While 2020 was a year unlike any other, there were some trends worth noting.
For starters, we saw a huge increase in our WNY community coming together. From supporting local businesses to donating meals to frontline workers to unique and innovative collaborations, 2020 brought out the “good” in the City of Good Neighbors.
Reflecting on the past year, we wanted to pull our top ten most popular articles from 2020. Overall Step Out Buffalo Business saw 25,760 users who read 45,788 pages across hundreds of articles. The biggest trends? Helpful business tips from local business owners, stories of success against all odds, local businesses who led by example, and free simple ways to promote your business.
Without further ado, here were the 10 most-read articles on Step Out Buffalo Business in 2020. Happy reading, and cheers to 2021!
1. 5 Business Tips from Pete Cimino of Lloyd
Starting a food truck business is a dream for many entrepreneurs, but only a few succeed. Lloyd is among that few. In fact, they’ve been successful enough to keep multiple food trucks operating, open two brick and mortar locations, AND open up a sister company ‘Churn’.
Pete’s background isn’t in marketing (it’s in math), but based on Lloyd’s success he and the rest of his team clearly know a thing or two about building a successful business. Which is exactly why we reached out to Pete to learn more about what works for Lloyd and why. Here’s what he had to say…
2. Case Study: Dobutsu – How One Local Restaurant Increased Their Visibility & Foot Traffic
According to Connie Roberts, the owner of Dobutsu, they decided to advertise with Step Out Buffalo for two reasons: affordability and number of followers. Dobutsu immediately saw a 600% increase in traffic to their Restaurant Listing following the launch of their first 6-month marketing campaign with Step Out Buffalo...
3. 5 Business Tips from Amanda Valentine of Buffalovely
Amanda Valentine, owner of Buffalovely, always knew she was meant to own her own business. Her entrepreneurial dreams started when she was a kid with a lemonade stand in the summer and a hot chocolate stand in the winter.
Being her own boss and being in charge of her own destiny always appealed to her, and it was something she was willing to fight for. But there was a great deal of trial and error involved before she saw success. Amanda started by making pillows and quickly realized she hated sewing, so she decided to create a line of products that *she* would be excited to buy, ones she would be proud to display in her own home.
She wanted her products to reflect her style and her humor. And just like that, Buffalovely was born. Amanda started posting about her products on Instagram with just over 100 followers, and now her current count is at more than 83,000 on Instagram. NBD.
Building her massive following took time, dedication, and the ability to find her nicha in the home decor world. Want to know more about Buffalovely? You’re in luck! We asked Amanda to share her tips and tricks with us. Here’s what she had to say…
4. 10 Free Apps and Tools to Take Your Social Media to the Next Level
Digital content creation can be extremely time consuming – but it’s worth it. Today’s average consumer is online more than ever before. If you’re looking to make the most of Instagram’s features, provide value to your followers, and stand out on social, you’re in good company – and setting your business up for success.
As content creators ourselves, we are up to date on the tips and tricks you need in your life. And luckily, there’s an app for that! Several, actually. Here are 10 free apps you need in your life, specifically designed to streamline the content creation process aka save you time and money…
5. How To Take Photos That Are Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking (Without A Professional Camera)
We can’t stress enough how important good photography is your business. It is literally what will sell your products and create customers in today’s highly digital world. But buying a professional-grade camera can cost thousands of dollars, and not everyone has the budget and/or time required for those types of high level photo shoots.
Thankfully virtually everyone has a smartphone. Mastering the art of smartphone photography can be all you need to take your business to the next level. There’s so many things our phones can do (built-in features, portrait mode, filters, editing apps, etc), but we’re not here to get into all that. Basics come first, and that’s exactly what we’re going to cover. Here are 5 easy ways to use your phone to take super sexy photos for your business…
6. 5 Business Tips from Emmily Bowman of Braid Babes
Emmily Bowman quit her 9 to 5 tech job to build her own mobile braiding business. Braid Babes, founded by Emmily Bowman, is known locally for braids and shimmers. From pop-up events and workshops to weddings and parties to private appointments, this local beauty team will come to you for any occasion and make you feel beautiful.
