Biz Orlando by @SOSArtGallery

How local businesses are changing global economy from the inside out

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY: The Skinny on Social Media Influencer Marketing and Co-Promoting

Welcome back to the next Sunday weekly recurring edition of Biz Orlando at HypeOrlando!

In the relaunch post, Biz Orlando by @SOSArtGallery handled the business of influencer marketing and role of community bloggers — delving into the new marketing and advertising norms (businesses large and small) by tapping into social media channels and relying on followers and influencers to spur business growth with social selling and product reviews.

I first stumbled upon this new concept of influencer marketing when reading a blog post by The Penny Hoarder about brand ambassadors and the mainstream players by which large corporations are putting their products into the hands of bloggers and those individuals with a strong social media following — allowing them to try before they buy in exchange for product reviews and photos to be posted on social media with the hopes of increased exposure levels.

My curiosity on the subject fueled me to sign up for the most common influencer marketing sites that I could find: Influenster, Pinch Me and Smiley 360. After filling out my personal profiles, surveys on my own shopping trends and connecting my social media accounts, I decided to see for myself if these “try before you buy” promos were really legitimate in their claims.

After quickly receiving several shipment of product samples from each company, I was quickly convinced that the answer was yes. Influenster was the first to the plate — shipping me a Vox Box sample of the Vaseline Lip Tin before launching in January 2016. In return, I acknowledged to keep the product testing on the down low until given the go ahead to share my own personal opinion via social media once the product was placed in retail storefronts.

Soon to follow were Pinch Me and Smiley 360 boxed shipments of various collections of product samples. One by one, after trying each product I snapped a photo to post alongside written reviews to be shared via Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Each mission comes with its own set of tasks to earn points along the way in order to be sent future opportunities. The more info shared, the more valuable the brand influencer becomes in the process.

Once convinced on the topic of influencer marketing, I then came across a promo for a company called CoPromote.com. The idea? To join a network of social media creators and brand influencers in order to capitalize on collaborative marketing by retweeting Twitter tweets, Tumblr posts, YouTube and Vine videos to gain exposure between followers.

I can tell you this — IT WORKS! In just one short month, here’s my results: 51 boosted posts + 194 new shares received + 628.2K new people reached = unparalled increasing sales and business exposure for SOS Art Gallery. It was like a shot in the arm for social media selling like I’d never experienced before. For this, I thank each and every follower who has done their part in spreading the word. Local businesses like mine depend on those following globally to collectively boost each other’s efforts by doing together what one can’t reach alone.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to join on my journey as a full-time entrepreneur, as I delve into a changing landscape where shopping local is revitalizing communities and expediting local business growth in a big way. GET CONNECTED by subscribing when you follow BizOrlando.com to receive exclusive updates on newly written HypeOrlando posts and to see what’s in store for Studio Orlando Services (SOS).

Going forward, news and updates will be initially limited to the BizOrlando.com community of followers, then released to the general public through normal social media channels. Thank you to the loyal supporters of Studio Orlando Services (SOS) and newcomers to Biz Orlando by @SOSArtGallery.

Here’s To Living A Life Driven By Purpose,

Kathryn McHenry

BIZ ORLANDO BACK IN BUSINESS: The Business of Blogging and Influencer Marketing

BIZ ORLANDO BACK IN BUSINESS: The Business of Blogging and Influencer Marketing

Kathryn McHenry, SOS Art Gallery at BizOrlando.com

Two years ago in February 2014 marked the start of a new literary journey in my life. I pitched an idea to launch a HypeOrlando community blog in a partner venture between unpaid voluntary bloggers and the Orlando Sentinel — starting with an initial group of the first 50 HypeOrlando community bloggers. Small Biz In A Big World was the first time I publicly wrote to share my life experiences, both as an entrepreneur and to share the facets of my personal growth that crept into the professional side.

Time and time again, I would receive many private messages and public comments thanking me for my level of transparency — noting how my writing personally impacted their own perspective on otherwise seemingly bad situations. Struggles turned necessary evils into trials of eventual success. Writing, much like visual art, is a method by which a writer bares their soul; their innermost feelings; emotions and perspective for varying purposes — but foremost as an art of cathartic storytelling.

Blogging has become a staple of influencer marketing. Gone are the days of stand-alone formal press releases. Nowadays when a business or individual desires to initiate a quick impression and spread the word about ideas, products or services then the likely method has become social media broadcasts. Much like television or radio airwaves, varying degrees of biases, pressures and behind-the-scenes politics tend to at times creep in and set the priorities and behavior patterns of community bloggers.

Blogging much like mainstream media press credentials comes with its perks: swag bags, VIP preview events and many other preferential treatments and norms of influencer marketing and shaping views. And like tribes of friends, followers and supporters, bloggers develop their own cliques and community partnerships in an attempt to form a collective impact together as a whole, rather than acting alone.

When I was awarded the Sunshine Blog Award as a Top 10 Florida Blog in the Business / Money / Marketing / Technology category in 2015, a level of admitted personal naivete due to lack of social integration from a disallowing work schedule brought these realizations to light in a way that I never expected. As a result, I quickly decided to take a step back, observe the tight-knit factions in the community and gleam insight as to how the pieces of the puzzle either fit together or clashed similar to sibling rivalries.

Admittedly, I have never had any desire whatsoever to get caught up in the game of rivaling egos and personalities. Biz Orlando will share anecdotes of growth as a business owner — leaving no room for anything other than a community blog serving a focused purpose and a mission as an entrepreneur.

