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If you’re going to pay for advertising on any one social media platform, Facebook is probably your best bet. Facebook has access to exponentially more data than the other major networks and, as a result, is able to deliver much better customization and targeting for advertising partners. However, with so many different tools comes an increased risk of failure.

Are You Making These 5 Mistakes? 

When you first start using Facebook advertising, it’s not uncommon to become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of features and settings available to you. There are campaigns, ad sets, individual ads, audiences, objectives, budgets, tracking tools, and much more. Juggling all of these different components – and leveraging the right ones – can seem nearly impossible at times. And while you can’t expect to be perfect, you should try to avoid the following debilitating mistakes. read more

No matter the size of the business or the industry, we consistently hear that people want to do social media, but they just can’t justify putting the resources toward it. Be it an investment of time or money, people just don’t understand how to think about the return they’ll see.

We’ve talked before about how to figure out the ROI (return on investment) of social media before, but today we wanted to highlight one specific benefit that many people don’t consider: market research. If you think about social media as a part of your market research strategy, all of a sudden the investment seems much easier to justify! read more

Reviews are a double-edged sword for businesses. They increase search engine visibility and give customers a way to learn more about a store or restaurant before visiting. In recent years, local businesses in particular have become extremely susceptible to online reviews as customers rely on online research more than ever. If you own a business, positive online reviews can make the difference between a customer choosing to buy from you or a competitor.

Unfortunately, even the most customer-focused business will eventually get a bad review. Whether the comments have merit or not, the results can follow a business for years. Even if the reviews are posted on Facebook or Twitter instead of a more traditional review site like Yelp, the words can haunt a business through search results. Here are a few tips to recover from those negative reviews and reclaim your reputation. read more

From the Oscars to the Super Bowl and everything in between, we’ve talked about how ‘newsjacking’ (real-time marketing) is a great way to get new social followers and engage your current followers at the same time.

No matter how convinced a small business owner may be of the value of real-time marketing, however, there will always be those that say “that’s great for some businesses, but my industry is just not exciting enough for my videos to go viral.”

Au contraire. No industry is too boring to create exciting, engaging, delightful content; some will just require a little more creativity. read more

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on last year’s lessons and look forward to next year’s opportunities. It’s also time to set some new goals for your business and resolve to stick to some marketing best practices in the new year.

To help you choose those strategies to pursue in 2016, we created a Social Success Countdown where we asked marketing experts on Twitter and around our own offices for top tips and best bets for success next year. We’ve been posting tips and graphics for the #SocialSuccessCountdown every day in December on social media, and we collected all 31 in an interactive website where you can tweet your favorite tips and join the conversation! read more

In 2010, there were approximately 4,000 restaurants open in the Washington, D.C. metro area. That also happens to be the year that sisters Meaghan and Caitlin Murphy opened Capital City Cheesecake in the Takoma Park neighborhood, just outside the District. Nearly six years later, the business is still going strong and has become a part of the local community.

We were delighted to talk with Meaghan about their business’ secret ingredient for success in the crowded restaurant market in this area. In the interview below, you’ll find out how the business came to be, Meaghan’s thoughts on their most effective marketing strategies, and how important a business plan is – even for a well-established brand.  read more

Small businesses are on the rise in this country, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the booming economy of Washington, D.C., where nearly 60,000 small businesses can be found in under 70 square miles. With all that entrepreneurial spirit in such a small space, you need passion to stand out – something small business owner Molly Ruland has no shortage of.

We were excited to talk with Molly recently about her success, and we wanted to share her inspiring entrepreneur’s story with our readers. Below you’ll find her thoughts on small business goals and challenges, an inside look at the D.C. music scene, and her tips for small business success on social media and beyond. read more

Design Terms Infographic cover

No matter what kind of small business you have, if you want it to grow, you’re going to need to do some promotion. And unless you happen to run a design business, chances are you’re going to be working with professional graphic designers at some point. Whether it’s your logo, business card, signage, or other marketing materials, a good relationship with a designer can be hugely beneficial for the growth of a business.

And like any relationship you cultivate, it’s important that both parties are speaking the same language from the start. In order to help you brush up on your design language, we sat down with professional designers and found out the terms they use most often with clients, and those that tend to trip the average person up a bit. read more

IF and Do apps

Have you ever wanted to put the Internet to work for you? That’s the promise that the productivity app company IFTTT makes with their new (and newly branded) apps Do and IF.

Let’s back up and make sure we’re all on the same page. IFTTT has offered an app by the same name (IFTTT – If This, Then That) for some time now. This app let users create if-this-then-that statements called “recipes” that automate a wide variety of tasks. These recipes are organized into “channels.” Here’s an example: read more

Google Plus logo

Google+ (or Google Plus, if you prefer) may be fairly new to the social media game, but they sure are hitting it hard. Currently they are basking in the number-three slot as one of the fastest growing new profiles. With over 350 million active users, it would make sense to build a page on this major social network if you haven’t done so already. What easier way is there to improve your search engine rankings and build your online exposure?  How can you make the most of this new arena and, more specifically, gain more followers? read more

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