Posts tagged with "app"

tech illustration by sara davidson for use by 360 Magazine

Lord & Taylor Digital Collective Store

The Saadia Group officially launched the iconic American brand Lord & Taylor as a digital Collective Store. From exclusive collaborations and merchandise to first-class service and unique events, this new chapter promises to bridge the 195-year heritage with a modern, innovative future.

As America’s first and oldest department store, Lord & Taylor has been the favorite store for generations of shoppers and launched the careers of several American designers. Alongside classic favorites, the updated assortment will focus on up-and-coming and emerging brands.

Jack Saadia, Principal and Co-Founder of The Saadia Group said: “The future of retail is fast and agile, mirrored by our team–which has managed to put together a fantastic assortment of merchandise and a website–in record time of less than 120 days. We are deeply committed to continuing the rich legacy of the brand in a progressive way. Today’s unveil is just the beginning.”

The platform is made to fit and evolve with the ever-changing customer. Stay tuned for exclusive collaborations, fresh assortments, new launches across categories and a robust private label offering filling up these limitless digital aisles in the next few weeks.

To learn more about the brand, visit Lord & Taylor’s website, and look out for further updates on the official social channels.

ABOUT THE SAADIA GROUP

The Saadia Group are the leaders in multi-category product manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing. Catering to a diversified portfolio of consumer products across multiple categories targeting all age demographics from Fashion Apparel in Men’s, Women’s & Kids, Footwear, Women’s Handbags, Home Textiles, Furniture/Décor & Tech Accessories and more. Their strategic investments in fashion brands utilizes their broad experience and leverages full complement of resources to grow and expand the business.

Through its Saadia Direct division, branded merchandise is sold exclusively at retail and outlet locations and online at NY and CompanyFashion to FigureLetoteNY and Company ClosetFashion to Figure Closet Lord and TaylorVintage Foundry coThe Chichome StoreXray Jeans, and Hybrid Green Label.

ABOUT LORD & TAYLOR 

Founded in 1826, Lord & Taylor is America’s first and oldest department store. The brand has been the favorite store for generations of shoppers and has a long history in fashion, launching the careers of several American designers. Its former flagship store, built in 1914, is now a landmarked building in New York City. Under Saadia Direct, the iconic American brand will make its digital comeback and will be relaunched as America’s first Collective Store.

Computer illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Your Online Privacy Is in Your Hands

Many Internet users don’t take online privacy seriously because they believe that they have nothing to hide. Even if you don’t want to secure your data from the curious eyes of big brother, you should be aware of other privacy threats on the Internet.

  • Other states: Even if you trust your own government, do you trust other states? Many foreign governments take a keen interest in the online activities of other citizens.
  • Marketers: Advertisers and other businesses use many methods to track your Internet activity to build an online profile that they can sell to other organizations.
  • Acquaintances: Many people who are curious about you will consume your publicly available data that’s of a private nature.
  • Stalkers: Ex-partners, jealous lovers, stalkers, or predators can use malicious software to breach your privacy. Some stalkerware can take your pictures and record your videos through webcams when you’re not aware. Stalkerware can also monitor your physical movements through the GPS on your laptop.

Share Your Data Sensibly

It’s a good idea to take basic security precautions on social media. Accept friend requests carefully. Verify suspicious-looking profiles to ensure that they’re legitimate. Limit posts that carry sensitive information to your friends and avoid sharing confidential information publicly.

When downloading apps, avoid handing out permissions needlessly. For example, does your fitness app really need access to your contacts, camera, and videos?

Of course, set strong passwords for all your social media accounts to keep hackers at bay. A good password should be at least 12 characters long and feature upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.

Avoid Suspicious Websites and Emails

Avoid visiting unknown websites and clicking strange emails and files. Cybercriminals can infect fraudulent websites, emails, and files with malware like adware or spyware that’s designed to breach your privacy, security, or both.

Stay Wary of Strangers

Trust your instincts and be cautious. Avoid friend requests from people you don’t trust. Likewise, please don’t click on links from such people as they may be Trojan horse attacks engineered to install stalkerware on your devices. Similarly, don’t accept tech gifts from strangers. For example, a USB drive or keyboard could be a keylogger that records your keystrokes, allowing a cybercriminal to read your emails or learn your login credentials.

