LinkedIn Pulse: What It Is and How To Use It

LinkedIn is known as the professionally-minded Facebook. It’s a social network for users who want to keep their business and personal lives separate. It’s a great way to find jobs, connect with our professionals, and share interesting articles that other professionals would be interested in.

Recently, LinkedIn has been working to improve the quality of their social media platform and make it more accessible for new users. Along with a complete redesign of the website that not only makes it faster but also easier to use, LinkedIn has added new features that make it simpler for you, the user, to share new content with your followers.

One of these features is the Pulse. Although Pulse has been available for a few years to certain users, it was only recently made available to every user. Pulse is a blog publishing platform that’s exclusive to LinkedIn users. It makes it easy for anyone with a LinkedIn account to publish their own blogs, with some really robust features and tools.

Publishing your own blogs on Pulse is not only a great way to bring in new users to your website, but it’s also a great way to give customers insight into your business. After all, transparency is a hot trend in the business world these days, and social media is a key part of promoting healthy customers and business relationships.

Here are a few tips for publishing on LinkedIn Pulse.

Login To Your Account

In order to start publishing on LinkedIn Pulse, you first need to login to your LinkedIn account. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, now is a good time to sign up. You can’t publish on Pulse without first creating a LinkedIn account. But don’t worry, signing up is free and easy. For more on how to create and use your own LinkedIn account for business, check out our previous blog post on the subject.

Write An Article

After logging in to your account, you’ll need to start creating your article. To create a Pulse article, simply click on the button that says “Write An Article,” which is located at the top of your news feed where you usually post status updates.

You’ll be brought to the article editing page, where you can begin writing your Pulse post. You’ll see multiple options for creating your post, including giving it a headline, adding a cover photo for your post, and adding the body of the blog post.

Use Tools To Optimize Your Article

If you want to add media element to your blog post, just click the box with the + sign to bring up multiple media options, like images, video, slides, links, and snippets.

You can also change the font style and size of your body text, as well as options to make your text bold, italicized, and underlined. You will see many of the same options that you are used to in most text editing programs, such as Microsoft Word or Google Documents.

Publish

After you’ve finished writing your article and adding some interesting media elements, just click the Publish button in the top right corner of your post. Before it’s published, you will see a preview of how your article will appear to your followers. You can write a status update to go along with your article, but this isn’t required. Click Publish again once your status is exactly how you want it to be, and your article will publish as a status update to all of your followers.

LinkedIn Pulse is a great new way to connect to all of your followers on the social network. Transparency is a big trend in today’s business world, and connecting to your customers through blog posts on Pulse is a great way to be more transparent.

Instagram and the New Multi-Upload Feature

For the past few years, multimedia social sharing company Instagram has been working hard to introduce tons of new features to bring in customers to their excellent platform. From Instagram Stories, a variation of the Snapchat Story feature, to Boomerang, and minute-long video clips, Instagram has been constantly evolving in an effort to entice new customers and keep their current customers from jumping to a different social media app.

Now, Instagram has introduced a much-requested feature that is once again changing the game for what users can do with the app. With the release of its latest update, Instagram has added the ability for users to upload a combination of up to 10 photos or videos to one post, cutting out the task of uploading individual pictures and videos, which can bog up your followers’ feeds.

With this new feature, Instagram is essentially adding a slideshow album feature. It appears as a single photo or video in a user’s feed, but when you swipe to the left, more photos and videos are revealed. This is a great feature for business owners who want to show off their products and beautiful photography to their followers, without annoying them with too much “spam posting.”

If you don’t yet know how to upload multiple photos to your company’s Instagram page, we can help you out!

Update Your App

Before you can begin adding multiple photos to a single post, you’ll first need to make sure that your Instagram app is currently updated with the latest version of the app. The version that added the Multi-Upload function was version 10.9 on both iOS and Android, so any version after 10.9 will have the new feature.

Upload

After you’ve updated your app, it’s time to start uploading your pictures and video. You can upload multiple items to Instagram in the same way you used to upload your pictures and videos. All you have to do is click the “+” icon in the bottom center of the app screen. This will bring up a page where you would normally select one photo from your phone’s photo gallery to upload, but this time, you have the option to select more than one item.

