How to use Instagram Stories as a marketing tool (like a pro)

Instagram has proved an extremely useful tool for marketing. Many businesses are using it to increase their customer engagement and develop their brand. As a food supplier, Instagram allows you to share your story and show transparency in your food business. Your profile can be personal, unique, and approachable!

Unlike creating a post on Instagram, Stories are a temporary image or video that you can share with your audience. They are formatted for mobile-viewing and are visible for 24 hours. Stories show authenticity, as they are quick and easy to digest, versus a curated Instagram profile feed. They can be used to talk directly to your audience and allows them to “talk right back” by using direct messaging on the app. You can’t market on Instagram without using Stories.

How to use Instagram Stories:

Step 1: Open the Instagram application to your newsfeed. This should be where you can view all the posts of the accounts you follow. At the top of the page, under the Instagram logo, there are profile pictures of the accounts you follow with pink circles around them. These are the stories of the accounts you follow. You can click through these to see what others are doing!

Step 2: To create your own story, click the camera icon in the top left corner above the picture of your logo. It will prompt you to your camera. You can also get here by clicking your logo in the top left corner. Note, if you have not granted Instagram access to your camera or microphone, do this. It must be granted in order to create a story.

How to use Instagram Stories as a marketing tool - Local Line
This is what you will see when you enter Stories mode. Note all of the icons on the screen.

Step 3: To update settings, click the settings icon in the top right corner. Here you can change who can see your story, saving preferences, and more. Set these settings to best meet your needs. To go back to the newsfeed, click the arrow in the top right corner.

At the bottom of the screen, you will see these icons from left to right: a square, a lightening bolt, a big white circle with a lighter circle around it, two arrows forming a circle, and a happy face emoji. 

Square: This will prompt you to your camera roll. You can use any of the photos on your device for your stories.
Lighting bolt: This will update the lighting options for your camera – such as flash and low-light setting.
Circle: This is the trigger to take a photo or a video.
Circle of Arrows: Flip the camera.
Happy face: This is where you can find face filters for silly photos or videos.

Additionally, there are also a series of words that you can scroll through. These mean:

Type: Allows you to type on a coloured screen if you do not want to have a photograph/video.
Live: This is a setting that will let you live-stream with your customers.
Normal: Regular camera/video.
Boomerang: This will allow you take a “moving” picture.
Superzoom: Different filters for video-taking such as Surprise or Paparazzi.
Focus: Take a portrait by blurring out backgrounds around a subject.
Reverse: Play videos in reverse.
Hands-free: Allows you to take videos without having to hold the centre button.

These many options will allow you to create content specific to you. Play around with the options and determine what you like best!

Step 4: After you are happy with a photo or video to share, you can edit your post by clicking on the icons at the top of the page! Instagram provides many tools, such as adding text, drawings, hashtags, account mentions, etc. These are called Stickers. They help add actions to your posts and increase engagement. You can access them by clicking on the square icon located at the top of the screen.

Here are some stickers you should use:

Poll sticker: Ask your customers what they want by asking questions with customized answers. Instagram will show the results and let you make educated decisions. For example, what day is best for delivery? Monday or Tuesday?
Questions Sticker: This sticker allows your followers to ask questions relevant to a topic. For example, ask which day is best for delivery, and let your followers send you their responses. It is an informal way to speak directly to your audience.
Hashtag sticker: Hashtags can be a very powerful tool at reaching potential customers. A hashtag sticker will link your story to the hashtag and automatically get added to the Explore page. Remember, that hashtags can also quickly come across as spammy, therefore make sure to be critical when using a hashtag.
Location sticker: Add the Geotag (location)! Same with adding a hashtag, this sticker links your story to all posts in the same location, which helps increase your exposure.  

In addition to these stickers, there are many more! There is a lot to discover on stories, therefore play around with the features when you’re first starting out.

Step 5: Tap the Your Story button to post your story publicly, Sent to to send it privately to selected accounts, or Save to download it to your phone to post at a later date.

Instagram Story Highlights

Keep your stories on your profile forever! Instagram stories only last for 24 hours, however the app lets you make a Highlight, which is a curated collection of chosen stories to stay on your profile. These highlights can be used for:

  • Frequently asked questions – use the Questions sticker to ask your customers for questions. Save these stories as a highlight to easily answer any questions new visitors may have about your business.
  • Farm tour – film a farm tour on your stories and save to your highlights. This will help show new followers where their food is produced and who’s doing it!
  • Products – showcase popular or new products on your story and save as a highlight to keep them visible on your profile.

