Small businesses have to remember their Twitter accounts could be targeted by hackers, Deanne Katz writes. She emphasizes the need for secure passwords, malware protection and to avoid clicking on shortened links.
Almost all top brands are active on Twitter, but less than two-thirds of Forbes' best small and midsized businesses are on the network, according to a Simply Measured analysis. Nearly 6 out of 10 top brands have 100,000 or more Twitter followers, but just 3% of top SMBs have 50,000 or more, the study found.
It's getting tough for small businesses to stay safe online, writes Daniel Kehrer. Fortunately, a few simple steps can make a big difference, such as using complex passwords, installing a network firewall and using modern payment systems. "If you aren't taking up-to-date steps to protect your business, you could be exposing yourself to serious trouble that can threaten your future," Kehrer warns.
Twitter's new targeting features, upgraded analytics tools and revamped interface all appear to be tailored to the needs of the small-business community, experts say. That shows the increasing importance of SMB ad dollars to the social network's monetization strategy. "Twitter is making its native advertising portfolio approachable to small to midsized businesses because it needs to," analyst Brian Solis says.
Several marketing trends have the potential to provide a lift to small businesses, Monika Jansen writes. Continuing growth in local advertising, SEO, use of mobile devices and real-time analytics can all help give SMBs an edge. "With this information readily available, you can make quick changes to improve your marketing and customer service," Jansen writes.
A survey reveals small companies are not treating cyberthreats as a serious business issue requiring attention and spending and are relying on free antivirus and malware options that leave them vulnerable. "The reality is that free is not enough because the threats we're seeing today require a comprehensive approach," said Brian Burch, Symantec vice president. "Free antivirus ... is like wearing a light windbreaker in a snowstorm."