Find a Good VPN Service

Protect your network with a firewall and a top-of-the-line VPN service. For example, Malwarebytes VPN protection will encrypt your data with its technologically advanced software and even mask your IP address.

Without your IP address, states, threat actors find it exceptionally challenging to track you to your location across the Internet. There are other advantages to subscribing to an excellent VPN service too. For one, you can bypass geo-blocks and consume entertainment from different parts of the world. For example, a VPN can allow you to watch Netflix USA while in Canada! But please steer clear of free VPNs as they’re slow, carry spyware, and may even spy on you.

In addition to network security tools, use advanced antivirus software to protect yourself from malware like viruses, worms, spyware, adware, ransomware, and even dangerous stalkerware. With the right cybersecurity software and some vigilance, you can surf the Internet all day stress-free.

Cryptocurrency illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Cryptocurrency × NTFs

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

Cryptocurrency × NTFs

In recent news, Tautachrome Inc. has announced its patent attorney’s opinion on the early applicability of its KlickZie patents. The KickZie application will enable users to capture images that are invisibly marked and verified as the original. The owner of the image or video will have the ability to use, sell, and monetize their images. A simple tap on the image will allow users to communicate with the image’s author or others currently viewing the image. The patent is among many in the market of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).

Cryptocurrency Breakdown:

Understanding cryptocurrency can be a headache! It is best to research thoroughly before investing your hard-earned money into just any digital asset. Let’s start with the basics: what is cryptocurrency?  Crypto, crypto currency, or cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange where individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of computerized databases using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership. Now, cryptocurrency does not exist in a physical form, like your wallet filled with dollar bills.

Crypto Coins – Altcoins: Tokens, cryptocurrencies, and other forms of digital assets that are NOT bitcoin are known as alternative cryptocurrencies.

A few examples:

  • Peercoin
  • Litecoin
  • Dogecoin
  • Auroracoin
  • Namecoin

Tokens: Created and given out through an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO – much like a stock offering. Crypto tokens are a blockchain account that can provide functions other than making payments. Tokens are usually issued within a smart contract running on top of a blockchain.

  • Value tokens (Bitcoins)
  • Security tokens (to protect your account(s))
  • Utility tokens (designated for specific uses)

What does it mean when a cryptocurrency forks?

Sometimes a cryptocurrency will ‘fork’ and yes, that does sound confusing. It can be broken down into Forks, Hard Forks, or Soft Forks. Forks can be classified as accidental or intentional. An accidental fork happens when two or more miners find a block at the same, or almost same, time. The fork is then resolved when subsequent blocks are added and one of the chains becomes longer than the alternative. The network then abandons the blocks that are not in the longer chain, then referred to as orphaned blocks.

Hard Fork: A hard fork happens if a protocol or rule is changed so that the old protocol version is no longer valid.

Soft Fork: A soft fork occurs when a protocol or rule is changed, and the old version accepts the new version; enabling it to continue working.

What exactly are NTFs?

 A non-fungible token is a unit of data within a digital ledger called a blockchain. This is where each NFT can represent a unique digital item and are not interchangeable. A blockchain is a growing list of records (blocks), that are linked using cryptography. Each block has a cryptographic hash (a mathematical algorithm that maps data), a timestamp, and transaction data.

NFTs can be used to represent digital files such as audios, art, collectibles, sports, pornography, video games, and other forms of creative work. While copies can be made of these creative means, the NFTs representing the original are tracked on their underlying blockchains; therefore, providing the buyers with proof of originality and ownership.

In order to create an NFT, a file is uploaded to an NFT auction market. This creates a copy of the file recorded on the digital ledger as an NFT. This enables it to be bought with cryptocurrency and then resold. The artist can sell an NFT representing the work and still retain the copyright to the work as well as create more NFTs of the same file.

In addition, the buyer of the file does not gain exclusive access to the work or the original digital file. Unfortunately, a seller does not have to prove that they are the original artist either. There have been many cases where are was used for NFTs without the true artist’s permission.

Most Common Types of Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin: Invented in 2008 by a person or group using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency began being used in 2009 when its implementation was released as open-source software. Bitcoin was the first decentralized cryptocurrency leading the way for many others in the years to come. Bitcoins were created as a reward for a process known as mining (record-keeping service done electronically). Bitcoins can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.

