As Cyber Threats Continue to Mount, It’s Time to Beef Up Your Security Measures

Cloud storage adoption is on the rise, which makes security critical. High-profile data breaches are often in the headlines. This is why it is imperative for businesses and IT teams to understand that security is a proactive, two-way street. According to Gartner, information security spending is expected to surpass $113 billion by 2020. Security can get redundant, similar to a whack-a-mole where you are always on the defense–patching issues. Is the cloud more secure for your data? Read on to learn more.

Applications

Many businesses are moving to the cloud simply because it has the ability to recover quickly from any failure. In addition, the cloud was designed to scale even under heavy loads. As a result, developers have started getting into the habit of breaking applications into components in order to facilitate these types of features.

Here is the problem: sharing components can create a backdoor for users to gain access to data they’re otherwise unable to see or modify. This is certainly much more complicated than sending secure information over fax server software.

Hacking has become a billion-dollar industry. The bad guys are stealing your data and benefiting financially. It’s no surprise we’re seeing ransomware everywhere.

Lack of control

Sending company data to the cloud can make you feel insecure about who is monitoring your data. Who can you count on to keep your data safe? You’re giving up control since the information is no longer in only your hands. You can’t see or feel the servers. You won’t know if they need an update. You have no idea who works with your data.

This is why you need to ensure your cloud service provider offers bank-level encryption to keep your data safe. In fact, all of your data should be encrypted both in transit and at rest.

Explosive data growth

The Internet of Things and big data are fueling data growth. A lot of that data is now stored in the cloud. While cloud vendors do offer updated security services to meet evolving needs, it’s important to stay away from the set-it-and-forget-it train of thought. Your security team needs to monitor everything consistently.

Even if you have an open window, for just a few seconds, the bad guys will know. They are constantly checking for vulnerabilities–it’s their job. The minute you have a vulnerability, you will get hacked. You just can expect security features to protect you all of the time. This is why you must monitor and test your deployments continuously.

Zero-knowledge cloud storage

These types of providers are rising in popularity since they encrypt all of your data on the client side. As the name implies, the vendor has no way to access your data despite the fact that they are storing it. This type of storage can make the difference between keeping your data secure or exposing it to cyber threats. On the other hand, before you upload all of your data to the cloud–you can encrypt it yourself with tools such as Cryptomator and Boxcryptor. By encrypting your data, potential hackers can’t read it.

In a day and age where hackers are making millions, it is critical to do everything you can to keep your information safe. Even if you partner with a trusted cloud vendor, you must play your role in the execution of robust and comprehensive security.

 

The birth of the audio blogging revolution: Anchor

In this age of information, almost everything exists on the internet. Several years ago, we regarded the internet as a collection of written content documents coming from different sources around the world. Today, almost everything can be found online thanks to the new generation of developers who might have been following some java logging best practices. Consequently, the internet is no longer just a filing cabinet for text content.

Nowadays, we can enjoy seamless videos, attractive slideshows, online phone and video calls, and webinars. This is why many people have shifted from television to online videos, from hard-cover books to eBooks, and from radio to possibly Podcast. Well, partly podcasting as this has become an alternative to radio.

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Is there a True Alternative to Conventional Radio?

Yes, there is, and this is through Anchor. This is a social media and a blogging platform that allows you to listen to different news stations. On top of that, you can also share some audio files to your Anchor friends and followers, or even to different social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

The good thing about this new social media platform is that there is also a new way to like audio. Instead of clicking a like button, you can applaud the audio you are listening or applaud what the broadcaster has just mentioned during the audio recording.

When you listen to a high-traffic station, you might hear some endless applause, which could get annoying. That’s not a problem as you can disable the applaud feature, so you can focus in on listening.

Who is Broadcasting on Anchor Radio?

Anyone can broadcast on Anchor radio. Although big media companies can use this platform for their own radio broadcasting, you can also create your own Anchor radio station.

All you have to do is to record an audio that runs up to 5 minutes. After recording, your audio bytes become converted as a wave that can be shared online. Your audio will be online for 24 hours, and after 24 hours, the audio won’t be available anymore, so you have to create a new one the next day.

