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Last week, I visited RedSneakers, an upscale SEO and website marketing firm in Fort Myers, Florida. I sat down to chat with the boss, Ed Moore. I asked him what he thinks about apps. He replies quickly "We have a website, we don't think we need one." I tried to hide my horrified expression behind my coffee cup.
This is from an SEO guy.
The functions of an app haven't been made clear to the public yet. Why not? That's what I'm trying to figure out.
The App Story
Apps have been around prior to 2008 – but that was the year that we, the plebes, were introduced to that very short and ominous sounding word: app. GooglePlay and Apple's App Store opened for business that year. I even attempted to make my own in 2010. It wasn't very successful, but I did the best I could with what I had. Don't judge.
Apps have come a long way since then. TUNE's "Global Mobile 2016" report  estimated there was 180 billion app downloads in 2015. Furthermore, the App Store just enjoyed its busiest day ever on New Years Day 2017.
Obviously many folks know these juicy little widgets exist, but what about the mainstream? Nope, not yet.
Let's get back to Ed at RedSneakers. He is still believing that an app is a mini, mobile website. I laid my phone on his desk and tapped on our company's app: SocialMe (we're a boutique social media management and training company). I continued tapping. I showed him the Entrepreneur.com newsfeed that displays real-time social media articles and blogs (and entertains me in the wee hours of the morning).
Then I tapped on our Calendar (Google Calendar link) so he could see the meeting I had scheduled with him. I mentioned that his clients could see his scheduled MeetUps, events, and even the slots he had free for them to book an appointment.
Next, I tapped on our SocialClub, where our clients can add themselves to our map. Here is where it gets fun, I get their name, email, or phone number and location. Data collecting, baby! I tapped the SocialMe Poll button. Our fans can choose what features of apps they like the most with a fun, interactive chart showing where they fit in. We all like to fit in, don't we?
Push notifications are the cherries on top of the marketing sundae, though. I have never seen a website (yet) that shoots alerts of sales, messages and updates into my hands, by text, on my phone. We can alert our entire fan base of a special LinkedIn seminar that we are holding tomorrow!
Next, I showed him our SocialMe team superimposed over a grand NYC skyline. We look like hipster, high-fashion models. Hey, it's all about the image.
Then I feigned boredom while I showed him the normal Insta, FB and Twitter icons and easy GPS directions to our place.
Interaction & Engagement
When I looked up I instantly realized that I showed him something that he did not know existed: INTERACTION and ENGAGEMENT. People today are spending over 5 hours per day looking at their phones, making it harder and harder to slow down their speeding on the information highway. If there isn't an element that makes your clients feel connected to you and your brand, they aren't going to care about you. As Mary Kay, the Grand-Dame of make-up and uber successful entrepreneur said, "people won't care about you if you don't care about them." It's no surprise that the Mary Kay brand has multiple, sophisticated apps currently on the market.
Engagement is the biggest difference in mobile websites vs. mobile apps. Today, people have a ridiculously low attention span – if interaction isn't immediate, your customer has likely moved on in search of the next CandyCrush. Experts say that people are even sick of typing website addresses in search bars. Tapping on the app icon is going to be de-riguer in the future.
This past year was a very, very good year for the short-attention span social media platform of Snapchat. A fairly new social media app compared to the Facebooks and YouTubes of the world, Snapchat hit the scene with a brand new concept of fleeting picture and video sharing that lessens the pressure of posting quality. Its revolutionary platform idea has proved to be a massive success – and a great place for businesses to get in some one-on-one interaction with prospective consumers.
To prove how good 2016 was to Snapchat, we’re going to breakdown some significant statistics proving that the video-sharing mobile application is the place to be in 2017:
· Snapchat awareness this year grew from 60% to 71% among Americans 12 years of age and older.
· Snapchat has more users now than LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.
· Total percent of Americans using Snapchat grew from 17% to 23% just this year.
· Snapchat is now the country’s second favorite social media platform.
· Young Americans (12 to 24 years old) using Snapchat grew to 26% in 2016, outpacing Instagram at 17%.
Those are just some of the impressive Snapchat stats garnered throughout the past year. The company is expected to be valued at $25 billion at its IPO early in 2017, and the platform expects to close out 2016 with a whopping 150 million active daily users.
You as a business owner, individual, or entrepreneur should absolutely take Snapchat seriously as part of your 2017 business plan moving forward. Clearly, the app is not going anywhere any time soon, and the amount of daily users is expected to surpass 200 million this year.
