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    Addicted to Your Smartphone? You Aren't Alone.

    Last updated 1 year ago

    In the U.S. alone, more than 106 million people own a smartphone. And if you are one of them, you may have nervously asked, “Where’s my phone?” at least once, even if it’s sitting right next to you. But that doesn’t make you addicted to your smartphone, does it?

    Whether or not you consider yourself a smartphone addict, it’s undeniable that smartphones have affected how much we rely on mobile devices.  In fact, according to this infographic, approximately 65% of iPhone owners cited that they could not live without their iPhone. Also, about a quarter of iPhone users almost always use their phones when in a social setting, like a party.

    So, what other common activities would people give up to keep their smartphones? What types of people do certain smartphones attract? Check out this smartphone addiction infographic to find out these answers and to see just how reliant we have become on smartphones - and why we love them. 

    Did any of these stats surprise you? Would you admit to having a smartphone addiction? Let us know in a comment!

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through social media and online marketing for the ReachCast blog.

    3 Big Social Media Stats Every SMB Should Know

    Last updated 1 year ago

    The use of social media by consumers, brands, and small businesses is continuing to grow. What does this growth look like, and as an SMB, why is important to you?

    We created a presentation, “150 Smart Stats: Online Marketing Trends Every Business Needs to Know”, to help answer this question for you. In it, we sharesocial media stats about the usage, audience, and trends on the most popular social networking sites, as well as trends in search, mobile, and online advertising.

    Check out “150 Smart Stats” on SlideShare.

    Here are few of the key social media stats we share and a look at what they mean for your local business:

    66% of Online Adults in the U.S. Use Social Media

    In 2005, only 8% of online adults were using social media. That’s over 700% lower than the number of adults using social media today. And not only are more people using social networking sites, but they are also spending more time on them. In fact, one in six minutes spent online is on a social media site. This incredible growth demonstrates that more people are sharing, connecting, and interacting with others through social media. As this number continues to grow, SMBs will have the opportunity to reach more consumers through this channel. But even more importantly, consumers are now using social media as a way to reach businesses and brands.

    Why It Matters: Consumers are looking for local businesses on social media sites to learn more information, share their experiences, and show their support. As more consumers join social media sites, it will become more important for you to have an active social media presence. 

    More Than 9 Million Small Businesses Are Using Facebook

    In 2009, Facebook launched a big redesign of their pages, giving businesses and brands more opportunities to interact and connect with their fans. Since then, Facebook has updated its page layouts, added new features to pages, and implemented the Timeline layout on all business and brand pages. During these updates, both businesses and consumers continued to join this social network. And by 2011, more than nine million small businesses were using Facebook.

    Why It Matters: 86% of SMBs surveyed said they valued Facebook as a method of engaging with consumers. And since millions of businesses and brands are already signed up  on Facebook and other social networks, it’s important to consider which social media sites you should use in order to reach your target audience online.

    Spend on Social Media Advertising is Estimated to Reach $4.8 Billion in 2012

    Social media advertising is one way local businesses leverage advertising across their social networking sites. This year businesses are expected to spend roughly $4.8 billion on this form of advertising. This is up by 23.6% from last year alone. And, according to BIA/Kelsey, by 2016, spending on social media advertising is estimated to reach $9.8 billion, more than doubling the estimation for this year.

    Why It Matters: Having a strategy in place for social media marketing that includes monitoring and engaging with your fans on social media is important, but it doesn’t end there. Social display ads make up the majority of the spend on social media advertising, because businesses can use them to target their message to specific audiences on social sites. Incorporating this form of advertising can help boost your message across social networking sites, generating more awareness for your small business and potentially generating new leads.

    What do you think about these social media stats? How do you think they are impacting your business and advertising tactics? Check out the presentation “150 Smart Stats” on SlideShare to learn even more interesting facts and statistics about local online marketing.

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    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through social media and online marketing for the ReachCast blog.

    Merging Google+ Local and Google+ Business Pages

    Last updated 1 year ago

    You may have heard that Google Place Pages are now called Goolge+ Local pages and have been integrated into Google’s social network, Google+. But, did you know that local businesses can now merge a social Google+ Business page with their Google+ Local listing? Google recently announced this news, so here is what you need to know.

    What’s the Difference Between a Google+ Business Page and a Google+ Local Page?
    As a quick refresher, a Google+ Business page is essentially a social profile for your business, sort of like a business Facebook page. It allows your business to post content and share updates with those who have have “circled” or followed you on the network. The content on these pages can also show up in Google’s search results for any Google+ user who conducts a search while logged into their Google+ account.

    A Google+ Local page is a local business listing that is tied into the Google search results system as well as to Google maps. It includes basic information about your business, like your physical location, phone number, website, hours, and services, and it integrates reviews of your business along with a rating. If you had a Google Place Page, your page has now been automatically converted into a Google+ Local Page.

    What Businesses Can Merge Their Pages?
    Any local business that has a local listing on Google + Local can either merge their page with an existing Google+ Business page that has been categorized as a “Local Business or Place” or create a new Google+ Business page classified as that type and merge it with their Google+ Local listing. Google+ Business pages that are classified as a product or band, company; institution or organization; arts, entertainment, or sports; or other non-local business type cannot merge their pages at this time, even if they also have a Google+ Local listing. The page type is an attribute of the Google+ Business page itself and cannot be controlled from the listing information.