Select Multiple Photos/Videos

To select multiple photos, you need to click the button on the right side of the screen that looks like two squares stacked on top of each other. Once you click this button, you’ll notice a circle appear in the right corner of each of the photos in your gallery. When you click on these photos, a number appears in the circle indicating how many photos have been selected so far. Select up to 10 photos and videos, and then click Next to continue to the app’s Editing tools.

Make Edits

Instagram gives you the option of editing all of your uploaded photos and videos at once with the normal filters located at the bottom of the editing window. But you can also edit each photo individually by clicking on the specific photo or video you want to edit. After you’ve made all the edits to your pictures, it’s time to give your post a caption, add your hashtags, add a location, etc. Note: you can only add a caption for the album you’re uploading. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to add individual captions for each photo or video you’re uploading, but hopefully, Instagram will add this feature in the future.

Post!

Now you’re ready to post your awesome multimedia slideshow! When followers see your post in their feed, they’ll know it’s a multi-photo post if they see dots underneath the post. Each dot represents how many photos are in each post, and they can swipe left to see each photo/video.

There are lots of great ways to use this new Instagram feature to show off your awesome products. Check back with the FGmarket in the future to see how you can be utilizing this feature for your business!

Check out Instagram’s official blog for more info on this great new feature.

Creating Catchy Social Media Headlines That Will Attract More Customers

When thinking about the content that engages you and makes you want to click on it, what usually grabs your attention first? Is it the pictures posted with the content? The subject of the content? Your respect for the company that’s posting the content?

If you’re like me, the thing that always stands out first when scrolling through Twitter, Facebook or other social media feeds is the headline of the post.

The headline is the first step to grabbing your customers’ attention and reeling them into your website through a click.

If you want to know how to write a good headline, whether it be for social media posts, or a blog post, you first have to understand the different types of headlines.

5 Types of Headlines

CoSchedule lists five types of headlines that every content creator and social media manager should know and use.

They are:

  • Question
  • Benefit
  • How To
  • List Post
  • Generic

A Question post does just what it says: it asks a question to the consumer that compels them to click on your link. It could be something like “Want an exclusive deal just for you?” or “Do customers care about (blank) anymore.”

Benefit headlines give your customers a reason to click by providing them something they are looking for right there in the headline. “Great deals on seasonal dresses” or “Increase your profit with this simple tool” are great Benefit headlines.

How To headlines teach your customers something that is beneficial to them. It gives them a reason to follow your account, and keep up with what you’re posting every day, or every week.

List Posts are fantastic for drawing in customers to your website. Buzzfeed, one of the most popular websites on the internet, uses List Post headlines generously for almost every headline they write for their website. Everyone loves lists posts because it makes the information provided easier to consume and understand.

Lastly, Generic posts are exactly what they sound like: basic, no-nonsense posts. CoSchedule cites this as a type of post that you want to avoid doing. Generic posts are boring and oftentimes fail to spark any excitement in your customers. Which means they’re less likely to click on your posts and travel to your website.

Now that you know the difference between the five types of social media headlines, it’s time to start figuring out how to craft the perfect headline (or as close to perfect as you can possibly get).

Powerful Words

The key to a good headline is using powerful words that form emotional connections with your customers.

For example, if I were to write the headline “Get ready for spring,” a headline about encouraging wholesale floral supply companies to get ready for the spring floral season, I’m not going to compel many people to click on my post. But, if I were to add powerful words to the headline, and rearrange it to be a List Post, I can come up with this more engaging headline: “5 Ways You Should Be Preparing For The Busy and Beautiful Spring Season.”

Avoid Clickbait

You should also try to never delve into the world of “clickbait” or “gotcha” headlines. These are headlines that are outlandish and over the top, and promise the reader something in the headline that isn’t always true. These headlines are mainly used by dishonest companies who are simply trying to get people to click on their post and visit their website. Clickbait headlines always end up discouraging the reader and severing their trust with your company.

Headlines are the gateway to getting your customers interested in what you’re talking about. Learn the art of crafting fantastic headlines, and you’ll have no problem bringing in curious customers to your website.

Take Better Product Photos With These Easy Tips

When you own an e-commerce store, it’s easy to take basic photos of your products and slap them onto a website. But when you don’t take the effort and care to capture beautifully accurate images of your products, you run the risk of turning your customers away from buying from you.