Bitcoin Cash: A spin-off or altcoin of Bitcoin that was created in 2017 eventually splitting into two cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV. Bitcoin Cash is one of the most popular types of cryptocurrency on the market and holds a block size of 8MB. To compare, Bitcoin’s block size is just a mere 1MB. This means Bitcoin Cash processes at faster speeds for its users.

Litecoin: A peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open-source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcoin. Created by Charlie Lee to improve on Bitcoin technology, with shorter transaction times, lower fees, and more concentrated miners. In May 2017, Litecoin became the first of the top 5 cryptocurrencies to adopt Segregated Witness – a soft fork implementation change in the transaction format of Bitcoin.

Ethereum: A decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality developed by Vitalik Buterin. Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum platform. It is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Ethereum is also the most actively used blockchain. It focuses on decentralized applications (phone apps) – almost like an app store. Ethereum looks to return control of apps to its original creators instead of the middlemen (like Apple, for instance). The token name is Ether, which is used as currency by app developers and users.

Ripple: A real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange, and remittance network created by Ripple Labs Inc.  Ripple was released in 2012 upon a distributed open-source protocol that supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodities, or other units of value (frequent flier miles, for example). Ripple is geared more towards large companies and corporations than it is for individual users. Ripple is well known for its digital protocol because it allows large amounts of money in any form to be transferred.

Film Premiere illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Twenty Pearls Premiere

COMCAST ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE OF
TWENTY PEARLS – A DOCUMENTARY EXAMINING THE STORIED HISTORY OF ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY, INCORPORATED – ON ITS NEWLY LAUNCHED BLACK EXPERIENCE ON XFINITY CHANNEL

Comcast NBCUniversal is excited to announce the exclusive premiere of the documentary film “Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated”, arriving Friday, March 26 on its newly launched Black Experience on Xfinity Channel, available on X1, Flex, and on-the-go with the Xfinity Stream app.

From award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, produced by Coffee Bluff Pictures, and narrated by Phylicia Rashād, Twenty Pearls closely examines the founding and legacy of the first Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which is now regarded as one of the most significant and influential Black organizations in historyThe documentary tells a powerful story of sisterhood. In 1908, nine Black women enrolled at Howard University made one decision that would change the course of history. These college students created Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. For over 113 years, the sorority has influenced many of the most famous watershed moments in history.

Through narration, interviews, and rarely seen archival materials, the audience will see the sorority’s impact on World War II, NASA, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) culminating in the historic election of America’s first Black and South Asian woman Vice President. Twenty Pearls features interviews with members of the sorority including Vice President Kamala HarrisMiss Universe Ireland 2019 Fionnghuala O’ReillySmithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch III, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Fierst, great-granddaughter of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, International President and CEO of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Dr. Glenda Glover and many more.

 
Watch the Twenty Pearls trailer hereTrailer
 

“This is an extraordinary time to look back at our past to serve our future,” added filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper. “A future where Black women are centered. Helming this documentary love letter to the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the generations of women that followed in their footsteps, and to all Black women everywhere is an honor. This is an important history for all of us to know and understand.”

“We’re thrilled to work with award-winning filmmaker, Deborah Riley Draper, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to bring this exclusive premiere to the Black Experience on Xfinity channel, furthering our company-wide mission of investing in and showcasing authentic Black stories and culture,” said Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. “We launched this channel to help facilitate the discovery of stories like Twenty Pearls while providing a platform for emerging Black content creators.”

“Telling our own story is essential to preserving our history and uplifting the culture,” said Alpha Kappa Alpha International President and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover. “Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s remarkable 113-year journey which began on the campus of Howard University is punctuated by stories of history makers, ceiling breakers, public servants, and ordinary women who have changed the course of American history.  Through this beautifully written and narrated odyssey, this film highlights in undeniable ways the vision, courage, tenacity, determination, and power of Black women while putting to bed the age-old questions about the relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Divine Nine sororities and fraternities.”

Black Experience on Xfinity is a first-of-its-kind destination of Black entertainment, movies, TV shows, news, and more. It features high-quality content from many of Xfinity’s existing network partners, at no additional cost, while investing millions of dollars in fostering and showcasing emerging Black content creators. The channel is the only one of its kind endorsed by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the world’s largest group of Black film critics that gives annual awards for excellence in film and television. Available at home on Xfinity X1 and Flex, and on-the-go with the Xfinity Stream app, the Black Experience on Xfinity will entertain, educate and uplift, featuring Black actors, writers, producers and directors. At home, Xfinity subscribers can visit channel 1622 or simply say “Black Experience” into the Voice Remote to instantly enjoy the ultimate in Black storytelling.