Though Snapchat is a world of its own, centered on quit wit, clever videos, and intriguing content, anyone can learn to conquer its appeal by whipping out their phone and snapping a picture or video of daily business operations.
Consumers are all about direct connection and interaction with you today, and Snapchat is the perfect place to give them it – free of charge to you!
The past year hasn’t exactly been kind to Twitter. Shares dropped nearly 400%, the company laid off thousands of workers, and its little video project, Vine, was officially killed. Twitter has its work cutout in 2017 for climbing back up the relevancy ladder, and that is going to start by adopting some of the other “hot” features championed by Instagram and Snapchat today.
I am personally a fan of Twitter, and I find it to be the most effective place to source breaking news before its skewed by the media narrative. I also find it to be a fun place to fire out some sarcastic remarks I am too scared to post on Facebook. That being said, Twitter needs to make serious innovative moves in 2017 to appeal to the larger base of social media users. Though I know the founders of Twitter probably won’t read this, here are my recommendations for giving the platform a facelift:
1. Live Video
Live Video is everything today. Periscope used to be the place to do it, but other platforms found a way to integrate their Live Video Marketing directly. Twitter needs to develop a “Live Video Tweet” option in which users can not only “Go Live” for other Tweeters to watch, they can also Tweet segments from the Live Video after it’s done.
2. More Ad Options
Businesses are flocking to Instagram for the advertising and influencing opportunities today. Twitter isn’t exactly ad-friendly. They need to create an easier and more effective way to get advertisements in the face of their desired users. It’s all about expanded branded awareness, and Twitter needs to cater to that.
3. Keep Character Limit
Twitter has toyed with the idea of expanding their character limit and I’m here to say: DON’T DO IT! Clearly, the world is becoming more and more scatterbrained, drifting to platforms like Instagram and Snapchat that rely on simply a picture or 10-second video. People don’t like to read. Keep the Tweets to 140 characters. It’s what makes them so funny, clever, and quick in the first place.
Hopefully the executives at Twitter are already going over these three tips right now; but if they’re not, we may continue to see a drop in the relevancy of Twitter in 2017.
Let’s say a prayer that’s not the case.
If you think mobile marketing apps are just reserved for big name brands and platforms like Spotify, Facebook, Yelp, and the Wall Street Journal, you are sadly mistaken. Over the last few years, apps have become the number one way mobile users navigate their phones.
A staggering 90% of mobile user’s time is spent inside an app when on their phones.
Even more profound (or alarming depending on how you look at it), nearly 75% of Americans check their phones every single hour they’re awake. The discussion has shifted from, “what is an app and why would I ever need one?” to “how quickly and efficiently can I have a fully-functioning app in the app stores?”
Apps are for everyone, every brand, and every business. Many small businesses are already ahead of the game, and see the marketing value for directly connecting with mobile users. But, not everyone is sold yet, so we’re here to provide you with 3 eye-opening reasons why your business needs it own mobile app now.
1. Be visible at all times
How many times per day do you sit down at a laptop and peruse the Internet? Not many. How many times do you have a quick second or two to glance at an app on your phone and catch up on social media notifications and sport’s scores? A lot. Apps can be checked in between meetings, on subways, while eating out, and the list goes on. Apps are all about convenience for consumers, and developing an app for your company will give it permanent mobile visibility.
2. Develop a direct marketing channel
Apps can serve many functions – from games, information, news feeds, reviews, to discounts and seasonal deal downloads. One of the biggest benefits of having a mobile app is that all the information you want customers to know is right there in their pockets. Set up push notifications, showcase your coupons and discounts, and reward app users for following your brand.
3. Build brand name recognition
The more consumers are faced (whether its willing or not) with your brand, logo, and platform, the harder it’s going to be for them to forget it. A mobile app will greatly contribute to your platform’s mobile awareness, and make it easier for individuals to invest in your brand and follow its every update (people WANT to know you and your brand).
And the list goes on. You’re probably thinking – ok, that sounds great and all, but where on earth do I get started making an app? App development is on the rise, and we’re proud to have added it to our SocialMe services!
Social media marketing is still a relatively new marketing channel available to businesses today. It wasn’t so long ago that marketers were calling social media a “fad” that would fade away into the advertising past. With no concrete ability to measure ROI, critics argued social media would slip in relevance for B2B and B2C marketing.
Fast-forward 5 years and every serious marketer is pouring their money in social media and content marketing. The positive return on investment is increasing, and every business wants a piece of the pie.