Dark and dingy looking photos can lead customers to believe that you don’t care about your products, or that your products are lower quality than they actually are. That’s why it’s super important to take excellent, well-lit photographs of your products, to give your customers the most accurate representation possible on a computer or phone screen.

It’s not that difficult to take great product photographs if you have the right equipment and the determination to do so. Here are a few tips that can get you started on the path to taking awesome product photos.

Get The Right Equipment

One of they keys to taking good photos is to have a good camera. That seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many folks out there will attempt to take photos of their products with a point-and-shoot low-resolution camera. Even a low-end DSLR camera, with a good lens, can be great for taking high-quality photos.

You don’t need to break the bank to get a good camera. Even a low-end DSLR camera, with a good lens, can be great for taking high-quality photos. You’d also be surprised at how many cellphone cameras these days are great for taking photos. Just be sure to use a high-end phone camera if you’re going to use your phone for taking product photos.

If you can’t afford to make the investment in a DSLR camera right now, you can always find a friend or family member that has a camera that you can borrow, or rent from them. The quality of the camera you’re using makes all the difference when it comes taking great photos.

Make Sure Your Lighting Is Good

Next to having the right equipment, your lighting is the most important piece of the puzzle for taking gorgeous photos. You don’t want your photos to be too blown out by bright lights, and you also don’t want them to be too dark, where it’s impossible to see any details.

You can get a lot of great lighting by taking photos of your products in natural light, such as light from a window, or taking your photos outside. But, you also run the risk of having too little or too much light when you’re using natural light. In these cases, it’s best to control your lighting through lamps and lighting set ups.

If you don’t have the money to shell out for a nice lighting rig, you can always make your own through a DIY set up. This blog post from A Better Lemonade Stand details how you can make your own DIY setup for less than $40.

Capture The Details And Color

Finally, when taking product photos you have to ensure that the colors and details of your products pop when displayed on a computer or mobile device screen. You can achieve accurate color in a number of ways, but you’ll need some sort of photo editing software to do so.

For most photographers, Adobe’s Creative Cloud programs (including Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) are necessary for editing photos to look the best they can possibly look. These programs allow you to edit simple things like brightness and contrast, to more complex and time-consuming details. These programs aren’t free, but if you can’t afford Adobe CC programs, there are also a number of free online photo editing tools, like Pixlr and Fotor, that make editing photos a breeze. These are great for simple edits like color, contrast, and brightness, which are oftentimes the only thing you’ll need to edit.

You want to make sure your products don’t look washed out and dim when you upload them to your website. Make them stand out and grab people’s attention with bright colors and great contrast.

These tips will help you attract more customers to your shop, and entice them into buying your products. Great photos lead to more purchases, so be sure to get your product photos looking great and ready for your website!

How To Craft The Perfect Newsletter In 4 Easy Steps

Newsletters are essential tools for keeping your loyal customers informed and happy. They’re great for showing off new products, highlighting a particularly interesting blog post, or letting customers know what events are coming up on your calendar.

We send out a newsletter each month that highlights some of our feature wholesale vendors, but we also offer helpful marketing tips, just like this one, to possibly lend some professional advice for your business.

If you’re thinking about starting your own newsletter, or you have one but it’s not having the impact on customers you originally hoped for, we’ve got some tips to help you out. Check out some ideas for improving your newsletter and helping it make the most impact on your valuable customers.

Go heavy on the info, light on the advertising

Newsletters are all about informing your customers about important information they might not know about. It shouldn’t be considered a form of advertisement. After all, that’s why it’s called a NEWS-letter.

You can use your newsletter as a marketing and self-promotional tool, but be sure you go heavy on the info, and light on the advertising. You don’t want to fill your newsletter with ad-heavy wording and imagery because your customers are likely to immediately delete your email or mark it as spam.

Be sure to include recent blog posts for the past month, event information, professional tips to customers, etc. Use your newsletter as a resource to your customers, and not as just another sales tool.

Design it right

You might think that the content of your newsletter is the only thing that matters to your customers, and in some cases, you are correct. But a majority of customers don’t want to just consumer information; they also want to be “wowed” by your beautiful and creative design choices!

If you don’t have a graphic designer on hand who can design each newsletter for you, then you can always try some of the easy-to-use templates that are available from websites like Constant Contact and Canva.

