Rise of influence marketing

Remember Conan O’Brien’s tour, and how he launched it with one Tweet? Think about how much commerce is initiated now through the recommendation of friends through social media. These are examples of Influence Marketing.

I recently had the opportunity to exchange a few emails with Azeem Azhar, the CEO of a startup called PeerIndex that is focused on “Influence Marketing”. Founded in 2009, the company provides a service that helps consumers benefit from their passions, interests and influence particularly with respect to the services they get from companies and for brands and agencies to better identify effective and interested word-of-mouth advocates, something they call “Influencers”. It’s a service similar to the other big player in the place, Klout, with a unique spin.

According to Azhar “Influence marketing is going to be huge – and will become an essential part of the marketing mix over the coming years. In essence, influence marketing recognises that buyers trust other buyers, their friends and experts they know. “

A recent McKinsey report shed light on the trend indicating that word-of-mouth recommendations may be the primary reason for purchases in 20-50% of buying decisions. Further adding to the buzz, Forrester stated that 80% of all B2C and B2B purchases there is some form of word-of-mouth recommendation at play during the purchase cycle. If venture funding is any indication of the success, Klout, with its more than $40 million, leads the pack of companies looking to capitalize on this fast growing trend. Yet Klout isn’t alone in this fast moving sector. Several other start-up companies are quickly adding their own unique approaches.

We’ll see of this particular startup does anything, but the idea of influence marketing through social media is something that every company needs to consider.

Improve your Facebook fan page

Have you noticed that practically every major brand now has a Facebook page? Have you started a Facebook fan page for your own business?

If so, that’s great. Now you just need to make sure you’re using it effectively. If not, what are you waiting for?

As for tips, here’s a great article listing 10 tips to help you improve your Facebook fan page. The second and third items are particularly important, as you can create a sticky post with the “Pin to Top” feature and also highlight certain posts with the Star feature.

If you use these tools you’ll greatly improve your page. That said, the most important thing you can do is create consistently useful and entertaining posts that engage your audience and customers. if you have no idea how to do this, you should engage a consultant to help you with your social media branding. Firms like EXPbranding and PJs and Coffee and help you develop a strategy and implement on a daily basis.

5 Things to Consider when Writing a Press Release for Your Business

A press release can provide a major benefit to your business, when written properly. Many business owners fail to consider what makes for a good press release and the overall impact that they can have on sales. When writing a press release, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

1. Your press release has to be interesting. If you write up a boring story about your company, people are not going to read it. Give your readers something that grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more. It should be unique and engaging.
2. Consider your headline. This is the first thing that readers and editors will see. If your headline is not interesting and absolutely jumps off the page, chances are good that editors will pass it up. You have to have a compelling headline in order to get the press release published.
3. Never write a long, drawn out story. This is a bit mistake that many businesses make. Your press release should be short and directly to the point. Don’t spend hours coming up with clever anecdotes about your business. Just tell your story and be done with it. Your sentences should be short as well. Avoid run-on sentences and keep paragraphs to just four or five sentences max.
4. Never use a press release to advertise. Your aim is to announce something newsworthy about your business. Editors could care less about your business in general. They want something that their readers will want to read.
5. Make your announcement newsworthy. Again, you have to give editors and readers a newsworthy story of sorts. If you are offering a huge sale, make it sound like a newsworthy event. If you have recently relocated and are now in a more convenient location, write the press release about your new place and your grand re-opening but remember to make everything sound like a news story.

A press release can be one of the best things to happen to your business in terms of advertising, but they have to be written properly in order for them to provide benefit.

This article was written by PR Fire, a leading online public relations and marketing service.

5 Ways that Social Media Changed Marketing Strategies Forever

Social media has forever changed the way that many businesses conduct marketing campaigns. In fact, it has changed how many companies perceive marketing in general. How? There are a number of ways but below are the top 5 ways that social media marketing has affected strategies that businesses choose to promote their products and services.

1. Social media has definitely affected the way that companies deal with their target audience. Because of social media, you can better understand what your audience wants and learn about these wants in real-time. Facebook and Twitter give you instant access to people in the here and now. You can find out what they want and give it to them all in just a few moments time.
2. You also have a direct link to your audience now. You can effectively cut out the middle man and deal with your customers on a more personal level. This allows for more straightforward conversations and enables your audience to be more honest with you about their needs.
3. Because you have the ability for real-time conversation, you also have the ability to measure your company’s progress much better. You can control your conversations and react instantly, giving your customers a more positive overall experience with your business.
4. It goes without saying that social media enables you to enjoy different strategies with regards to advertising. It also enables you to engage your customers and allow them to be part of the conversation. You are no longer speaking to them – you are now speaking with them. Community engagement is crucial when it comes to overall business success.
5. You can now influence your customers as an expert in your field. Through blogs and other social media interaction, you can provide your customers with information that they need. You have changed from a business owner to an influencer and expert which will tell your customers that you are serious about your business and know how to help them to solve their issues.