With this manic-rush to adopt social media for businesses, a few misconceptions about the social media marketing arena are harming content marketing prospects for small businesses on the web.
You don’t need to be on every platform
We could start on a whole other topic about which platforms your business should be on given its industry, but we’ll stick to the point here. Quality trumps quantity with social media marketing, and stretching your marketing over 6 platforms isn’t doing your business any favors. The whole point of social media is connecting intimately and personally with consumers over topics that interest them. You need to provide enticing, succinct, and eye-catching content on a regular basis that is going to keep them enthralled with your brand.
By spilling over onto 6 different platforms trying to achieve this special kind of connection, you’re going to lose focus and precise contact with your ideal consumer base.
Quality > Quantity
Building a loyal and active brand following will do wonders for your business. These people will share, like, and comment on your posts for their thousands of friends to see. They’ll tell people about you, recommend you through chat groups and emails, and purchase from you on a regular basis. These are the consumers you want.
Depending on what type of business you operate, technically only 2-3 platforms will truly accomplish this for you. Spreading your reach over 7 isn’t going to do you any favors. Trust us.
Video marketing is quickly dominating how information is learned, shared, and distributed on social media marketing platforms today. With 54% of global traffic in 2016 being attributed to video marketing (it’s expected to swell to 74% in just one year), it’s important we turn our attentions to the best video marketing channels of today. Video marketing is the advertising of the future, and there’s one social media platform right now that’s making it easy to harness: Facebook.
Why is video marketing increasing in popularity?
The answer is simple: people have short attention spans, have little downtime, and want to be entertained. Video satisfies all of these demands, and leaves our brains stimulated by the end of it.
If a consumer can get the gist of a product in 15-second, cute video clip, why would they read a 3-page description? Time is money.
Which platforms have video marketing?
Almost all social media marketing platforms have a video marketing component today. The important ones to note are Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Yes, you can reply to Tweets with a video, and yes, Snapchat is incredibly influential with young consumer decisions.
We’re guessing that most of you reading this are thinking: that’s great and all, but this is too much information. Which one is THE BEST?
Facebook as deviously outperformed YouTube as the number one video content sharing platform in 2016. They saw YouTube’s influence grow these last 10-years, and they wanted a piece of the pie for themselves. With 1.3 Facebook billion users, businesses want a way to break through the noise and reach consumers. What’s the best way to do that? Facebook Live.
Facebook Live is a real-time video-sharing component of Facebook’s platform. No matter where you are, you can whip out your phone and start “live-filming” yourself or an event. Facebook then takes it and builds you an audience – FOR FREE.
If you’ve used Facebook Live at all, you’ll notice how heavily favored and shared it is by Facebook. Facebook wants to be the number one social media platform for EVERYTHING. If you natively upload video content to the site, or use their real-time video sharing capability, they’re going to shove it to the top of user's feeds.
It’s the all-in-one solution for brands looking to build their online following and consumer reach.
Not a fan of filming video?
We can help give you campaign ideas for getting started. Just shoot us a message on here!
In order for businesses to grow, their consumer reach needs to constantly expand as time moves forward. More customers need to be either buying the product, or investing in the company’s services. The ultimate goal is to reach a wider target audience as soon as possible.
No other marketing channel is as effective for this as social media. With 2 out of every 3 adults fully using social media today, it provides an organic platform for reaching thousands of interested consumers.
Here are 5 reasons your business needs social media marketing now.
1. Boosted SEO
Social media actually helps improve your website’s SEO rankings. Killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, and drives traffic to optimized web pages much faster than customary advertising methods.
2. Brand Loyalty
Studies released within the year have officially linked loyal customers with active social media profiles. Social media screams your company’s brand and personality quicker than you can find your missing car keys.
3. Customer Service
Social media is all about instant communication and connection. It provides an immediate customer service channel for consumers who wish to communicate with you about a product or experience.
4. New Customers
Through shared posts, social media advertising, and word of mouth, new customers who never knew you existed will FIND you. It’s like free advertisement.
5. Greater Reach
Social media enables you to market to a large population. It lets you decide whom to market to, when to market to them, and even presents the finished findings for altering your approach in the future. That kind of insight is priceless.
And the list goes on. Social media marketing benefits are expanding every single day, and it is definitely in businesses best interest to start capitalizing from them immediately.
Move over Baby Boomers. Millennials are officially the largest living generation in the United States right now. At 75.4 million, they’re a force to be reckoned with, and an even bigger consumer base wreaking havoc on the eCommerce world. Millennials grew up with technology, and now that they’re at the purchasing age, they’re ready to harness their clicking skills for the ultimate online shopping experience.