Many customers have a keen eye for good design and are more likely to spend time on your newsletter when it has excellent design. It also makes information much simpler to process when it’s arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way on your newsletter.

Tell people to share it

Your newsletter only has a finite number of people it can reach, and it’s usually only the people who subscribe to it. But did you know that the info inside doesn’t have to just be confined to subscribers? You can also get the word out about your newsletter to potential new customers by telling your current customers to share your newsletter!

Whenever you send out your newsletter, include a call-to-action, or CTA, that prompts people to share the newsletter with others they may know. Make your newsletter universal in its appeal; in other words, include information that everyone, customers or not, would be interesting in reading. Once you get your newsletter share a few times with other people you’ll be surprised at how much your subscriptions increase.

Always include contact and social info

It’s important to include your contact and social info in your newsletter to give your customers a way to stay in touch with you at any time. Always put your contact info, including your phone number, your email, and website links, somewhere on your info to ensure that your customers always know how to contact you. We usually think it’s best to place this info at the bottom of your email, but it can be placed anywhere that you deem it appropriate.

The same goes for your social media links. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other relevant social media account, be sure to include a button with a link to your profile pages in your email. This makes it easy for customers to keep up with your updates on their favorite social media platform. You can also include a CTA that says “follow us!” somewhere next to the social buttons as a way to push people to click on the links.

Newsletters are fantastic marketing and informational tools that can bring in more customers to your business. Consider starting your own newsletter to keep your customers happy and connected with your business!

Composure: The Often Over-Looked Key To Success

When we think about successful people, we often think of those that are outspoken, tough, and critical. We sometimes think of leaders who speak their mind first and think about the consequences later. We might even think about someone who is extroverted instead of those who are more introverted. But are these truly qualities of a successful business owner or leader?

If you look at many of the top business leaders today, you’ll find that many of them give off a sense of intelligence, wisdom, and leadership that’s devoid of brashness and condescension. You don’t often see them yelling at their employees, lashing out at others in their industry, or throwing away decency in the name of profit. There are many leaders out there who do exude that sense of brashness, of course, but you often see the more calm and reserved leaders as the ones who are talked about fondly.

Composure, although often overlooked as a key to success, is a very important skill to have, especially in times of peril and panic. Here are a few key personality traits for you to practice that can lead to a more controlled grasp over your own composure.

Responsibility

Taking responsibility for not only your actions but the actions of others can lead to a better understanding of how to remain composed. If you make a mistake that leads to a negative impact in some way on your business, it’s important to take responsibility for that mistake. Likewise, if an employee screws up, they aren’t the only ones responsible for the mistake; you are, too. Treat your mistakes as learning opportunities, and learn what you need to do next time to avoid the same mistake. Once you claim responsibility for you and your employees’ mistakes, you will give off a heightened sense of composure to those around you. Employees and customers will respect the dignified manner in which you handle your own responsibilities.

Compassion

Compassionate leaders are often the ones you hear the most about because most people love to hear stories about kind-hearted people. When you practice compassion in the workplace, you are showing others that you truly care about their well-being. Compassionate leaders are also rarely volatile in nature. There is such a thing as “tough love” but this speaks more to those who are trying to teach values through hard lessons; not individuals who are unable to control their own feelings and actions. Practice being compassionate to others and you’ll experience an increase in self-control.

Patience

One of the most obvious traits of a leader who constantly maintains their composure is patience. Patience is at the very heart of composure, and without it, composure ceases to exist. Those who practice patience don’t lash out uncontrollably at whatever inconvenience comes their way. They take the time to assess the situation, craft a solution, and implement that solution at the exact right moment for maximum success. Be sure to practice patience if you want to be perceived as a cool and collected business leader.

Keeping It Under Control

Most importantly of all, you have to keep a situation under control and prevent it from spiraling out of your hands if you want to be known for your composure. There are going to be problems and in order to be an effective leader, you’re going to have to solve them. By keeping the situation at a manageable level and preventing it from escalating, you will have to practice excellent problem-solving skills. If you learn how to keep a situation from getting out of hand, you’ll have no problem composing yourself and solving any problem.