To create a highlight, go to your profile. Underneath the bio section, you should find a circle with a plus sign. Click this and it will guide you to an archive of your past stories. Pick which stories you would like to use and add a title. The highlight will show up on your profile.


Stories and highlights can be a very useful marketing tool to help your business account connect with more followers and in turn help you increase your customer base. Use the tips above and before you know it, you’ll be an Instagram marketing pro!

Local Orbit joins Local Line: The sales and distribution platform for North American food suppliers

Cole Jones, CEO & Founder of Local Line. (LOCAL LINE)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2019

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KITCHENER, ON – Local Line, a sales and distribution software platform for farmers and food producers is pleased to announce a partnership of Local Line’s food hub software and Local Orbit, a market-leading food hub management software platform. When combined, the software will be the most comprehensive, affordable, and modern offering in the market.

Starting today, Local Line will be integrating the best parts of the Local Orbit platform, including pick lists, lot traceability, payment method configurations, promotions, discount codes, cross-selling, and volume price break configuration. Local Orbit customers moving to Local Line will enjoy access to all Local Line functionality including Quickbooks integration, customized pricing/product lists, multiple packing options, supplier purchase orders, customizable product categories, and standing/recurring orders. The merging of the two systems is expected to be fully complete by mid-late April, 2019.

In addition to the merging of these two systems, Rob Barreca, the owner & CEO at Local Orbit will be joining the Local Line product team to lead the roadmap for food hubs.

“We’re very excited to merge key Local Orbit functionality with our food hub software to create the best food hub software available in the market. Expanding and deepening our food hub functionality is a big focus for our team this year, and we’re fortunate to have Rob join our engineering team to lead that development” said Cole Jones, CEO of Local Line.

Local Orbit customers moving over will adopt Local Line’s pricing model, which charges $50/month per price list. For example, a food hub might need a retail price list and a wholesale price-list, bringing their monthly fee to $100. All food hubs will start with a free trial, and Local Line is offering a 30-day money back guarantee. On average, food hubs can expect similar total prices when they move over.

“Local Line is without a doubt the best partner for Local Orbit. They have a great team, solid resources, a loyal customer base, and they’re committed to nothing less than excellence for the local food industry. As someone who has now spent over five years running a food hub and working on food hub software, I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about the future of local food” said Rob Barreca, Local Orbit CEO and new product lead at Local Line.

For those food hubs that are interested in seeing the Local Line platform, and discussing the migration plan, please book a dedicated time to speak with a Local Line product specialist here. For more information on Local Line, visit their website.


Today’s farmers and food producers face shrinking margins and must expand into new markets. The Local Line sales and distribution platform helps the 89% of food hubs in North America who source small and mid-sized producers (2017 National Food Hub Survey).


Local Line helps food suppliers doing direct sales increase their orders and save time on order fulfillment. The Local Line white-label e-commerce, CRM, inventory and logistics modules enable suppliers to control their own brand and grow their business on their terms.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Cole Jones, Founder + CEO
Local Line Inc.
info@localline.ca  |  1-226-646-7811

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Ontario’s Local Food Revolution Gets Boost with New OntarioFresh Platform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 29, 2018

ONTARIO’S LOCAL FOOD REVOLUTION GETS BOOST WITH NEW ONTARIOFRESH PLATFORM

Greenbelt Fund launches new and improved Ontariofresh.ca with technology partner Local Line

Ontario’s largest local food network connecting buyers, sellers and processors has undergone a major upgrade. The Greenbelt Fund has launched the upgraded Ontariofresh.ca platform with improved functionality and design – and the platform continues to be free, as always.

Ontariofresh.ca is an online marketplace where Ontario’s farmers and producers can market their products to a range of buyers. The platform has over 2,500 members from across Ontario, representing businesses at every point on the local food value chain, including buyers, sellers, processors and service providers.

Buyers looking to increase local food offerings can shop with confidence on Ontariofresh.ca because all products on the platform are Ontario grown-and-raised from start to finish, and processed or prepared foods must contain 80% Ontario ingredients by volume.

The new features members can expect on Ontariofresh.ca include a shipping calculator that compares shipping rates from various distributors in one place and new ‘Buy Local’ networks to increase member visibility and allow for cross-promotion.

