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Why Analytics Matter to Small Businesses

facebook-analytics-600-275x171This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Small businesses are past the fact that they need to use social media. Customers are using social tools to communicate, shop, research and discover — most of which are rapidly becoming a mobile experience. And so, entrepreneurs are shifting how they run their business around that fact.

The question now becomes "how?" Booz and Company conducted an in-depth study with Buddy Media of social media's marketing impact, and found that most businesses were not utilizing tools and services properly.

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Social Media Is Transforming Business, Inside and Out

135156831 Social media is transitioning from a tool used by companies for a limited number of purposes, mostly involving external communication, to an integral part of the business environment, which is transforming the internal dynamics of major corporations, according to a new study by FedEx and Ketchum, titled "From Social Media to Social Business."

The study is based on quantitative surveys and telephone interviews with a total of 85 executives and communications "thought leaders." The list includes well-known social media pontificators like Jeremiah Owyang and Brian Solis, and execs from companies including IBM, Southwest Airlines, Bank of America, AT&T, Chevron, G.E., Cisco, and Time Warner Cable. On the executive side, the majority of participants were from large companies: 88% had 2,000 or more employees, and 68% had annual revenues over $2.5 billion.

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Dropbox, TigerText Announce Partnership: Users Can Send Files With Expiration Dates, Remotely Revoke Access

136501735Secure messaging service TigerText announced a partnership today with Dropbox that will allow users to send documents securely, with features like a pre-set lifespan and the ability to recall a file attachment at any time. Documents will be encrypted and cannot be downloaded, copied or forwarded.

TigerText president and Co-founder Brad Brooks tells us that the partnership has a wide range of targeted users, from "anyone who uses Dropbox" to businesses that need to send secure files. Brooks sees wide-ranging applications of the technology, from transporting confidential legal and medical files (the platform is HIPAA compliant) to facilitating group collaboration in financial services firms to delivering event tickets with an expiration date and recall ability. He says a large agency in Los Angeles approached TigerText because they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on courier services driving around scripts.

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Non-Profits to Reap $10 Million From Facebook Settlement

facebook-promoted-posts-600Privacy and consumer groups will pocket $10 million from the Facebook "Sponsored Stories" settlement once a Federal judge signs off on the deal.

Facebook reported in mid-June that it would be settling the lawsuit. However, initial reports did not detail which charities would be getting the $10 million.

This week, a new court motion revealed more than a dozen consumer rights groups — including Consumer Federation of America, Rose Foundation, Center for Democracy & Technology and the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society — will split the $10 million from Facebook. The initial report was published by Wired.

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How to Choose the Right Social Marketing Platform

digital-marketing-600While much of the tech and financial world has been focused on Facebook's post-IPO performance, something else has happened that is starting to define the social marketplace. Savvy firms like Salesforce.com and Oracle have strategically gobbled up some of the top social vendors. These acquisitions signify that social business has become big business. The formulation of meaningful social categories is also taking shape, and marketers — particularly CMOs — should take note as they look to gain real ROI from social.

The best way to determine what social categories and tools you company should utilize is to look at what companies like Salesforce.com and Oracle are investing in. Both companies have identified and invested in three main categories of social technology: social media management, social media monitoring, and social infrastructure. By examining what these categories look like, and what technologies matter, you can determine where to focus your business resources.

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