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4 Reasons why You Should App Now… Before it’s Too Late

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Does your company really need a mobile app? Yes, yes it does!

To app… or not to app? Slowly but surely, mobile apps have began securing their place as a must haves for starting a business. Why? Because they do it all! They are convenient, very easy to navigate, and are designed specifically to run on mobile devices – which is a major key when it comes to securing online traffic in today’s very much wired in society.

Consumers are consuming more and more  of the world wide web everyday, and they are consuming it on their mobile devices. So it should come as no surprise that the amount of consumers downloading apps have skyrocketed over the last few years.

In 2009, worldwide mobile app downloads amounted to approximately 2.52 billion and are expected to reach 268.69 billion in 2017. In 2010,earnings of mobile apps providers amounted to 6.8 billion U.S. dollars.

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Even with these numbers, there are still many companies (usually the smaller ones) who have chosen to stick with having only a mobile website because they don’t see the need to opt. for venturing out into the app world.

They are convinced that a responsive mobile website can serve as a standalone mobile entity, but that’s not the case. Mobile websites are remarkable, but there’s so many additional benefits that mobile applications can provide – more specifically, here are 4 of them.

1.) They boost online traffic

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Mobile apps increase the amount of engagement that happens between a brand and it’s customers. An app allows the consumers access to everything related to your company without them having to take the time to type in your full web address into the mobile browser.Additionally, “they boost repeat visits, and permit a wide variety of online transactions, including the deployment of loyalty cards, push promotions, and ecommerce transactions. 

Personally, I can honestly admit that I tend to purchase more from companies that I have a app for. I am not sure if it’s because of the fact that all of my payment information and shipping address is already pre-entered, and all I have to do is press the checkout button, or if it’s because I receive a message from the app every time they have a promotional deal, but it works!

2.) They boost sales

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Apps are a great way to lure consumers in! Push promotions allow you to reach consumers via actual notifications on their phone with no possibility of your message accidentally finding it’s way into the spam folder.Not to mention,  “apps deliver coupons and send announcements that build your sales with customers.

Apps grant companies an opportunity to reach consumers in a completely different way – a way much more personal than any other ever used before.

3.) They aid in building a relationship with clients

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Apps also accelerate contact with your company, which enhances relationships with customers in a world where speedy responses are prized by buyers.

Apps help with building connections with consumers. With apps, it’s typically easier for consumers to identify ways to contact or connect with brands. Whether it be through your company including a IPH category devoted solely to customer service or providing them with ways to contact with your company via a social media bar, apps usually boost interaction from all aspects.

4.) They have better visual design

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While I have encountered a few impressive mobile websites, most still come up short in comparison to an actual mobile app. Mobile apps provide consumers with an opportunity to get more out of using their mobile device to access more information about your company. They are faster, can be easily accessed after being installed, available offline, and can more effectively utilize phone features like location services, cameras, maps, and etc.

Furthermore, “smartphone icons even help build brands by providing a visual design that customers recognize.” Because of the fact that we stare at our phones constantly (I think every 20 minutes), being able to see familiar icons makes the mobile experience on a app feel much more natural than on a mobile web site.

Well, that’s 4 amazing reasons why You should opt for the app. Now, what are you waiting for? App now before it’s too late! (Get it, “app” now instead of “act” now?!)

3 Reasons Why YouTube Deserves to Play a Bigger Role in Your Digital Marketing Efforts

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YouTube has catapulted it’s way into search engine excellence! Since it’s introduction to the world in 2005, YouTube is now the second largest search engine, falling short to no other than their owner, Google. Not to mention,  it’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL combined!

Impressive right? But, why does YouTube deserve it’s spot at the top and why should be a major part of your digital marketing efforts?

Is it because it’s filled with racks on racks of organic content – created by consumers for consumers?

Or, maybe because it’s so easy that even a cave man can do it?

