable pins available by partnering with retailers like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, as well as companies on the Demandware and Shopify commerce platforms. If you’re a Shopify user, you just need to add the Pinterest channel. If you’re a Demandware user, you need to contact your customer success manager. Not on Shopify or Demandware but eager to get involved? Pinterest has started a waitlist for businesses to sign up to be notified when future integrations are launched.”

 

Click the image to read more from Morris.


 

Posted in Online Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing, Strategy Mix, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Stages of Social Media Engagement

At this point in time, millions of organizations (and individuals) have become engaged in social media. However, they are not all at the same stage of development. Some are much further advanced than others.
As reported by Simply Measured:
“Nearly every technology applied to business processes, from change management software to cyber security, now boasts a maturity model. They’re intended to point out how far a company has gone towards optimizing the use of the technology. Social media is no exception.”
“Among the sources of information on social media maturity today, one stands out. It’s business research and consulting firm Altimeter Group’s paper, The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Business Transformation. The six stages – planning, presence, engagement, formalized, strategic, and converged – describe how companies go from dabbling part-time in social to considering social in every strategic business decision they make in every department. When a company reaches this final, most evolved stage, Altimeter calls it a ‘social business.’”
In what stage of social media development do YOU fall? What are YOU doing to move further along in your development?

 

 

Posted in Online Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment