There are advantages to having your products in brick and mortar locations, even if you run an e-commerce business. People prefer human-to-human interaction and being able to physically hold an item before purchasing. Furthermore, shoppers who walk into local gift shops intend to make a purchase – you don’t need to do much to convince them! Retailers may also promote your products, which indirectly, brings traffic to your social media platforms.
The big question is: HOW do I get my products into retail locations?
I finally have a product that I want in retail locations so I started asking my fellow business owners regarding their process of getting into retailer locations. I knew Allie, from The 6th Scent Candle had her products in many locations so I started chatting with her. When I found out that she would wait until her toddler’s nap time, then pack him into the car seat, and let him nap while she drives around the city bringing candles to various retailers. I was so impressed with her work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit that I wanted to share what I learned from her!
Prep work: Before you even start going to stores, you need to prepare a few things.
Know your margins. Wholesalers and consignment shops may have varying terms. Wholesalers expect a significant discount (at least 30% but 50% is more common, depending on type of product). Consignments may be a 30/70 or 40/60 split (i.e. you receive 60% of the sale and they receive 40%). Know what your margins are so that you can quickly tell a retailer whether or not their terms are realistic for you.
We heard your complaints! It annoys the heck out of you when people follow and unfollow.
What it is – “Follow and unfollow” refers to accounts that follow you, gets you all hyped up because your account is finally growing… and then they unfollow you within hours or days. It is often a software or app that is doing the follow and unfollowing. They find you through location and hashtags. It is not personal so don’t be offended; often the account doing the follow and unfollowing do not even realize who they’re targeting.
Why people do it – It brings traffic to their account!! When someone follows you, what do you immediately do? I’ll bet that you tap on their account to see who they are. And what do you do next? If you like their content, you’ll follow them back. Or you might follow back out of gratefulness. Or you might just ignore them and move on with your life. Either way, it’s a strategy to increase traffic to your account. It is no different than doing follow loops, giveaways, posting click bait content, etc.
The good – As annoying as this strategy is, it works. Two years ago a large company started their Instagram account from scratch and followed many accounts in the home décor niche. I was naïve and thought, “WOW! XYZ company is following me! I must be going places!” Little did I know, they had unfollowed me promptly afterwards. Today, their account has grown to 300K and they’re only following a handful of people. I’m still following them because I’m a sucker and they put out good content. Even now, I still take a peek at the random people who follow me to see if it’s a gem (or hot men).
The bad – You need to be careful when using this growth strategy. Using third-party programs to follow/unfollow goes against Instagram’s terms and service and you could lose your account. If you are doing this manually, it will be very time consuming and you need to watch the frequency of your activity. Make sure to follow/unfollow people in batches. If you suddenly follow/unfollow hundreds of people in one sitting, Instagram may think you’re a bot and suspend your account. Don’t worry – this type of suspension is usually temporary but it is scary!
The ugly – Many people find this distasteful and will have negative feelings associated with your account. You’re making a very poor first impression and that could have consequences. Let’s admit it though, this group of people probably won’t follow you back so you might never be affected by them.
The people who do follow back, but only to return your follow, may not genuinely like your content and may not be your ideal audience. As a result, they’re going to be stalkers and will not engage. In fact, you would hope that this group unfollows you in the future because an uninterested audience would not help build your community.
My thoughts? I don’t approve nor disapprove of follow/unfollowing. It is simply another marketing strategy. As with all things in life, if you are aware of the pros and cons and are making an informed decision, then sure! You do you and I’ll do me.
“But it’s annoying!”
Yes, it is! But we cannot control how other people choose to grow their accounts and spend their time. We can, however, control our own reactions and how we choose to spend our time and energy.
Don’t like the follow/unfollow? Just ignore it and move on! Treat it like you are driving by a billboard. There are more important things in life that deserves our attention. Girl, if you are letting a follow/unfollow from a random stranger bring negativity into your life, we have a few things to work on!
“But I’m not that cool yet and IT REALLY BOTHERS ME!”
Okay, fair enough. I actually complain a lot behind closed chats so I’m not judging you at all! Here are some ways you can minimize the impact follow/unfollowers have on you:
Don’t use broad, spammy hashtags. If you’re tagging your posts with huge hashtags such as #love #health #business, etc., you’ve basically put a sign on your face that says, “Please spam me with everything you got!” Say you are a wedding planner in Vancouver, BC. Someone who is looking to follow/unfollow for the purpose of growing their account will not care if you are based in Vancouver, BC. They just want the numbers and are likely to target posts with #wedding #love #events. “But Kellie, this means that people who actually want to hire me won’t be able to find me!” Girl, someone who is looking for a wedding organizer in Vancouver, BC is not going to look under #wedding. They’ll probably enter narrow hashtags such as #yvrweddings #vancouverweddings #vancouvereventorganizer, you hear me? If anything, you’ll be making it easier for your ideal customer to find you!