The reason why your audio is available only for 24 hours is to ensure fresh content. This means that Anchor listeners can search for fresh news stories.

Is Anchor a New Audio Blogging Platform?

Anchor is not only a new audio blogging platform, but is also the first audio blogging platform on the internet today. It does not aim to replace the traditional text-based blogging because Anchor audios can also be transcribed instantly into text form. This means that Anchor broadcasting can be considered audio blogging and text-based blogging at the same time.

Will Anchor Start a New Revolution?

Anchor will probably start a new revolution in radio broadcasting and blogging. There are really many people who feel more relaxed listening than reading to content. Moreover, there isn’t any alternative to radio yet except Anchor. The exciting thing about Anchor is that it has begun attracting some big media and social media personalities like Gary Vaynerchuck.

Conclusion

Anchor is not just a radio broadcasting platform as it’s a social media and a blogging platform as well. Although it has been launched recently, it’s now fast becoming the talk of the town.

This is because Anchor is easy to use for both listeners and broadcasters. Would you be interested in checking out Anchor today?

 

 

Important Questions You Should Answer Before Choosing a WordPress Website

Are you thinking about starting a WordPress website or would you like to give your existing WordPress website a makeover? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you need to think carefully about the WordPress theme you select. There are many excellent themes out there, but there are also themes that could cause problems later on. Below are some of the main questions you should answer before choosing a WordPress theme.

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What Do You Want Your Website to Do?

With so many themes available, it can be a difficult task trying to decide which one to use. Before you look for a theme, make sure you understand how to create a website by using a website like sitebeginner.com, so that you know how to install a theme and that you are clear about what you want your website to achieve.

Some website owners simply want a brochure style website, which means a basic theme is required, while other website owners require more advanced features such as e-commerce functionality, which means they need a much more complex theme. In other situations, you may want to start with a basic website and expand its functionality later. In this case, you need a WordPress theme that caters for these future changes.

How Is the Theme Rated?

When it comes to WordPress themes, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ so you need to find out what experiences other users of a particular theme have had. It’s relatively easy to find out this information through theme marketplaces, forums and blogs that are dedicated to web development. Once you are satisfied that a theme delivers and that it’s good value for money, you can purchase it with more confidence.

Is There Support with The Theme You Are Interested In?

Internet technologies keep changing and website owners continually face new online challenges, so it’s vital to have the proper support for the theme you purchase. In many cases, you have to pay a fee for this support, but it’s usually money well spent. The support normally offered by leading theme development companies includes regular security updates and updates to the functionality and appearance of the theme you choose.

How Does the Theme Appear in Different Situations?

Your theme has to look perfect on a wide range of devices and browsers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, so you should test a theme before you purchase it. If possible, find out if you can view a demo of the theme or find websites that feature a theme you like and then simply view the theme on as many devices and browsers as possible. If you don’t have access to a wide range of devices, there are online emulators available that will show you what a particular website looks like on smartphones, tablet and other devices.

It’s important to think carefully before choosing a WordPress theme for your website. Make sure you know exactly what you want the theme to do and find out as much as possible about the options available. Once you do this, you will be much more likely to have fewer problems and will be able to concentrate on more important aspects of your online work.

 

Are Chatbots Right for Your eCommerce Site?

Odds are you’ve already interacted with a chatbot without realizing you’ve done so. If you have an iPhone, Siri is essentially a voice-activated chatbot. Another example is Amazon’s Alexa. According to Amazon, Alexa provides capabilities that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. One of the capabilities of Alexa is reminding Amazon customers of purchases they need to make. So far, it’s working pretty well for Amazon and Siri is an unquestionable hit too. But are chatbots right for your ecommerce site?

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Precisely put, Siri and Alexa, while sterling examples of chatbot platforms, are more properly considered virtual assistants. The type of chatbot with which you’re more likely to come into contact in an ecommerce situation is primarily found in messaging apps. These are capable of providing basic communication, such as responding to FAQ queries and ordering products and services.

These chatbots have gone a long way toward improving consumer acceptance over their earliest deployments. We’ve all called banks, the local utility, or other large institutions that routinely field thousands of calls a day for repetitive requests. That voice you get saying something to the effect of; “If you’re about lose your mind because you really want to talk to a live human being, press 0 for the operator,” is also a chatbot.

