NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today? 1. Twitter is launching an advertising platform for small business. Later this month, Twitter will formally launch an advertising platform for small and medium-sized businesses, something only large companies were once able to capitalize on. Boston.com blogger Jason Keith says as a small-business owner this means things just got a little bit more complicated for you, meaning "it's now possible to be hosting ads or spending money and time on a number of social platforms -- including Google ( GOOG) AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Groupon ( GRPN) or any number of online review, group buying or location-based social sites."
Overall, the online advertising landscape has become even more difficult to navigate and pull customers from. So small businesses need to remember the rules of advertising: Make sure to gauge if your clientele will be looking for your ads on Twitter or some other social media site and don't be afraid to move ad dollars if something isn't working. "As more and more options pop up, don't feel like you have to use all of them, or even one of them. Do some homework and even dedicate a small spend to testing each out before making a big investment," Keith says. Through Twitter, small businesses will soon be able to submit promoted and targeted tweets to consumers. Following on the heels of Facebook's announcement last fall, both sites have scaled down their advertising models to make them more user-friendly and more targeted (and cheaper), allowing the companies to reach small businesses looking for ways to drive customers to their sites and in their doors. 2. South by Southwest is attracting start-ups. Music, film and interactive media trade show South by Southwest has always been a place for tech start-ups to showcase their stuff. But now the trade show is broadening its reach to small companies. According to The Wall Street Journal, South by Southwest has actively solicited health-tech start-ups. The festival has also established a Start-Up Village where industry participants can talk shop (or face off in a pingpong tournament). But other big trade shows are also making way for start-up companies to be featured, including the Consumer Electronics Show and Educause. 3. It's time to take steps to go green. March means time to start thinking how to go green in your small business -- if not to save the planet, perhaps to save some money. Businesses can do both by following some easy steps, including: aggressively reducing "waste," such as over-ordered inventory; reducing energy drain, such as by turning off computers, fax machines and copiers instead of leaving them in standby mode; shift databases to the cloud as opposed to having in-house servers and back-up; using environmentally friendly products; and buying hybrid or electric cars for fleets. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski