This Week in Small Business: Meerkat, Marketing and Much More.

Meerketing (sorry) and sales

meerkat public domainThe Meerkat app seems to be a social media tool that has the potential to rise above many others. Here are three ways brands can use it and over here are another five unexpected ways it will help marketers.

Steve Olenski gives us five magic marketing (free) takeaways that will benefit virtually any small business.

Combining your social media contacts with your email marketing strategy can be like unloading a double-barreled shotgun. Here are six approaches. Unless, of course, you’re worried that email is dead.

Are your Tweets meeting the needs of your followers? Here are six tools to analyze your Tweeps.

The video content platforms offer excellent analytics. Here are four metrics you should be watching in your video marketing.

If you missed the #SXSW interactive conference you need to review these 10 mini-trends that had people talking.

Companies that use marketing automation to nurture leads see a 451 percent increase in qualified leads and 53 percent higher conversion rates on average. Are you using these marketing automation tools? And if you’re new to the topic: This introduction to planning and automating your social media and PR posts will get you going in the right direction, no matter which platforms you’re using.

Here are two critical sides of successful content marketing today: using visuals and understanding the role of keywords.

Small business owners need to keep a certain amount of flexibility in their marketing plans. Jim Joseph lists four areas that you should respond to as they evolve.

Driving ROI through a partner channel is no easy feat. Brian Tervo, resident and Chief Executive of North American Operations for TIE Kinetix, offers four tips for improvement.

Yes, Virginia, there are growth hacks and here are nine classics that I offer as inspiration. And if nine aren’t enough, here are 15 for your startup.

If you’re considering a mobile analytics app to boost retention and engagement, you’ll get a good overview of what you need here.

How do you know – I mean really know – if the content you’re creating is good? Uberflip marketing VP Hana Abaza shares her thoughts.

Venture Beat surveyed 3,000 marketing technologists to see which conversion tools and companies did the best job. Get a glimpse of their results.

Slow and steady, well at least clear and steady messages to your customers are the keys to keeping them.

Location marketing technology is getting so precise that we need to use it wisely to promote our brands, but without becoming George Orwell’s Big Brother.

Management, leadership and productivity

Only 30 percent of family-owned businesses survive second-generation ownership. This Harvard Business Review looks at leadership secrets from successful family businesses.

Communication is everything in business. It’s time to start doing it the right way instead of the wrong way. Here are six good ways to be heard and understood.

Spring. When a young small business owner’s fancy turns to searching for tax write-offs. Here are five some people miss.

If you see potential as a government contractor, read how you can become a federal small business contractor of choice.

It’s exciting to discover how quickly the mobile payments industry is evolving, especially when you have Apple Pay and Samsung Pay squaring off against each other. And here’s another example of this evolution: Square Cash is introducing “Cashtags” which will be a name or handle with a dollarsign instead of a hashtag and can be used to easily send money directly to a business or personal bank account. The fee will be 1.5 percent.

Unfortunately, companies don’t seem to learn from their mistakes, at least every often. Why is this so and can you change it?

Is it time to go Old School, move away from your mobile number and commit to a land line? Here are some reasons to consider it.

Nothing is in a greater state of flux for small business owners than the health insurance scene. Zane Benefits is offering a 17-page free e-book download: 10 Budget Pitfalls of Small Business Health Insurance.

Facebooks’ acquisition of TheFind could make it a real competitor to Google and Amazon in the shopping sector. If you are retail, see what all of this means to you.

Here are six handy apps that will make your life better and more productive if you spend much time on the road.

Do you sometimes feel like you’re totally bogged down and can’t get going? We all do. Try these tactics to overcome paralysis.

We’ve discussed the transition of millennials into the workforce. Here are some reasons you need to be hiring from this increasingly important demographic.

Google has launched its “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” initiative to aid small businesses. Check it out and see how it will help your business be found in searches.

If you lease commercial real estate, look over these six tips to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

Startup Bento is marketing a corporate card for small businesses and startups. It’s a card you can load with funds as needed.

Hiring top tech talent is never easy and it seems harder now than it was not long ago. Here are some tips to hire the right people from the ground up.

Government, politics and economics

File under “Not Surprised.” The “Affordable” Care Act is costing small business owners thousands of dollars just to keep up with the paperwork.

The SBA’s office of women’s business ownership is offering a new online learning tool to help women business owners.

Not only will net neutrality be fought in the courts, it looks like some of the major video streamers may have already found a way around the recently imposed FCC regulations.

Due to the death tax, if you’re in the HVAC business, it’s better to kick the bucket in the winter. Maybe the House Ways and Means committee will do something to repeal this sometimes devastating tax.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., touts itself as being one of the largest hotel and resort companies in the world. Why did the SBA give it a $5 million loan guarantee?

While US small business owners have government regulators at their front door, small business owners in the Ukraine are dealing with tanks in the streets and fighting that has killed more than 6,000 people, yet they are managing to hold up.

Entrepreneurs, startups and innovation

One formula for success is to go where no one has yet dared to go. That’s how the Hunt Brothers are building a pizza empire in the rural south.

The IRS has bad news waiting for many unaware entrepreneurs: The money they received through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter is income so there’s a tax bill coming…

Chris Savage, co-founder of Wistia, recommends avoiding venture capitalists and instead concentrating on controlling your burn rate and personal lifestyle, and embracing slow and steady growth. Revenue is the name of the game.

Jazz musicians are used to improvising – a great skill to have when you start an online business, like noted pianist Steve Nixon explains in this podcast.

Startups can devour your time faster than Chris Farley could through go a Texas-sized steak. You need to know how to balance urgency and innovation.

Is there even more disruption right around the corner? Joe Davis, Webtrends CEO, thinks gear like virtual reality headsets and Internet-connected cars will change everything.

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