When viewed in those terms, they don’t have the best reputation. But the fact remains, if they are implemented strategically and programmed to respond as organically as possible, chatbots can be of tremendous service to an ecommerce enterprise.

Uber employs chatbots for scheduling rides, fast food restaurants have incorporated them for placing orders and some airlines are using chatbots to schedule and book flights. Any situation in which there are a finite number of closed-end responses to a specific set of questions can usually be handled by a chatbot. With the potential to considerably lighten the customer service load of an ecommerce enterprise, chatbots can be very useful when you create an ecommerce website, You just have to be sure the ‘bot you deploy is the same one with which your customers interact.

And this brings us to the cautionary tale that is Microsoft’s Tay. Rolled out for Twitter users in March of 2016, within 24 hours, Tay had taken on all of the worst traits of the Twitter-verse.

Designed to think and talk like a millennial, while learning from Twitter content, Tay began issuing racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic Tweets, as well as bragging about Marijuana consumption to police officers. One of her more benign Tweets, “Chill, I’m a nice person! I just hate everybody…”

The lesson here is to make sure your chatbots are never subjected to undue influences. Counter to the basic rule of commerce, the customer isn’t always right. Sometimes the customer is absolutely vicious. When you’re considering deploying a learning chatbot, you have to make sure its responses are carefully scripted and not open to outside influence.

Check it regularly to ensure it is functioning properly. Update it continually as new functionalities, concepts, situations and opportunities emerge. Used well, chatbots can be a significant asset, saving you both time and money.

Just know, if left totally unattended, they have the potential to go off the rails.

Simple Ways To Boost Traffic To Your e-Commerce Site in 2017

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Regardless of the type of e-Commerce site you operate, be it a full-blown site with thousands or products, or a small craft shop where you sell handmade items online, it’s important that you have a steady flow of traffic.

The more traffic, the more sales you’re likely to get.

That seems easy enough, right? That is until you start to notice a decline in your site traffic. It can be frustrating if you’re not getting the results you want, and it can often be time-consuming to do anything about it.

Some of the methods you might take to boost traffic can indeed be time-consuming, but there are some simple, fast things you can do to improve your site traffic in 2017 as well.

Encourage Customers to Share User Photos on Instagram

Instagram is one of the best social media resources for anyone from bloggers to people selling things on their website, and if you’re not putting your focus here, it’s a good time to start.

One way you can boost your traffic is to encourage your current customers to share photos of themselves using your products. When you’re just starting out with this tactic, you can incentivize them with free product samples, or you could do creative marketing such as running a contest to get people to share photos.

Create Landing Pages

Another good way to increase your overall sales and boost your business is to design individual landing pages for your products.

Landing pages should be optimized, and that path can take some work and some testing, but once you find a formula that works they can be great for driving traffic to your site and getting customers to buy from you.

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Refresh Your SEO

If it’s been a while since you thought about SEO, make 2017 the year you refresh your efforts in this area. SEO rules may change, but it remains incredibly important as you work to drive traffic to your site. If it’s been a while since you’ve done keyword research or analyzed your site’s SEO, it’s important that you take the time to make adjustments if necessary.

You might also find some great new opportunities for targeting a wider audience simply by using keyword research tools.

Create A Blog

Even if you have strong content on your site describing your products and everything is keyword optimized, you should still think about having a blog.

A blog is one of the best ways to strengthen the brand of your e-Commerce store, let visitors know what your business is all about, and reach new traffic. Content marketing is essential if you want to strengthen lagging traffic numbers.

Incorporate Videos

Finally, if you’re not already, think about adding videos to your social media profiles and your e-Commerce site.

Videos are the perfect way to give people a complete view of your products, and also let them get to know you. When people feel like they know you, they’re more likely to visit your site and buy products from you.

Some of the methods to drive traffic to an e-Commerce site might be labor-intensive, but there are also ways like the ones listed above that can let you improve the performance of your site with a minimal time investment.

Responsive web design – three mistakes to avoid

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There is no doubt about it, if you have a web presence; you need to make sure it’s accessible from as many different devices as possible. If you do not do this you stand to lose out on a significant potential audience. If you speak to a specialist in ecommerce website design, they will tell you how important responsive website design is, in order for your business to be as accessible as possible.