Yes! No…not sure, well  it’s fine. Sit tight, as I pinpoint 3 reasons why YouTube is a top resource for consumers and why you should tap into it.

1.) It Humanizes a Brand

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YouTube offers a unique quality to businesses. It allows companies to effectively humanize their brands. YouTube videos allow consumers to begin putting faces with the brand and it also offers a much more casual platform in which consumers can engage with visual content.

A way in which a company can begin doing this is by recruiting a few YouTubers who embody every element of their brand and who also possess a large YouTube following filled with their target audience, to serve as brand ambassadors.

Additionally, companies could also start posting their own videos. Videos featuring employees and industry professionals speaking genuinely about their products and services.

So now you are probably wondering why this can’t be done in digital marketing solely through Facebook, Twitter, or whichever other social media networks you can think of?

Well, with different forms of emerging media being on the rise within digital marketing, some consumers have began preferring to be reached visually – as opposed to by text. Plus, YouTube videos are universal.

Video content should be a pillar of your digital marketing strategy because it is only second to face-to-face interaction as a tool to humanize your brand. When people are searching YouTube, they are actively trying to learn more about products and services. It is extremely easy to share YouTube videos via social networks, or embed on websites or blogs.

YouTube allows a brand to reach those consumers interested in their products on a platform that they enjoy using, which also allowing room for commentary and suggestions … i.e. the comment boxes.

2.) People flock to YouTube for Product Reviews

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Before I may any major purchases (and by that I mean any purchases that can’t be classified as necessities to live), I always search for product reviews. While written reviews were once the norm, I have noticed that I, just like a lot of consumers, now prefer video.

There’s just something about seeing someone else with the product that you are about to buy… actually having it and using it.

Luckily, I am not the only one obsessed with utilizing YouTube for this reason.

More than 25 percent of participants said they used online video to learn about products “a few times a week,” and more than 20 percent use it “a few times a month.” 47 percent said they would be more likely to investigate the product upon seeing it in a video. While some reported feeling neutral about products in videos, less than seven percent said they would prefer to see no products in the online videos they watched.

The majority of survey respondents said they were more likely to buy a product they saw in a positive online review, and more than 42 percent believe YouTube to be the most trustworthy source of product reviews.

So how does product reviews contribute to YouTube’s greatness. A lot of the content posted on YouTube is reviews and YouTube has became a trusted entity within consumer’s eyes when researching product reviews.

Now, how can your company benefit from this? By monitoring what consumers are saying in their product reviews about your products and services. This will allow you to gain greater access into the minds of your consumers and will help with identifying any changes that need to be made to improve your product.

Additionally, this is where your brand ambassadors could come in again. After offering them an opportunity to serve as a face for your company, you can begin endorsing their videos that showcase products that you sent them for review.

3.) People also search YouTube for Tutorials

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I wanted it. I bought it. Now how do I use it?

Along with product reviews, a lot of consumers jump right into searching for tutorials right after. The reviews are the persuading force that solidifies their want to purchase the product, and if the are mostly positive, the consumers usually move forward with buying the products.

So after buying these products they have invested so much time researching, it usually urges consumers into wanting to fully understand how to get the most out of their purchases. This is where tutorials come in… to show them how to use nearly every feature or maximize their service.

Once again, this is where those ambassadors can come into the picture and save your day. They can upload tutorial videos of them utilizing your products or services.

Or, your actual company itself can upload a few different tutorial videos on their page for consumers interested in learning more about their products or services.

Well that’s all folks! YouTube is definitely a resource that should be utilized by your digital marketing department. It could essentially help make or break your efforts in converting potential consumers into actual consumers.

 

P.S., make sure to check out this amazing info-graphic from Mushroom Networks all about YouTube’s claim to fame as a top of the line search engine!

Created by Mushroom Networks

IoT, and its Effects on Analyzing Data in Relation Your Target Audience

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Their smart phones.

Their Apple watches.

Their smart TVs.

