Small Business News: Stories This Week Not to Miss

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Another popular social media network adopts hashtags and Vine surpasses Instagram for Twitter uploads. Those are two news stories that are trending popular in the small business community this week.

Entrepreneurs should also take note of the opportunities presented by a growing app market — via comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook this week.  We also debunk one incorrect meme going around about the status of the Internet Sales Tax in Congress.

As always, the Small Business Trends editorial team puts these small business stories in context for you.

Social Media

Here come the hashtags. Sometimes rumors turn out to be ture.  For a while now, rumors have circulated about plans to introduce hashtags on Facebook .. .just like the ones so popular on rival Twitter. We learned this week the rumors were true. How will hashtags affect conversations on Facebook? Some say they don’t fit Facebook at all – other welcome them. We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, we bring you the basics of Facebook hashtags.

Twitter offers free analytics to users. Now you can get a better understanding of the impact you are having on Twitter. Like Facebook, Twitter now offers a free analytics tool to measure select metrics. It’s not perfect, say marketers, but it’s a move in the right direction.

Vine surpasses Instagram for most Twitter uploads. Small businesses and online marketers use the 6-second Vine video app on Apple devices and now Android to market their brands. We offer tips from those who are already using vine for marketing.

Facebook is changing the look of advertising. The social network announced last week it is consolidating many of its advertising formats. These include “Questions,” “Offers” and “Sponsored Stories.”  Thank goodness, because it was unnecessarily confusing!


A $10 billion app market represents an opportunity for small business. We know, of course, that Google recently announced a growing market for apps in its Google Play Store. But Apple CEO Tim Cook put a monetary value to that market this week: $10 billion over the last five years.  Do you have an app for your business? Do you develop apps?  Maybe you should.

Google Announced it Will Introduces Google Web Designer. The new tool from Google will let users create Web ads using HTML5, instead of Flash, which isn’t easily viewable on mobile devices.  But despite its name, this tool is not primarily to be used for Web design — as first reports from many outlets suggested. It’s really a tool for advertisers, and will be available in the DoubleClick platform and also as a stand alone app.  So if you needed further proof that mobile devices like tablets and smartphones are an essential part of the advertising mix, you’ve got it.


Ebay is testing 24-hour window shops. The windows are actually 9 feet across and 2 feet high touchscreens allowing customers to buy merchandise. If brick and mortar retailers don’t carry it in their stores or it’s after hours and the shop is closed, or if they just want to expand their space without opening up another full service shop – this could be an answer in some metropolitan areas – like New York. The merchandise is then delivered by courier and paid for with PayPal.

The Internet Sales Tax is still alive. This despite a claim from an activist group this week. The organization calling itself Generation Opportunity claimed it “Facebook bombed” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and succeeded in getting him to stall the bill in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte denies this.  This just shows how contentious the bill is, and how divided people are on it — including small businesses.


Sony has a 13 inch tablet that slides into a laptop. The Vaio Duo 13 represents part of the tablet hybrid trend. But with a cost of $1,399, it’s on the pricey side. Created for mobile professionals, the device runs Windows 8 and boasts 10+ hours of battery life. For a tablet, the Vaio Duo 13 is a “little bulky,” says Dan Ackerman of CNET. You be the judge.

You could lose that old Yahoo ID. The company is “freeing up” some of those old inactive IDs to make room for new users who might want them. Yahoo Senior Vice President of Platforms Jay Rossiter broke the news on Yahoo’s official Tumblr blog. Yahoo recently announced plans to acquire the wildly popular social blog and may be clearing space for potential new Tumblr users.

IBM acquires SoftLayer raising questions among small business customers. The Dallas, Texas-based hosting company claims to be the largest privately held business of its kind. GI Partners purchased the equity in the firm, together with the company’s management in August 2010. But will it’s focus on smaller customers, including Small Business Trends, remain after being acquired by the tech giant?

RSS Feed: Is it still important? Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell gives us the low down on one of the most important features of content on the Internet. What is it? What is it used for? And is it still useful in this rapidly changing technological world? The short answer to that last question is yes.


Startup “99testers” explores a new way to test software. Suppose we lived in a world where business was totally collaborative with no managers. Crowdsourcing is certainly a step in this direction. In 2010, Praveen Singh, CEO and Founder of 99tests, brought the concept to software testing. The rest is startup history as Sramana Mitra explains.

Find influencers with “Little Bird” today. TJ McCue gives us an overview of a new search engine to help you find influencers. This is a review of a tool designed to help you find new leaders to follow, create a plan for influencer engagement, discover your “freshest” connections, and more.


Learning content and context in marketing. Mike Volpe, chief marketing officer for HubSpot, talks with Brent Leary, Partner at CRM Essentials and organizer of the Social Business Atlanta conference. The subject is the one thing that may be keeping your marketing from reaching its intended audience.

Book Reviews

Present Shock: Taking A Moment to Review the Future. Has technology given you the lifestyle you wanted? Author Douglas Rushkoff asks questions about what technology has given us and what we should expect in return. Analytics expert Pierre Debois reviews the book for us.


Could the IRS scandal be a good thing? Well, it depends what you think of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many small business owners don’t care for it. Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University, says while the IRS is under assault, the agency may be less likely to hassle small businesses on other enforcement issues like healthcare reform.  We can only hope.


Checking your risk half-way through. You do annual mid-year checks on progress, meeting revenue and growth goals. So doing a mid-year risk-management assessment is also a good move. Looking at risks to your data, in your workplace and elsewhere in your business is a good way to be prepared, says Ted Devine, CEO of Insureon.

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Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 17 years. He is a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.