Today, I bring to you the relaunch of Biz Orlando — a rebirth of Small Biz In A Big World. This new chapter will take a look at the budding mecca of local entrepreneurship and the new face of Central Florida tourism — stretching beyond your typical mainstream players in the local attractions industry. Biz Orlando will also serve as an expose showing how local business has corporations quickly changing existing game plans to compete with local makers, crafters and retail business owners.

Influencer marketing is the future of brand awareness and advertising as we know it — with a new level of personal tastes and subjective reviews. Shaping our everyday decisions, the business of blogging will further become a valued asset to businesses both large and small, worthy of monetizing. Bloggers invest their time and energy for the most part pro bono — with a desire to one day monetize their efforts to turn a hobby of passion into a compensated profession of purpose and personal vision.

I invite you to join on my journey as a full-time entrepreneur, as I delve into a changing landscape where shopping local is revitalizing communities and expediting local business growth in a big way. GET CONNECTED by subscribing when you follow BizOrlando.com to receive exclusive updates on newly written HypeOrlando posts and to see what’s in store for Studio Orlando Services (SOS).

Going forward, news and updates will be initially limited to the BizOrlando.com community of followers, then released to the general public through normal social media channels. Thank you to the loyal supporters of Studio Orlando Services (SOS) and newcomers to Biz Orlando by @SOSArtGallery.

Here’s To Living A Life Driven By Purpose,

Kathryn McHenry

ECOMMERCE HAS EVOLVED: How Selling Online Has Changed

ECOMMERCE HAS EVOLVED: How Selling Online Has Changed

EcommerceHasEvolved

If you’ve been reading the headlines since the holidays, you may have noticed a few trends. Retail storefronts held their own against online shopping sites, and now studies have shown that even online retail stores are in need of a brick-and-mortar presence to stay competitive in a buyer climate of instant gratification.

When I first got in the eCommerce side of placing my handmade cards and gifts online, I turned to the most notable of online shopping communities: Etsy. Setting up the shop proved to be an economical way to add inventory online, while promoting goods via various social media channels to build a following. On average, I was spending about $19.00 a month on brand new listings online.

However after a year, I wasn’t convinced that Etsy was the right fit for an online presence. Once Etsy went public, I decided to take a look at other options. After comparing various online channels with Etsy such as Society 6; Big CartelEbay; and ArtFire, I made the decision to migrate my online store to Ebay to support a global base.

After several months of setting up shop, the numbers seemed to come together in a bigger way as far as results. I was spending $15.95 for 200 listings a month, and I finally made my first online sales to out-of-state customers for handmade cards.

Then Handmade at Amazon came on to the scene. I applied to be one of the pioneer artists and was chosen to launch as one of its first handmade goods vendors. Still unsure about this new marketplace, I kept my Ebay shop and had Handmade at Amazon on the side to investigate for myself whether it’d be a sensible transition.

After reading several stories from Handmade at Amazon vendors about the fine print, I was alarmed that Amazon added legalese allowing it to compete with its own handmade vendors should they choose to manufacture similar products. Once I read this, I pulled all of my inventory off of Handmade at Amazon completely.

One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve received lately from a fellow crafter was to check out Shopify. Once I started to expand to several additional shared market locations, I learned that Shopify supports a more seamless system of maintaining multiple retail locations, while syncing updates between online and in-store inventory updates.

While paying $29 for the basic plan is a little pricier, this solution makes the most sense for a retailer who desires to build a unique shopping experience for customers that exclusively presents only that retailer’s inventory. I’ve opted for the Facebook shopping cart and BUY NOW options, which at a lower pricepoint of $9 makes sense to integrate the shopping cart into my current website.

To sum it all up, so far by trying out the system during the trial period, I’m more convinced that Shopify is built for wholesale growth. Between an integrated Point of Sale system, retail storefront equipment and social media integration, Shopify is the best I’ve found for a long-term business development and growth strategy platform.

As I further develop this online shopping platform, I will share about my experiences, recommendations and tips for eCommerce shopping and marketing. GET CONNECTED at www.BizOrlando.com for further updates to find out first what’s on the menu for Biz Orlando at HypeOrlando as I continue my entrepreneurial journey.

VOTING MATTERS: Every Vote Counts This Super Tuesday

VOTING MATTERS: Every Vote Counts This Super Tuesday

YourVoteCounts

Never has a primary election been more crucial than the Presidential Election of 2016. By doing the math, the calculations show how at this point in the election every single individual who is eligible to vote has a ever increasing stake in the ultimate nominees for the general election.

The purpose of this post is not to sway you one way or the other according to my own personal views. I urge you to put aside any potential complacency that your vote doesn’t matter in the end. The impending math shows otherwise and how every vote is crucial to the outcome.

I will keep my message short, sweet and to the point. For the remaining states left to vote, voter turnouts are extremely important to fully represent the views held. Your vote is your voice and there’s no stronger way to make your voice heard that by getting to the voting polls.

Prior to Super Tuesday, you have the opportunity to research your options to make the most educated decision in choosing the best candidate that most fits your views and your own personal vision for what you want for this country.

I’ve listed some starting points below to find your designated polling location to cast your vote. Any necessary documentation needed is pertinent to exercise your right to vote, so Super Tuesday 2016 Voting Guides should help answer any questions you may have to prepare.

These online resources provide education on what you’ll need and how primary election voting rules differs from those in the general election.

This Tuesday March 15, 2016, stand united — vote together to make a difference for yourself, our country and those who are counting on you: