Entrepreneurial

Small business ad spending fuels Facebook growth

The growing use of small business advertising on Facebook is a trend worth watching.

As much as 60 percent of the social media network’s estimated worldwide revenue of $1.86 billion in 2010 was gleaned from self-service ads, according to a new study from eMarketer, which specializes in digital market research.

The low risk associated with this type of promotional activity is increasingly attractive to small companies across the board, according to Debra Aho Williamson, the firm’s principal analyst.

“The self-serve systems make it easier for small advertisers with more limited budgets to get in and advertise on Facebook without engaging with Facebook’s direct sales team and spending a lot more money,” she said. “You can set a budget and a price cap. You only pay for ads if they’re clicked on. The other thing that makes it attractive is the targeting capabilities.”

Such self-serve ads, which typically appear stacked in fours on the right-hand side of a Facebook user’s profile page, have grown from roughly 50 percent of the ad revenue pie in mid-2010, Williamson said.

Can social media make your company smarter?

USA-LAW/BRAINYou’ve started a fan page for your company on Facebook. You’ve attracted a few followers on Twitter. You’ve got a presence on Foursquare, and you’ve started offering deals to customers through Groupon. Seems you’ve got that whole social media thing figured out.

Or do you? While social media presents, first and foremost, a cheap marketing and advertising option to help businesses generate leads and drive up revenue, some experts insist it’s about more than just setting up a few profiles and then moving on.

“Social technologies are to me holistic technologies, a lot like PCs or the Internet,” said Scott Klososky, a social media business consultant who’s releasing three new books on the subject this year. “I tell clients that they need to be using social tools as much internally as they do externally, as much to cut costs as they do to drive revenue.”

5 reasons your website isn’t attracting leads

USA/- Lisa Barone is co-founder and chief branding officer at Outspoken Media and a contributor to Small Business Trends. The opinions expressed are her own. -

So, what are your big Internet marketing plans for the New Year? Will you be investing more in social media? Will you start blogging? Will you take a more proactive stance with self-promotion? Whatever your online marketing plans, the end goal is likely to attract more people to your website in the hopes that the influx of new eyes will translate into new customers, new leads and new opportunities for your business. However, you won’t be able to do any of that if your Web site is turning people off, instead of turning them on.

Below are some very common reasons small and medium-sized business (SMB) websites fail to attract customers and how to avoid falling prey to them.

Startup banks on TV show tweets

– By Alastair Goldfisher. This article initially appeared on PE Hub. –

At the NewTeeVee Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, a Twitter executive noted more people are using Twitter while they watch TV to comment on programs and interact with others doing the same.

That observation is good news for TVmoment, a San Francisco-based startup (located in the pariSoma loft) that is aiming to launch soon. TVmoment, started earlier this year by co-founders Frederik Fleck and Gaylord Zach, is currently in testing mode, but the service allows users to chat online with others about their favorite shows and movies while watching TV.

Exclusive: Survey says small businesses upbeat about 2011

Small businesses are feeling better about the economy and are looking to grow in 2011, according to a new survey released this week by online marketing firm Constant Contact.

Of the more than 1,400 small business owners that responded to the survey (view full results), 73 percent expected their companies to grow over the next 12 months and nearly 40 percent felt “positive” about the economy over the course of the next year.

“They see the darkness behind them and looking forward they see some light,” said Eric Groves, Constant Contact’s senior vice president of global market development. He added the survey is a “followup” to the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company’s larger spring polling of roughly 4,000 small businesses. Groves said Constant Contact has more than 400,000 clients, predominantly small to medium-sized businesses.

What does 10 million Facebook fans mean?

Bryant Simon is a professor of American history and culture at Temple University and the author of “Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks.” The views expressed here are his own.

Last week, the Harvard Business Review published a long interview with Howard Schultz. The Starbucks CEO talked about the coffee company’s many moves to win back customers and battle against the ill winds of the recession.

As evidence of Starbucks’ rebound, Schultz pointed to the biggest of the social networking sites out there. “We’re the number one brand on Facebook,” he boasted.

Lessons from The Old Spice Man

Craig Reiss is the former Editor-in-Chief of Adweek, Brandweek and Mediaweek, among more than 200 other magazines and Websites. He currently owns Reiss Media, an Internet marketing firm. This story originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

This week we saw two days that shook the viral marketing world. Old Spice, a long-neglected – if not forgotten – Procter & Gamble brand unleashed a social media blitz that may have changed the rules of social network marketing.

At first glance, an entrepreneur may dismiss the Old Spice phenomenon as an oddity of riches, something only a marketing behemoth like P&G could exploit. But when we dissect its marketing principles and practices, it becomes not only entirely applicable to the small business owner, but an essential (and low-cost) opportunity as well. Let’s take a look inside.

Can Jelli make radio compelling to iPod generation?

Entrepreneurs Mike Dougherty and Jateen Parekh have developed software that changes the way listeners interact with live radio, but a panel of experts was divided on whether their innovation would be able to bring iPod users back to the box.

Jelli, their San Francisco, California startup, uses a Web-based platform that allows listeners to make song requests through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and actually control the music that gets played on a live radio station (read original story here).

Popular music websites such as Pandora and Slacker already allow readers to vote on songs and control what gets played, but Dougherty said Jelli takes it a step further, giving surfers the ability to interact with a live FM radio station and “take over the stick,” as he called it.

Does Posterous have staying power?

posterousSachin Agarwal created Posterous as a way for his parents to be able to see what he posted online. Two years later the blog publishing tool has more than 15 million monthly users, but experts still wonder whether its ultra simple functionality can catapult it into the rarefied air of Facebook or Twitter.

“No one has solved the problem of how does my 60-year-old dad see my photos,” said Agarwal, who launched his San Francisco, California-based technology startup two years ago with friend and former Stanford University alum Garry Tan. He said it was important for him that Posterous appealed to people who may be intimidated by the terms “blogging” and “social media.” “We don’t want to be thought of as a tech toy for Silicon Valley geeks. We’re surrounded by a lot of crazy tech, but our goal is to be so much more universal and applicable to normal people.”

Agarwal said Posterous gets around the need for having users register accounts by getting them to post their content – text, photos and video – directly via email to a central Posterous email address, which is then immediately published online in the form of a blog.

Winning businesses will deliver meaning online in 2010

— Thomas Bonney is founder and managing director of CMF Associates, a financial consulting, staffing and recruiting firm based in Philadelphia, PA, that serves private equity, middle-market and small-cap public companies nationally. The views expressed are his own. –

Back in January 2000, we talked extensively about the “New Economy” that was expected to accompany the commercialization of the Internet. Then what I characterize as the “Decade of Speed and Connectedness” was upon us, in which 24/7 information transparency and accessibility imparted an overlay of urgency to every potential communication, task, or issue.

This all-encompassing connectedness drove the corporate decision-making of the past 10 years to be ruled by speed. The ability to focus on priority issues at hand was lost in the rush to be first to market, in the race to rack up website hits, blog comments, and online “friends.”

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