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Monday, March 20, 2017
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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SMB Social Media Marketing

A significant number of SMB businesses have not yet adopted social media. In a recent survey of SMB owners/managers, 24% said they currently don't use social media for their business, while 8% don't ever expect to use social media.

 

The survey was conducted by Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews firm, to gauge digital marketing habits and goals for small businesses in 2017. The series includes reports on mobile apps, web design, and more.

Social Media Marketing

Clutch's 2017 Small Business Digital Marketing Survey included 350 SMB owners/managers: 40% of companies had 10 or fewer employees, 27% had 11-50 employees, 25% had 51-250 employees, and 8% had 251-500 employees.

 

Social media marketing experts suggest that businesses not yet using social media should reconsider.

 

"Many [SMB owners] read the headlines from five to six years ago about 'likes' not mattering and bought into that," said Joshua Dirks, CEO of Project Bionic, a Seattle-based creative marketing agency. "They are missing out because of their own viewpoint on the topic, [made] from believing five- to six-year-old headlines and not recapturing the maturation of the space."

 

Experts also emphasized the benefits of social media marketing over traditional marketing channels. "Social is one of the few forms that allows you to look at the data," said Keith Kakadia, Founder and CEO of Sociallyin, a Mississippi-based social media agency. "It allows you to determine whether there's a return on investment (ROI) for the money spent. When you have a small budget, every single dollar needs to be spent on what works."

 

Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform for SMBs. The survey found that over 90% of small businesses with a social media presence use Facebook. The second most popular channel, Twitter, is used by 55% of SMBs.

 

"In general, Facebook is a beast. Its reach is incredibly vast, with almost 2 billion users," said Alex Oesterle, owner of Blue Bear Creative, a Denver-based social media agency. "No matter what a business does, its customers are likely on Facebook, at least in part."

 

Over half of SMBs that already use social media indicate that they want to increase investment in Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube respectively in 2017. Each channel has its benefits, according to social media experts interviewed about the survey findings. Twitter faces an uncertain future, however, and YouTube requires making sometimes costly and time-intensive videos.

 

Instagram, with over 600 million users in the United States, may be the best option for small businesses to explore, said Dirks.

Over half of small businesses currently use in-house staff for their social media marketing. A little over one-third use either a freelancer/consultant or social media management software.

 

Experts cite the importance of placing someone knowledgeable in charge of social media. "One thing we hate to see is handing social media off to an intern or a freelancer with no knowledge of branding or strategy," said Oesterle. "It makes for lackluster results and perpetuates the cycle of cutting social media costs."


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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Three Tips for Improving your SMB Security System

Mega corporations are obviously not the only businesses which need security. SMB businesses also need to be prepared for nefarious activities. The longer your SMB is in business, the more likely your business is to suffer from some type of criminal activity, whether it be assault, embezzlement, or armed robbery, your SMB needs to be prepared. Installing a security system is a great affordable method for protecting your SMB.

SMB’s due to their nature do not have the biggest budgets in the world. As a result, buying a camera system can be a big affair. If you are thinking about getting a security camera system for your SMB, here are three tips which will help you get the most bang for your buck.

 

1. Try to "Vandal Proof" your System

Criminals love taking swings at security cameras. Unfortunately, cameras that are hit with baseball bats can often have a hard time recording anything useful afterwards, and you probably don’t want to deal with the cost of getting a new security camera post-smashing. There are several methods you can use to try to save your cameras from being destroyed, such as getting a strong camera housing, installing the camera in an elevated position, or by trying to conceal your cameras.

 

2. Monitor the Vitals

This tip is a little more on the line of common sense. Your SMB most likely does not need cameras monitoring every hallway in your facility. However, you do need cameras monitoring vital areas of your business such as entrances, exits, areas containing items of high value (such as storage rooms), workstations, and points of customer interaction. Another great place to monitor is the parking lot of your SMB.

 

3. Be Overt

There is a large market for dummy security cameras, but don’t be satisfied with just dummy cameras if you’re trying to protect your SMB. Dummy cameras exist for one purpose: to deter doubting criminals, they do not serve a function in bringing people to justice. People who are already committed to the act will probably not care whether your cameras are dummies or real, and experienced criminals may even be able to tell that your dummy cameras are fake. However, having a visible camera will have a deterring effect on the uncertain, which is why you should have at least one visible camera on the premises.

 

Owning a camera security system can go a long way toward making your workplace feel secure.If you already have or are planning on getting a security system for your workplace, hopefully these tips will be helpful.

 


Camerasecuritynow.com is a SMB security company focused on providing high quality surveillance equipment for an affordable price. Camera Security Now has been in the video surveillance business for 30 years and lives by its motto "In Business To Protect Your Business!". Based in Middletown, OH, Camera Security Now has highly-trained technicians that specialize in servicing Southwest Ohio region businesses and homes, but also offers nationwide equipment and installion services throughout the United States.


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Monday, February 13, 2017
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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SMB Businesses Turn to No-coding-required DIY Website Tools to Grow Online

Over 40% of websites built using DIY options are for business, according to survey

 There are a lot of options to help you build a website. Website builders, like Wix, SquareSpace, and Weebly, offer a DIY (do-it-yourself) functionality that allows you to build a website without coding expertise. With website building now easier than ever, a new survey by Clutch, a research and reviews platform for business services, finds that many website builder users are using these DIY tools to create sites for business use.

