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National Small Business Week is in full swing! Since 1963, the president has proclaimed one week out of the year as National Small Business Week citing the importance of small businesses to our national economy, and per President Obama’s 2016 proclamation, as representative of “the spirit that has always driven our Nation forward.” This is truly a week of celebration and acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication millions of Americans put forth each day to grow their passions and prosperity across the country. Don’t be fooled, though. There’s so much more to NSBW than festivities and merriment; business and industry findings are revealed, which glean insight into what’s in store for small businesses in the future.

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Outline of panic icon

They’ve done it again: Facebook released another update to your News Feed. Over the past two years, there have been numerous revisions to the News Feed algorithm, all with the focus of making it more customer-centric and user-friendly. Following the F8 Summit earlier this month, it’s no surprise that new features are being implemented quickly and often. To summarize the changes, Facebook stated the following in its April 21 announcement,

“As we work to improve News Feed, we make updates to help make sure you see the most relevant stories at the top.”

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Red cupcake with sprinkles and sparkler

We’ve touched on the importance of your brand, and identified the key components to creating one that is memorable, but today we’re going to hone in on brand imagery. Think of brand imagery as the frosting to your cake; it lures people with its outward appearance and enhances the flavor profile of the cake. A red velvet cupcake is great, but a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting is infinitely better. Get the gist?

Your brand imagery should show the personality of your brand to its audience. When a company has strong brand imagery, you can identify its ads or promotions instantaneously. Coca Cola, Target, Google, and Apple were the first companies that came to mind when I brainstormed this topic. Each has a distinct look, feel, and message to its imagery, and I never hesitate to associate their names with their product promotions because it is so obvious.

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Image of Pin tack with red background

Pinterest recently opened its Promoted Pins platform to small businesses, meaning that small businesses can now target and segment their ads at a much deeper level. Small businesses can now collect data and audience insights that were previous off-limits.

According to a Pinterest internal study, “Promoted Pins have a major impact on brand metrics. People who saw Promote Pins have seen double digit lifts across several brand objectives from awareness, to favorability, to purchase intent.”

This kind of ROI indicates that Pinterest is a serious marketing tool that should not be overlooked. If you haven’t already, sign up for a Pinterest for Business account and activate a Promoted Pins campaign today!

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Social media icons with smartphone social media news

2016 has been a banner year for rolling out new social media features. We’ve gathered the latest and greatest and broken down what they are and how to use them. Check them out below!

Facebook Live

Facebook Live showcased their latest features over the past week and upped the intrigue with what’s to come in the near future. Housed inside of the app, users now have the ability to “go live in Facebook Groups and Events, access interactive features….and invite friends to watch a live stream with them.” This all comes on the heels of the increasing demand for video across all social media.

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Mark Zuckerberg with F8 Logo on Screen Behind him

Facebook’s F8 Summit, a two-day developer conference hosted in San Francisco and accessible to millions via live streaming, packed quite the punch this year. While there was speculation around certain product launches and other technological initiatives, the overwhelming roll out of ideas and latest features exceeded expectations. Given the sheer volume of information provided across the two days, we’ve created a thorough summary of the conference and what you can expect from Facebook over the next few months to ten years.

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smmw

It’s time once again for that most anticipated event among social media marketers of all stripes: Social Media Marketing World! Thousands of marketers from dozens of countries all over the world will descend on San Diego next week, bringing with them wit, wisdom, and lots and lots of tweets!

Whether or not you snagged a ticket to the events taking place April 17th-19th, you can be the beneficiary of all the social media savvy flying around by following the action on social media.

Last year, the event’s official hashtag saw hundreds of thousands of tweets, and this year is sure to be no different. Make sure to follow #SMMW16 to learn, laugh, and retweet.

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We all know and love YouTube for its enormous collection of videos ranging from hilarious to poignant to downright astounding. Undiscovered talent, vloggers, and hosts of other talented people and groups have built cult-like followings on YouTube and have millions of subscribers. Their viewers return day after day to watch the latest videos and share their thoughts in the comment sections.

These individuals are not the only ones who have capitalized on YouTube’s power as a marketing platform. “YouTube is used by 55% of B2B marketers, and 55% of B2C social media marketers who participated” according to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. If you thought YouTube wasn’t for your small business, this study shows it is a responsive platform to different businesses and industries.

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April Fools' Day with Googly Eyes and Mustache

Pranks are the name of the game on April Fools’ Day, and increasingly brands are getting involved in the fun. This year we saw a flurry of businesses play into the trickery of April 1, but the majority fell flat. The notable few who rose to the top had viewers laughing out loud and were incredibly memorable. Aside from having viewers giggling at their desks, these brands successfully engaged their audiences through these stunts and turned an otherwise silly cultural holiday into a marketing triumph.

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do_it_digital_cover

Most people know by now that in order to be successful, a small business must at least dip a toe into digital marketing. But knowing that it needs to be done does not – unfortunately – correlate to knowing how to do it!

Luckily, there’s a specific organization that recognizes that struggle: Do It Digital UK. The organization describes itself as:

“…an independent, not-for-profit campaign that looks to highlight resources around the UK, online and off, that can help small businesses take the next step in digital, what ever their current level of skill and engagement may be.”

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