MM_Social_Mobile_SBMAccording to a recent poll of U.S. marketing professionals conducted by the American Marketing Association (AMA), businesses plan to continue to invest in mobile and social marketing in 2013.1 This is not necessarily a new trend, but it does necessitate SMB marketers to consider how they will allocate their advertising dollars to get the most bang for their buck.

The main reason for the growing investment in digital marketing like social and mobile, is that audiences today are more fragmented, forcing businesses to look toward newer opportunities.  Just over two-thirds (71%) of businesses are planning to increase spending on digital marketing technology this year, down marginally from 74% in 2012.2

According to AMA’s report, businesses know how important digital marketing is, but they are concerned about their teams’ ability to take advantage of new technologies and social networks. More than half of respondents (54%) felt that their marketing team was unable to handle new technologies and trends.1

But business need not fear. Overall, social and mobile marketing are more forgiving than other advertising platforms and can be easily updated to meet your needs. Here’s a look at both and how they can benefit your advertising program.

Social Marketing

Social marketing offers the advantage of being inexpensive, but at the same time, it provides a highly targeted audience. In the right hands, social marketing can increase the profits of any business by growing the number of customers. Social marketing is best done through various social media such as blogs, social networking websites, picture and video sharing sites, and targeting social bookmarking sites. Fifty-eight percent of businesses say they see a drop in marketing costs by moving to social media marketing.3

Outside of the main social media platforms, here are a few ideas for social marketing and how it might help your business:

–  Widgets

  • A widget is a small program that you can easily put on your website, blog, or social page. A widget can be anything from a voting poll to a crossword puzzle. Widgets help you engage with customers in non-traditional ways online.

–  Photo/video sharing

  • There are many social sites that specialize in photo and video sharing from Instagram to YouTube. It has often been quoted that we process visuals thousands of times faster than text. That being said, sharing photos or videos can be a great way to market to the masses.

–  Yahoo Answers

  • Answering questions on Yahoo Answers is a great way of social marketing. There probably are a lot of questions pertaining to your expertise that you could address, all you need to do is start answering. Remember to offer a link to your website. You can gain credibility and drive new leads to your site as easily as answering questions pertaining to your expertise.

–  Blogging

  • Providing information about your industry and asking other bloggers to write about your product or service is a great technique that many businesses have adopted for social marketing.

-Social bookmarking marking sites like and many businesses have brought in more business. Social bookmarking websites allow Internet users to organize and store bookmarks to online resources, helping your business be found in more places online.

Mobile Marketing

The always-on and always-aware nature of mobile devices provides more timely communications than other channels.  This improved time relevancy is likely the reason behind enhanced quality of marketing conversations, and conversion rates. Here are a few ideas for mobile marketing and how it might help your business:

–  Mobile optimize your website to be found by location-based apps

  • The most popular apps for small businesses are those that offer address and driving directions. Almost 80% of mobile-enabled small businesses use them. Location-based services such as Yelp and Foursquare are becoming more established as well, with a penetration rate of 44%.4

–  Offer mobile coupons

  • Smartphone users looking for coupons has grown an estimated 81% since March of 2012.5 Harness this growth and capitalize on the opportunity by offering mobile coupons for use in-store or online.

–  Accept mobile payments

  • Close to half of small retailers are expected to use a mobile payment app in 2013, like Square or PayPal, allowing you to capture revenue when and where it is convenient for your customers.4

–  Consider adding mobile advertising to appear on apps your target audience might frequently use.

  • In 2011 there were 500,000 businesses running click-to-call mobile advertisements.6

Using these platforms to market your business can help it grow. A portion of your marketing budget should be allowed include both categories. Watch carefully to see which one works better for your business and adjust accordingly to get the most of your investment.

How do you use social or mobile marketing for your business? Have you found one works better for your business than the other? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

1 Aquent and American Marketing Association (AMA), “Marketing Salaries,” conducted by Inavero, Jan. 24, 2013
2 Econsultancy/Responsys Marketing Budgets 2013 Report
3 Social Skinny: 100 Social Media, Mobile and Internet Statistics for March 2012
4 5 Mobile Technology Trends to Watch, Intuit, Dec. 2012
5 Mobile Search, Creating Moments that Matter by Google and Nielsen, March 2013
6 Ads at Google, 2011 at a Glance, Google, Jan. 2012