The top five social and marketing tools for small business in 2012
The criteria for inclusion on this list of "top new social and marketing business tools" is for the tool or service to be online (i.e. not a gadget or traditional business), related to social networking and media/marketing, and new (ish).
The tools/services also have to be either free or nearly free and offer great potential or value - something that makes you sit up and go, "Ah! That's useful.".
The idea behind this list is to help entrepreneurs, small business and startups increase their productivity, establish themselves as leaders in their industry, grow their social following, build authority and trust, drive sales and all the important goodies that go into making a success of your business.
Regardless of whether you are selling cupcakes or oil rigs, it's worth checking out how these tools can help you make important business connections, increase your online visibility and generally help you to succeed at whatever it is your doing.
Before we count down the top five, here's a list of products and services that are also worth checking out.
Ok, so Google search plus your world is actually two tools in one. It is a combination of Google search (not that new, but very widely used) and Google+, which is Google's entrance into the social networking market. Google+ has grown phenomenally since its introduction in 2011 and word is that the peeps over at Google+ are aiming to have 1 billion users within a year. Will be interested to see if they can get there.
By combining Google+ into Google search, Google have ushered in a new era in which content marketers (that's business people like you and me) have a socially integrated search platform for delivering highly relevant results.
Search results are now based on the combined wisdom of the whole Google search, and the wisdom of your social network (people you choose to follow on Google+ because you like what they talk about).
Google search plus your world is going to have fairly far reaching effects on how small business gets its marketing message across. It's now possible to compete with all the SEO efforts that major companies have put in to get their webpages to the top of SERPs (Search engine results pages) by making the right contacts and building up a social following.
Businesses that are serious about utilizing social media to grow their social influence and drive Web traffic and business, will need to manage their social media accounts efficiently.
While home based, or small businesses can get away with a single Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ account, the situation becomes more complex when different employees are expected to generate content and social engagement.
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HootSuite offers a brilliant online interface that integrates all your various business social media accounts into one easy to use webpage.
This makes administering and monitoring social media and marketing campaigns far more efficient, and therefore far more cost efficient.
HootSuite Pro comes with a 30 day free trials, which is definitely worth checking out for any business with more than a couple of employees and the drive to succeed online using social media.
HARO is a great site for keeping tabs on what information the media is after. Sign up for free and start receiving emails containing categorized lists of queries for interviews and information requested by various bloggers, journalists and news websites.
One of the real benefits of using HARO is not necessarily finding an appropriate story pitch for your site, but the opportunity to cultivate media contacts by helping journos out when they're in need.
By providing them with the benefit of your knowledge and skills you can make some potentially crucial media contacts that can be leveraged when the time comes to launch a new startup or product.
I will admit that many of the queries presented each day won't really apply to you. But, it's really not that hard to skim the list of requests as and when the emails arrive.
If there's something worth your time, you can respond directly to the reporter - a far better way to contact them than cold calling through their news websites.
It amounts to free PR for your business.
design-a-webpage.com is an instant webpage designer and Internet marketing hybrid service. It allows you to create professional marketing quality landing pages that are designed for a specific purpose. Examples include product sales pages, portfolio pages, polls, and lead capture pages.
By handling all the underlying marketing tasks that leading Internet marketers and web designers do manually, design-a-webpage gives you the ability to drive traffic and convert it at extremely high rates, maximizing your return on investment.
Check out this product marketing webpage I created of my latest book entitled "Internet marketing with WordPress.
Anyone from bloggers to startups to conglomerates or complete web novices can make use of design-a-webpage because there is no code or web design experience required. All the marketing juice you need to add to your pages is broken down and explained - it's like "joining the dots" for instant internet marketing goodness.
Why am I including a service that has SEO in the name, if this is a list of the top social and marketing tools?
Simple. One of the most important aspects to social marketing is quantifying the effect and results of your social media marketing efforts.
There's no point in pouring resources into the bottomless pit of social media, without being able to accurately determine, and improve on, your performance.
Analytics SEO can be used to magnify the positive effects of your social marketing campaigns by helping you to glean powerful insights into what is and isn't working.
So while this service won't help build your social influence directly, it will help you understand the best way to do it.
Those are my top 5 social marketing tools for business. What tools and services do you use to enhance your own social marketing campaigns?
Share your tips and advice in the comments.
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