A few years ago, then 27-year-old Millennial woman entrepreneur Avi Loren Fox made a hooded-scarf out of some cozy old sweaters--simply because she wanted one, and couldn't find it in stores. When she wore it out into the world, so many people would stop her and say "What is that? I want one!" that it led to her starting WildMantle.com, an independent luxury label of artisan USA-made hooded-scarves.
When she started her business, the word "crowdfund" was a vague concept at best, and she knew very little about ecommerce. Now--two successful Kickstarter campaigns later, and with growing online sales--Avi considers herself more well-versed in the ecosystem of online selling and social media. Here, she shares 3 of the essential tools she now leverages and wished she had known about from the day she started her business.
Says Avi, "Planoly allows me to plan our Instagram feed days and weeks in advance. It was a game changer for me because unlike other programs, I can see the layout of the Instagram squares ahead of time, which is important to curate our overall aesthetic." You can use the "discover" tool to search by hashtag (like #WildMantle) to see photos that your customers and fans are posting, and automatically add them to your feed--eliminating any clunky repost apps. This is especially helpful if you have an influencer post and can keep track of the ripple effect across social. Since Avi's business Wild Mantle is very image based, she uses Planoly for Instagram as the company's master organizer. From there she pushes content to their other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Avi first came across this app in an article that said Taylor Swift used SocialRank to discover who her biggest fans were and invite them to her private house show. SocialRank is a free tool that allows you to plug in your Instagram or Twitter account and see how your followers "rank" in terms of how many followers they have, how engaged they are with your account, etc. This is a great tool to help discover your top followers--both fans and influencers--and then use that information to brainstorm fun ways to get them more involved.
Thunderclap allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so that it rises above all the noise on social networks. You invite your friends to join your campaign and when they do, they basically give permission to the app to do a one-time post your message on their social media accounts at a certain time. If you have 1000 friends who each have 100 followers, that means your message will automatically go to your followers' cumulative 100,000 followers. Says Avi, "Thunderclap is great for a specific call to action. For example, I used it for both of my Kickstarter campaigns to announce when the campaign was live and to get the message out far and wide."
And, like every other successful entrepreneur, Avi is always looking for new ways to do things better, faster, and at a more efficient cost. If there is one thing she knows, it's that technology is always changing and new and better tools are becoming available at faster rates.