Teens Like Snapchat the Most

More than $264 billion is spent annually for products bought by and for teens in the United States. As a small business, understanding a demographic worth over a quarter of a trillion dollars can help you better address their needs. And for this group, Snapchat (NYSE:SNAP) is the most popular social media channel with 47 percent of teens using it — a growth of 12 percent year-over-year.

The 34th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens research survey by Piper Jaffray Companies highlights the spending trends and brand preferences of 6,100 teens across 44 U.S. states. And amongst its finding is their preference for Snapchat.

Teens Like Snapchat the Most

Piper Jaffray reported Snapchat came in first with 47 percent, followed by Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest at 24, 9, 7 and 1 percent respectively.

The popularity of Snapchat also extends to millennials. A recent survey by LendEDU reported 58 percent of college students are checking Snapchat before Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook combined. The growth of Snapchat within these two demographics represents a shift from Facebook, which came in at a low 13 percent and Instagram at 27 percent.

If you are a small business still on the fence about Snapchat, now is the time to use the platform to engage with these users.

What About Spending Behavior?

The fall 2017 report saw overall teen spending down by 4.4 percent year over year. This affected the amount they spent on food, which was down to 22 percent from the 24 percent in the spring of 2017. But it was higher than the 20 percent that went for food.

When it comes to shopping, 23 percent of teens prefer specialty retailers, down three percent year over year, and 17 percent opted for pure-play ecommerce, which was up two percent year over year. And for teens, Amazon is by far their favorite site, getting 49 percent of the respondents, up nine percent year over year.

The Value of This Data

The Taking Stock With Teens project was launched by Piper Jaffray in 2001. And after surveying more than 155,000 teens in 16 years, it has collected close to 40 million data points. The information reveals how this group spends their money on fashion, beauty and personal care, digital media, food, gaming and entertainment. If you are a small business in any of these industries, you can use the data to make informed decisions for targeting teens.

For some of the additional data on the Taking Stock With Teens survey, take a look at the infographic below.

Click here to view a larger copy of this infographic…

Teens Like Snapchat the Most

Snapchat Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Snapchat is Most Popular Social Media Among Teens" was first published on Small Business Trends

Understand Your Risk to Know How Much to Spend on Cybersecurity

Do you know the cost/benefit breakdown of the cybersecurity you have in place for your small business?

To be more precise, how much should you invest in cybersecurity protection in relation to your actual monetary risk? The findings of the new report from the Better Business Bureau, titled, “The State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America” offers some hints.

The report was released as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. And one of the more distressing data points regarding small businesses indicates half of them could only stay profitable for about a month after loosing critical data.

The BBB surveyed around 1,100 businesses in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico with 71.4, 28.5, and 0.1 percent of the respondents coming respectively from those countries.

How Much Are Small Businesses Losing?

According to the report, the annual average loss from cyber attacks is estimated at $79,841. The median loss came in at $2,000, with the maximum total loss at $1 million. This, of course, will vary greatly with the size of your company and the type of cyberattack you have sustained.

Still Bill Fanelli, CISSP, chief security officer for the Council of Better Business Bureaus and co-author of the report, emphasized the vulnerability of many small businesses. “Profitability is the ultimate test of risk. It’s alarming to think that half of small businesses could be at that much risk just a short time after a cybersecurity incident,” Fanelli said.

Do You Know How Much to Spend On Cybersecurity?

Fanelli still stresses small businesses must avoid going overboard. He explains “It doesn’t do any good for a small business to adopt a $10,000 solution if the potential risk reduction is only worth $5,000.”

With that in mind, the report used a formula created by two professors at the University of Maryland, Martin P. Loeb and Lawrence A. Gordon. Using this formula, a small business owner can calculate the best possible investment in prevention to safeguard their company from cybersecurity attacks.

The five step process begins by estimating the loss; estimating risks; identifying investments; estimating savings; and making the calculation. You can get details of the formula on the free download of the report here.

The report adds, “As long as the potential savings exceeds the cost of investment, then it is a cost-effective measure that should be implemented.”

Hacking Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Understand Your Risk, Then Invest in Your Small Business Cybersecurity Plan" was first published on Small Business Trends

Restaurateurs - Customers Can Now Order Food On Your Facebook Page

Social media channels are becoming all-in-one platforms where you can get almost everything. Case in point is the addition of the new food ordering feature directly on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). After a year of testing, responding to feedback and adding new partners, Facebook is rolling out a feature allowing small restaurant owners to offer food for order on the platform.

Customers Can Now Order Food on Your Facebook Page

Using your Facebook page, your customers can now order from your restaurant for delivery or pick-up. And if you don’t deliver, they can use one of the many delivery sites Facebook has partnered with to provide the service.

For small business owners in the restaurant industry, the internet and social media have introduced affordable channels to attract new customers. In the case of Facebook, this includes the two billion people that use it every month. The food ordering integration is a win/win for customers and restaurants, as they will meet on a platform they both use.

Alex Himel, Vice President of Local Marketing at Facebook, explained it this way in the press release, “People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants, and seeing what their friends say about them. So, we’re making it even easier.” 

Simplifying the Ordering Process

Facebook is bringing together ordering services such as EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo along with national chains like Panera, Five Guys and others in one place. This also includes hundreds of local restaurants too.

When customers find your restaurant, they can see what their friends and other customers think about it by looking at the reviews and comments being left.

Then all they have to do is click the Order Food tab in the Explore menu to browse the restaurant. Once they find you, they can click StartOrder to order for delivery.