Out of 307 respondents who built a website using DIY web builders, 42% indicated that their website was built for business purposes such as having an online business presence, increasing online sales, or facilitating e-commerce. 48% say that they built their site for personal use such as for a photo gallery, creative display, portfolio, or a blog.

Clutch's findings illustrate that creating a website is more accessible and popular for individuals and small businesses than it's ever been before. Of those surveyed, 63% say they have an "intermediate" familiarity with website builders, a level that indicates they have set up a website, including advanced features, without assistance.

"Website builders have come a long way from a decade ago when a blogger or personal user would dabble with a website builder just to get their presence online," says Evan Brown, Marketing Manager at Designmantic.com, a web design company. "Today, many of these tools offer features like hosted services, domain registration, search engine optimization capabilities, responsive web design, and e-commerce integration, making it easy for businesses to hop online in no time."

Clutch's survey also found that DIY websites built for business purposes are more complex than any other type, and that individuals who create a website for business are looking to use that site in a more advanced way – by generating interactions and conversions.

For a website to be complex, it must include five or more integrations, according to Clutch's analysis. The most popular web builder integrations are social media (64%), customer reviews (55%), and calendar/scheduling tools (45%).

The data reveals that out of the respondents who built a website for business, 46% integrated five or more tools. Comparatively, only 27% of respondents with a personal website integrated the same amount of tools.

The complexity of business websites may impact the ability of DIY web builders to serve business needs. Although DIY web builders have made the features and integrations they offer more advanced in recent years, these tools still may not be enough for a small business seeking significant online growth.

For SMBs who want to establish a strong online presence for their business, Clutch recommends considering solutions beyond DIY web builders. For example, small businesses may see increased success in generating online leads and conversions by transferring their website to a content management system (CMS), or hiring a design expert.

With these alternative solutions, small businesses will be able to benefit from the guidance of a professional, instilling confidence that they are building custom, flexible, and successful websites that serve their advanced needs.

Find the report here: https://clutch.co/resources/web-builders-survey

Clutch also used customer feedback to rate the top 10+ website builders. You can find the full research and reviews here: https://clutch.co/website-builders.

Clutch's 2017 Website Builder Survey included 307 full-time SMB employees and users of DIY website builders. 30% of respondent companies have an annual revenue of less than $1 million. Data was collected throughout December 2016.

 

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Thursday, December 29, 2016
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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9 Social Media Tips for SMBs Planning Events

The field of event planning is competitive, and most event planners use social media to bolster their events. That means if you want to keep your SMB up in the event planning market, you need a plan for social media usage. You can start off by identifying what resources you have available, i.e. company Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.

Once you've established what your small and medium business has at its disposal, read through these nine tips on how to use social media before, during, and after your events to make them successful :

 

1. Gather data from previous events. Data which you should look for includes target group demographics and competitor analysis. Looking at this data will give you the information needed to give you ideas that will help you form your own social media campaign.

2. Release hashtag information for your event in advance. Aim to release info at least six months in advance. Content about your upcoming event, images, and info from previous events will all help gain attention and publicity for your event. When publishing content about your upcoming event, be sure to include information regarding deadlines, speakers, receptions, and include recaps on information from events from the previous year. It is vital that while you are doing all of this, that you are posting at regular weekly rates. The more new content you create the better. Once your event is over, plan a contest that involves a prize for your social media audience in which the best social interactor gets rewarded once the event is over. This will give your audience a great incentive to get involved through social media, and further help your event and social media campaign.

3. At least two weeks before your event,  your event speakers can really help you promote. If there is video available, try to include a video with the keynote speaker and or other speakers. If you want to maximize the amount of publicity gained from your speakers, you should encourage your event speakers to use their own social media accounts to promote the event through multiple platforms.

4. Social media posts should include countdowns to the event with hashtags. If any attendees are posting and tweeting, make sure to acknowledge them with either a direct message or retweet/share.

5. During the event, assign someone to keep track of posts relating to your event and respond to comments, compliments and complaints. The quicker your person can respond, the better. If you help your attendees, speakers, and exhibitors quickly through social media, they are often very thankful, and other attendees will be happy when they see others being treated well.

6. Get a video wall rental or a floor-standing, large screen display rental. You can use both of these event technologies to display photos, tweets, and other posts relating to your event from your attendees in a spectacular fashion.

 

7. Once your conference kicks off, remind your attendees regularly to post on social media using your hashtags, and inform them of the contest which will give the best social media interactor a prize some period after the event is over.

8. After the event, follow up and thank everyone who made posts on social media relating to your event. Even something as simple as a post saying "Glad you attended #EventName, hope you had a great time!", shows that you care about the experience of your attendees.

9. Follow up on the prize promise. Give the best social media interactor of your event a small prize, and be sure that you capture this interaction on social media in some way. People enjoy seeing other people win things.

 

The majority of these suggestions should be easy for any SMB to follow, and these suggestions can greatly increase the enjoyment of event attendees, exhibitors, and speakers. Hopefully these tips have helped you plan your next event's social media campaign! Have a happy New Year!

 

 
 

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