Visit Xfinity to learn more about the Black Experience on Xfinity and other Black programming available on X1, Flex, and the Xfinity Stream app. Visit Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated to learn more about Twenty Pearls, which premieres on March 26 on Xfinity and is free for subscribers, and will be available nationwide, on-demand, starting on March 30, 2021.

analysis illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

The growth guide to Instagram 

Is your business growth starting to slow down a bit and you’re struggling to get it up again? Have you ever thought about using Instagram as a part of your marketing strategy in order to grow your business?

Launched in 2010, Instagram has been around for a while, but is well known for being one of the most popular social media platforms to date. Instagram has a user base of over 1 billion people, many growth services such as Growthoid which help to organically gain followers, and more businesses and brands on top of that. Instagram has become very popular among the business community and a great way for brands to promote themselves and grow. Just having a profile isn’t enough though, and neither is just posting advertisements. There is a lot more that goes into social media marketing, and making use of a platform to grow isn’t easy but it is well worth the work. 

If you are new to Instagram then you might not know how to use the platform effectively. Here is a brief guide on how to grow on Instagram.

Have a good profile 

When it comes to social media, people tend to think that all that is important is the content you post, and all they want to do is advertise their brand or product as much as possible. While, yes, it is essentially about advertising, there is so much more that goes into the behind the scenes work in order to have a well-run and successful account, like starting off with a good profile.

It is so important to have a good and easily recognisable profile so that followers can quickly discover who you are and what’s your brand is about. Included in your profile should be a good username that is short, catchy, and at least the same or similar to your brands actual name. There should also be a profile picture that is your brands logo or something to do with your brand, and a good, well worded bio that include your location and website link. 

Post at the right time 

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, there is actually a wright and wrong time to post on Instagram. The general rule of thumb is that it is best to post in the evening when people are done with work and school for the day and have dome down time to spend on their phones. While this is a good baseline to follow, it changes from business to business, depending on their target audience, as well as their location and time zone. 

A great way to discover what the best time is for you to be posting, is by looking at analytics. By looking at different posts you can see which one did better at different times of the day, and which allowed you to get more followers. From there you can plan out a posting schedule to post at the most optimal time for your followers to see your content. 

Use reels 

Although a relatively new feature to the app, reels are quickly becoming one of the most used parts. Similar to TikTok, reels allow you to post short form videos that can be filmed, edited, and posted all from the same platform. It is a fantastic way to show off parts of your brand like the behind the scenes or meeting the teams, without tainting your actual grid or timeline with things that don’t match it. 

Partner with brands and influencers 

Although it may seem counterintuitive to be working with the competition or with other brands, it is actually very helpful and a great way to be introduced to a much larger audience. Partnering with other brands is a great way to collaborate and allows for you to support them while they return the favour and support you. You could even collaborate with brands that have products which may accompany yours. For example, if you are a company that sells sportswear, you may want to collaborate with a brand that sells protein powder. 

You could also enlist the help of influencer to grow your account. Influencer have massive followings that will listen to their every word. If you can get an influencer to speak well of your brand, you will be set for a while.

Mini Tocalini illustration for hair salon and Barbershop marketing for 360 MAGAZINE

SNAP AND SHARE

Black Salon and Barbershop Owners as Social Influencers

Wil Shelton, CEO and Founder of Wil Power Integrated Marketing 

All marketers understand the importance of sharing images and messages with their online communities. But what if your online community doesn’t reflect enough diversity for African Americans to engage? African American salon and barbershop marketing can breathe life into a campaign and enable brands to piggyback on the connection Black barbers and hairstylists already have within their communities—including those that are online. 

These cultural catalysts are considered to be taste-makers within the African American community because they are always the first to know about new trends, products, and sports or news information that matters to their customers. When they share an in-store promotion, their customers take it as a recommendation from a trusted source. And that’s when the word-of-mouth marketing really starts to take effect.

African American customers who happen to be in the shops are thrilled to be a part of this seemingly spontaneous, infused in-store experience, which turns another day at the salon into a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the next big craze that’s about to blow up. In-store marketing means that not only do these customers get to be in the know before everyone else, they score some dope merch to prove it. 