If your restaurant doesn’t deliver, customers can sign up for a delivery service and get their food that way. And best of all, they can do this while still on Facebook without having to go to another site.

More Reasons to Have Your Restaurant on Social Media

If you still don’t have your restaurant on social media, Facebook’s new feature is one more reason to do so. Here are some more. According to a study by GlobalWebIndex, 42 percent of internet users in the U.S. are regular eaters of fast food. And 44 percent of them are likely to interact with a brand on a mobile app, while 24 percent are likely to follow brands on social media. Meanwhile, 28 percent are more likely to opt-in for personalized loyalty rewards from brands. And the best way to get a hold of these users is with a strong online presence that includes social media.

Facebook says the new service is rolling out everywhere in the US on Android, iOS, and desktop so it may be time to learn more about how you can use it to your best advantage.

Image: Facebook

This article, "Customers Can Now Order Food Right from Your Facebook Page" was first published on Small Business Trends

USPS Announced New Prices For 2018

The price to send a letter may be going up a penny early next year — making it a full 50 cents for a stamp.

USPS Announced New Prices For 2018

The US Postal Service proposes that increase and a nickel across-the-board hike on Priority Mail Flat Rate packages, too. If the changes are approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the new prices will take effect on Jan. 21, 2018.

For small businesses, postage and shipping costs can account for a significant expense. This, of course, depends on the type of industry you are in.

The changes are minimal but for small businesses that tread a thin line on profit margins on products they have to ship, that nickel could have some impact. If your company offers free shipping, the hike on Priority Mail packages is another cost your company has to absorb.

Nominal increases on mail could impact small businesses that use the mail to communicate with customers for billing, invoicing or even marketing.

The USPS said in the release, “While Mailing Services price increases are limited based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are adjusted strategically, according to market conditions and the need to maintain affordable services for customers.”

Check out the full list of proposed changes to mailing and shipping rates from USPS:

Mailing Services Price Changes

The cost of a letter would go up to 50 cents, from the current 49-cent price. That’s the cost for a 1-ounce letter. Each additional ounce will still cost 21 cents.

Metered letters will go up from 46 cents to 47 cents. Postcards will increase from 34 cents to 35 cents.

There is no proposed increase for outbound international letters. They’ll still cost $1.15 for a single ounce.

Domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate Retail Price Changes

The proposed changes from USPS also include a flat nickel rate increase on Priority Mail Flat Rate packages. Flat Rate packages allow you to ship anything that fits inside a specified size box (provided by the Post Office), for a fixed price.

If they’re approved, the new cost to ship a Small Flat Rate Box will be $7.20. It will cost $13.65 to ship a Medium Flat Rate Box.

Large Flat Rate Box rates will go up to $18.90. While prices for a Large Flat Rate Box bound for a U.S. Army, Air Force or Navy installation will go up to $17.40.

These prices also affect special envelope packages.

Regular Flat Rate Envelopes will cost $6.70. A Legal Flat Rate Envelope will cost an even $7 and Padded Flat Rate Envelopes will be $7.25 to send.

If you want to look at the price filing and the proposed changes with the Postal Regulatory Commission, you can do so here.

USPS Van Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "USPS Rate Hike Could Cost Businesses Nickel More on Priority Flat Rate, 50 Cents a Letter" was first published on Small Business Trends

Facebook Introduces Oculus for Business -- Bringing VR to Your Office

Oculus for Business is one way Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is looking to bring Virtual Reality (VR) to the masses. The $900 professional Rift bundle is priced to make many small businesses consider the technology. Although not cheap, it is not prohibitively expensive. The question is, how can small businesses justify this expenditure, and what can they do with it?

Oculus for Business Bundle

The bundle includes Rift, Oculus Touch controllers, three sensors, and three facial interfaces along with dedicated customer support and special extended licenses and warranties. Facebook wants to make VR easy to deploy and as maintenance free as possible. The technology can be beneficial for everything from delivering advanced services like specialized raining to giving customers a better idea of the products or services your business offers.

By all accounts and forecasts, the VR industry is slated for a tremendous growth. Sources of these projections include the International Data Corporation (IDC) and its recently updated forecast for its “Worldwide Semiannual Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide.” According to IDC, AR/VR products and services are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 113.2 percent from 2017 to 2021. This growth is going to make the segment sky rocket from $11.4 billion to $215 billion within the forecast period.

For small businesses, this represents a huge opportunity across many different industries. On its blog, Facebook said, “Businesses of all types can use Rift to boost productivity, accelerate trainings, and present the otherwise impossible to their employees and customers — across industries like tourism, education, medical, construction, manufacturing, automotive, and retail.”

Facebook highlighted the early partnership with Audi, DHL and Cisco Spark VR, but the technology will be just as useful for small businesses.

Using VR, you can conduct personal training in dance, sports, art, music and more. You can also show properties, go over designs, and showcase your inventory for a more realistic and hands-on experience. As the technology improves and the Oculus Rift gets in the hands of more consumers, the business opportunities will grow.

Price and Availability

The Oculus Rift for Business bundle is $900. It is now shipping to the US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Both IDC and Facebook make a great case for starting to deploy VR technology in your small businesses. And the sooner you get started, the sooner you can incorporate VR into your, product, service or marketing mix– further distinguishing your brand.

Image: Facebook/Oculus

This article, "Facebook Introduces Oculus for Business Bringing VR to Your Office" was first published on Small Business Trends