“The new Ontariofresh platform brings our members even more functionality on Ontario’s largest online marketplace for local food,” said Megan Hunter, Communications and Program Manager at the Greenbelt Fund. “Members can connect more easily and use the shipping tool to get their local food onto Ontarian’s plates more quickly, and the platform continues to be completely free.”

“The Greenbelt Fund has invested in every aspect of our local food system, and Ontariofresh is part of that service to Ontario’s primary producers,” said Edward McDonnell, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund. “Increasing markets for local food across Ontario is good for rural economies, creates new jobs, and keeps our dollars in Ontario.”

Local Line is an easy-to-use e-commerce and logistics platform that helps food suppliers perform direct sales, increase their orders and save time on order fulfillment. Their white-label e-commerce, CRM, and inventory modules enable suppliers to control their brand and grow their business on their terms. Local Line was the ideal technology partner for The Greenbelt Fund when upgrading Ontariofresh.ca, as they bring unique industry and technical experience to the table. The Greenbelt Fund and Local Line have worked together over the past year to rebuild the platform, significantly improving its design and functionality.

For original post, click here.

Can Local Line Help Your Direct-to-Consumer Food Business?

 

 

 

It’s becoming more and more popular for consumers and chefs to source food from local farmers and suppliers. Because of this, companies like Local Line have formed as a kind of go-between, bringing farmers and customers together. If you own a direct-to-consumer food business, using a service like Local Line is a great way to bring in new customers and boost your overall sales. But before you get started, you should weigh the pros and cons of the service to see if it’s really the right option for you.

Diversify Your Farming Income

It’s really important for farmers to diversify their income. For many, this means doing things like hosting dinners and events at their farm to bring in extra cash and partnering with restaurants. But what if you don’t have time to visit restaurants to see if they’re interested in sourcing food from you?

This is where Local Line could come in handy. The company lets you create your own online store that showcases the fresh food you have available to sell and the price. Your customers, whether they’re individuals or restaurants, can use the system to order food online. Once the order is placed, you simply deliver the goods.

Charge Restaurants and Individuals Different Prices

When you use a service like Local Line, you have the ability to create online catalogues that show your current inventory. All of your products are displayed with prices, and you can have multiple catalogues. Each catalogue you create is private. This means your customers only see the prices you want them to see.

Using this feature, you can create separate catalogues with different pricing for individual customers and restaurants. This way you can give restaurants discounted prices when they buy in bulk without upsetting individual customers who might accidentally come across a catalogue with lower prices displayed. Also, when your customers view specific products in your catalogue, you see it in real time. You can use this feature to promote high-interest items by creating an occasional “sale” catalogue.

Attract New Customers

One of the biggest benefits about using a service like Local Line is the access you get to the company’s existing customer base. When customers search for locally sourced food in your area, they’re able to view your company information and your public inventory catalogue. If they want, they can place a new order online or contact you for more information about your company. Just being visible in the app search engine makes it easy to connect with chefs, nearby restaurants, and local residents looking for fresh food.

Set Delivery Options

When you use Local Line, you’re responsible for delivering all of your orders. This means before you start using the service, you should have a plan in place that allows you to keep up with your deliveries. Some things to consider include whether you need to hire a delivery driver, the type of delivery schedule, and if your current vehicle can handle delivery work.

The service Local Line offers is a great option for business owners who want to attract new clients and increase sales. But it’s also a useful tool for farmers with an existing customer base because it lets you process orders online.

For the original post, click here.

Don’t leave your customers hanging – Standing Orders

As consumers, chefs and retailers, we love the idea of buying local because everyone knows that the local food industry supports community members, is grown by dedicated and hardworking individuals, and is often much better for us due to the use of holistic farming practices, but sometimes sourcing from the large industry seems a lot easier due to logistics and access. It’s simple –  it boils down to convenience.

At Local Line, we  make buying and selling local food easy and convenient. Our e-commerce platform provides a straightforward ordering mechanism for customers by offering services such as order and logistics management, customer communication and invoicing mechanisms for suppliers – all wrapped into one service. But we’re not done there!

This week we launched a new feature – standing orders.

A standing order is a purchase order covering a repeated delivery of goods in specified quantities, at specified prices, and according to a specified time schedule.  It is comparable to a subscription box where your customers can expect your products on the same time schedule. Standing orders are essential in food. Unlike buying clothes or other products, the relationship between food supplier and customer is continual. A standing order allows your customers to order once and continuously get your products week by week during a season.

