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User Experiences for Restaurants - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:51
From mobile apps to kiosks, DineEngine delivers enhanced guest experiences for restaurants, chains, and franchisors.

Case Study: Piada - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:49
Piada came to DineEngine with the need for a complete rebuild of their existing site; including the implementation and integration of a new online ordering system. DineEngines custom solution led to dramatic results.

Major hotel brands see opportunity in Cuba

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Choice and Wyndham are all included among the sponsors of the Latin American Hotel and Tourism Inves -More
Categories: Latest News

Hurricane Grill & Wings plans Kan. expansion

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
Florida-based Hurricane Grill & Wings is poised for expansion in Kansas through a 12-site deal with Crave Management.  -More
Categories: Latest News

Teams function best when everyone has an equal chance to talk

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
Teams are most successful when people feel safe, which means making sure everyone gets an equal opportunity to voice what the -More
Categories: Latest News

Overcome your fear of giving frequent feedback

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
Frequent feedback helps employees see where they need to grow and shows that the employer is invested in their success, write -More
Categories: Latest News

Marriott Hotel Al Forsan Abu Dhabi embodies innovation

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
Marriott's Brian McGuiness recently hosted a TED talk on innovation, highlighting the features of the Marriott Hotel Al Forsa -More
Categories: Latest News

McDonald's cuts artificial flavors from vanilla ice cream

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
McDonald's is removing the artificial flavors in its vanilla soft serve, a change that will affect most of the company's dese -More
Categories: Latest News

New report shows franchises providing financial disclosures at highest rate ever

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
US franchise brands are increasingly providing financial performance data to prospective investors and lenders, helping creat
Categories: Latest News

IFA offers 176 tips on franchise communications and engagement

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
Looking for useful material on how to improve franchise communications and franchisee engagement at your meetings and confere
Categories: Latest News

States take aim at joint-employer standard

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
A number of states have passed legislation to adopt a narrower definition of the joint-employer standard than the one that wa -More
Categories: Latest News

NYC to require some stores to provide calorie counts

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-05-19 14:07
Starting Monday, food retailers in New York City with at least 15 locations nationwide will be required to post calorie count -More
Categories: Latest News

Updates from Microsoft, QuickBooks Make Small Biz Headlines

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2017-05-19 13:30

Microsoft and QuickBooks both offer tools that are absolutely essential to many small businesses. And this week, both of those big names announced changes to some of their most popular offerings.

You can read about those updates and more small business headlines below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Technology Trends Microsoft  Introduces Tools and Services for Small Developers at Build 2017 Event

As expected, Microsoft Build 2017 did not disappoint when it came to announcements and a few surprises. The event, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) annual developer conference, the tech company invited software developers to join them to learn about the latest new technologies and plans on the horizon.

QuickBooks Online Introduces Changes in Site Navigation

QuickBooks Online accounting software for small businesses recently announced it is rolling out some new navigation changes to improve productivity and online experience.

Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn from the Global WannaCrypt Ransomware Hack

What can small businesses — especially those operating on the web — learn from the latest ransomware attacks. Recently, hackers dispatched ransomware called WannaCrypt. When it was opened on computers, it locked users from accessing necessary data. The only way to unlock the hack was to pay a ransom via Bitcoin. More than 200,000 computers in 150 countries were affected by WannaCrypt.

Prefer App Aims to Reinvent the Gig Economy with Client Relationships

The gig economy has given so many more options to professionals looking to provide services, and to businesses and individuals looking to hire skilled professionals. But the process hasn’t always been very personal. Typically, when someone is looking to hire a professional, they might look for reviews online or even use an app to find the closest service provider.

Employment 91 Percent of Remote Workers Feel More Productive Out of the Office (Infographic)

Workers feel more productive when they are working remotely out of the office, a new study indicates. More Productive Out of the Office According to data compiled by Ireland-based business coaching company Davitt Corporate Partners, 91 percent of remote workers believe they “get more work done when working remotely.

Retail Trends Ebay Motors Provides More Opportunities for Sellers — and Local Service Businesses

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) is making some changes to its motors marketplace and platform that small businesses, especially local service providers, might want to take note of. The giant eCommerce company announced recently it is expanding the eBay Motors marketplace and adding new features and services to deliver a more personalized and innovative experience to automotive buyers.

Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight: Dreamlines  Creates Custom Illustrations for Weddings, Anniversaries

Finding unique wedding and anniversary gifts can be a challenge, especially if you’re looking for something that’s completely personal to the bride. But that’s why Nikki Gentry founded Dreamlines LLC. The company makes customized illustrations of wedding dresses that can make for great wedding or anniversary gifts.

Social Media Case Study: How to Use Facebook Ads to Generate Leads

Using Facebook lead ads can help you to generate leads and get more business. Small Business Trends followed the path of Amazing Lash Studio Eastvale and how they used this social media tool. We spoke with Justin Perry, the owner of the company that used Facebook lead ads to build out their guest list and get a 4.8X return on their ad spend.

Have You Been to Twitter Flight School?

