Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:
[Economy News] Small Business Optimism Hits Highest Level in 6 Years
News Source: Fox Business News
This week, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its latest Small Business Optimism Index, showing an increase of 1.4 points in May for a total of 96.6 points—the highest index reading since 2007.
A few key factors contributed to business owners’ improved outlook in May:
- Employment: May was the eighth consecutive month of increased employment.
- Job Creation: Planned hiring increased 2% above and beyond expected seasonal hires.
- Sales: Small business owners reported higher nominal sales to date in Q2, and 15% of participants said they expect sales to improve over the next quarter, the highest percentage since mid-2007.
Key Takeaway: The lingering effects of tough economic times haven’t been eradicated by any means, but the Optimism Index indicates that the tide may be finally turning for small businesses. As consumer confidence continues to rebound, let’s hope that local establishments reap the benefit!
[Social Media News] SMBs Experience Positive Return on Twitter Investment
News Source: AllTwitter
This week, Twitter released a new study on SMB Twitter usage and perceptions. The social media company surveyed 1100 small and medium business owners in the U.S.
The major findings of the study were generally favorable toward Twitter as a platform for market seeding and customer support:
- 74% of respondents feel they receive a positive return on time invested in Twitter.
- 73% view Twitter as a quick way to address customer service issues.
- 72% agree that it’s important to be on Twitter.
- 70% post on Twitter at least once a day.
- 68% feel that Twitter is important to their marketing strategy.
Key Takeaway: Twitter is becoming a more important marketing tool for small businesses as owners begin to see the benefits of investing in the platform. But there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Only 58% of survey participants currently use Twitter for business, although more than 70% feel that the social network is an important channel. If you haven’t yet gotten in the social game for your small business, now is the time! Local consumers are looking for you there—don’t miss out on the opportunity to start a conversation with prospects and engage your current customers.
[Local Search News] Apple Acquires Social Maps Search Engine
News Source: Tech Crunch
Apple acquired social search engine Spotsetter last week. The startup, founded in 2012, was spearheaded by two ex-Google Maps engineers who have now joined Apple’s team.
Spotsetter’s technology works to layer friends’ recommendations, reviews, and other social information on top of a standard map interface to make local search a more social experience. The algorithm pulls in content from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare, as well as review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zagat, and Michelin.
As of summer 2013, Spotsetter had 5 million user profiles, 40 million venues mapped, and 1 million curated venue content items worldwide.
Key Takeaway: Given the epic failure that Apple Maps has been to date, Apple’s acquisition of Spotsetter makes sense. If Apple can augment its proprietary maps technology with additional data that competitors like Google and MapQuest aren’t providing, they may be able to woo back iOS users who gave up on their Maps app early on.
Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know!