You can be sure they leave that salon or barbershop ready to get everyone they know excited, too. But in-store marketing activations don’t end there. Because African-American-owned salons and barbershops tend to have huge online followings on social media sites such as Instagram.

In fact, almost all Black salon and barbershop owners are savvy social media influencers and often have hundreds of thousands of social media followers. You can see why smart brands are competing for their recommendation. Even better, most African American barbers and salon owners are more sophisticated in non-traditional marketing than a lot of senior media planners and buyers. But this hasn’t happened by chance! They are entrepreneurs who have had to teach themselves how to promote their stores and being seen as on-trend is part of the allure.

Shop owners have a history of doing more with less. In short, out of a lack of resources, urban barbershop owners have had to be nimble and develop the skills to become their own Black marketing creatives, media planners, and strategists.  

Barbers and stylists are engagement experts, and what they have accomplished can’t be devalued, because they have the power to monetize the culture and narratives in their shops and elevate the marketing strategies of the brands with which they choose to work. Even after COVID-19 hit, they have found ways to pivot and thrive. 

African American men and women gather weekly to spend money on self-improvement and discuss what’s new. This culture predisposes them to the idea of receiving brand messaging from the chair. Even as social media has expanded the realm of influencers, barbers and hairstylists have maintained and, in most cases, built on their role as taste-makers to become the micro-influencer stars. 

They’ve done it by leveraging their strong social-media engagement skills to develop an ever-widening circle of influence. This phenomenon is nothing new, but, interestingly, COVID-19 has put salon and barbershop owners in the spotlight, as people realize the critical role they play in their lives. This makes it more relevant than ever to leverage their influence to reach African American consumers.

About the Author 

Wil Shelton is the CEO & Founder of Wil Power Integrated Marketing, a full-service agency offering traditional and digital marketing services to reach multicultural audiences in the beauty and grooming industries.  

Back to College by Mina Tocalini

Benefits of Crossposting

Vendoo is a minority-based company that specializes in full-time reselling experience to software development, and provides a unique perspective on how to solve the common inconveniences of the reselling experience. Black CMO, Josh Dzime-Assision says, “As resellers, we’re always looking for opportunities to increase our sales and expand our businesses, which is why crossposting has become an important part of the reselling process. Crossposting manually can be very repetitive and time consuming, so without a helpful tool to simplify the process, some resellers can be intimidated by the workload.” Please see his explanation below:

So, what exactly is crossposting?

For resellers, crossposting is the concept of posting an item on multiple marketplaces; by marketplaces I mean, places where buyers and sellers meet to exchange goods. There are plenty of marketplaces out there like Ebay, Poshmark, Mercari, Etsy, Grailed, Depop, Tradesy, Kidizen and many others.

What are the benefits of crossposting?

There are many benefits to crossposting, some of which include increasing your sales by giving your products more visibility across different types of audiences. Having your item listed for sale in numerous places gives each item more potential customers and the ability to sell faster. It’s also good to diversify your audience because each marketplace has its own user base and “niche”.

What is the downside of crossposting?

The downside of crossposting is that it takes up a lot of time, because instead of having to create one listing in one marketplace, you would need to enter the same photos and item information on multiple platforms. But you shouldn’t let this bring you down, because crossposting really does work! You can still take advantage of the benefits of crossposting by finding a software or tool to help you.

How can I start crossposting?

‍Before you start crossposting, there are a few important things to take into account which I have listed below. 

• Know your demographics:

All the marketplaces out there have different audiences and are well known for the products you can find on them. For example, Etsy focuses on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies, whereas Grailed is the one-stop destination for buying, selling and exploring menswear. With this being said, it is important that you understand where your buyers are more likely to be!

• Find out marketplaces fees and shipping costs:

‍This is always important to keep in mind as all marketplaces have different fees and shipping policies. For example for Poshmark for all sales under $15, Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95. You keep the rest. For sales of $15 or more, you keep 80% of your sale and Poshmark’s commission is 20%.

• Identify tools to help you optimize the crossposting process:

‍Yes! There are tools out there that can help you to easily crosspost on different marketplaces.  Tools like Vendoo were created with the intent to make a seller’s life easier by saving time and allowing you to crosspost items to multiple marketplaces in a matter of minutes. With Vendoo you can also manage inventory, as well as delist and relist items with a few clicks. So depending on your budget and needs you might want to consider trying out a crossposting software! Or you can always work with a virtual assistant who can help you crosspost your inventory.

