*originally written by the author and published in Vegas cannabis magazine
Social media, a web based platform used to broadcast information. Social networking, a platform used to communicate with one another. Marketing and branding industry sources go deeper into describing the differences between the two:
Social networking makes relationships more personal. It’s a two-way channel where you have an opportunity to build a rapport with your clients and prospects. These platforms are not about the amazing sales pitch you deliver to the audience; social networking is all about interactions and an open dialogue with users.
Social media adds a technology component, as well as flexibility, when it comes to how a person consumes, shares, and collaborates with what is being presented.
Both are very essential to businesses; however, in 2024, predictions in consumer spending show a shift in supporting small businesses versus large corporations. Unlike big corporations, a small business doesn’t have a million dollar marketing budget.
The U.S Chamber of Commerce shares seven marketing trends that every small business needs to know about in 2024, and almost all of them involve social networking + social media:
- Generative AI-based marketing
- Minimalist marketing campaigns
- Personalized interactive content
- Integrated online and offline marketing efforts
- Social listening
- Animation marketing
- Native advertising
In the cannabis industry, where social media platforms shadowban and suppress cannabis related content, the implementation of social networking has to be top priority. The Highly Connected App was created specifically for social networking with a high level focus on cannabis.
About The Highly Connected App: Founder and Team
The Highly Connected App, also known as THC app, is a networking app that directly connects businesses, ambassadors, influencers, advocates, and more. Founded by Krysta Jones in 2014, the app has grown by thousands and is recognized all over the country.
The app allows members to join a thriving online community now, network and build a portfolio to connect with vendors and others from all around the country, become educated on productivity, business, industry, community, and so much more. Though the app has a heavy focus on cannabis, it welcomes all industries to join.
Aside from founder and owner Krysta Jones, the app is supported by a team that consists of:
Sanja Ganja: Director of Marketing + Operations Manager.
Ruby Cardenas: Executive Assistant with a focus on Relationship Management and Sales.
Mario Flawless: App Developer + Tech and Digital Design.
A Sit Down with The Highly Connected App Founder, Krysta Jones
Let’s start some insight into the team and what each person did prior to cannabis; ending with the piece of the story that got you all into the cannabis industry.
“I always had an act for getting my big network of people together. I used to host events and was known for always getting my friends for activities. As soon as I finished high school, I started working with Caregivers, cultivating and working at various grows across Colorado. Through that, I found that I had talent in performance development, process improvements, and quality assurance.
I worked various jobs in cannabis, getting recruited across the community because I was known to perform at a high-level on the cultivation side and being able to decrease inputs and increase production.
Sanja, started working as an elementary school teacher and through that she realized that she had a huge passion to help people heal people of sicknesses. She found a job at a dispensary which led her into space. We met at a location we were both working at, at the same time.”
What’s the team’s specialty?
“Our speciality in the industry is creativity, and not just by marketing and branding but by figuring out creative ways to get shit done. Whether it’s a billion dollar budget or a $100k budget, we enable our network to be successful and sustainable during the toughest times. This makes us able to lean up and/or scale when the opportunity comes.”
Please take readers through the date that the app idea sparked the commitment to create it.
“The app was born in 2014 and the idea came from all the processes and tools I had been using but wanting to have them all in one hub. I wanted to not only leverage the brand but to create a product that provided a full circle, and a smaller circle of the right network, not just any network.
We wanted and still want to work with people who work like us: high performers, who are supportive, and have good work ethic. We facilitated a space where all of our network could move and groove together, promote their resources, events and opportunities, and together perform at a higher level. The app is about leveraging the network when needed but also reaping the benefits of promotions that we provide by streamlining this process.”
You all market the Highly Connected App as a networking platform more than a social platform; why?
“The social aspect is not who we want to compete with, our network is what we feel is valuable and the people and diversity in it. We value our community and that is why we call it the THC Family.”
What are 3 main things people should know about the benefits of The Highly Connected App?
“There is no better value for online promo than $25 a month that offers direct notifications to a targeted audience of about 3,000.
The app is the best way to communicate your needs to the community, to us, and to our in-house team so we can support you.
The app is a marketing and networking tool; the more you use it and plug in your needs, the more you get out of it.”
For the people like me, who aren’t crazy about apps and download only when we feel we absolutely must, why should we hit the app store right now to download the THC app?
“Because it’s not about the app, it’s about utilizing the Highly Connected family as a promotional partner and engaging to support the network. It’s about reaping the promo service benefits we provide for the small fee, and to show your support and participation.”
For those that use the app already, what can you tell them about what’s coming in 2024?
“In 2024 we will be launching The Highly Connected App 2. It’s a faster version because we grew out of the current model. The 2.0 is super fast and will enhance ways to connect quicker, and sell events tickets directly from the app as well. We will also be extending our affiliate program and including rewards for engagement from plugging in, that we’re super excited about as well.”
For more information about the Highly Connected App, visit: https://app.thehighcountrygirls.com/.
Veronica Castillo is known as the Traveling Cannabis Writer. She was a nomadic writer on the road covering all things cannabis/ hemp/ and overall plant medicines and recently came back home to Florida, making it her homebase once again. Her body of work can be found in multiple industry publications both digital and print where she provides cannabis industry and community insights from her 5 year journey around the country. She is a collaborator, connector, always seeking to bring to light the hidden gems in the plant space.