12/24/2014 12:57 pm ET Updated Feb 23, 2015

2014 in Review: SmallBizLady's Top 7 Blog Post Picks

Sometimes even I can't remember all the things I've written about since there is so much to share! At the end of each year, I like to look back through them and pick the ones that I thought were the most helpful and inspiring for small business owners. Below are my top seven picks from 2014.

1.  10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business With Instagram

I always love finding ways for small businesses to leverage marketing tools. Instagram is a fantastic visual marketing tool, and in this post I look at ways to go beyond just setting up an account. I encourage you to post what people want to get them to engage with you, as well as crowdsource your images to get others to feel vested in helping your Instagram account grow.

2.  5 Biggest Marketing Mistakes in Small Business and How to Avoid Them

I've seen a lot of business owners make mistakes, and in this post, I outline some of the biggest ones, like not marketing. I don't care if you don't have a penny to spend on marketing; it's still a necessary component of your business' success (and doesn't have to cost a dime). Another mistake I see is people trying to be on every social media site without a plan. It's better to focus on the ones that will deliver the best results.

3.  15 Things About Using Mobile Web Marketing in Your Small Business

I think we're going to see a lot more brands using mobile web marketing in 2015, so this post will come in handy. This post looks at whether you need a mobile website or an app, as well as provides tips on building an app and mobile text marketing.

4.  15 Things I've Learned in 15 Years in Business

As part of the celebration of my 15 years of running my own business, I shared some of the lessons I've learned along the way. One of my favorite highlights from this post is being consistent. It never ceases to amaze me when small businesses promise something and then can't deliver on it. I strive to always deliver upon my promises. Another great tip from this post is: when there's a problem, don't use email. I know we always rely on technology to communicate, but there are instances (like when your client is upset) when the phone is a better channel.

5.  How to Build a Business Relationship
Inspired by an interaction I had with one of my vendors, I dive into the do's and don'ts of a healthy business relationshipin this post. I share with you how to nurture the relationship, as well as the appropriate way to upsell. Hopefully it'll improve your customer service and sales techniques!

6.  15 Things About Providing Outstanding Customer Service
And speaking of customer service, I give you 15 ways to ensure your customers are thrilled with your service, including listening to them, training your team, and talking to customers. It doesn't take a lot to make customers happy, but you do have to pay attention to your efforts.

7.  9 Steps to Building Your Social Media Following

It's not enough to be on social media; you also need to attract new followers. In this post, I share 9 steps to boosting your number of followers, including developing a content strategy, creating a blog, and building a tribe.

There they are! My top seven picks of 2014! Which one hit home for you?

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This article was originally published under the title SmallBizLady"s 7 Favorite Blog Posts of 2014 at

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady  is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog, which is syndicated through the Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA TodayWall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.