Composure is a leadership skill that is oftentimes overlooked. After all, it’s not the most glamorous skill to have. But practicing good composure, as a business leader or a person in a position of power, will help you to earn the respect of customers and employees alike!

How To Be More Transparent With Your Customers and Earn Their Trust

How important is brand transparency when it comes to your consumers? According to a study conducted by Label Insight in 2016, it’s very important to a vast majority of consumers. In fact, almost 94 percent of consumers said they were more likely to be loyal to a brand if that brand practices full transparency and openness with them.

To add even more good news to that statistic, 73% (or 3 in 4) consumers said that they would be willing to pay more for a product that was billed as completely transparent in all attributes.

So, it’s easy to see from the data gathered that transparency is very important to consumers. Are you being as open as you can be with your consumers? Check out our tips for building transparency and trust with you customers.

Be Open About Pricing and Fees

No one likes hidden fees and taxes. Just look at cell phone companies and the consumer backlash against certain companies who insert hidden fees each month in their consumer’s bills. It’s never a good idea to charge your customers hidden fees that they only become aware of when they receive an invoice from you.

T-Mobile is a good example of a company who saw what other cell phone companies were doing to their customers, and decided to take advantage of that consumer frustration in a new marketing campaign. They even came up with a fun social media campaign asking followers to tweet or message them their “fee face,” a.k.a. the look of surprise or disgust when they see hidden fees on their bills from other cell phone companies.

Always be transparent when it comes to what you’re charging customers for, and if you have to include extra fees in your invoice, always make sure you explain what these fees actually pay for. Never leave your customers in the dark when it comes to their money.

Give Them Insight Into Your Business

Do you have one or more social media accounts, a monthly newsletter, a blog, or special membership-only mailers that you send to your customers each month? Any one of these mediums is a great way to disseminate information about your company to your customers.

It’s important to give your customers insight into the daily, weekly, or monthly happenings of your business. You’re not giving away all of your business strategies and secrets, of course; you’re simply letting your customers in on relevant information that they would find interesting. This could be something as simple as a company potluck that you had that week, or as informative as your companies values and beliefs, and what charities you support.

Provide Relevant Information

Aside from coming to you for awesome products and amazing services, customers visit you online to gather relevant information. Not only are they following your social media accounts for that info, they are also looking to see if you have a blog and if it’s updated frequently.

A blog is a great place to provide info to your customers that they can’t get anywhere else. It’s also a fantastic tool for hosting resources and information that customers can come to whenever they need it, such as tutorials on how to use a product or service.

Give your customers the relevant information they need to be happy and stress-free when buying from you. You’ll not only provide a valuable resource for people, you’ll also cut down on the number of customer service calls you have to answer, and emails you might receive.

Always Be Available Through Customer Service

How your customer service operates can make or break your company. If you have excellent customer service, and excellent customer service representatives, your company will flourish through loyal customers. If you have bad customer service, however, your company will suffer, and word of your poor treatment of customers will spread quickly to other potential customers.

But having great customer service means more than just solving your customer’s problems and questions. It also means being honest with them, in the most tactful way possible, and not shying away from answering and solving their tough questions.

For example, what would you do if an upset customer called in about an order that was incorrectly charged to their bank account or credit card? The customer wants to know why they were charged more money for something that they purchased, and the problem was clearly a mistake on your end, not theirs. Do you tell the customer honestly that an error was made, apologize to them for the error, and offer them a discount code on their next purchase, OR do you dance around their question and somehow blame them for the mistake? Hopefully, you would go with the first choice, and not the second, even though the first choice is more difficult to do. It’s never easy to own up to a mistake, but most customers will appreciate your honesty with them and will forgive you for the mistake.

Transparency is difficult, especially when most businesses depend on your reputation and how the public perceives you. But, customers appreciate transparency, and are more likely to reward you for your honesty by staying loyal to your brand and telling other potential paying customers about your amazing company!

How To Improve Your Online Ads In 4 Easy Steps

Online ads are…not the most exciting things in the world. They’re necessary for getting your products in front of potential customers, of course, but how often do you find yourself ignoring an obtrusive ad because it gets in the way of your web browsing experience? It’s no wonder that the number of people using ad-blocking software is 200 million people and growing!

Ads are important for increasing your revenue, but if your ads are turning people away, they’re not really doing you much good, are they? Luckily, we’ve got a few tips that can help you get back on the right track with your online ads.

