eScoop - Issue 5 - Spring 2017


A collection of articles written by members of the Ontario Small Business Network.

Spring 2017 Issue 5


7 Instagram Tips for Your Business

by Karen Swyszcz,

In this Issue:

Instagram is just one of the many social media platforms that can be used

for your business. However, it’s important to note that not all social media

platforms are created equal. If you are looking to add Instagram to your

social media toolbox, here are some tips and tricks on how to effectively

use this platform for your small business.

1. Have a separate Instagram account for your business.

It seems quite obvious, but more often than not, I see a significant amount

of personal photos (pets, family) on small business accounts and not many

photos having to do with their actual business. I am not saying you can’t put

ANY photos of your pets or kids - just do this sparingly. People are

following your account because they want to know more about the

business, they are interested in your service and/or products, they are fans

of your products, your work - the majority of photos should be about that

and not so much about your family, unless your business is pet/family


2. Make that separate account an Instagram Business account.

Facebook owns Instagram, so you need a Facebook account. More

specifically you should have a Facebook Page set up for your business, so

Instagram can link to that and not your personal profile page. Having an

Instagram Business account provides you with some basic analytics about

your post and account such as what time of day your followers are usually

on and the demographic of your followers. Knowing this can help you plan

your content.

3. Use Instagram Marketing Platforms such as Later or Planoly to

curate your feed.

This is a great tool to visually plan your photos before they are posted.

Content and photos can be drafted and scheduled well in advance. It’s

important to note that these platforms do not automatically post for you.

Grum is a platform that enables you to schedule and automatically post on

Instagram, but only from your desktop.

Karen Swyszcz

7 Instagram Tips for Your


Suhair Al Bashir

Is the Housing Market

Going Down Anytime


Grace Nasralla

Founder, OSBN®

Choosing Canada as a

Higher Education


Teresa (Terri) Slack

Tips on How to Create

Team Engagement and


7 Instagram Tips for Your Business (cont’d)

4. Take advantage of the features Instagram offers.

Use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live as ways to engage more with your followers. The latest feature is the multiple

photo option where you can select up to 10 photos to upload in a single post. This is a great way to showcase how a

product is made, multiple products/services or the launch of a new product/service.

5. Out of all the social media platforms, Instagram enables you to use the most hashtags, which is 30.

Take full advantage of that. It’s important to note that you should try and use hashtags that are popular enough that people

are using them while they search but not too popular so that it’s impossible for your post to be seen. The recommendations

will vary when it comes to the hashtag range. Anything from tens of thousands to several hundred thousand hashtags is a

good ballpark figure.

6. Create a hashtag specifically for your business.

You can search for this hashtag to see if people are mentioning your business.

7. Cross promote your Instagram posts.

Cross promote to your other social media accounts for a wider reach. The cross-promotion can also be used to notify those

particular followers that your business is on Instagram, if they aren’t already aware of this.

Instagram enables you to tell an authentic story about your business in a visually appealing way and

connect with your customers on a more personal level. Is Instagram part of your social media

marketing plan?

Why or why not?

Is the Housing Market

Going Down Any Time


By Suhair Al Bashir,

This has been the question that people who are interested in home

ownership but cannot afford buying have been asking for the last few years.

When is this real estate bubble going to burst? This was another question

that public and experts are questioning. The true question is: Is what we are

experiencing really a bubble? And, is the real estate market in Canada and

Ontario a fragile financial sector?

There is no doubt that the very low interest rates and the regulations allow

easier access to mortgage financing which resulted in more people being

able to enter the real estate market. Does this mean if interest rates

increase –which may happen by the end of 2017- and tightening the

mortgage regulations will result in price decline?

Simply, the answer is NO. What will happen is that sales will decline but not


Prices won’t go down because of the high demand and lack of supply

especially for detached homes located in the Greater Toronto Area and the

Golden Horseshoe. This lack of supply means that it is a seller’s market.

As a result, anyone in the market to sell a home in the GTA or the

surrounding areas, including Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Peel, York and

Durham, shall expect a strong demand. This should translate into higher

sale prices.

Is the Housing Market Going Down Any Time Soon?


There are many factors causing the high demand:

• Immigration is one.

• Lack of new projects focusing on building detached homes where developers

and builders tend to build vertically instead of horizontally.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA):

• National sales are forecast to drop in 2017 by 3.3%, compared to the

previous year.

