If you run a small business, you know just how important the summer months can be.

While your customers are hitting the beach and soaking up the sun, you’re looking for new ways to make the most of your summer so that you can grow your business in the weeks, months, and years to come.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your summer is to make sure you’re staying connected and top-of-mind with the people who matter most to your business during these months.

This week’s marketing news roundup is packed with information to help you do just that.

1. Facebook mobile users jumped around 20 percent in U.S., UK in June

Facebook announced this week that the number of users accessing the site on a mobile device jumped around 20 percent in both the United States and Britain during the month of June.

Facebook acknowledged that the recent surge in mobile activity is likely connected to the number of people traveling and on vacation during the summer months.

Bottom Line: These latest Facebook statistics are just one example of how mobile is already influencing the way your customers interact with your business online. While summer has typically been regarded as a time when website traffic, email opens, and social media engagement slows down, today mobile technology is turning the trend upside down and giving brands a completely new opportunity to stay connected all year round.

To find out how small businesses can take advantage of this surge in mobile activity, I asked Danielle Cormier, Constant Contact Corporate Community Manager, for help.

“I think this stat is a good reminder that businesses may have to do things a little differently during the summer to stay in touch with their customers. Increasing your business’s Facebook posts to reach people on vacation is a good strategy to try, but make sure your posts are mobile friendly. There’s also a good chance that your customers are simply using social media (or email) less during the summertime. Try a survey on Facebook or through email, asking people how their behavior changes during the summer and tailor your marketing schedule to fit their needs.”

2. Facebook extends photo comments to pages

One month after introducing the ability to add photos to comments, Facebook announced this week that the feature will be extended to all Facebook Pages.

Here’s what Facebook had to say about its newest feature:

“For businesses, enabling photos in comments, both on pages and elsewhere on the site, allows for conversations with customers to be more expressive and engaging than ever.”

Bottom Line: You don’t have to be a social media “expert” to know that social media sites are becoming more visual than ever before. Whether it’s the introduction of new visual capabilities on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or the surge in popularity of sites like Integra or Pinterest, visual content is now dominating social media and other online marketing channels.

Adding visual content to your own online marketing efforts is a must in today’s increasingly visual online world. According to Facebook, images on their social network generate 100 percent more engagement than text-only posts.

To help you get started, here are 17 ways you can start using images in your Facebook marketing.

3. How are the “big guys” using social media?

According to a new report from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research, Twitter is now the most popular social media platform for Fortune 500 companies, with 77 percent of the nation’s largest companies now using the social network.

The number of F500 companies on Twitter is up 70 percent from 2012.

The study also found that 70 percent of F500 companies are also using Facebook, which represents a 4 percent increase in the last year.

Content creation is also becoming a priority amongst these companies, with 34 percent of companies now managing a corporate blog.

Bottom Line: While small businesses may not be able to match the marketing budget of these corporate leaders, they do have one advantage when it comes to social media and marketing in general —customer relationships.

Customer relationships are what make small businesses, small businesses. When someone mentions you on Twitter or sees an update from your business on Facebook, they know it’s coming from someone who knows them, understands their needs and interests, and is willing to deliver an experience that speaks to them individually.

Don’t forget this when you’re starting to build your social media presence. Listen to your customers, respond to feedback, and offer something more than just a social media sales pitch. That’s how small businesses level the playing field and win in a socially-connected world.

4. Study: 47 percent of B2Bs say email marketing success hinges on relevant content

This week, BtoB magazine released a new report titled, “Email Marketing: An Established Channel Evolves,” which provides some valuable insights into the changing attitudes of B2B marketers when it comes to email marketing.

According to the report, 47 percent of B2B marketers said improving their email programs hinged upon increasing their ability to deliver content relevant to specific segments of their audiences.

Other top concerns includes, improving lead nurturing (43 percent) and list segmentation (30 percent), increasing personalization (25 percent) and analyzing data (24 percent).

When asked about their greatest email challenges, 58 percent of respondents said, “Creating email content, followed by difficulties in measuring ROI (40 percent), concerns of deliverability (34 percent), and problems with growing their email list (30 percent).”

Bottom Line: Coming up with content for your email communications is one of the biggest marketing challenges small businesses and nonprofits will face.

But what most people don’t realize is that there are great sources of content all around you.

With the right plan and a little bit of help, you could soon be on your way to creating content that will engage your audience and help bring new customers, members, or volunteers to your business or organization.

Download our free guide, Overcoming Your Content Challenges to get started.

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