Small Business Product Series: Portable Spider Cell Phone Holder

721577208810.721577208797.721577208803In support of small businesses this holiday season, I will feature a new product or business each week through November and into the first two weeks of December. The first product I will feature is perfect for the man or woman in your life, as a Secret Santa present, stocking stuffer, or as a regular gift for anyone with a mobile device at $17.99 -the bendable Arachno Grip Cell Phone Holder, available on Amazon (yes, on Amazon… did you know that Amazon sells products from small businesses? Yep, they sure do.)

My cell phone never has to touch a dirty surface again; it’s protected from all the nasty germy, surfaces of the world. And yes, my mommy friends are pretty hot on it, too. Every week someone is telling me how they’ve manipulated this thing into a new use.  And it comes in black, white and purple (my favorite).

My Top 5 Uses So far:

spider

1. Car Cell Phone Holder. I use it to hold my cell phone in the car as I use Google maps (Siri, lead the way!)-which I use every day. Nope, I have no sense of direction.

stevespicks-1-12

2. Keeps your kid quiet in the car. Hang it off the front seat head rest and you can suspend your iPhone or iPad (might need 2 if you’re using a full sized iPad) so junior or princess can watch their favorite cartoon or movie in the backseat. Perfect for road trips so nuggets stay quiet.

3. Keeps your kid quiet while potty training. My friend is trying to potty train her daughter and her daughter insisted on watching a movie instead of going potty, so what did my friend do? She put the movie on her cell phone and propped that bad boy up on the spider securely next to the toilet. Voila… quiet potty time.

4. Hands free music, chatting, and face time on the go. Wraps around handles of strollers so you can chat away while taking baby for a walk or listen to music on your cell phone. For the non-mommies like me out there, I use this to suspend my cell phone off of gym equipment at the gym. I just refuse to let my phone touch any of that dirty germy gym equipment (yes, I might be OCD).

5. Keeps your iPhone & iPad safe from wet counter tops and table tops. If you’re like me and use online recipes a lot while cooking, but always have wet counter tops (because you’re cleaning or spilling while cooking), this is ideal for keeping your iPhone or iPad dry as you consult your recipes.

Enjoy and you’re welcome!

Why Small Businesses Should Use Instagram

lloydmartinAs a photographer and a producer for the advertising industry, it’s par for the course that I know the latest and greatest in social media.  Not only do I create content for my clients to promote and share on social media platforms (sites), I use a variety of social media platforms to promote my own personal brand and services. I’ve always assumed that the masses knew how to use twitter, facebook, instagram, pinterest…

I was wrong.

I stood corrected a couple of weeks ago when discussing social media for restaurants with a bartender friend.  I was surprised to find out that many do not use instagram or even upload promotional photos to their facebook and/or twitter accounts.  Some don’t even have facebook accounts for their small businesses!  How could this be in 2013?

If you own a small business, or any business for that matter, you need social media.  You have a smartphone?  Then you have no excuse not to promote your business with photographs on social media… and Instagram, quite honestly, is your best friend.

Instagram is a fast, easy, and efficient platform that brings more exposure to your business.  How? It allows you to post your images simultaneously to your facebook, twitter, tumblr, flickr, and foursquare accounts all in one shot.   It will take you all of five to ten minutes of each day to promote your company.   Not a bad investment of your time, I’d say.

I could get very specific for each industry about what your social strategy should be, but to keep it simple and short for this blog post, here are some suggestions for three different industry categories:

  • If you are a restaurant, you should be uploading/posting photographs of your drink, food menu items, specials, and photos of the staff.
  • If you sell a product, you should be uploading/posting photographs of your product line with information about each product.
  • If you sell a service, you should be uploading/posting “Behind the scenes” photographs of your set up and/or process that makes your service unique.

Here’s a list of businesses who use instagram successfully; check them out for ideas of how you can promote your business:
http://instagram.com/sephora#
http://instagram.com/bucadibeppo#
http://instagram.com/burgerfi#
http://instagram.com/thorstenroth/#
http://instagram.com/josevilla#

Once you’ve set your account up, here’s a great article to get you started on the basics of posting to your instagram accounts.  Now you are ready to rock the marketing world.

Not sure how to set up your instagram so that it shares the image to your other social media accounts?  Coming soon:  “How to Set Up Instagram For Your Small Business.”