Braid Babes initially started as a fun exercise, then became a hobby, and then a full-time operation. But how did this idea become a successful start-up in just one year? We interviewed Emmily to get the full story and hear some of her business tips for other local entrepreneurs. Here’s what she had to say…
7. Stop Talking About Your Business & Start Getting Other People To Do It For You
You love your brand. And you love promoting your brand. This is completely normal…it’s called marketing. But you can’t be the ONLY ONE promoting your brand because after a while if no one else is talking about you it can start to make your business look lame and sad. Sorry not sorry. Don’t look lame and sad.
When influencers and media outlets talk about your business, it usually means you’re doing something right. Be it a cool mural you’re having commissioned on the side of your building, your new seasonal menu, your new collaboration, etc – when other people talk about your business it creates the appearance that since you’re worth talking about, you must be worth visiting.
Thus, when you promote yourself 24/7 consumers will eventually wonder why you’re the only one doing the talking. Of course you love your products, but what about everyone else? If no one else is talking about your business but your own business, consumers might get bored and move on to the other businesses people are talking about. Here’s some tips on how to impress the right people and move the needle…
8. Business Spotlight: Badding Farm & Shifting to Digital
Badding Farm is known for hosting popular workshops and events, but when Covid-19 hit those in-person experiences were no longer an option. Thinking quickly, they pivoted their business model to start promoting virtual offerings on social media. The greenhouse created a predominant online presence on social media and their website, utilizing daily social media posts and Stories to drive traffic to their online shop where customers could easily purchase plants and gardening supplies.
They even created ways for customers to enjoy the experience of their events at home with the introduction of their Take and Make Kits which include all the materials needed to complete different planting projects safely at home. Badding Farm made sure to create options for both kids and adults, effectively doubling their chances at selling them.
While a business may be great at promoting themselves on their own channels, it leaves you talking to a limited audience with little potential from growth. Badding Farm chose to work with Step Out Buffalo because they saw an opportunity to share their story with our large audience of Western New Yorkers who love learning about new businesses and supporting local.
According to owner Anna Badding, having the ability to directly market themselves, their services, their knowledge, and the experiences they offer “was invaluable”. Here’s how their campaign went, what it included, and the clients perspective about the short and long term effects…
9. 8 Local Service-Based Businesses Who are Really, Really Good at Social Media
Selling services requires a much different social media marketing strategy than selling products. Not only should you be selling your services on social, but you also need to create connections by providing value, sharing your story, and being real and relatable to your followers and potential customers. People like to do business with real people, and service-based industries are no exception.
We’ve rounded up 8 local businesses who do a really, really good job selling their services on social media (and that you should totally be copying). Here they are…
10. Case Study: Becker Farms – How A WNY Icon Changed One Facet Of Its Marketing & Reached New Heights
Owned and operated by the same family across five different generations, Becker Farms is a 340-acre working farm, open-air market, event space, hospitality operation, local tourist attraction and Western New York icon. The farm has a long history of local advertising and Amanda Vizcarra, director of hospitality, said a highly successful previous Step Out Buffalo campaign convinced her the retreats could be advertised as a standalone campaign through Step Out.
“We chose to return to Step Out Buffalo because we had run a similar program in the fall of (2019) that we saw a really good response to,” she said. “The first time that we actually considered using Step Out Buffalo was last fall, and we did it in conjunction with our regularly scheduled marketing budget, which included a mix of TV and print ads. We did see a really good spike in business, so this year we tried (Step Out Buffalo advertising) as a standalone campaign and it was abundantly clear that the investment was definitely worth it.”
Vizcarra said once again, working with Step Out Buffalo to promote Becker Farms allowed them to reap all kinds of benefits. “Certainly, in terms of the efforts we put toward advertising our cabins; the advertising paid for itself right away,” she said. “It was definitely worth it. In addition to that, we were able to get more followers and friends on Facebook and Instagram. The residual effect of that can be realized every time we turn to use our own social media.” …