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Are you one of those small-business owners who is late to adopt the latest technology trends? Then you look back six months to a year down the road and mutter, “What was I thinking?” If that was you in the past, you have the opportunity to change your fortunes now.

“The unrelenting trend toward the digital office continues for SMBs across every industry,” said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing for j2 Global.

It’s time that you embrace the power of mobile apps. In this piece, we will look at how small to mid-sized businesses are going to get a little more creative and develop innovative lead generation strategies.

Leverage mobile business solutions to grow you customer base
Times are changing rapidly. Smartphones and tablets have become the device of choice for many consumers throughout the country. Now you have to alter your marketing initiatives to meet customers where they are. This is why 7 in 10 of the more than 32,000 SMB professionals who responded to a recent j2 Global study are planning to use the Facebook mobile app for business development and marketing.

In addition, 16 percent of survey participants said their enterprise is going to use Instagram for the first time. Twitter and YouTube are also the second and third most prominent apps that SMBs are going to utilize to grow in the upcoming year. It has never been more important to have a social media manager that knows how to maximize the potential of these online platforms.

Social networks are constantly changing
Ashley Coombe, social media strategist for full-service marketing agency All Inclusive Marketing, told Forbes in a recent interview that 2013 was really the year when social media managers proved their worth. The days are over when you could give a half-hearted effort to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the several other social sites. Now you need someone who can engage with consumers, as well as help build the brand.

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You need to understand how your Facebook presence will impact your online reputation in the upcoming year. By building relationships with loyal customers and working hard to ensure that each person who interacted with the company received a first-rate experience, you will be able to slowly see some consistent supporters, as well as people who will post about the business in a positive light.

Create a consistent, positive experience for customers
Coombe believes that continuing to strengthen bonds with fans of the enterprise will be the secret for SMBs to grow without breaking the bank on expensive lead generation strategies that are inherently more risky.

“Facebook will be a place that social media managers can draw, engage and communicate with individuals.” Coombe said. “These relationships will help to create a small army of brand evangelists or brand advocates that will organically spread the client’s message. This strategy will be particularly essential for clients who have a smaller ad budgets; relationships via social media will become key.”

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