These products are all examples of how the Internet of Things have began changing life as we know it. Just a few short years ago, we were doing just fine with our not so smart devices, but now, having 24/7 access to the internet has became more of a necessity than a luxury. Along with that change, came the development of the Internet of things.

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The Internet of Things can not simply be summed up as a technological development effecting only our real lives – it is quickly becoming a major connecting force within online marketing and will surely result in making target marketing a breeze.

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Why?… Because it creates more data. Now, more than ever, we have more access to data about our consumers (and potential consumers) because of the development of IoT.

Marketers love their data.

We search for data in every possible source, relentlessly test our ideasfor more data, slice and dice our data for more meaning, and tell others about the messages in our data.

Data is everything. With the IoT, data is mushrooming in size and scope. Analysts estimate that by 2020, there will be more than 13 billion IoT connected devices. Other marketers predict that the number will be closer to 1 trillion.

More data means that marketers, like you and I, have more information about our target audiences.

Their likes, dislikes, suggestions, and pretty much everything else that can be accessed from their smart devices.

IoT definitely seems like it is here to stay and if utilized correctly, could surely result in making the data analyzing portions of our strategies, easier to conquer.

The data recovered from these products is now more easily available for our research efforts  than it has ever been. Which means, that a large portion of our gig as marketers, has became a bit easier to collect and analyze. (Isn’t that a major change!?)

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But, don’t get me wrong, we aren’t the only ones benefiting from these efforts. Not to mention, with more and more enchanted internet dependent products entering the market place, consumers are too reaping the benefits of being able to buy products that do more and require less effort on their behalf.

So, marketers, get ready. The relationship between consumer and marketer deepens as the data grows. Here’s how Marketo explains it:  more connectivity leads to more data, leads to smarter data, leads to more relevant campaigns, leads to more customer engagement.

Everyday, more and more products are being launched that could help our targeted audiences streamline their already busy lives; and they are ready to buy! Which is great news for us because their buying… equates to more data for us!

It’s a win-win situation for both parties!

Don’t believe that IoT is here for the long run? Just check out the line at the next Apple iPhone launch or the sales of smart gadgets this holiday season – I’m sure you’ll notice that smart products will top most Christmas lists.

 

Marketing OR Communications? Here’s why Your Team Needs Someone Who can do Both

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As emerging media enters new areas of advancement, our work places have been heavily affected and evolving. Before, companies could easily categorize projects as being simply “communications” based or “marketing” based, but now they can not. Most projects have became integrated… and now your company should follow suit.

As stated by Ian Linton (n.d.):

In an integrated campaign, the different tools feature the same creative treatment. By repeating the headlines, key phrases and images in each communication, you ensure that prospects and customers receive consistent messages each time they see one of the elements of the campaign. Creative consistency helps reinforce the basic campaign themes by increasing the number of times prospects see or hear the same message. – Linton

Before, there was never a question as to if they should give this writing project to their communications team or hand off a campaign solely to their marketing team.

But now, things have changed.

Now, you can’t hand off all writing projects solely to your communications team. Why? Because some of it may require writing content for the web that needs to include keywords – keywords that a marketer would be able to best identify.

Now, you can’t give all marketing campaigns solely to the marketing team, Why?  Because while the content needs to include keywords – it also needs to still have a more conversational flow if being used for the web; that formatting which could be supplied best by your communications team.

While it makes logical sense to just make your marketing and communications teams work more closely on projects, I present to you an alternative.

Get someone who can and enjoys doing both!

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Bring on a Integrated Communications Marketer (or Integrated Marketing Communicator, you can word it however you would like. Ohh the versatility! )… and I’m not just saying this because I’m one!

These integrated professionals, are well versed in both marketing and communications, and are your key to bridging the gap between both departments. They are capable of joining both teams (or even capable of just working as a liaison between both) to aid in filling in the gaps and ensuring that there is a consistency across the board in both marketing collateral and copy developed by both departments.