• Home sales to decline in Ontario by 2.7%.

In addition, statistics shows that:

• Home prices increased close to 28% last February compared to the same

month last year.

• And increased 1% more from January 2017.

If anything will happen in the future of the housing market, it will be stable prices and

lower percentage increase.

If you can afford to buy now, it’s the time to make money investing in real estate.

Your investment will go up 20% in one year and it could be less in other years. But as

long as there is demand, people will be making money in real estate.

Choosing Canada as a Higher Education


by Grace Nasralla,

Education takes a person to a new realm of knowledge and understanding.

It leaves its traces in the mind and its effects get reflected in its

pursuer’s life. In our day and age, education has become a must have in

order to find a well-paid job or to gain status in society.

Higher Education has evolved and high school graduates are now faced

with the dilemma of choosing one career path out of hundreds of options

presented to them by higher education institutions. And to add to the

frustration, they have to choose a higher education institution that is

credible and that is worth the investment in their education.

Choosing a Canadian

higher institution will not

only provide a credible,

well-planned education

path, but it will also provide

International students with

a life-changing experience.

Getting exposed to a new

culture, lifestyle, food,

climate and language will

contribute richness to their

life journey and will allow

them to accept diversity

and give them the ability to

work with others different

than their race or ethnic


Why should International Students choose

Canada over other countries:

1. Nature in Canada is beautiful and despite

the cold weather in winter, one still gets to

enjoy four distinct seasons of the year.

2. Canada is multicultural. International

Students get to find a community that

shares the same culture and traditions

whenever they feel homesick.

3. Canada has an excellent health care

system that provides every community

with peace of mind. There are hospitals in

every city that are ready and equipped to

receive patients and deal with diseases

and emergency episodes of epidemics.

4. International student education has been

made a priority for the Canadian

Government. As per Canada’s

International Education Strategy,

expectations are to double the number of

full-time international students to 450,000

by 2022.

5. By the end of an International Student’s

educational journey in Canada they will

get an internationally-recognized

certificate or degree. Canada prides in

providing education that is equivalent to

United States and Commonwealth


6. Compared to the U.K., Australia, New

Zealand and the U.S., Canada offers the

lowest tuition rates for International


Tips on How to Create Team Engagement and Loyalty

by Teresa (Terri) Slack,

Being valued as a human being and not just a job function creates for our employees the feeling of being appreciated. Here

are a couple of examples of staff interactions that can either create loyalty or destroy it.

My receptionist calls in 'Terri, my daughter is sick she has a fever of 102. I can't come to work today.' My response is 'your

family comes first. Does she have any other symptoms?’ We chat a bit; I put her at ease letting her know it is ok. Then I ask

about her work, is there anything pressing she needs me to get handled. Has she called her back up yet? Deal with the

human first then the job function.

My designer comes to me looking very nervous. 'Terri, I screwed up. I don't know how it happened but we have the wrong

tile throughout the main floor of a home.' In my head: Yikes! The cost to fix this will be huge! How did we miss this? What

happened in our quality control check? This designer never makes mistakes like this. It all runs through my head but out of

my mouth comes 'Hey, it's OK we are all human. We make mistakes. Let's get this fixed for our customer and then let’s look

at how it happened'. I see him physically relax and breath. He knew I had his back and would stand beside him in this error.

Tips on How to Create Team Engagement and Loyalty (cont’d)


These are just 2 simple examples of how you can treat your employees in a way that shows them you care about them as

human beings. Both conversations could have gone very differently. Over the years, I have heard managers respond to

these very common occurrences in very different ways.

• How would you respond?

• Would your response leave the employee feeling valued and appreciated or would they feel demoralized and


• Would they love their job so much that they go the extra mile for the team when it is necessary?

When I was a little girl my father taught me The

Golden Rule 'Do unto others as you would have them

do unto you'. This has been a guiding principle in my

life. I always ask myself how I would feel if I were in

his/her shoes. How would I want to be treated if that

was me on the other side of the desk?

Golden rule thinking can lead to great success within

your team and your organization. It is about having

empathy for another human being.

This does not mean you don't determine the cause of

the error or that you allow your people to work or not

work when they feel like it. It is about finding the right

opportunities to show your team you

actually care and you are flexible to their needs.

An Ontario small business network that

provides business owners and service

providers with marketing tools &

opportunities that increase their

business visibility.

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