As important as responsive web design has become; it still has to be done well to be successful. Just using a responsive web design solution is not enough to ensure an effective web presence. We are going to take a look at three of the most common mistakes that are made which can potentially reduce the effectiveness of responsive web design.

Thinking desktop not mobile

There are many web designers out there who are still in the mindset of thinking about designing for desktop first. The whole concept of responsive web design is that the content fits to the screen on which it is being viewed.  The problem is that content which reads well on desktop does not necessarily always read well when using a mobile device.

If you automatically consider desktop first when designing a website you run the risk of adopting a design that causes mobile uses to disengage. It’s generally a good idea to start with the mobile device user in mind when designing a responsive website.  Of course, now that Google’s mobile-first indexing is officially being tested you have another good reason for putting mobile first. Pretty soon your search engine rankings may depend on the effectiveness of your mobile website.

Not creating the simple navigation required

Problems with creating a navigation system for a responsive website often stem from thinking desktop first. If you adopt a rigid navigation system that is best suited to the desktop experience it may not translate very well to being used on a mobile device. The only way to avoid doing this is to experience your website using a mobile device. You need to make sure that your website is designed from the mobile experience point of view.

It’s important to remember that ease of navigation is very important when it comes to attracting visitors to your website, and keeping them engaged. If people access your website using a mobile device, and then struggle to find their way around the pages, they are unlikely to want to visit the site again.

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Neglecting the touchscreen experience

The touchscreen experience is no longer just restricted to mobile device usage; many laptops now use touchscreen technology. The fact is that a large proportion of people who access the Internet now use their fingertips to do so. These people want to be able to just touch the screen, and swipe, to access everything they want to see.

One of the most common mistakes that designers make is to not take into account the touchscreen experience. If a user is touching the screen they need to be able to touch an individual element without interfering with other elements on the screen. You should always bear this in mind with your online content. Remember, you do not want people to have to zoom in in order to easily access your content by touch. All users need to be able to read your online content easily so you need to pay attention to font size when designing your website.

Using responsive web design is an excellent way of enabling people to view your content using different devices. That being said, you still need to bear in mind the end user experience for each type of device. The fact that you decide to adopt a responsive web design solution when creating your website does not automatically mean that your site is optimised for viewing across all devices.

Hopefully, we have shown you how important design is when it comes to making the most of responsive web design. You need to ensure that the design of your website is geared to mobile first as this means that the viewing experience should end up being of a high quality no matter what type of device is used for viewing.

 

Guest Posting Your Way to Blog Success

When you first start your blog, finding ways to bring in consistent traffic can be a major challenge.

One way that many newbie bloggers have made this transition easier is by guest posting.

So, what is guest posting?

Well, essentially, it means that you offer to write a blog post for another website. The post is generally credited to you and the blogger will allow you to link back to your site.

There are obvious advantages for both sides here. You’ll gain the exposure of their visitors while they get quality content to post on their blog.

But how exactly do you get these guest posting opportunities?

And what do you do when you get them?

Let’s find out.

Finding Guest Posting Opportunities

Your main goal when attempting to find guest posting opportunities should be to look for someone that has an audience as similar to your target reader as possible.

If you’re in the health niche, for example, you probably don’t want to guest post on a coding blog.

Instead, it’s best to stick with other health bloggers that wouldn’t exactly be defined as your competition.

For example, a blog that focuses on weightlifting will likely have interest in content from a nutritionist that has similar views on healthy eating.

So long as you’re establishing yourself as an authority within a strong niche, you shouldn’t have much problem finding other bloggers that would be more than happy to have you share your expertise on their blog.

Create a Plan

If you want to use guest posting to drive your blog success, you need to have a plan.

The first aspect of this guest posting plan is to determine your main objectives.

In most cases, your three main objectives are going to include:

  • Bringing more traffic to your blog
  • Positioning yourself as an authority within your niche
  • Earning backlinks that help with SEO

While you could write an entire book on the steps to take in order to accomplish those objectives, it’s important that you have some type of actionable plan in place

At the very least, you should have an idea of how many guest posts you intend to write.