They are the connecting resource, responsible for putting all the pieces together, missing from your team and are able to serve as a resource capable of bringing valuable information from multiple areas to the table.

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Integrated marketing communicators are also able to wear multiple hats within the office because of their knowledge in so many various areas of emerging media.

By integrating tools such as advertising, direct mail, social media, telemarketing and sales promotion, you provide clarity, consistency and maximum communications impact.

They are a major key to successfully turning your marketing campaigns into integrated campaigns that “get better results” and “reduce marketing costs“.

What are your thoughts on bringing Integrated Marketing Communications professionals into your business to act as liaisons? Do you think that companies need someone to ensure that both departments are the same page when creating complimentary components for upcoming campaigns?

 

 

Live TV… on Twitter?

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Yes, you read that right! Live TV has now been brought to Twitter.

Since the beginning of Twitter, users have often used the platform to discuss television shows, in real time, with their others who share similar interests.

I’m sure we’ve all seen our Twitter timelines filled with countless commentary during awards shows like The MTV Awards and the season finales of crowd favorites like Pretty Little Liars.

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Watch-a-longs, as I like to call them,  have certainly became a thing within the Twitter community and for most Twitter users, Twitter doesn’t become alive until AFTER 8 p.m.

Why? Well, because this is the start time for prime time TV of course!

Twitter is all about conversations, and conversations can’t happen without topics. This is where television comes to the rescue!

Live television supplies users with the topics to discuss, and Twitter gives them the PERFECT platform for socializing in real time.

With their 140 character limits, Twitter forces users to break up their thoughts into micro thoughts… reacting to everything mind-blowing moment shown on their screens in real time.

Users can get away with posting back to back on Twitter more often than on any other social media platform. On Twitter, your thoughts aren’t supposed to be one big well thought out “status”. With live TV… a long winded “status” is the last thing that we need (every 5 minutes) because we are all still watching it together. ( Not to mention, you may miss something!)

On Twitter, with things being so short, it leaves more opportunity for others to join in on the conversation – and that’s exactly what creating a highly responsive live TV experience is all about.

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Finally, after years and years of Twitter users creating their own live TV experiences, Twitter has began making strides to bring users commentary to their actual television screens.

Users are currently utilizing two screens when creating their own live TV experiences. They are watching their regularly scheduled programming on their first screen (their actual television/computer screen) while being active in conversations related to that programming on their second (their phone).

Recognizing this shift in the way that users watch TV, Twitter, and a lot of other companies similar to them, would like to be the ones to change that.

Not to mention, with most of Twitter’s peak activity happens during prime time shows, it makes logical sense that they would want to be the first ones to break the code successfully integrating television and social media.

Nielsen Social says 68% of the majority of weekly program tweets are sent during live airings — 70% for reality shows, 64% for drama, and 55% for comedy.

Broken down, that’s about 17,000 during the initial airing of the shows and 8,000 over the following few days. That’s pretty impressive!

To make this all happen, Twitter teamed up with Microsoft’s Xbox One, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV to launch a new app. To begin tuning into Twitter live streams, users just have to download the app from their device’s app store.

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Twitter’s new app also lets you see more traditional Twitter content – such as top Tweets and top global Vines and Periscopes, as well as abuse from random Tweeters – side-by-side with the the show you’re watching.

Twitter has chosen to begin their venture into live streaming with sports! They are going to be  live streaming 10 Thursday Night NFL Football games. This means that users will able to view the game free of charge on Thursdays.

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Yes, it’s FREE.99! Twitter will not be charging users to view the game and Tweeters all over the world seem to be appreciating it.

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Speaking of money, Twitter paid merely  $10 million for the rights to the 10 Thursday Night NFL games. Their investment was not in vain… consumers actually tuned in. A. LOT. OF. THEM!

More than 2 million people watched Thursday night’s NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets on Twitter, the company said.

