Tag Archive | "small-business"

Fundbox Raises $40 Million To Pay Invoices On Demand

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Facebook Tops 2M Active Advertisers, Debuts Ads Manager iOS App

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Facebook announced Tuesday that it now has more than 2 million active advertisers, and the social network launched its Ads Manager application for iOS.

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg announced during the company’s second-quarter-2014 earnings call last July that Facebook had topped the 1.5 million-advertiser mark, while director of small business Dan Levy revealed in June 2013 that the 1 million mark had been surpassed.

Facebook rolled out its Ads Manager mobile site last July and included access to it in its flagship iOS and Android apps, and it said in a Facebook for Business post that the new Ads Manager app for iOS is currently available in the U.S., with plans to take it global “in the next few weeks” and an Android version coming later this year.

Sandberg and Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the 2 million-advertiser milestone in a Facebook for Business post:

There are now more than 2 million active advertisers on Facebook, and we have just two words to say to each one of you: Thank you.

This is a moment to celebrate all of the incredible entrepreneurs like you who are creating value for their communities:

  • Courtney, a mom in North Carolina who started The Produce Box, a company delivering fresh food that now provides a market for more than 40 farmers across the state.
  • Shubhra and Vivek, married Indian entrepreneurs who sold their house to raise the money to start Chumbak, an accessories company that now employs more than 150 people.
  • Thiago, a Brazilian man in the Amazon who turned his passion for making chocolate into Brigadore Brigadeiros Gourmet, a chain of stores and a national brand.
  • KaYoung, a young woman in South Korea who used her law school tuition money to launch HotelNow, a service for finding last-minute hotel rooms, which is now expanding across Asia.

And there are more than 2 million other inspiring stories of people working to grow their businesses. You’re creating jobs, sharing new ideas and inspiring all of us to dream big.

Our mission is to make the world more open and connected, and an important part of that is helping people connect with businesses. Today, we want to express our thanks to you and all of our advertising partners — 2 million strong and growing every day. We’re going to keep working to serve you better so you can continue creating jobs and opportunities in your community and moving the entire world forward.

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Facebook said in an email to SocialTimes on the Ads Manager app:

Roughly 35 percent of U.S. small businesses don’t have a Web presence at all, but more than 30 million businesses around the world actively use Facebook pages because they’re free, easy to use and they work well on mobile. Below are three reasons more businesses are turning to Facebook to grow:

  • Easy: Facebook’s tools are easier than ever to use. Of newly acquired advertisers in the fourth quarter of 2014, 80 percent used our easiest ad tools, particularly promoted posts.
  • Mobile: The consumer shift to mobile is making more business owners want to use Facebook’s mobile tools to reach customers and manage their businesses. For instance, more than 15 million small and midsized businesses use our Pages Manager app to manage their pages on mobile.
  • Effective: We’ve proven to businesses that our ads work. We want to make sure that every dollar they spend with us improves their bottom line. Tools like conversion tracking have accelerated better measurement for SMBs.

And the social network said in the Facebook for Business post announcing the release of the Ads Manager app:

As business owners and marketers spend less time on desktop computers and more on mobile devices, advertisers have a growing need to manage Facebook campaigns on the go. To meet that demand, last summer, we introduced the Ads Manager mobile site, which is now used by more than 800,000 advertisers each month. Today, in an effort to make mobile ad campaign management even easier for the 2 million businesses using Facebook advertising, we’re launching Ads Manager app.

Whether you want to monitor current ads or create new ones, Ads Manager app gives marketers more power to manage ads from anywhere. Using the app, marketers can:

  • Track ad performance.
  • Edit existing ads.
  • Edit ad budgets and schedules.
  • Receive push notifications.
  • Create ads.

Ads Manager app for iOS is available today in the U.S. and will be available worldwide in the next few weeks. We’re currently building Ads Manager app for Android and expect to launch it later this year.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Facebook reaching 2 million active advertisers, and what are your initial impressions of the Ads Manager app?