• Stay organized:

‍Make sure to track your inventory in a spreadsheet or even a notebook if you don’t have a software that allows you to do this. This is VERY important because it will help you keep track of what sold, on which marketplaces the item was listed on, how much it sold for, how much money you made from selling a specific product and much more!

Crossposting might not sound like an ideal task for someone looking to expand as it takes up some time, but I guarantee you that it is! If your business objective is to grow, there’s no better way to achieve this than by crossposting all your inventory.

For more information, please visit HERE.

About Vendoo

Vendoo is a minority-owned startup consisting of four young entrepreneurs from the Washington, DC area. Our CEO, Thomas Rivas, identified a void in the market and decided to create Vendoo while experiencing the usual pain points of trying to sell items on multiple marketplaces. After the team was assembled, we began building the software in 2017. Each team member has a different skill set, from full-time reselling experience to software development, and provides a unique perspective on how to solve the common inconveniences of the reselling experience. 

Herbalife article illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 magazine

The Entrepreneurs Top Tech Tools

Rhonda VetereChief Information Officer, Herbalife Nutrition

When the world shut down due to the pandemic, everything changed, especially for small businesses. Suddenly, the ability to connect to customers became even more critical, and the safe way to do so is through technology. While companies have long relied on email or text messaging to communicate, many entrepreneurs found they needed to expand their technology toolkit, becoming more creative and resourceful with how they conduct business and compete effectively. As a technology expert who advises more than 3.4 million entrepreneurs around the world on technology solutions that can help them serve their customers and manage their business, I recommend the following tech tips to help you power your business. 

Customer service 

We are living during a time of tremendous technology transformation. Gone are the days when people waited for what seemed an eternity to send or receive a message. Time has sped up, and with it is the demand from customers for immediate attention. According to recent research, 82% of consumers expect a quick response from brands. Keeping up or ahead of customers requires staying on top of technology trends and ensuring that you have the tools to compete in the digital age.  

For website support, many entrepreneurs use a live chat tool that can help customers with basic questions. Many of these tools can be used on social media as well. If paid chat options are price prohibitive, there are also useful and free tools, including Zoho Desk.

Communication and collaboration 

Video conferencing and video chat applications grew exponentially during the pandemic. In March, video conferencing apps saw 62 million downloads. Entrepreneurs are using video apps for connecting with customers, partners and vendors. While these tools are excellent for meetings, they are also useful for maintaining connections with industry organizations and networking groups. Many of the tools allow break-out rooms for a small meeting within a session, creating an intimate and collaborative space. 

As you continue to build your reputation as an expert in your industry, video conferencing can also be used to host a webinar for existing and potential customers. Many entrepreneurs are hosting panel discussions, bringing in other partners and collaborators. These sessions can be taped and repurposed as content for your social media channels, website and email marketing. There are many video conferencing options, including, Joinme, which has a free plan that lets you invite up to 10 video participants 

Social media 

Social media is not just for sharing videos and memes – it is a top business tool. Your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and Instagram. Once you identify which channels you want to use, you need to post engaging content. These can range from news about products, sales and impactful information. Posting across several channels every week can be daunting. Thankfully, many social media tools help you schedule and publish your content that can be calendared and posted automatically. These tools range from Hootsuite (which has a free option) to Zoho Social to Buffer

Slack  

More and more brands, companies and entrepreneurs use Slack to communicate with their customers. It’s a great place to provide relevant updates, tips and advisement, and new product announcements. It also gives your customers a place away from social media to share stories and entrepreneurs a place to connect with their team more visibly easily. 

Storage  

There is a lot of discussion about the term “the cloud.” Think of the cloud as an off-site storage locker, where all your critical information is safe and secure – and easily sharable. Google DriveDropbox, or Microsoft Sharepoint safeguard your backups and allow users access from any location. Moving your work to the cloud not only benefits you to work from anywhere and any device, but it also makes it easy to share content with your customers.  

Email Marketing 

Your marketing toolkit may contain a variety of options – one of which is email marketing. Sending professionally designed, informative newsletters to your customers is a great way to keep in touch. One of the most popular companies in the business is Mailchimp. Even better, If your company sends fewer than 12,000 email messages per month to fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can take advantage of Mailchimp’s Forever Free plan. 