Use an app to so you can find out who is following and unfollowing you. An example is, “Followers Pro For Instagram” in the app store. There are many similar apps but to use them for free, you have to watch a bunch of spammy ads. With these apps, you can quickly see who is not following you back and you can unfollow them directly in the app. CAVEAT: There is a margin of error with these apps. It is not uncommon for the app to indicate that someone is not following you even though they are. Use your common sense and don’t unfollow a good buddy because it is awkward when they receive a notification that you’ve just followed them back (‘fess up, we’ve all been there).
Be selective with who you follow back. Use your judgment! If you like their content, then that’s great! But if some dude with 1500 followers/7000 following follows you, then think twice before following back. Something isn’t right with those numbers. And really, are they ever going to buy from you?
My #ftstip: The most sustainable way to grow an account is through organic growth (i.e. hashtags, challenges, people genuinely loving your content, etc.). You should also have a variety of ways to grow your account (i.e. don’t put your eggs into one basket and only do giveaways). However, if you were deciding between buying followers or following/unfollowing, the latter would be the better choice. With following/unfollowing, you will end up with real people following you and the algorithm likes it when you have real followers.
This is a controversial topic and I would like to hear your thoughts! Comment down below or on our social media posts.
Our most commonly asked question: “Hi! I’m new to Instagram and am having trouble growing my account. Can you help me?”
The world of social media is incredibly intimidating when you’re first starting out. You might have a Facebook account and think you’re social media savvy, but using social media for business marketing is a whole different ball park.
First of the bat – no one (particularly a stranger) is going to walk you through social media growth unless you’re paying them to directly manage the account. Don’t get me wrong, the social media world is actually a very inviting community but everyone got to where they are by putting in the hard work. There are no short cuts unless you pay for them. With that said, don’t panic!! All the information that you need to learn about social media marketing can be found on the internet. You just need to put in a bit of sweat equity and dig around.
There is a steep learning curve so we are going to start with a quick rundown of the many different FREE strategies that you can use to grow your Instagram. This is definitely not a comprehensive list and we will be discussing more strategies in depth in future posts.
Let’s get started.
Your goal is simple: reach out to as many people as possible with hopes that they’ll like your content, follow you, stick around and eventually become a paying customer.
Have you ever thought, “I really like the idea of supporting small businesses but I can’t afford to constantly make purchases.” As a small business owner myself, I can tell you that some of my best supporters actually have NEVER made a purchase from my store. Yet I acknowledge and am incredibly appreciative of their support.
There are many ways to support small business without spending any money. Here are a few:
Like/comment on their social media posts. This helps their content be seen by more people so you’re actually helping them reach more potential customers just by saying, “I love this colour!”
Share their posts in your Instagram/Facebook stories. This is a non-committal, low profile way to share with your friends some awesome products and services. Instagram also made it super easy to do it – just click on the paper airplane icon next to “comment”!
Refer your friends! Word of mouth referral is gold for small businesses. The next time someone mentions, “Hey, I’m thinking about doing renovations…” Jump in and say, “I know a guy!”
Want to know what else is gold? REVIEWS. A Facebook or Google review goes a long, long way. Small businesses with reviews help them show up on search engines. The next time you have a random minute, write your favourite small business a review!
Love the content of a small business? Tag other friends who might enjoy it too!
Send the business owner a message and tell them they’re crushing it! Running a small business is hard work and even though we try to make everything seem perfect on screen, it’s really a chaotic, scrappy process behind the screen. Words of encouragement let us know that we are doing something right!
If you already have a product, send the small business some photos and tag them if you post their product. Small business owners spend a huge chunk of time taking photos for their social media so it is AMAZING when the customer provides us with them. You won’t believe how much time you just saved us!
It doesn’t matter how many followers you have. I would rather have my content featured on a small account with real, dedicated followers rather than being lost on a massive influencer account. You might think you’re not doing much – but that quick like or review is really helping boost a small business so THANK YOU!
You are holding the fruits of labour of a sleep-deprived mom who worked on your order during naptimes and midnight hours after the kids fell asleep. She probably answered your questions and processed your order while breastfeeding a baby.
Her husband probably told her more than once to put down her phone but she said, “I can’t! I’m doing a loop giveaway!”.
There’s a good chance little hands have touched your order, perhaps even helped with parts of it. There’s an even higher chance that your order was made while the kids were watching TV in the background and #momguilt hovered in the air.
Happy Canada Day! Let’s start July off with some etiquette rules for social media! 1. Always, *always* tag the original source of your photo. Tag the original creator of the photo and not just the account that you found it from. This helps businesses get exposure and it gives them credit for their work. They will also be incredibly grateful that you showcased your work and it may open new doors for collaborations. 2. Do not edit other people’s photos without their permission. We have all done this: Repost a photo and put a filter on it so that it “matches” our feed more coherently. It seems innocuous but the original poster likely spent a lot of time editing their photo so that it conveys the message they want it to. When you slap a filter on, you could be misrepresenting the businesses’ product. Keep on reading!