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9 Small Business Trends for 2012

2. If you're not embracing social media, get in the game.
Social media isn't just for ahead-of-the-curve tech whizzes, big brand-name companies and young adults. Even the most basic business ventures should be promoting themselves via Twitter and Facebook these days.

Investing in "integrated, ROI-focused tools" will be essential for small businesses that are looking to stretch limited marketing dollars, Schedulicity's Nettuno says, referring to return on investment.

In layman's terms, he means businesses will need to bump up their online advertising, search engine optimization capabilities and get in the game with customers who are looking for businesses online and in social media spaces as opposed to in the newspaper, radio or more traditional phone directories.

"Daily deals have educated small-business owners to spend money at the local level, while SEO continues to be a huge priority for small-business owners who have an online presence," Nettuno says. "Online advertising needs to be targeted and cost-effective."

Next year, "we predict more and more small businesses will begin to expand online and embrace Facebook as the dominant marketing tool for small businesses," Nettuno says.

A good way to start: Enter Facebook's $50 ad campaign giveaway, designed to encourage more businesses to join the social media site.

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