Make It Pleasing

One of the keys to a great ad is making sure it’s designed in a visually pleasing way. No one likes to see a banner ad, or crawl ad that is just awful to look at, a.k.a. bad typeface, gross colors, ugly images. You have to draw customers into your ad though an awesome design. And just for the record, most of the time a simpler design works better than a really busy design that’s full of way too much text and info.

Make It Interesting

How does your ad present itself? Do you have an image of the product you’re selling, or have you gone a more creative route? There’s a balanced game that you have to play between keeping your ad visibly pleasing but also making it interesting and attention-grabbing. Think about some of the ads that have attracted you as a consumer, and look to emulate some of those ideas.

Avoid Steamrolling

When you go to a website and an ad immediately hits you in the face with its intrusiveness, how do you feel? Do you feel uncomfortable, or irritated? It’s called steamrolling, and it’s never fun for the consumer. It creates an immediate feeling of irritation in a visitor to your website so that instead of them easily accessing the information they came to your site looking for, they are forced to exit out of one or more pop-up ads. It makes your website a nightmare for visitors. Google has even begun punishing websites that use this kind of intrusive advertising on their sites by ranking them much lower than sites who don’t employ these types of ads. Don’t prevent your customers from easily visiting your website. Instead, integrate your ads smoothly and seamlessly into your website.

Make It Worth It

What’s the point of online advertising? It’s to attract customers to your website so that they’ll make a purchase, right? Then why would somebody click on your ad if you aren’t offering them a deal that they can’t find anywhere else? Answer: there is no reason, and they won’t click on it. If your goal is to get customers to click on your online ad, you need to give them a clear reason to do so. That means offering them an awesome deal that they simply can’t refuse, and clearly displaying the deal on your ad.

By following these few simple tips, you can begin to transform your online advertising strategy and bring in more customers to your website than ever before.

This article was originally published on Atwill Media’s blog. If you’re looking for a professionally designed custom website for your business, then check them out!

5 Consumer Trends To Keep In Mind In 2017

We’re less than a month into 2017, and if you haven’t thought about it already, it’s time to start paying attention to what’s trending for consumers in the new year. While many of the same trends that have been rising over the past few years will continue into 2017, there are also some new trends to follow that can increase your business revenue if you pay attention and adapt to the trends.

To help you out for this brand new year, we’ve come up with a few trends based on data gathered by market researcher Euromonitor International, and compiled by the experts at AdvertisingAge.

More People Online

This should be an obvious trend because of the increase in internet access throughout the world, with more rural communities getting high-speed internet, but it’s important to pay attention to. There are going to be far more people online in 2017 than 2016. In fact, research predicts that 3.5 million additional people around the world will come online each week in 2017.

That means, now, more than ever before, it’s important for you to have a strong online presence. And what better way to have a strong online presence than by having a website where customers can find all your important and relevant information? A website is a perfect way to set yourself up for success in 2017, and our friends at Atwill Media would be happy to help you accomplish that goal.

If you’re a wholesaler, we suggest signing up for an FGmarket listing so people can search through our directory of amazing vendors, and find your products with ease.

Fewer People Using Cash

Research shows that, although cash is still a dominant way that people pay for products, card payments have finally passed cash up in terms of popularity. The data shows that 44.1% of payments are made with cards, compared to 43% for cash. This number could reach 49.1% for card payments by the year 2021.

What this data suggests is that in the current market that we live in, POS systems and e-commerce options are now more important than ever. Most people, especially the younger generations (millennials and the generation after) don’t even carry cash with them anymore. If you accept only cash at your business and no options for paying with a card, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of the paying population.

More People Living In Cities

The percentage of the global population living in cities has now increased from 50% in 2007 to 55% in 2017. That means there are now more people living in urban areas than rural areas, and this trend is continuing to move upward.

Why does this matter to you, a business owner? It matters because, depending on where you live, you might be seeing an increase in your customer base or a decrease, and you’ll have to learn to adapt to this population change. If you’re a rural business and you’re noticing your customers moving farther and farther away, you might need to increase your marketing area to reach those people and bring them back to your shop. If you’re seeing an increase in business due to your urban shop location, you might have to adapt to the influx of customers to your shop. This could mean increasing your inventory, moving into a larger space (if you have a storefront), or hiring more staff to help out.

