LinkedIn Up, Twitter Down for Small Business Owners

How do you promote your business?

79% of small business owners told AT&T they rely on word-of-mouth. 63% said they use a company website and only 39% said they used social media.

The numbers come from the new 2012 AT&T* Small Business Technology Poll. Overall, the poll shows that small business owners are slowly moving into social media and mobile marketing. But mobile is becoming a big part of how they run their business.

Social

None of the social media networks saw a big rise in usage, but LinkedIn still came out on top going from 25% in 2010 to 31% in 2011. Facebook usage was at 44% up from 41% the prior year.

The losers? Twitter was at 19% usage to start and dropped to 18% in 2011. Location-based networks like Foursquare came in at only 9%.

Retailers Choose Low Prices Over Discount Days and Coupons

There’s a shocking, new trend sweeping across the nation’s retailers — it’s called low prices every day.

JC Penney is the current king with their new campaign that makes fun of holiday discounts and short-term pricing.

In one TV ad, Ellen DeGeneres wakes up at 6 a.m. in the middle of fifties sitcom, wondering why you have to get up early just to shop. The “audience” laughs because they know that if a sale starts at 6:00, the good stuff will be gone by 8:00. Just ask those Black Friday extreme couponers.

In other ads, Ellen makes fun of the .99 pricing concept and then stirs up trouble in the old West when she goes for her coupons. It’s a simple concept. Retailers should offer the best possible price all the time. That’s just good business.

Coca-Cola, Subway and Hallmark Are Still Number One

It’s tough enough to make it to the top of your field, but staying there for eight years in a row is near impossible. Still, fifteen brands managed to do just that.

The numbers come from the 23rd Annual Harris Poll EquiTrend Study. They surveyed nearly 40,000 US consumers and asked them to rank a random collection of forty brands and the cream rose to the top.

Every brand on this list is immediately recognizable. Each evokes a feeling of stability, of excellence. They also mean more than just the product they represent.

Hallmark makes cards and Christmas ornaments. But the brand brings to mind visions of loving families, heart-felt gifting and a lifetime of memories.

Mobile to Account for 25% of Paid-Search Clicks by End of 2012

Mobile is rising faster than anyone anticipated and that’s good news for all kinds of marketers. The recently released “State of Mobile Search Advertising in the US” report by Marin, shows the click growth over the past year.

If mobile continues on this path, Marin estimates that mobile will account for 25% of all paid-search clicks on Google by the end of this year.

Most of the reason for the growth is the corresponding growth in smart phone ownership. It’s estimated that when you combine Android and iOS, there will be one billion phones in play sometime before the summer of 2013.

But it’s not just smart phones. It looks like tablets will be delivering almost half of all the mobile paid-search clicks by the end of this year. That’s really something, given that tablets are not yet common, household devices.

Survey Says Marketers See Social Media as an Experiment

Would you say that social media is an accepted and necessary part of your marketing plan? Or is social media marketing still more of an experiment?

Pivot (the social business conference people) asked brand managers, agency professionals and marketing experts that question and the result was surprising.

49% said that social media marketing was still experimental. Of those people, 37% thought social media marketing would be mainstream by 2013, but 34.8% said they had no idea when they’d break on through.

The reason for the lag? Budget and lack of clear outcomes made the top of the list. Shortly below that, lack of clear social strategy and 39% said it was executive skepticism that kept them from settling in.

Google Play Goes into Hard Sell Mode

Google Play was officially released earlier this month but I only just got my first look at it thanks to the bright red NEW logo in my Google Gmail bar.

I had forgotten about the new initiative, so I clicked the button and was promptly confused.

Is this an entertainment magazine? An online store? A review site? And look, it says Android Apps! I’m an iPhone users so does that mean none of this is for me?

If I was your average consumer, I might have closed the page and moved on. But I’m a journalist, so I decided to research this whole colorful mess. Turns out, this is Google’s new one-stop entertainment shop / cloud service / social sharing site.

FTC Releases Final Consumer Privacy Recommendations

If you have some free time today, the FTC just released a new 112 page report on marketing and consumer privacy that you might find interesting.

The report title is almost as long as the report. It’s called “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers.” Note the word “proposed.” This report doesn’t establish any new laws, but they are rather firm in their “suggestions.”

Think of it as a parent who “suggests” that a teen be home at a reasonable hour. They might look the other way if the teen come in after midnight once or twice, but if it becomes a habit . . .

Here’s FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in the parent role;