It was the first time that you could watch a live-streamed NFL game on Twitter.

An average of 243,000 people were watching the game on Twitter at any given time. Each viewer tuned in to an average of 22 minutes of the game.

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Even though, we’re only one game into this whole Twitter Live TV scenario, from where I stand, it looks like it was definitely a great opportunity seized on their behalf. I just hope that users keep tuning in so that we can all see where this goes from here!

Maybe a live cooking show? Live concert? Live talk show? The possibilities are endless.

In the meantime, check you should check their next live stream!

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3 Reasons why Live Broadcasting is the new “it” Trend in Social Media Marketing

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Have you noticed any changes within social media networks over the last few years?

No? Well I have!  It all started with Vine and SnapChat, whom originally began this era by giving the general public platforms to record real-time video. Although both Snapchat and Vine have restructured their functionality to allow users to upload previously record videos, Periscope and Facebook Live have emerged from within their shadows to take on this niche of showing immediate entertaining updates; free of post-production edits.

Over the last year, both Periscope and Facebook Live have managed to keep consumers entertained, stayed organic, and are gaining popularity. Destined to be the next biggest things to hit the social media industry in a while, here are a few reasons why you should consider getting on board with live broadcasting now.

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1.) It’s fast, entertaining,… and informative.

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With our world being so wired, we have became obsessed with seeing everything in real-time! We want to to feel like everything we are watching  or reading is in the moment.

We are constantly searching for new information and ways to entertain ourselves.

  • Information about how to do something. (Hello YouTube tutorials!)
  • Updates about major milestone events of our friends, family, associates… and pretty much anyone we’ve ever encountered in life. (Thanks Facebook and LinkedIn for the  major “life” update alerts.)
  • Live footage from that concert we wanted to attend… but for some reason couldn’t.

You get it! We want to always and forever be in the know, right here, and right now. We have changed the way that we engage with social media and social media networks have adapted their functionality to meet our needs.

Social media consumers have now taken on a much different roles than what was originally expected of us.

Now a consumer is a reporter, a content curator, and a distribution platform of everyday or culturally relevant events.

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We are influencers and actually have audiences of people (those that we know and who randomly run across our pages) who want to see what we are doing.

Rule No. 1 of live streaming: Have a purpose. Show us a concert, a breathtaking view, a ride on your electric scooter, your new Wi-Fi connected juicer—it’s all about sharing something cool or unique. I maintained 50 live viewers on a horse and buggy ride through Central Park. But making kale salad? My viewership fell to low single digits.

We want to see which restaurants they are eating at, cities they are visiting, places they are shopping, and experiences they are having – so that we can know what to look forward to in the future if we booked a trip or bought a ticket ourselves.

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The need (need of a platform all about showcasing experiences) created a demand; and that my friend, is where Periscope and Facebook Live came in. Live broadcasting gives us the perfect platforms to show everyone… real life.

2.) It’s REALer.

Ohh Reality! Sometimes we want organic, not always polished content. We want raw footage. We want to feel like what we are seeing is exclusive, behind the scenes, and real.

Live Broadcasting gives us that! It’s not retouched.  It’s not photoshopped so that everyone looks perfect on every post – it reminds us that we are all human and not a “10” from all angles or at all times.

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In the olden days, before Facebook Live and Periscope, consumers often used YouTube to produce similar content. “Vlogs”, a combination of the words video and blog is what they would refer to as their uncut footage depicting their everyday lives. While it wasn’t live because it got uploaded later, vlogs certainly assisted in setting the groundwork for live broadcasting.

With the highest ranked vlog channel, Good Mythical Morning, raking in 11,193,097 subscribers and 2.74 Views; I am excited to see if the rise of these two platforms will result in a decrease in the amount of vlogs uploaded to YouTube.

3.) It’s getting more popular.

We (consumers) are really starting to use these platforms and the proof is in the numbers.

