By Gov. Greg Abbott
Amidst the challenges faced in communities across Texas these past few months, there have been small blessings from which we can gain strength—including a renewed sense of community. We now know the incalculable value of neighbors helping neighbors.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, and kick off the Christmas shopping season, I encourage you to shop small and shop local this Saturday—in your neighborhood and beyond.
Small businesses are big in Texas, representing 9 in 10 of all businesses in the Lone Star State and employing nearly half of all Texans in the workforce. And I’m proud that Texas continues to rank among the top for small-business friendliness, for women-owned businesses and for veteran-owned businesses, because Texas needs small businesses to succeed.
Homegrown small businesses like the venture started by entrepreneur Pilar Gonzalez of Mission who was recently honored with a Governor’s Small Business Award. Using a favorite family recipe, she developed a line of all-natural gourmet yogurt dips now available at HEB under the brand Dip It, making shopping small in your neighborhood an option every day of the year.
And we now know that our neighbors are not always just next door or down the street. They may come from a county or more away. That is one of the lessons learned following Hurricane Harvey.
For example, Governor’s Small Business Award winner Jenn Cain and Shalen Cain, her husband and co-owner of Rita’s Ice in Corpus Christi, lost power during the storm, and then lost all of the shop’s inventory. Resupplied and back open in just days, they sent a mobile truck to Rockport giving out free Italian Ice and frozen drinks to residents and volunteers. Because that’s what neighbors do.
So this Saturday, I invite you to shop small. Here are seven reasons why.
Small businesses create jobs in your community. Money you spend at the corner coffee shop or Main Street retailer supports families in your neighborhood, jobs in your community and even other local independent businesses down the street.
Shopping local keeps your tax dollars in your community, helping to fund local public services on which you and your family rely.
Small businesses make your community unique. When you shop small, you are investing in the vibrancy of your community, what makes it appealing to your family.
Small businesses give back to your community. They are the mom-and-pop shops that sponsor the local soccer team, the school fundraiser and community events.
Small businesses are likely to be family owned. And what drives many family-owned businesses is the sense of connection with the community and the customers whose names they know.
Small businesses offer more unique products. Where else can you find one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry, locally sourced foods and affordable regional artwork—all on the same block?
Small businesses are the heart and soul of Texas. Men and women willing to take a risk, to dig deep into their own pockets and stake their future on an idea, have long written the story of Texas. That pioneering spirit in our small town downtowns to our big city centers still fuels our shared prosperity.
Shop small and shop local this Saturday. Then consider a short trip to the Coastal Bend communities still recovering from the storm. Spend a day and a few dollars at the small businesses there. The return on your investment may come back to you one day as the hand of neighbor reaching out to help you.
Small Business Saturday is November 25th this year (two days after Thanksgiving). Have you made plans to shop at your local small businesses that day and throughout the holiday season? And if you are the owner of a local small business, have you ordered your Shop Small® Kit yet? If not, you’ll need to hurry, as the deadline is tomorrow (November 10th)!
According to the Small Business Administration 2017 Small Business Profile, small businesses account for 99.9% of all US businesses, employ 47.8% of all US employees, and represent 97.7% of the businesses that export goods to other countries. Not only are small businesses vital to the national economy, they also benefit the communities in which they operate, both economically and socially. Small businesses often support local organizations (such as youth sports), contribute to local charities, and sponsor or take part in local events.
In an effort to help small businesses capture a chunk of the holiday shopping dollars, American Express founded the first Small Business Saturday in 2010. The event has continued each year, and by last year (2016) an estimated $15.4 billion dollars were spent by US shoppers at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.
For business owners, American Express has provided digital tools, in addition to the physical Shop Small® Kit noted above. The American Express Shop Small® website also includes an interactive map with markers for small business locations. To get your small business added to the map start at the Small Business Owners FAQ page.
Those of you who plan to support local small businesses on Small Business Saturday, throughout the holiday season and beyond, can start making plans with the Shop Small Map. You can either allow the map to grab your location, or you can enter your city or zip code. You can also filter the results by business type, and immediately see hours and directions to any business on the map.