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

Main Street Hub Lands $20M To Bring Social Media Marketing To Small Business

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Main Street store fronts.

5 Ways Small Businesses can Use Twitter to Get More Customers

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“Branding,” “visibility,” and “loyalty” are all well and good, but chances are, if you’re a small business owner, you have a single question burning in your mind whenever you discuss the benefits of using Twitter: “How can tweeting get me more customers?”

All other benefits of Twitter aside, it is more than possible to use it as a lead generation tool to discover, interact with, and convert customers. Here are five ways that small businesses can use Twitter to do just that.

1. Find new customers using Twitter search

Twitter search is one of the not-quite-secret secrets of Twitter. Many small business owners don’t understand how powerful it can be for discovering new customers, but if you talk to a Twitter veteran, they’ll tell you they can’t live without it.

The billions of tweets that are sent every week are all available to be searched and sifted through using twitter.com/search-advanced.

To find new customers, try searching for keywords related to your product. If you are a pet grooming business, for instance, you might search for “dog shampoo” or “smelly cat.” Search for terms you think your customers would use when they’re talking about the problem that your business solves – and then send them a polite tweet letting them know that you can solve them.

2. Connect with your influencers

Using Twitter, you can network among the “rich and famous” within your niche. Thought leaders, influential customers, journalists, community figureheads and others are all on Twitter. By identifying and building a relationship with these people, your business can benefit greatly from word-of-mouth marketing.

To find your influencers, start by searching for industry keywords and paying particular attention to who is getting retweeted the most. Once you have a handful of influencers, you can put them into a list (and keep it private, if you don’t want them to know they’re on it) so you can keep track of what they tweet and engage with them on a regular basis.

3. Know your hashtags

Hashtags are like little windows into a larger conversation. They show you what is popular on Twitter and in your industry. By using Twitter search or paying attention to the hashtags your influencers use, you can identify popular hashtags and use these in your tweets to get them in front of a larger audience.

4. Advertise

One effective, albeit not necessarily cheap, way of attracting new customers is to simply pay to show your tweets to a wide, targeted audience. Twitter Ads offers many types of advertising, including promoting your account or promoting specific tweets, that you can purchase to reach potential customers who may not yet be aware of your brand.

5. Join your local community

Lastly, small businesses can connect to their local communities on Twitter in order to get in front of a local audience. Try searching for your local chamber, business organizations, prominent community leaders, and other accounts that would be interested in promoting your own local business.

It’s also a good idea to use the Twitter search operator “Near this place” to identify tweets sent from locals, and engage in the ones that make sense.

(Magnifying glass image via Shutterstock)

Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

Facebook PMD Program Officially Changed to Facebook Marketing Partners

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Facebook announced in October that the Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer ecosystem was undergoing an overhaul, becoming an objective-focused Facebook Marketing Partner program. That change takes place today.

The Facebook Marketing Partner platform will sort companies into these categories:

  • Ad Technology: Scale and optimize Facebook ad campaigns.
  • Media Buying: Find top Facebook media expertise (U.S. only at launch).
  • Facebook Exchange (FBX): Extend the reach of your exchange buys to include Facebook Exchange via our partner DSPs (demand-side platforms).
  • Community Management: Access advanced technology for managing pages and conversations.
  • Content Marketing: Create, curate and serve up content easily.
  • Small Business Solutions: Find a range of services and/or technology tailored for small and locally based businesses.
  • Audience Onboarding: Bring your internal data and audiences onto Facebook.
  • Audience Data Providers: Access external data and put it to use on Facebook.
  • Measurement: Gain critical data and insights across your campaigns.

Facebook announced the launch in a blog post:

The online heart of the new program is facebookmarketingpartners.com. In addition to providing program information and industry news, it’s home to the newly revamped partner matching tool. With just a few clicks, new users can narrow the directory of partners to the handful that match what they’re trying to do.

If you’re looking for a new partner, these changes make it easier to find the right one. But the new program also helps those already working with a partner, providing an easier way to push performance further.