This group of people is undoubtedly checking a Facebook page, Twitter profile, and Instagram profile before they’re making a purchase from a company. They don’t see the old fashioned dinosaurs who refuse to make a website. To them, they’re simply obsolete, and not worth their time in the digital era.
But, the good news is, even if you are an old school brand, there’s still time to make the digital marketing switch. Creating social media profiles is free, and learning about digital ad buying is even freer.
Here are 3 marketing tips for attracting the tech-savvy generation of millennial buyers.
1. Work with social media influencers
It didn’t take very long for select individuals to discover there’s a lot of money to be made through “influencing” social media. Social media influencers are people who have amassed large, highly interactive followings. Whether it’s through a celebrity platform, like the Kardashians, or through an ingenious idea, like BuzzFeed’s Matt Bellassai’s ”Whine About It” series, social media influencers are popping up left and right – and they can make your business famous.
Social media influencers accept any and all partnerships for giving your brand a little more limelight. Millennials trust social media influencers, according to Kissmetric surveys, as much as they trust their friends and families. Having one of these influencers pose with your brand name in a photo will send a message to millennials that you get the marketing approach today, you’re onboard with it, and you’re willing to do what it takes to get their attention.
2. Authentic advertising
Millennials can smell BS from a mile away. There’s probably nothing they hate more than a traditional, corny, and aggressive paid advertisement shoved down their throats. They grew up with the tail end of 90s commercials trickled in television and radio, and they’re ready for something new. Millennials are looking for an infectious authenticity. They want to be creatively pitched.
Take the time to create genuine Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads. Millennials know advertising will always be necessary, but they want it to be done in a real, enticing manner that draws their interest in. It may sound selfish, but that’s the way of the millennial world.
3. Offer recommendations and rewards
A continuation from our selfishness point, millennials want to have an incentive to signup for something. They want to get something out of it. Think of Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb. These brands get this, and they offer new members five free rides, a $50 voucher for their next stay, and monthly discounts. Millennials are all about communication, and they are more than willing to post a company advertisement or recommendation to social media if it means some free Lyft rides.
Give them something they want. Offer new members a month of free services, or promise them a free product if they recommend your business to three new friends on Facebook. They'll happily do it. And it’ll get you invaluable exposure.
The future of marketing
Millennial dominance is here and they are the future of commerce. You can either accept it now, or be forced into a crash course of social media in three years. It’s your choice. SocialMe Media will be there to onboard your business into the digital world when you’re ready.
Social media is constantly expanding and refining itself into niche markets today. What used to be just Facebook is now dozens of specialized social media platforms catered to specific audiences.
With these new social media platforms come more opportunity to connect with online communities tuned into exactly what your business has to offer. We are constantly researching and mastering these platforms so we know exactly which channels to social media market your business.
We break our management down to the 8 most popular social media platforms today: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
For starters, every single business should be on Facebook. Over 1 billion people are active on Facebook. If anyone is going to be on social media, their first choice is Facebook.
After Facebook, the platforms get sorted into visual versus non-visual platforms. Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube fall into the highly visual platforms. If you’re a business that has a lot of eye candy, you need to be on these platforms. The most used visual platform is Instagram. It is incredibly important if you run a hair salon, tattoo studio, pet store, etc. that you have an Instagram to constantly familiarize your audience with photos of your services. The new generation of buyers, people under 21, have stated their preferred social media platform is Instagram over Facebook, many of them starting to not even make Facebooks.
For non-visual, Linkedin, Twitter, and Google+ are the way to go. Twitter is recommended first as it is a perfect place to showcase your business goals, personality, and wit, all in a concise 140 character Tweet. Businesses are highly active messaging and connecting with one another on Twitter.
If you’re more of a serious, recruitment-style business, Linkedin is the official professional social media platform. The perfect platform for talking with other professionals or scouting talent, Linkedin is an easy way to show others you mean business.
Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest all have their niche markets, too, though they are not as prominent as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. YouTube is perfect for building an online personality through videos; Pinterest is the ultimate eye-candy platform for “pinning” aesthetics that align with your company; Tumblr is a massive blogging-meets-photos platform where the entire world of 14-24 year olds thrive; and Google+ is a less-active Linkedin that links your company to Gmail.
The ultimate goal is to be on all of these platforms eventually to make sure you’re not missing out on any specific markets. But for starters, Facebook is a must, followed by Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin depending the visual nature of your business. SocialMe can help.