So, get out there and support your local small businesses this holiday season and beyond. And who knows… you might even discover a new favorite restaurant or gift shop.
|Dr. Phillip Davis||Advantages and benefits of joining the Texas URISA chapter||Texas – Urban & Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)||9:00am to 9:45am||1|
|Billy Delgado||Utilizing GIS and UAS During Disaster and Relief Efforts||City of Corpus Christi – Emergency Management – Fire Department||9:00am to 9:45am||2|
|Xavier Sandoval / Dr. James Ochoa||Surveying Projects; Utilizing UAS for surveying your land||XDS Surveying and Mapping||9:45am to 10:30am||1|
|Andrew Holstead||Tracking the rate of growth of cotton over a summer with UAV||Texas A&M – AgriLife||9:45am to 10:30am||2|
|Lydia Saucedo||SCAUG Tie In Education and Careers||South Central Arc Users Group (SCAUG)||10:30am to 11:15am||1|
|Dr. Michael Starek||Assessing 3D Point Cloud Fidelity of UAS‐SfM Software Solutions Over Varying Terrain||TAMUCC||10:30am to 11:15am||2|
|John Metz||“How GIS was used during Hurricane Harvey”||National Weather Service||11:15am to 12:00pm||1|
|John Ford||Cloud Based 2D and 3D imagery||Nearmap||11:15am to 12:00pm||2|
|Jose Mata||Integrating GIS, remote sensing, and drones into livestock and wildlife habitat management||Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville||1:00pm to 1:45pm||1|
|Thomas Brown||ArcGIS Platform overview with focus on ArcGIS Online. Empowering organizations to drive data driven decisions.||ESRI – Sales Team Lead for Local Governments||1:00pm to 1:45pm||2|
|Tracy Lamb||FAA’s UAS Updates and Regulations for Drone Pilots||VP, Regulatory and Safety Affairs & Chief Pilot – Association for Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI)||2:00pm to 2:45pm||1|
|Tiffany Kline||Using GIS for Business Analysis: How to Use GIS to Assist in Business Start-Ups and Expansions||Del Mar College SBDC||2:00pm to 2:45pm||2|
|Dr. Mike Dvorak||Custom map Tiles from High-Resolution Weather Data Using Open Source GIS Solutions||Weather Tactics||3:00pm to 3:45pm||1|
The blessing and curse of social media marketing is how fast it changes and evolves – and alot can change in just 12 months.
Since we’re in the middle of our strategic planning for 2018, we thought we’d outline some of the top social media marketing trends we think brands need to watch for in the coming year.
Here are three developments to keep an eye on.
1. Rise in the Cost of Social Advertising
The time of free organic reach has passed us by, and we need to accept that to gain any kind of traction with social media marketing you need to have an advertising budget of some kind.
As the number of advertisers on social media increases, so will the cost of social ads – for context, spending on Facebook alone increased 74% year over year in 2017.
Overall, the cost of digital ads has increased 12% year-over-year. More brands are realizing that social media marketing provides an extremely cost-effective way to reach a targeted group of consumers, which is driving the competition for results with social advertising. A recent study shows that in the last year, the average CPM on Facebook has risen 171%, and the average CPC has increased 136%.
If you don’t plan on having or increasing your social advertising budget in 2018, consider yourself already behind your competitors.
2. Video Takes Center Stage
The importance of social media video content progressively grew in 2017 – however in 2018, video marketing will prove to be an even more important part of your content strategy.
Did you know that videos on social media generate 1,200% more shares than text and images combined? Since viewers retain 95% of a message when they see it in a video and only 10% retain it when they see it in text, you should seriously consider adding video content to your social media strategy.
It’s estimated that by 2019, video will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic. It’s time to take video seriously.
3. Influencer Marketing Maintains Popularity
Using social media influencers to expand the reach of brand messaging was extremely popular in 2017, and it’s no surprise why.
Studies show that 74% of people look to their networks on social media for advice on buying decisions, and 40% of people have bought something based on seeing it being promoted by an influencer on Instagram or Twitter.