Originally, Facebook had a bevy of Preferred Marketing Developers around the world, who had access to Facebook’s API platform and were closer to Facebook’s advertising team. There were also 12 Strategic PMDs, earning a special badge and a deeper level of access.

Mladen Raickovic, General Manager of AdParlor (one of the original SPMDs), talked with Murray Newlands about what this announcement means:

With this announcement, Facebook is striving to keep the partner ecosystem healthy and offer advertisers more clarity about which partner meets their business objectives. Facebook’s announcement offers an improved process for advertisers to search, identify and vet marketing partners and improve the sales process for clients.

With the new Facebook Marketing Partners identity, brands can search for marketing partners by vertical and country. This falls in line with Facebook’s objective-focused advertising focused.

Adobe’s senior product marketing manager for Social Advertising Solutions, Monica Lay, also wrote about what this means for marketing companies moving forward:

Facebook’s continued focus on audiences is evident under the new program with the inclusion of first-party and third-party data partners. Facebook has also focused a lot of attention recently on measurement with the announcement of its conversion lift measurement tool. This tool allows advertisers to accurately determine the additional business driven by Facebook advertising to aid future marketing decisions.

As you can see, the nine Facebook Marketing Partner specialties create a more cohesive environment for everyone involved in this complex ecosystem, leading to more clarity, more choices and more impact. It’s a positive outcome that is a win-win for all those involved: advertisers, Facebook and partners like Adobe.

Adam Berke, President and CMO of Facebook Marketing Partner AdRoll, is a fan of this decision:

Facebook has revamped their partner certification program to increase transparency and help marketers make smarter decisions in choosing a technology partner. This will allow Facebook to capture new ad revenue by strengthening relationships with leaders in the space and thereby increasing trust within their ecosystem.

For the last eight years, AdRoll has invested in building innovative technology that enables advertisers to engage their customers wherever they go online. The rare distinction of earning two Facebook marketing partner badges is a testament to our ability to develop differentiated and effective solutions that help our customers exceed their advertising goals on Facebook’s ad platform.

Readers: What do you think of the Facebook Marketing Partners platform?

Murray Newlands contributed to this story.

Image courtesy of AdParlor.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

Twitter Launches ‘Quick Promote’ Feature to Help SMBs Boost Tweets

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Twitter has introduced Quick Promote, a faster, easier way to promote tweets on its platform.

Aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the new feature allows brands to promote tweets directly from the Twitter analytics dashboard.

Previously advertisers could only promote tweets on Twitter’s bespoke ad platform.

Buster Benson writes about what to expect on the Twitter small business blog.

Starting today, you can use quick promote to amplify your best performing Tweets directly from the Tweet activity dashboard. Promoting a Tweet takes just a few clicks and your Tweet will automatically be targeted to users who have interests similar to your followers — the audience that is most likely to be interested in your message. Whether you’re Tweeting about a new product, promotion or blog post, Promoted Tweets can help you drive measurable business results. In fact, we found that users who see a relevant Promoted Tweet from an SMB are also 32% more likely to visit that business.

Twitter Launches ‘Quick Promote’ Feature to Help SMBs Boost Tweets

Check the video below for a closer look at how it works.

Quick Promote is available now to all SMB advertisers around the world. Simply navigate to analytics.twitter.com, login, and choose which tweet to promote.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

Message Systems Buys Rival Port25 Solutions To Create Email Infrastructure Giant

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Man holding smartphone with emails coming out of it.

Obillex Secures £3M, Led by Dawn Capital, To Disrupt Small Biz Financing

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There are two big problems waiting to be solved in small business finance. Small businesses find it hard to access working capital at good rates. And lots of investors have capital lying around doing nothing, looking for somewhere to be deployed. Obillex is a new startup that, quite simply, matches the two up. Thus, ‘early payments finance’ startup Obillex has secured £3m funding,… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Confirmed: Yahoo Loses Amit Kumar, Its Small Business VP And GM

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What does the Facebook Marketing Partners change mean for the marketing ecosystem?