E-commerce 

The pandemic has changed how we shop. Overnight, people began to purchase everything from groceries to furniture online and in record numbers. Customers now expect to buy their products online. They expect the experience to be easy and fast. There are many great e-commerce platforms out there, such as Shopify, a one-stop-shop for setting up your e-commerce store, to Amazon’s beyond popular platform. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, and you can use it to chat with customers online, track orders and send invoices.  

One final note. As a technologist, I remind everyone that interaction with your customers is up to you. Nothing supplants human interaction and connection. With limits on our in-person meetings, it is even more essential to find ways to build businesses. Mix up how you connect with others – pick up the phone, or schedule a Zoom, to call a handful of customers every day. Don’t forego a personal email that is not meant to sell a customer or colleague – but to check-in with them and see how they are doing. Technology is a fantastic tool that helps small businesses act big. The challenge is to make the technology connections feel more three-dimensional vs two-dimensional. Technology can help us be more efficient and productive, and while it can enhance our communication, it will never replace the incredible power of the human relationship. That part is up to you.  

relationship illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Find Your Happiness With Hypnotherapy

Cupid has been slacking this year. Singles need to settle for virtual dates if they want to maintain social distancing regulations and have a love life, and relationships have been falling apart all across the globe. So, we need to change the direction of Cupid’s arrow towards ourselves and start practicing self-love.

Loving yourself and caring for yourself first will help you find the happiness you are capable of having.  Society has placed a stigma against single people as if it is a condition brought upon by them being unworthy of love, and some people allow this mindset of others to enter their own thoughts.  Allowing these outside variables to influence your opinion of yourself will only amplify the negative feelings you have about what it means to be alone.  You have the ability to challenge these feelings and these thoughts which will lead you to seeing your own worth.

An effective way to help change your mindset and guide you to a more positive outlook is to practice hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is essentially meditation but with a goal.  So why not take meditation practices a step further?  Hypnotherapy, as the name suggests, is a therapy.  Counter to pop culture depiction of hypnosis associating people clucking like chickens while being hypnotized, hypnotherapy is a proven tool. Albrecht Wobst, H. K. MD, from Anesthesia & Analgesia writes “Contemporary clinical investigators claim that the combination of analgesia and hypnosis is superior to conventional pharmacologic anesthesia for minor surgical cases, with patients and surgeons responding favorably.” Research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy continues to grow.

So, how can we use hypnotherapy to help with loneliness? First, we need to understand hypnotherapy.  Certified clinical hypnotherapist, Christine Deschemin, shares “A typical approach of hypnotherapy is for the hypnotist to deliver verbal suggestions that are tailored to the needs of the client.” She also shares that you can practice hypnotherapy on your own, with just an audio guide from her app, UpNow, to get you started.  “Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of awareness. This state achieves the ‘bypass of the critical factor’ and as a result enables you to make changes to the self-defeating behaviors and self-limiting beliefs, bringing you then to your desired target state – sleeping better, becoming slimmer, and managing pain more easily for instance.”  

So, we can target the negative feelings triggered from loneliness due to the adverse connotations we associate with being alone through self-hypnosis.  Our subconscious thoughts have a strong impact on the way we view and approach different things in life and by practicing self-hypnosis, we can help change those thoughts.  We can learn how to enjoy our own company and grow to value it.  We can also help diminish anxiety about the future, and the depression and hopelessness that sometimes comes with being single and actively searching for a partner with no avail.  

When you work on yourself first, and you start to manage your own struggles, you will also start to attract better people around you.  Building up your confidence and independence will help you to fearlessly work towards your goals. The closer you get to your goals the more confidence you will have.  Working on yourself and your independence will become your priority, as it should always be.

Remember, being in a relationship is not the determining factor of success, but there is nothing wrong with wanting a partner either.  Yet, in order to love someone else you have to learn to love yourself first, practicing self-hypnosis will help you get there. 

With the pandemic bringing a new type of challenge for those looking for love and happiness, we are in a constant search for new methods of how to cope and navigate those struggles. Christine Deschemin’s app, UpNow, was created to enable people to practice hypnotherapy on their own in a safe and affordable manner. You can use hypnotherapy audios from UpNow to bring you to your full potential and find what you’re looking for.