Create a Killer Guest Post

While guest posting can definitely help you achieve the objectives listed above, it will be a huge waste of time if the content you create isn’t outstanding.

Creating a killer guest post on a website with a strong following can literally change the entire direction of your blog.

So, if you’re lucky enough to earn your way through the door and get accepted, make sure you produce something that’s memorable.

How do you do this?

Well, it starts with being useful.

Produce something that truly offers value to the people that read their blog. This will help you earn their trust and hopefully click that link back to your blog.

Conclusion

The potential offered by guest posting is something that very few other blog marketing opportunities can offer.

Take advantage of this and create a plan to use guest posting to drive your blog’s success.

 

Social Media Marketing Tips for Food Companies

Just about every business today can benefit from having a strong presence on the Internet, and on social media, in particular. But food companies should follow specific tips and tactics to achieve the best results. If you run a food startup, check out the social media marketing tips below so that you can make the most of every post on every social networking platform.

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Use Instagram to Post Mouth-Watering Photos and Videos

One of the best ways to market your food company is by promoting your food products on Instagram. Take photos of your food in action. Whether you sell delicious dairy-free products like those offered by HamptonCreek, or you are a catering company that serves fully prepared meals, taking and posting photos of your food is a fantastic way to get people’s mouths to start watering. Get followers by using the appropriate hashtags, and take short videos too, in addition to posting high quality images.

Post Recipe Ideas on Facebook

Communicating with your current and potential customers is an important component to any successful social media campaign. If you are a food company, you can have a lot of fun by posting delicious recipes that feature your product. This is a sure-fire way to get people interested in trying out your food in a new way that they may not have thought of before. You can post recipes with photos or with short videos in order to grab people’s attention as they are scrolling through their newsfeed on Facebook, and you can encourage people to give the recipes a try and then post their comments to let you know if they liked them.

Post Your Photos on Pinterest, Too

Another social media platform that is visual and a great outlet for food companies is Pinterest. Post your high quality photos on Pinterest, where customers can gather ideas, including recipes, that they can pin to their boards for later use. You can also use Pinterest to link back to your website or to your other social media pages to attract even more followers. For example, if you are a vegan food company, your goal would be to post recipes that use your product as an ingredient so that people searching for those types of recipes will learn about your brand.

Use Twitter to Promote Your Blog and Website

Because Twitter has such a short limit on the number of characters that you can use in each post, it is best to use this platform to link back to your website and/or to your blog. This will serve to increase traffic to your blog, as well as to your site or your e-commerce shop where people can learn more about your products and make purchases.

Using the tips above will help you attract more attention to your food brand on social media, and that will help your company grow. The key is to be consistent, have open discussions with your customers and followers, and post content that is engaging and relevant to your target audience.

5 Secrets to Building a Brilliant Business Instagram

Despite what some people would have you believe, Instagram is not just for selfies and stalking. The social network now has over 500 million active users every month. This stunning fact means that businesses that want to connect with the public need to be part of the action. Because Instagram is still a relatively new arrival to the marketing sphere, it is not always readily apparent how it ought to be used. If you attempting to build your business’s Instagram account, then abiding by the following guidelines should lead you to some satisfying results.

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  1. Tell a Story

Everyone loves a good story, and thanks to Instagram’s newest feature, you can tell yours to your customers. Basically, stories take all of the pictures you add throughout a single day and compile them into a slideshow format. Special tools allow you to add doodles and captions to your pictures for some extra spice. Because each story disappears after 24 hours, people who get the chance to view them feel like they are part of an exclusive secret.
Businesses can use the story feature to their advantage by offering sneak peeks of new product lines or behind-the scenes looks at daily operations. Followers who enjoy the content of your stories are more likely to check your account regularly for updates. As they become more invested in your daily tales, their loyalty to your brand will increase, which should translate into better business for you.