    Why Merge Pages?
    By merging an existing Google+ Business page with your Google+ Local listing, you add a variety of new tools and resources to make your Google+ Local listing more dynamic and engaging to consumers visiting your page. Because this listing will show up in Google+ search as well as Google organic search, merging the two adds increased visibility for your social presence on Google+ and also provides more information about you to consumers searching for a local business. Not only will they see your business information, photos, and reviews, but there will also be more emphasis placed on other types of content, like your posts, videos, links to social media profiles, and more.

    In addition, this process will allow you to verify your Google+ Business page, because once you merge these pages, Google will send you a verification postcard to the address of the business listing.

    Plus, when you merge your pages, you will be able to monitor and manage both your Google+ Local listing and your Google+ Business page from one place – the Google+ Pages admin page.

    Here is an example of a verified, merged page that includes both listing information and the social components of Google+:

    Getting Started
    To get started, you must have a personal Google+ profile associated with your own email address. This profile must have either created the Google+ Business page you want to merge or be designated as an administrator. To get started:

    • Simply log into this account and then, on the left-hand sidebar, scroll down to the to “more” icon and select “pages.” 

    • This will take you to a section called “Manage Your Pages,” and from there, you can select the Google+ Business page you want to manage or choose to create a new page.
       
    • Then, follow the prompts to either set up a new Google+ Business page to merge with your listing, or begin to merge your existing local Google+ Business page with your Google+ Local listing.
       
    • You will use the business phone number associated with your listing to identify which page you want to merge and then confirm all the business listing information on the listing is accurate.
       
    • In this process, you need to make sure to verify your page by selecting the “Verify Now” button on the right side of your page admin panel.
       
    • Then, Google will send you a postcard in the mail to the address you confirm on the listing and prompt you to verify this listing by going to www.google.com/local/verify and entering the pin number on the postcard.
       
    • Once you have merged your pages, you will be prompted to set up your page, add new content, and share your page with people in your circles. 
       
    • By merging your Google+ Local listing with your Google+ Business account, you can build a more dynamic Web presence for your local business, connect with customers and consumers, and build your reputation online through reviews.

    Have you merged your Google+ Local page with a Google+ Business page yet? What do you think about the new pages? Share your thoughts in a comment!

    About the Author
    Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the web as a blogger for ReachLocal. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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    Study: Customer Reviews Build Trust with Consumers

    Last updated 1 year ago

    For local businesses and big brands alike, building trust with potential customers is an important part of  getting their business. But with so many businesses often vying for the same customers, having a positive online reputation and earning consumers’ trust can be the key to standing out over a competitor.

    According to a new study reported by eMarketer, 84% of survey respondents said brands needed to prove they were trustworthy before they would interact with the brand online, with customer reviews on social networks being the top factor in building trust. 

    The study also demonstrated that mobile content and videos are important factors in building trust with online consumers. In fact, 54% of respondents said mobile content helps a brand build trust when that content provides useful and applicable information rather than showcasing products or promotions, and 52% found mobile content useful in building trust when it showed “real-world” solutions close to their current geographic locations.

    As online marketing continues to grow, it’s important for businesses to provide authentic and useful information to potential customers across a variety of platforms. Providing reviews and recommendations on social media sites as well as offering helpful, localized content can help your business build trust with consumers and help drive prospects closer to a sale.

    In what ways are you building trust with consumers? Have you used social networks, mobile marketing, or videos to deliver helpful information to your customers and prospects? Let us know in a comment!

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

    2012 Olympics & The Social Media Landscape

    Last updated 1 year ago

    This year, millions of people around the world are watching, reading news, and talking about the Olympics online. For example, major networks are streaming Olympic competitions online, a shift from previous years of television-only viewing. And, top news sources are using social media to share news and updates about the events. 

    With so many more people taking to the Web for Olympic-related information now compared with four years ago, brands reaching out to consumers via social media and other online outlets during this global event are benefiting from this trend. This interactive infographic shows just how much social media has grown in just four short years and the impact social media and the Web are having on top brands during the Olympics. 

    The infographic highlights a few interesting stats about today’s digital landscape:

    • The number of YouTube views per day is now four billion, compared to 133 million per day in 2008.
    • The number of Facebook users has grown from 100 million in 2008 to 900 million in 2012.
    • The top three channels used by Olympic sponsors are: their website, YouTube, and Twitter.
    •  Google search results are highly valuable, with the first three pages of results getting the most views.

    But what do these stats have to do with local businesses? Social media usage has grown immensely – and not just while events like the Olympics are taking place, but all the time. The Olympics are just one example of how this shift in the digital landscape is affecting consumer behavior – and businesses of all sizes need to leverage these online and social channels to connect with their target consumers.

    Are you relying more on digital sources to keep track of trends and events like the Olympics? How has your company’s marketing strategy shifted in the last four years with the growth of online behaviors? Share your thoughts in a comment!

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