You can expect influencer marketing come under increased scrutiny, as its very common for influencers to ask for big fees while showing very little return data. However, with the right partnership agreements in place, you can use Influencer Marketing to make some noise for your brand in 2018.
Of course, these are only three trends to watch out for – there are many other developments on the horizon for social media marketing, such as augmented reality and digital hangouts. However, we wanted to present three trends that are actionable for businesses of all sizes – after all, it doesn’t do you any good to prepare for augmented reality filters that can cost a pretty penny if you’re a small to mid-sized business simply trying to impact your bottom line with social media.
Thumbnail image via Pixabay.
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Last week, Instagram rolled out another great feature: Go Live With A Friend. This new option enables you to broadcast in collaboration with someone else, which opens up a whole new world for Instagram Live videos.
In this post, I’ll give you five ideas on how you can use Instagram’s Live with a friend option for you brand or business.
How To Use Instagram’s Go Live With A Friend
Going Live with a friend is simple. First, you open the camera on the upper left hand side of your Instagram home screen and select the Live option, as you normally would. Tap the two happy faces icon on the bottom right and tap “Add” to invite anyone who’s currently watching your Live Story. Once they join, the screen is split into two, and your guest will pop up right below you on the video feed.
You can swap one guest with another at any time during your broadcast, or they can see themselves out on their own. Like with any other Live Story you can share your Live with a friend video to your Story when your broadcast has ended, or you can choose to discard it and have it only exist in the moment.
Benefits to Going Live With A Friend
First off, we know that videos, and live videos in particular, are generating the most reach across all social media networks. Using Stories and Live Stories is also a great way to connect with your audience beyond your feed, while it’s also an opportunity to show your brand personality.
I’ve also found that my clients who use Live Stories are seeing more audience growth and retention on Instagram than those that don’t.
You’re also able to save your Instagram Live videos for re-purposing on other networks, or hosting it on a page that anyone who missed it can replay.
But the best part about Live with a friend Stories is that they can expose your business to a new audience. This is because when someone goes live with a friend, you’ll see two circles stacked together in your stories bar – yours and your guests, which means that both your connections and theirs will see it.
Last, but not least, if you’re shy, teaming up with someone for a live story might provide an easier way into the live video creatio process.
Here are five ideas for Live with a friend broadcasts for business:
1. Interviews/Q & A
Instagram’s co-streaming feature is going to be great for conducting interviews with someone else, or for conducting question and answer sessions with fan and/or other influencers within your industry and your audience.
2. Collaboration/Joint “Webinars” Or Takeovers
A popular way for businesses’ to grow their audiences on social media is to conduct webinars or to collaborate with other industry experts to create content.
Instagram co-streaming can bring the webinar experience to the live space – you’ll now be able to work with others to conduct live sessions based around a specific topic, which can add a lot of value to your audience.
3. Collaboration Announcements
Speaking of collaborating, with Instagram’s ‘Live with a Friend’ option, how fun would it be to announce a big collaboration between yourself and another brand live?
You can grab your partner to announce your collaboration, and build buzz for the live broadcast.
One of the most popular content types out there is the round-up – they help businesses connect with influencers and can help participants reach new audiences (when those mentioned in the round-up share the specific post).
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Round-ups can also add a lot of value to readers, because you can get a lot of information from different sources in one post. Since you can swap guests on Live with a friend Stories, it can be a really fun way to create a round-up style summary that your audience will enjoy.
Contests are another fantastic way to see quick growth on social media, and Instagram’s collaborative live-streaming option could offer a lot of fun contest opportunities.
Imagine a game show format contest, where you can have your followers participate in your broadcast and answer questions for a prize.
This type of initiative can be a really great way to add personality to your account – and could be particularly popular, especially when you consider the recent rise of social trivia app HQ.
There’s a range of ways in which the new option could be used – another option could be walk-throughs of your business, where the guest user shows the audience around, while the main account narrates the vision.
Hopefully, this post has helped you drum up some ideas about how your business can use Instagram’s live stream guest feature. Which one of these ideas are you most likely to try?
A version of this post was first published on Dhariana Lozano’s blog.
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