Pre-booked sales for you, convenience for your customers.

Here are some additional benefits you can expect when you use our new standing order feature:

Save time on organizing orders

A great benefit of implementing standing orders is all that time you would save on managing your orders. If you’re a food supplier that offers a CSA program, weekly harvest box, or supply a restaurant or retailer with the same scheduled order, it’s hard to have to manage the same order every week. Standing orders allow you to automate the process and save time on tedious tasks such as order taking.

Produce to order

A standing order system allows you to pre-determine what needs to be produced. This allows you to predict what is needed and avoid under/over production. This reduces waste or lost customers due to insufficient inventory.

Create lasting relationships with customers

As mentioned previously, the relationship between buyer and supplier in the food industry is continual. Offering standing orders allow you to be able to create better partnerships with your customers and conveniently service them over a season.


Sound like something you could use? Try standing orders today with your Local Line membership for the low cost of $25/month. If you’re not yet using Local Line, click the button below to view a demo to see how Local Line can help your business.

MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge, Bethlenfalvy visits Local Line on tour through Communitech

On October 11th, 2018, Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge and President of the Treasury Board Secretariat, paid his visit to Ontario’s own tech-hub, Communitech to learn more about is happening in Canada in the digital age. One of the stops he made on his hour long tour was Local Line.

Local Line is an e-commerce platform for food suppliers who sell direct to customer.  The service increases order volume, modernizes customer service, and organizes fulfillment. Bethlenfalvy received a demo of the software and noted the applicability and modernity of the program.

When commenting on the future for digitalization in the Canadian government, Bethlenfalvy notes to Communitech News:

[Digitization] was one of the first things in the EY report. We’ve seen across the globe: Governments apply services on a digital basis to make the customer experience often better at a lower price point. You want the customer experience to be higher.

These are the people developing products and services that will enable that. So I’m very encouraged by everything I’ve seen today.

For more on Bethlenfalvy’s visit, click here

To learn more about Local Line, visit this link.

The farmers’ market of the future? Northeastern Ontario farmers using internet to sell locally grown food

Posted by CBC News on September 6, 2018.

It all started with the closure of Eat Local Sudbury, a co-operative grocery store that operated in the city’s downtown core for 10 years.

James Morin, owner of Kipling Ridge Farms in Verner, said the four farms already connected through the local food initiative — Dalew Farms in Lavigne, Field Good Farms in Cache Bay, and Three Forks Farms in Warren—  decided to try something new.

The farms started talking about starting their own initiative.

“We all have the same mindset and approach to how we’re growing food,” Morin said. “And that’s based on ecological and or organic principles, and we all direct market.”

Through that collaboration, Click Fork was born.

Click Fork customers can order meat, produce and even maple syrup online, with bi-weekly deliveries servicing customers in Sudbury, North Bay and Cache Bay.

It’s all done through an online ordering system called Local Line.

“We raise chickens, pigs and cattle all on pasture, fed a non-GMO diet of grains as necessary as well, and we market that directly to the public in northeastern Ontario,” Morin said.

“It really started from a desire to grow our own food. My wife and I had a passion for working in the kitchen, sourcing the best ingredients we could find.”

“It just sort of snowballed I guess from there.”

The farmer's market of the future? Northeastern Ontario farmers using internet to sell locally grown food
The farms behind an online farmers’ market: Field Good Farms, Kipling Ridge Farms, Three Forks Farms and Dalew Farms. (Facebook — Click Fork)

‘Things change so fast’

Operating online gives the farms a wider customer base, Morin said, and ends up being more cost-effective than opening a retail store like Eat Local.

“Things change so fast in our world today and how people are accessing the products and things that they want,” Morin said. “People who are selling those products have to adapt to that.”

Cole Jones, CEO of Local Line, said Click Fork is the first venture on the platform that involves a group of farmers collaborating.

“This is a universal problem for small family farms, is figuring out how to get to market properly, how to control the sales, how to be a little bit more modern,” Jones said. “So it’s been a great solution for a lot of these families.”

Jones said the four-farm package has been a “very innovative model.”

“We give these folks a ton of credit for marching ahead,” he said. “They’re seeing some really early success so it’s been really fun to watch.”

He added that it’s a model that’s especially valuable in geographically sparse areas like the north.

“We had done a bunch of research and figured out that farmer’s markets are actually not very profitable for the farmer, in most cases,” Jones said.