Just in case you haven’t heard of Twitter Flight School, the social media platform is not diversifying into teaching would be pilots to get their license. But the metaphor is meant to signify what the school will help you accomplish in terms of marketing your small business. When Twitter Flight School was first launched in 2014, it was exclusively available to ad agencies.

Is Snapchat Really Right For Your Small Business?

Is Snapchat really the way to go for your small business? Low growth numbers in Q1 2017 and stiff competition from the likes of Facebook and Instagram Stories have business owners wondering if this video app might self destruct just like the videos and pictures sent on the network eventually do.

Are You Taking Advantage of Facebook’s Small Business Council?

There’s a good chance that your small business already uses Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to promote your offerings and communicate with your audience. But did you know that the social media giant also provides assistance to small business users through the Facebook Small Business Council.

Livestreaming Entrepreneurs, Here’s How Virtual Assistants and Chatbots Boost Success

In 2016, Facebook opened up its Facebook Messenger app to third-party chatbots. Businesses are being encouraged to make chatbots work well with Messenger to serve 1.79 billion monthly active users on Facebook, one billion of whom are active on Messenger. The mass-market potential of chatbots is that its “technology will simply understand and do as the human asks,” reports Gartner.

VC and Angel Capital Are Accelerator Funds a Better Way for Angels to Invest?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the best way for angels interested in making pre-seed stage investments to put money into start-up companies. I’ve come to the conclusion that investing in accelerator funds is better than joining an angel group. Angel groups are investor collectives that pool funds and management.

5 Reasons Angels May Have Small Portfolios

The typical angel investor has a portfolio of just seven companies, the American Angel Survey, an effort to gather information from nearly 1700 accredited investor angels, reveals. The 75th percentile is just 15 investments, and the maximum portfolio is only 106 investments.

Microsoft Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Updates from Microsoft, QuickBooks Make Small Biz Headlines" was first published on Small Business Trends

BMW's Kuhnt adds 2 execs to North American leadership

AutoNews - Fri, 2017-05-19 13:19
BMW's new North America chief has appointed two lieutenants to help him as he works to revive BMW's growth in the key U.S. market.
Categories: Latest News

Shake Shack Is Sharing How To Hack Its Cult-Favorite Secret Sauce

Topix - Fri, 2017-05-19 13:05

Are you obsessed with Shake Shack? Have you spent many a night lying awake in bed wondering what goes into that sacred creamy sauce? If so, your burger dreams may be about to come true. When we first heard word of the Shake Shack cookbook's imminent arrival , there was one recipe above all we hoped would be featured.

Categories: Today's Food News

AC Hotel Atlanta Downtown Debuts A New Way To Hotel In Downtown Atlanta

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2017-05-19 12:32
ATLANTA-–AC Hotel® Atlanta Downtown, a design-driven lifestyle hotel located at 101 Andrew Young International Boulevard in the heart of downtown Atlanta, ...

Home2 Suites By Hilton Opens Newest Property In Pigeon Forge

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2017-05-19 12:26
PIGEON FORGE, TN––Home2 Suites by Hilton, part of Hilton's (NYSE: HLT) industry-first All Suites portfolio, announced today its newest property, Home2 ...

Women Working Toward The Future

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2017-05-19 12:19
Female Hotel Executives Discuss Top Issues, Challenges During ILES

Ronan Galvin of Kickstagram: Marketing Automation Led to 282 Percent Increase in Revenue in 8 Months

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2017-05-19 12:00

Kickstagram co-founders Ronan Galvin and Casey Mathews developed a platform to help businesses automate engagement on Instagram. But according to the duo, it wasn’t until they started using InfusionSoft’s marketing automation platform that they were able to simplify a complicated and time-consuming onboarding process that improved the customer experience. And within eight months, Kickstagram achieved 5,000 more leads generated, a 282 percent increase in revenue and a 336 percent increase in customers.

Kickstagrams’ Marketing Automation Success Story

I had an opportunity to speak with the two cofounders at last month’s InfusionCon User Conference (ICON) to learn more about how automation made such a sudden impact on their business, as well as to get a few tips on how to get more traffic from Instagram.

Below is an edited transcript from our conversation. To see the entire interview, click on the embedded video below.

* * * * *

Small Business Trends: Let’s talk a little bit about how you guys got started. Maybe give us a little bit of your personal backgrounds and how you guys got started with Kickstagram.

Ronan Galvin: After college I went over to China and started sourcing and manufacturing products for clients back in the States, and then Casey and I hooked up because it was too hard to do it just from China. So Casey was in the States, and he would travel back to China and meet up and, visit factories, and whatnot.

As we were starting our business, Kickstarter was also taking off, and social media, Instagram, too, around that time, 2012, 2013, something like that.

We would get a lot of clients. They would be successful with their Kickstarter, then they were like, “now how do we fulfill our products,” whether it’s watches, or a new little tech device or something like that. Friends of friends were like, “Hey, you guys are in China. Can you get this product?” Then we would oversee the manufacturing and the development of that, and then ship it back to them.

