I’m delighted to announce that we’ve acquired Around.io, a social media automation company for eCommerce stores. For Sked Social (formerly Schedugram) customers, this is the first big step you’ll see us make as part of broadening what we offer to you – more information will be announced soon. We’re continuing to actively develop new features for both Sked and Around. You’ll also see some features added for a more seamless integration between both products. We’ve mentioned a few features we’ll be adding to Sked from Around and vice versa below. What is Around? Around helps eCommerce stores better market and sell their products through social media. We’re excited to have them on board because they have deep integrations and experience in the eCommerce space. If you use Shopify, Etsy, WooCommerce, Ecwid, Lightspeed, Storenvy, eBay, Zepo, Big Cartel or Easy Digital Downloads – give Around a try. We’d love to hear your feedback. If you use a different eCommerce provider, shoot us an email and let us know! We’re looking to support more platforms in the future so we are looking out for beta customers, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s supported. What makes Around unique? We were excited after chatting with the Around team and seeing their product. Something Sked customers have told us for some time is that they struggle to find and plan the right content for Instagram, usually because the images/videos are spread out in a thousand places. In eCommerce, your product catalog is all digital and available on your store. Around syncs with your store and pulls in all of your product images, and information, ready for you to use across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media channels. Later down the track we’ll make Around even smarter, so that we can tell which of your products are in stock, out of stock, bestsellers, and more so that you have all the information you need to plan out your social media calendar. Check out some of Around’s features that we love below. Special thanks to Liang from Fang Jewelry Studio for letting us share some of his work! Around stores and syncs your whole product catalog, so you can immediately search for products to share. (Images: Fang Jewelry Studio) Around has a collage creator – often requested from Sked customers (currently you have to do it through our Canva integration) (Images: Fang Jewelry Studio) Around lets you search for trending news on certain topics and sync RSS feeds to find great content relevant to your audience Around has a much loved feature called Week Planner that automatically generates a week of social media posts for you based on your product catalog. We plan on doubling down on this feature and making it even smarter – not all customers have the time to plan all of their content manually across multiple social media channels. The Around week planner, which automatically generates a week of content for you – we look forward to making this even better! (Images: Fang Jewelry Studio) We’ll be rolling out changes to Around that will help eCommerce stores further increase their social media effectiveness. Around will soon allow eCommerce stores to automatically post to Instagram with product tagging. Since Around already has your entire product catalog, we will make it easy to create Instagram posts with product tags and increase traffic to product pages. How does Around do Instagram scheduling? Right now, Around uses push notifications to schedule Instagram posts for their customers (boo!). Rest assured we’ll be integrating Sked with Around as quickly as we can to bring automated Instagram posting to Around customers. If you’d like to be kept up to date as this process happens, shoot us an email. That’s great for eCommerce companies, but what does this mean for Sked? Around also has some pretty cool things that we’re looking to integrate into Sked. Of course, it is cross platform, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr. It also has some great content creation tools, like an easy video creator (!!) and collage maker. We will integrate these features into Sked as well, to make it easier and faster for you to create awesome content. Around has a super handy video creator so you can create videos perfect to share on social media from your image library. We look forward to making this part of Schedugram! (Images: Fang Jewelry Studio) What is the future of Sked and Around? Our product team has been working behind the scenes since July last year looking at the bigger picture and plan for Sked. We’ve been interviewing a number of our customers to learn more about how they work and how we can make Sked even better. The big vision and picture for Sked (and now Around too) has been to help companies, big and small, do digital marketing better. Too many products were designed for social media channels of days gone by, and the new era of visual-first social media channels has left them by the wayside (Instagram being the biggest, but you also see this with Facebook and Twitter of course). We’re still at the start of the journey, and you can expect us to be rolling out a lot of great features and changes to both Sked and Around in the near future. We’ll be announcing more information about ‘the big plan’ in due course, but if you’re interested in chatting with our product team about how you use Sked and other products to do your digital marketing, please reach out! The more customers we hear from, the better our products become for you. What is happening to the Around team? The Around team is joining the Sked family as part of the acquisition, and we’re thrilled to be working with them. We’re also pleased to welcome Around’s customers to the Sked family. Around’s founder Natwar is moving onto his next challenge. Natwar has done an incredible job building Around to where it is now, and we wish him the best of luck in his next endeavour. Thanks for choosing us to be the partner to grow Around in the future. You can also read Natwar’s announcement of the acquisition on the Around blog. Want to be involved in the future of Sked and Around? Both Sked and Around are built from customer feedback, and will continue to be. We’d love your feedback on what we can do better – and don’t be afraid to think big! Our team is working on many of the features you’ve requested (like non-square carousel images, location tagging, and video Instagram stories), but the opportunities are much broader and we’d love to hear your suggestions and feedback. Our vision is much bigger than just a high quality product for automated Instagram posting so feel free to reach out with your ideas! If you run an eCommerce store, we’d love you to try Around and let us know how it compares to other products you use for social media (including Sked Socail!). What does it do better? How can it improve? If you don’t run an eCommerce store but would still like to help shape the future of Around and Sked, send us an email so our product team can reach out to set up an interview! They’ll talk to you about the products you’re currently using, the problems you’re trying to solve, and perhaps request a screen share to see your workflow. Questions? Comments? Email our team at [email protected] or [email protected]! If you’re looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.