This article was written by Custard Media, the UK’s leading social media marketing agency.

3 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Your Ecommerce Site

Everyone has heard about social media and how it can help to promote businesses. If you are not using this platform to boost your sales, you are being left out in the cold. Big brands are completely committed to the social media craze and you should be too. Here are 3 ways that you can incorporate social media marketing into your strategy and begin reaping the benefits of more traffic and higher levels of sales.

1. Facebook – If your business does not have a Facebook page, now is the time to get one. You can reach literally millions of Facebook users with a fan page or business page. You just have to start the page and then get the word out about it. Your Facebook page can be used to announce promotions, offer discounts and coupons and generally connect with the public.
2. Blogging – You simply have to have a blog set up to offer your customers information about general topics regarding your business. Topics can be widely ranged but should reflect what your business is about. For instance, if you sell kitchen appliances, post blogs offering tips on choosing the right appliances for an energy efficient kitchen. Blogging tells your customers that you are an expert in your field and offers them information that is helpful in general. They will appreciate the extra effort and likely give you more business.
3. Customer Service – The best brands in every industry have one thing in common – they offer excellent customer service. When a customer has a problem with your site or a product or service that you sell, be sure that you are quick in offering assistance. Twitter and Facebook are both excellent ways to provide your customers with service. Keep in mind that if you are using social media to provide better customer service, you will need to ensure that your accounts are being monitored at all times. You do not want a customer to contact you via Facebook and then have to wait hours or even days for a response. As your business grows you should consider having someone on your accounts around the clock to ensure that your customers receive the highest level of care possible.

This article was written by Nu Blue, a full service web design agency offering design and development, online marketing and content development services. Contact us at nublue.co.uk to learn more.

4 Really Cool Mobile Apps That Organize Your Day

Did you know that your Blackberry is only as good as the mobile apps you have downloaded on it? It’s true. Smartphones, especially Blackberry devices are only as good – or as cool – as the mobile apps that are downloaded on them.


Image Courtesy of Flickr

Mobile apps can transform a seemingly useless handheld mobile phone into something fun, entertaining, and exciting. However, to do that you need to first know which mobile apps to download.

The following is a look at some cool mobile apps that all Blackberry phones should have downloaded on them.

puZZed

Everyone knows that smartphones can be used as an alarm clock. So why would anyone want to download an alarm clock onto their Blackberry device? The simple answer, because this is super cool.

puZZed is an automated alarm clock that automatically starts to ring at the designated time. However, instead of being able to shut the clock off with a push of a button, this one requires that you solve a puzzle before it will turn off. When you purchase this mobile app you’ll have the option to choose math, typing, matching, or memory puzzles. There will be no sleeping in when the puZZed app is around.

BeepUs

Relive the memories of being able to talk to your friends on walkie talkies with the BeepUs mobile app. This mobile app will instantly turn your Blackberry device into a real life walkie talkie – only better. When this mobile app is downloaded it allows you to perform a push-to-talk action that instantly connects you with the friend on the other line. Sure, you could just pick up the phone and call, but the BeepUs app allows you to relieve some of your favorite childhood memories.

Home to Phone

Every top Blackberry mobile app list has to have some practical mobile app, and that is where the Home to Phone mobile app comes in. The Home to Phone app allows users to send valuable information back and forth from a home computer or laptop, to a Blackberry device. Whether it is a menu to your favorite restaurant, directions to a party, or just phone and address information for a store, the Home to Phone mobile app will allow you to instantly send the information you need right to your smartphone.

Tune In

Radios may be a thing of the past, but the radio stations aren’t. Download the Tune In mobile app and you can turn your Blackberry device into a radio. You’ll be able to listen to thousands of different radio stations at just a touch of a button. The best part of it all is there are no ad interruptions, allowing you to enjoy your favorite radio stations as if you were listening to them live.

Owning a Blackberry phone can be a fun and exciting experience, but only if you have the right apps downloaded. Take a few minutes and consider downloading some of these really cool mobile apps, and you’ll be able to turn your Blackberry device into a super cool handheld phone.

Facebook falls flat

Facebook’s IPO certainly netted a ton of money for Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow founders. Here’s a breakdown from the home page of CNBC.com.

What Are Their Shares Worth?

CNBC REAL-TIME WEALTH TRACKER

Mark Zuckerberg – $19,253,605,209
Dustin Moskovitz – $5,111,539,856
Sean Parker – $2,662,984,684

But the stop barely budged from its IPO price by the end of the day. It’s not exactly the home run some expected for day one of trading.

Organ donation through Facebook

I like this story. It looks like Facebook will start promoting organ donation by enabling users to register through their Facebook profile. The results could be stunning.

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