Now after we fulfilled on the Kickstarters, we had selfish interests in the fact that the more they sold, the bigger our commission would be, so it was like after the Kickstarter they were like, “Well, now what do we do? Can we go into retail?” They didn’t really have access to a retail distribution chain, so it was obviously eCommerce. One thing with eCommerce was, social media. So 2012, 2013, ’14-ish, it was able to post on Instagram, or Facebook, or Twitter and get traffic back to your website. Once you got the traffic back to your website, you can convert into sales. We found that Instagram was a good solution. Casey was sitting around one night, and …

Casey Mathews: I was working on one of our clients at the time, their Instagram, and I just started liking pictures based off hashtag words that were relevant to their wood and steel watch, people that were into watches, that fit that type of vibe, or different things like that. The next day I was pretty surprised they got a lot of followers back. I was like, “Wow. They were telling me how much they’ve been struggling lately, and yeah, my thumb hurts.” I did about two or three hundred likes, but I was actually really pleased with the results. Obviously I did it for a couple more days just to make sure it was the real deal, it kept working, and then I realized how do I do this without my thumb falling off, more or less, you know.

Initially we looked into automating this process, but we knew when you do something automated you’ve got to be careful because you have to put filters in place, and so we partnered with a developer and made our own software on the back end, and really just being like students of Instagram, and also knowing our clients, I think we did a pretty good job of finding the happy medium of being able to do these 2,000 engagements a day. But at the same time be extremely targeted cause you don’t want to waste that when you have such only a limited amount of engagements.

That was kind of the birth. Initially kind of a hobby. “Liking” and picking up 5, 10 clients at first. We were like, “Wow. This is cool. People are interested. Let’s try to email a hundred people this week or something.” We sent them out of Gmail. Four, five responded. They’re interested. That’s pretty good return. Next week, 200, and then we got to the point we’re like, “Wow. We could actually …” We had 20, 30 clients, and we’re like, “Yeah, we should probably stop the other things we’re doing and focus on this, because we see the potential in this industry.”

Ronan Galvin: It’s kind of, I guess, ironic, we started out doing this automation for social media, and now we’re using this Infusionsoft that automates a lot of our stuff.

Casey Mathews: Automation, automating our automation.

Small Business Trends: What’s been the impact overall … What are some of the results you’re seeing?

Ronan Galvin: One of the biggest stats we like to share is we had a hundred clients and four employees, and everything. There’s a lot slipping through the cracks, and kind of unorganized. Everything was out of Gmail, and just a lot of manual work. We started to implement Infusionsoft, and now we’re sitting at 700 clients with six employees, so the biggest things is for us is we were able to get to 700 and only add two more employees. A lot of it we’re getting sales in now. We brought our whole team here [to ICON]. Everyone who’s signing up now is getting a sequence of automation; they think someone’s sending it, which is cool.

Small Business Trends:How has that been able to enhance the way that you do your work with your customers?

Casey Mathews: I think a big thing we’re starting to get into is providing that extra value that, I guess like you were saying, we didn’t have time to provide or create. Video, we’re doing a lot more in-house video, because the better their Instagram is, our software and our service is going to do better stuff for them.

The better their Instagram account is, the more we’re going to send traffic to them. We create new videos on whatever’s hot or trending on Instagram. Show them that. Send it out to them. That’s something we couldn’t do before. Hand hold them a little bit more on the onboarding, but make sure some of it’s going to be through a personal touch.

Small Business Trends: Give us something that the folks don’t know about Instagram that they should know about it.

Ronan Galvin: Just be consistent with posting each day, and be consistent with the content that you post. Sometimes we have people who will sign up their brand, and they have great jewelry, for example. The jewelry is flawless, but then you go and look at their Instagram, and they’re posting selfies, or a picture of their dog, or what they had for dinner on their brand profile, and no one’s following you because of that. They’re following you because of your jewelry. Show off the lifestyle, the jewelry. Don’t intermix the personal.

Casey Mathews: Unless it’s the most high quality picture and …

Ronan Galvin: There’s a good reason.

Casey Mathews: Yeah, there’s some good reason, but seems like people really co-mingle that personal and brand thing a little bit too much.

Ronan Galvin: Being a smaller business, you probably are the one who is handling the social media, and so it’s probably easier to say, “Oh I’m at this cool event.” Snap a photo.

Casey Mathews: My tip too would be don’t be afraid to emulate other people that are doing it great.

Ronan Galvin: We always say look in your space at the big players. So if I’m starting an athletic shoe brand, I would look at Nike because Nike has the team of 15 social media managers, and they know what content to produce, when to post it. They’re already doing it, just take what you can and tweak it to fit your brand and your voice. That’s the easiest way to do it.

Small Business Trends: Tell folks where they can learn more about what you guys are doing.

Ronan Galvin: You can go to, and all the information is right there.

This article, "Ronan Galvin of Kickstagram: Marketing Automation Led to 282 Percent Increase in Revenue in 8 Months" was first published on Small Business Trends