Brick-and-Mortar is changing faster than most stores can handle. Competition from giants like Amazon and Ebay have been humbling even the most iconic brands. And yet, small and medium local businesses are still competing more vigorously than ever before...
If you've been out in the streets at any point in the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed people even more engaged with their phones than normal. You may also have heard or seen something about the summer phenomenon that is Pokémon Go...
We love a good app launch, and Instagram/Facebook just launched a new one that we think is going to have some fun applications in the retail world. It's called Hyperlapse, and it creates amazing time lapse videos right from your smartphone without expensive equipment.
Typically, you'd need a big tripod to make this even remotely possibly on your phone, but the Hyperlapse app instantly stabilizes your footage to smooth out the little (and big) bumps in the road and give a cinematic polish to your videos. All you do is shoot timelapse videos in motion while you're doing whatever it is you're doing. Then speed up that video and share it on Instagram of Facebook directly—or save it for later to include in your next blog post.
The app's simple design makes it easy to use, and you don't even need an account to get filming.
Here are a few ways we'd love to see businesses use this new app:
1. Go on a shop tour: Give customers a quick look behind the scenes into your shop or your workshop.
2. DIY handmade products: In just 5 seconds, show days of work on your handcrafted jewelry or other goods.
3. Recap a shop event: Hosting a special event? Why not share it with your community so everyone can feel like they were there!
4. Inventory animation: Create an internal contest for your employees — whoever comes up with the coolest time lapse inventory videos wins!
Are you going to try it out? Let us know what you think!
Fair-weather soccer fans and fútbol fanatics from around the world are currently glued to their televisions, running up huge streaming-related iPad data bills or (lucky ducks) catching the action live in Brazil. From amazing "Flying Dutchman" goals and countless team selfies, small business owners have a lot to from the World Cup this year. Entrepreneurs can benefit greatly by studying the organizations, brands, teams and fans of this epic event. Let's score some goals.
Maintain brand consistency: Not only has FIFA nailed this lesson by maintaining an active online and off-line presence, but individual teams and companies have been driving brand consistency through their blog posts, hashtags, social media strategies, advertising campaigns, even their swag.
You can't do it all. There's no "i" in team, as they say. If you have employees, remember to be a coach to your team—not just a boss. And don't be afraid to ask for help or say no. In social media especially, it's easy to spread yourself thin and lose focus. Fostering true community engagement online is impossible if you insist on having a tepid presence on every platform. FIFA has official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. They aren't playing with Pinterest or LinkedIn or Vimeo or Snapchat, but they are doing right by those four active platforms.
Don't just share—engage. Brands have been steadily streaming tug-at-the-heartstrings content throughout the World Cup—bite-sized stories that engage fans, followers and customers. Or take a cue from the players themselves, whose cheeky videos, tweets and Instagrams have gone viral again and again—be real, get to know to your fans (err, customers) and give them a glimpse behind the scenes. Personality is magnetic across all platforms.
Winning isn't everything. Sure, every country wants to win, but the World Cup is truly about fans coming together over a shared love of the game. Despite cultural challenges, regional unrest and countless other everyday obstacles that our planet faces, events like this bring the world together to share in the excitement. As a small business owner, it's important to take your competition in stride, play fair (no red cards, y'all!) and keep your heart in the game even when your pride takes a hit.
Get by with a little help from your friends. That is, know your ecosystem and what other companies complement your business. In the same way FIFA leverages partnerships with Nike, you could be leveraging meaningful partnerships with your suppliers, media and more. Teamwork!
And now for the important question—who are you rooting for?
You have a Facebook strategy and a Twitter strategy, but what about Pinterest? Pinterest's popularity has absolutely blown up since it was launched. And for retailers, it can be much more valuable than its social media counterparts. "Data shows that Pinterest users shop more when they follow links to retailers' web sites. When pinners buy, the average order value is $199.16, compared with $92.27 for Facebook and $58.02 for Twitter, according to data analytics company RichRelevance." In fact, 70% of Pinterest users actually cite "finding inspiration on what to buy" as one of the reasons they use the site in the first place.
The unique thing about Pinterest in comparison to other social media platforms is that it's really all about the products. In retail, your inventory is everything—so a social media that reflects that is pretty fantastic for your community.
To help you get started or explore further with Pinterest, here are a few simple tips and tricks of the trade!
1. Make sure your business is "Pinterest-worthy." That is, don't focus your energy on Pinterest marketing unless Pinterest is a good fit for your business. The most popular categories for users are food, DIY, health, fashion, humor and tech. If you're selling artisan jewelry or reclaimed wood cutting boards, Pinterest will eat that up like ice cream. If you are selling refurbished computer parts, you might not have a huge impact on Pinterest.
2. Sign up for a Pinterest for Business account. This works just like a regular account, but allows you to track analytics on your pins and gives you access to a lot of helpful resources for business owners. Already have a personal account set up that you use for your business? You can easily switch it over too, without losing your followers or pins.
3. Make sure your content is "Pinterest-worthy." People use Pinterest to connect with the latest trends and follow brands, friends and influencers they love. Not surprisingly, a successful pin must be visually appealing to gain attention—regardless of the content behind the picture. Anything you pin that leads a user back to your brand should be visually appealing and have the content to back it up. Your pins should be high-quality, professional images—whether they are your own product shots, event posters or simply the pins you are curating.
4. Don't just create, curate. On Pinterest, creating great content is important to drive people back to your page, but curating shouldn't be forgotten either. Curating non-promotional pins can go a long way to developing your brand on Pinterest and showing off your personality. Also, it's fun. :)
5. Check the time. The best times to pin are in the evenings. 9 p.m. is the peak pinning hour.
6. Take care with your descriptions for search optimization. Are you pinning a picture of your new organic ginger candy in it's pretty new wrapper? The description should not just say, "yum," despite how yummy it may be. Make your descriptions searchable, so that the next time someone is searching for "candy," they'll come across your gorgeous pin. This also goes for your curated boards—give your pins personality and take the time to change the original description.
Want to learn more? Check out some more stats about Pinterest this infographic below and explore Pinterest's resources for businesses.