“When we get four farms that party up on each delivery, this is of course much less expensive than them delivering it themselves.”

Using Local Line, farmers pay a monthly subscription fee to use the platform. They upload their delivery information and customers, and then share the store with their customers to start accepting online orders.

Customers can add items to their online cart and then select a delivery option.

Currently, the company serves hundreds of farms in Ontario, dozens in B.C. They also have customers in the U.S. and every province except Quebec.

For the article on CBC News, click here.

Supercharge Local Line with QuickBooks Sync!

Keeping your finances organized is an important component to running your business. This week, we took a big step helping our customers do just that with the launch of our QuickBooks Sync Tool. This allows our customers to leverage Local Line’s best-in-class order management tools and seamlessly sync order data into QuickBooks without manual entry.

Here what you need-to-know:

Two systems, one customer

When a customer places an order on your Local Line store, we’ll automatically pass the order information to QuickBooks under the same customer. This allows you to keep track of key metrics like Revenue Per Customer, Average Order and Outstanding Invoices.

Invoices in an instant

No more missed invoices. Once an order comes through Local Line, an invoice can be sent to your customer right away directly from QuickBooks.

The price is right

Making sure your customers get the right product and price on their invoice is important. Our integration ensures that your Catalog prices and any changes you make are always accurately reflected in QuickBooks.


Already a Local Line member? Sign into your Local Line account and turn on the QuickBooks Integration Tool today!

Not yet a Local Line customer? You should be. Watch this free demo to learn more.

Local Line Announces Major Accounting Update with New QuickBooks Integration Tool

For Immediate Release

KITCHENER, ON – September 4, 2018 – Local Line, the ultimate e-commerce software for farms and food suppliers, has released an all-new tool which aims to promote better organization, efficiency, and accountability between business owners and clients in the local food supply industry.

Available immediately for purchase, the QuickBooks Integration Tool allows you to leverage Local Line’s best-in-class order management system and seamlessly sync order data into QuickBooks.

“We believe farmers and food suppliers should spend less time on accounting, and more time doing what they do best in the field to feed our families” said Cole Jones, CEO of Local Line.

“The goal of this new feature is to make accounting easy and fun! The new integration with QuickBooks Online will ensure that you never need to worry about how you manage the accounting of your food supply business. It is one more thing you can automate so you can get back to earning more money.”

One of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks food suppliers face is bookkeeping. The most exciting feature of Local Line’s QuickBooks Integration Tool is that our customers can reduce their invoicing time by up to 90% as invoices can be synced to QuickBooks once they have been reviewed and approved.

“The goal of our QuickBooks Integration Tool is to celebrate the successes of our existing Local Line program, all while offering this new feature, said Jones. “The program’s multiple tools all contribute to more accurate, professional customer servicing, headache-free invoicing, and more efficient and easier order management for farms and food suppliers”.

For those wishing to purchase the QuickBooks Integration Tool, it is available for $24.99 per month, in addition to the Local Line subscription.

About Local Line

Helping great food suppliers manage great food supply chains, Local Line offers a complete collection of systems and online tools that can help food suppliers build and manage a successful food business. Local Line, the most popular order management software, just got more advanced with the addition of their QuickBooks Integration Tool. For more information on products and services, please visit our website.

For further information, please contact:

Cole Jones

CEO

info@localline.ca

Minister Wilson visits Local Line during tour through Waterloo Region

On Thursday, August 31 2018, the new Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade visited Communitech in the Waterloo Region, making a stop at Local Line along the way.  Jim Wilson, MPP for Simcoe-Grey, was making his first visit to the region since the election of the Doug Ford government last June, and said that he found the degree of talent and innovation in the region to be “overwhelming.”

Local Line was selected as one of the businesses to be introduced to the Minister in the community. Minister Wilson was impressed with the innovative program of providing ecommerce services to farmers and food producers globally after receiving a demo of the software. Local Line allows food producers to interact with their customers directly – instead of communicating with various third parties.

When commenting on the tech sector in the Waterloo Region to Communitech News, Wilson exclaims: “We’re going to learn from this sector in this geographical area, because you’re way ahead of where government is. If we’re going to be truly open for business [as a province] we need to learn from many of the fairly young, bright minds here that have started companies [and] been successful.”

Exciting news for Ontario-born companies such as Local Line, that the government is hoping to better support the future and prosperity of the tech industry in Canada.

“Ontario is open for business”.

For more on Minister Wilson’s visit, click here.