 By 2020, 75% of the world’s mobile traffic will be video, according to an ambitious estimate by networking-equipment maker Cisco.

 

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According to Tubular, a staggering 3M Facebook Live videos have been streamed on the platform in the last 90 days, generating just under 8.9M views.

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With both Periscope and Facebook Live growing steadily, I am genuinely ready to see which tricks they have up their sleeves to set themselves apart.

Will they add in playful filters much similar to Snapchat?

Will a third competitor gain more popularity and be introduced into the mix (Meerkat)?

For now, that’s all quite unknown. But one thing is for certain, real-time video is definitely the newest trend in social media networking, and you should begin getting acquaint with it before everyone else realizes it.

5 reasons why you Need a Social Media Influencer on your Payroll.

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Everyday, more and more companies are integrating content creators into their emerging media efforts. From YouTube beauty gurus to Instagram celebrities, influencers have wiggled their way into becoming a major element in specialized content marketing efforts.

Using social media influencers in your marketing is the practice of building relationships with the people who can build relationships for you. Whether an influencer’s audience is small or large, an influencer can reach consumers via their blogs and social networks that your brand may not be able to.  – Group High

So let’s jump right into it! Here are 5 AMAZING reasons why you need to add a Social Media Influencer to your payroll.

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1.) They are well known… 

Social Media famous people have branded themselves so well online that your consumers already know them and consider them the gatekeepers in their respective fields.

Just check out this clip of Tyler Oakley on The Ellen Show … and he is famous for social media alone.

2.) Their audience trusts them…

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Consumers want authenticity from the brands they interact with. When marketers equip influencers with an entire experience to share about a brand or product the posts are more engaging.

Let’s be real, influencers have positioned themselves to be thought of as experts in everything from hear to politics, and consumers would much rather hear what they have say about a product as opposed to a employee for a company.

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Nine times out of ten, if a consumers had questions about the quality of a product and asked both a employee for the company and a respected influencer what they thought of the product; they would probably allow the influencers’ words to outweigh the employee.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads

Your employees are like a walking advertisement for your company. This alone makes it hard for consumers to believe that if your product really isn’t as good as you claim it is, your employee would actually tell the truth and admit that it isn’t.

But, with influencers, they see them as regular people, just like them, and often feel as though their opinions are more organic – making it more truthful in their eyes.

3.) They are trendsetters…

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Their supporters  look to them for the latest trends and for guidance in incorporating them into their daily life. Now, more than ever, social media personalities are being considered the trend setters (and in some cases, enders). They are able to use their platforms to urge large groups of people into thinking that something is in, out… or going to be in.

A recent study from the Journal of Consumer Research has found that people who are active in social media are likely to be influenced by the opinions of those they follow on those social media channels. For marketers and business owners, this means that connecting with trend setters who have a large amount of followers is more important than ever.

To keep a long story short, you need them to say that your company or products are in!

4.) They have a pre-assembled target audience…

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When executed correctly, influencer marketing has the ability to reach niche audiences and create a greater impact than traditional advertising methods.

Influencers have already developed a close knit relationship with their followers who are members of your target market. This means that hiring them will allow you to tap into it and convert their fans into your consumers.

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With social media influencers having audiences of sometimes more than a million people, it’s a win-win situation for both parties!

 

5.) They are flexible…

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Social influencers can provide a cost-effective way for startups and smaller businesses operating on a limited marketing budget to reach new customers.

If you aren’t ready to add them permanently  to your payroll, there are ways in which you can still work with them. You can draw up an endorsement deal or just pay for them to attend one of your events, post online about your products,  or you can even get them to review your product or give them a promo code to promote online.

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The best way to gain the trust and attention of the influencer’s audience is to have the influencer engage with your product and either create content around the brand or testify as to what the product has done for them.

The possibilities are unless, but it’s up to you to make sure that you take advantage of this new and happening buzz ed-about strategy to increase your stake in your target audience.