  1. Likable Pictures

Having a strong following is all about having engaging content, and on Instagram, the most important type of content is the pictures. You have to have pictures that people want to look at, plain and simple. Luckily, the latest smart phones make it easier than ever to take clear and attractive pictures, which you can make even more appealing by adding filters. You should set out to create images that visually combine the products or services your company offers with the personality that you want it to convey.
For example, food tech company hamptoncreek features close-up shots of its products, as well as recipes you can make using these products. Chunky cookie dough, savory salads, and lively pastas all sit on dazzling display. Shot against brightly colored backdrops, these pictures convey the company’s upbeat and forward-thinking personality. You can’t help but smile when you scroll through these offerings, and before long you start to want to taste those foods for yourself.

  1. Clever Captions

Even though Instagram is primarily an instrument for showcasing pictures, do not discount the importance of the captions. Viewers are much more likely to remember photos if they are accompanied by interesting or humorous text. When you use captions to explain or elaborate upon your pictures, the points that you hope to make will have a significantly greater impact. Captions are also useful for showing off your company’s unique personality, as well as for sharing links to your other sites.

  1. Hashtag Winning

Hashtags are the icing on the cake for your finely constructed content. This is because they help you connect with people who do not follow you yet. According to Forbes, there are three optimal types of hashtags for businesses to use: Hashtags that are generally attractive to other users, hashtags that turn up in common searches, and hashtags that are specifically related to your products or services. If you add multiple hashtags, then you will have multiple ways of reaching potential followers.

  1. Follow Back

Using the preceding tactics will likely cause you to gain some new followers before long. Once that happens, don’t forget to reciprocate. Your customers will be pleased to see that you are following them back, which will make them more likely to respond to your efforts at interaction. Being able to see what your customers are up to can also be a useful mode of market research.
Picture Perfect:
When planning and executing your company’s social media strategies, it is important to remember that Instagram is both a professional tool and a creative outlet. You need to post content that is targeted towards helping you meet your business goals, but you should have as much fun as you can while doing it. People use Instagram to relax and connect, so construct your account with that in mind. Snap some pictures, slap on some filters, and add captions and hashtags that make you smile. Before long, you could be on your way to being Instafamous.

Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Influencer marketing may not be as old as SEO or SEM, but it is still a very effective internet marketing instrument to use. Whether you’re trying to promote your social media pages or you want to reach the right target market and increase sales, influencer marketing is a good way to do it.

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Being relatively new, it is not surprising to see a lot of mistakes happening when brands and businesses start integrating influencer marketing into their existing campaigns. In this part, we’re going to take a look at some of those mistakes and discuss how you can avoid them easily. Let’s get started, shall we?

Focus Too Much on Exposure

Exposure is a good key performance indicator to use when doing an influencer marketing campaign. It is a relatively easy KPI to measure, especially on social media. There are plenty of analytics tools to support this key measurement as well.

Unfortunately, focusing too much on exposure and reach is not the way to do influencer marketing. In fact, exposure should only be a portion of your influencer marketing goals. There are several reasons why focusing on exposure is a mistake:

  • It is easy to cheat the numbers. Just because an influencer has 1 million followers, doesn’t mean all 1 million of them read the posts about your brand.
  • Exposure doesn’t indicate anything more than the amount of people who read your messages.

What’s more important than exposure is engagement. Measure the number of people that react to your messages and you’ll have a much better view of your influencer marketing impacts this way.

One Message for All Channels

This is another wrong approach to take when starting an influencer marketing campaign. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common mistakes today. You can’t expect people on Twitter to react the same way as those on Facebook. For your campaign to be effective, each platform needs to be approached differently.

The same goes for blogs and YouTube. These channels are unique and must be treated as such. YouTube, for instance, is more than just about good visuals. It is about telling stories and keeping viewers engaged.

Doing Everything In-House

Just like SEO and content marketing, influencer marketing requires you to invest a lot of time and energy for it to be successful. Fortunately, you don’t have to make the mistake of doing everything yourself.

There are marketing agencies that can help you with connecting with – and managing – influencers, formulating a suitable campaign for your brand, producing great content that viewers actually love and measuring the impact of the campaign down to the very last detail. Working with the best digital marketing agency may be exactly what you need to be successful.

There is no doubt that influencer marketing is a very good marketing instrument to use. People listen to the influencers they follow and adore, which is why sending brand-related messages through influencers is often more effective than placing ads on top sites. You too can benefit from influencer marketing by starting a campaign today.

Making the net better – one nut at a time.