Social media marketing for small businesses is becoming more important

Some companies may find it daunting to enter the world of online marketing and social media, but it is important for them to keep in mind that it is rapidly becoming a crucial part of doing business. Those organizations that haven't already made the leap to the internet should get on board now or risk being left behind. The results of a recent study indicate that the process of migration to online marketing is becoming more rapid.

According to market research firm BIA/Kelsey, the next few years will see a rapid increase in internet advertising implementation. Their study estimates that by 2015, small businesses will allocate around 70 percent of their budgets to online media. This is an increase from 52 percent in 2010, representing a marked change in the way that organizations deploy their resources.

Local companies are particularly susceptible to being outpaced by larger firms when they eschew the internet as a way to reach customers and raise awareness. One reason for this increase is the result of smartphone adoption. Many companies are taking advantage of the methods that smartphone use confers by emphasizing mobile platforms such as Yelp, FourSquare and CitySearch.

One way that organizations can keep up with other companies that are migrating online is to stay up to date on the latest trends in social media marketing. One example is Google+, which could ultimately become the service of choice for small businesses and local companies. In addition to the connection that Google offers to search engine results and their Google Maps service, local Google listings are becoming ever more popular among consumers as a way to find products and services in their areas.

Another important trend related to this paradigm is the importance of customer retention software. When combined with a robust internet marketing strategy, computer programs that track every interaction with a customer can be used to manage online campaigns to greater effect. In fact, BIA/Kelsey also estimates that spending on this sort of application will increase from $3.5 billion in 2010 to $6.9 billion by 2015.

Companies that have not already embraced blogging and search engine optimization should do so as soon as possible. The primary benefit of using the internet as a marketing tool is that it allows organizations to maintain close contact with their customers. Search engines and blogging form the core of campaigns to entice new consumers into a company's fold, while customer retention programs and social media allow businesses to keep loyal customers close.  

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