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Social media, content marketing, mobile, empowered consumers, and an all-in-all converging digital landscape are making for an interesting 2013. To stay fresh, small businesses are going to have to shift their focus from being an advertiser to being a publisher. In 2013, businesses that publish valuable content across multiple digital platforms and a variety of devices in a way that drives measurable growth will win.
Content. In order to stay ahead of the curve, small businesses will need to embrace content marketing as a core part of their budget. Blog posts, visual information, ebooks, infographics, videos, and the like will all continue to serve as lead generators and further augment your business’ search marketing.
Responsive. Information-hungry consumers want to be able to easily access content on any device. Luckily, for small businesses the price of developing a responsive website is low. If you’re not sure what responsive design is, try resizing your browser screen now.
Visuals. Visual social media is here to stay during 2013. Platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook are perpetuating visual, non-text communications and small businesses will need to embrace visual media publishing to be more effective.
Search. Search engines will continue to place emphasis on fresh, relevant content, so it will be up to businesses to maintain steady publishing of web pages and blog posts to stay up in the rankings. Also, look forward to more of a convergence of social signals and search rankings, with metrics like Facebook Likes, and Twitter Followers having a heavier impact on ranking positions. Local brick-and-mortars should cultivate an audience for their Google+ Local Page to strengthen their local SEO.
Social. This is a no-brainer. If you haven’t jumped into social media marketing full-force with your business, you better get at it! Word to the wise: social media takes a major time investment in order to get results. Don’t get in over your head. Keep it simple and start off with just a Facebook Page or Twitter account, then expand from there as things develop.
Consumer Power. Reviews and social media give consumers direct, public access to either praise or sabotage your reputation. In 2013, work at getting the infrastructure in place to manage your reputation. Encourage reviews from happy patrons, and have customer service representatives ready to fire back (in a nice way) at consumer feedback. There’s no hiding from this.
Crowd-everything. New online platforms are popping up daily. Businesses will embrace crowdfunding as a way to reach new audiences and raise capital, and crowdsourcing to source inexpensive creative expertise.
QR Codes. Cheaper and easier to produce mobile websites will likely lead to more widespread use of QR codes, further bridging the gap between print and digital.
The above are my top eight best guesses. In my opinion, small business’ embracing of content marketing is by far the most important thing to keep an eye on.
What are your predictions for 2013?
Image via openviewLABS.