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Much like its advertising offerings, Facebook recently put an objective-based spin on its marketing platform, formerly known as Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers. Now these companies, which offer advertising and marketing services to brands and businesses, are known as Facebook Marketing Partners and are divided based on what objective they specialize in, such as ad technology, media buying, small business solutions and content marketing.

So what does this shift mean for the companies, as well as their clients? We spoke with Lance Neuhauser, CEO of Facebook Marketing Partner 4C, about Facebook’s decision.

Inside Facebook: What was your first reaction to the change?

Lance Neuhauser: We heard a while ago that the program would be changing. They just announced what some of those changes would look like. We’re really excited, both for Facebook and the entire ecosystem. For Facebook, we really do believe that they have done a good job in creating an ecosystem of partners who can deliver value-added services on top of whatever Facebook already does, by advancing technology, by providing better content, by providing marketing expertise, etc.

The issue with the program was indeed that it became very hard, on one hand, to differentiate, and on a second hand, there were very rapid changes taking place. The API itself on Facebook could get stronger. The way it was set up wasn’t necessarily encouraging as much innovation as it possibly could have. To use Facebook’s analogy, they created their own ecosystem where there were all little kids playing soccer and all chasing the ball around. Not everyone was spreading out and finding new opportunities.

We’re excited that they’re doing this, as we at 4C have had the chance to be differentiated and find green fields, if you will, for quite a bit of time. We are also cautiously optimistic because whenever they say they’re going to do something is different from actually seeing it, but we believe that Facebook will live up to the expectations.

IF: What do you feel is the biggest change that will happen with this new program?

LN: I think it’s going to do a few things. I think the ecosystem is going to get bigger. You’re going to find a lot more room for pure agencies and pure content players to get in what’s now known as the Facebook Marketing Partnership program. That’s a good thing. The other massive set of changes, is that Facebook is going to dedicate many more resources to understanding the differentiation points that come from each of these partners. They may do a better job of matching solutions to requirements from their partners to their clients.

There’s been a little bit of lack of transparency as to who does what at an excellent level. With Facebook starting to get behind these sub-badges and really taking the time to learn who excels in each of these different areas, I think what you’re going to end up seeing is the cream rising to the top. Only those who are going to be excellent at real solutions are going to find themselves having great success with clients.

The other part that came out, not to be overlooked, is Facebook is going to continue to dedicate resources into their own platform. If they’re going to survive in the partner ecosystem, you have to add value. No longer is it OK to just serve ads. No longer is it OK to just send out content that doesn’t resonate with consumers. They’re really trying to put their money where their mouth is, which is this is a user-first platform and I think this construct for the Marketing Partner program is a step in the right direction.

IF: What will change for the clients of these Facebook Marketing Partners? What will they need to know?

LN: I think what’s most important is the clients can dig in and align with what their objectives are. There’s a tremendous amount of overlap. Some marketers use (Facebook) for awareness. Some use it to get traction around specific pieces of content. Some need heavy, heavy optimization just because of the sheer volume of their campaigns. We got into this game so far down the path, before everyone really knew what to make of it. They’re just like, holy cow, look at the traction Facebook has made with the audience, and they’ve got so many users.

Facebook said this, they didn’t really promote what this marketing ecosystem is or was or how to take advantage of it. Now we get to go out with the sort of messaging like, “What are your goals? What are your objectives? What’s most important to you?”

IF: It seems like Facebook, especially with how they’ve changed the ad platform, is moving to a totally objective-based format. Is this a continuation of that trend?

LN: The lines continue to blur between content and advertising, yet the ways in which we take advantage of this outstanding audience continues to fragment. We have to be able to have specialists in solutions who still drive to this overall audience, but do so in a way that provides excellence. You’re calling out something important. You don’t want to see the partner program look drastically different than the way Facebook is going to market (advertising). They’re aligning all the way from the top.

Readers: What do you think of the Facebook Marketing Partners platform?

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

March 2015
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