Healthy Living Is Rising In Popularity

A big trend right now is healthy living, which includes healthy eating, using organic and natural products, and exercising more.

The more people who choose to begin living a healthier life, the more the demand for natural, organic and healthy products goes up. The health and wellness industry is a huge industry and was valued at $711 billion in 2016. That number is expected to increase in 2017. If you’re looking to change your business model to an all organic or all natural model, now is the prime time to make the switch.

It’s a huge decision to completely change your business model, of course, but the reward might outweigh the risk for this trend.

Social Media Userbase Is Continuing To Grow

Facebook is still the largest social media network (by a long shot) at 1.5 billion worldwide users, and that number continues to grow every day. Some of the other growing accounts are Instagram (at 400 million users), Snapchat (at 200 million users), and Pinterest (at 100 million users).

Social media is a constantly expanding beast of interconnected people and places, and if you’re not on at least one social media network by this point in the technology’s lifespan, you’re seriously missing out.

These days, besides having a website, your business social account is one of the first places people check when researching whether or not to shop from your business. If you don’t have any form of social media, then you can expect your customers to perceive you as outdated, out of touch, and not as accessible as your competition.

Social Media has been a trend for a long time, but it’s growing larger and larger every year. Make sure you stay on top of this important trend.

Keep these trends in mind as you journey through the twists and turns that 2017 is sure to bring, and for more on what’s trending in wholesale products each month, check out the Product Information category of the FGmarket blog.

Live Streaming and Webinars: The New Way To Connect With Your Customers

Traditionally, before the advent of live streaming technology and the Internet, if you wanted to speak directly to your customers to teach them something you would have to put on a seminar or workshop event.

But now, thanks to dozens of new live streaming services, businesses have tons of options for giving their customers a personal, in-depth online seminar with just the simple click of a button.

These online seminars and workshops are known as webinars, and they are a fantastic way to not only add value to your business but to also make a little extra profit along the way.

If you’re looking to start broadcasting your own webinars or live events, check out our tips for what you need to know, and which services work best for your needs.

Where To Start

Before you get started with launching and hosting your own webinars, you need to do a little planning. As with any normal seminar, you can’t jump into it without a little research and rehearsal. Practice your webinar talking points a few times before your actual live event, just to make sure that your comfortable with the information you’re presenting.

You also need to make sure you are knowledgeable on the subject that you’re teaching. If you aren’t the most confident person about a certain subject, you can always ask someone else to lead the webinar for you, such as another employee or a guest lecturer. You want to make sure your customers and guests are getting the best information possible.

Once you’ve planned your webinar, and gotten the right person to host it, it’s time to figure out which service to use.

Services To Use

A few years ago, live streaming was limited in its availability and reach. Services like Meerkat and Periscope were some of the first companies to make live streaming available to the everyday consumer, but eventually, they were forgotten about due to the adoption of live streaming by many of the most popular social media services.

Here are just a few of the social media, and web app, services that offer live streaming:

  • Facebook
  • GoToWebinar
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat

And there are more and more people jumping on the live streaming bandwagon every day, which can make selecting the right platform for your webinars seem like a daunting task.

Every one of these services is great, but there are a few distinguishing features that you need to know about before selecting the right one.

First of all, most of these services are free to use. All you need to do is sign up for a free social media account (which most of us have anyway). Facebook is probably the most reliable service if you’re concerned with saving your webinars for later viewing or archiving, as it records your video and saves it to your profile after the stream ends. Other services, like Instagram and Snapchat, only keep the videos for a finite amount of time. In fact, Instagram only allows viewers to see your live video while it’s happening. After your stream ends, that’s it! The video is no longer available.

If you’re wanting to get more features and more data tracking capabilities with your live stream, your best bet is to use a paid service like GoToWebinar. This tool is built specifically for businesses looking to do regular webinars and live streaming sessions, and it comes packed with lots of unique features. The pricing of the service might be out of the budget for some businesses, but it’s a fantastic tool if you’re really serious about getting into live streaming and webinars.

Live streaming can be a great tool for connecting with your customers, and hosting your own webinars! Explore what’s out there and see what works best for you and your business.