There is a swell in the number of companies trying to make the biggest impression on the online community, hoping to pull in advertising and revenue from competitors and become meccas for internet shopping. This isn't a bad strategy, considering that 2012 Black Friday sales were more lucrative online than in stores, and consumer trends indicate that more people than ever are handling basic shopping digitally. Smartphones and tablets now get mileage in online stores even when customers are standing in a competing business, just because they provide the ease and flexibility of comparison shopping without the hassle of driving all over town.
To keep financial plans viable, organization of all sizes will need to invest at least some time and energy into building an online presence. This includes social media and email advertising, among other initiatives, but word of mouth is just as powerful online as it is in the physical world. Making a good impression on social sites could be the biggest financial trend for 2013.
As time goes by, more consumers are getting tired of Facebook, and though it remains the biggest social network of all, there are plenty of competitors. Pinterest and Instagram are front runners for stealing the limelight next year, HootSuite reported. Many other niche social sites are also making definitive impacts. Just like mobile apps are becoming more specific, so too are users seeking out sites and social circles that fit their particular interests, so residing solely on Facebook is not longer a good business strategy.
Mobile and online
Pinterest and Yelp make money by appealing to various demographics and interests of the online community. These sites have been successful in the social game for much the same reason certain corporate ads catch on – they're sharp, they're relevant to a person's interests and they allow the consumer to retain control. Advertising online is much different than on paper, and companies must be mindful of this when building campaigns. Instead of just sending a digital image to people, for instance, they need to entice them with an interactive experience that is visually interesting and fulfilling.
UTalkMarketing wrote that it's not enough to target just online sites, though. As long as web pages are mobile-ready, small businesses must remember to design content for these viewers, too. Full visibility comes to those who offer the broadest spectrum of options to consumers, so that no segment of the market is left out.
Instagram and FourSquare limit themselves by being mobile-only deployments, but these programs provide free advertising for local businesses, which attracts others in the area. Targeting regional applications can entice more revenue, so long as the reviews being given are positive. Negative feedback can ruin a small corporation, and keeping tabs on these kinds of sites can help owners fix problems with the company that consumers encounter.
Online banking is also taking off, so businesses can check their accounts, monitor payments and track payroll while they review online messages and maintain their digital storefronts. Keeping up with financial wellness can help organizations stay on top of their money in a more proactive way, becoming aware of ongoing problems faster, detecting hacks or fraud before it becomes an issue and ensuring that their financial plans are headed in the right direction.