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September 29 2009

Mobile App Considerations


As social media marketing is becoming increasingly prominent for businesses, so is the development of applications, such as those that can be downloaded for the iPhone and other smartphones. If you are thinking about developing a mobile application, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
First, think about what someone will do with the app.  Will it serve as a tool or will it be for entertainment? What is the value that users will receive from using the app?  In other words, what will entice them to come back?  If you have an iPhone, you probably know how it works. You download an app, use it three or four times, and then about a month later, you realize that you haven’t used it since the day it was downloaded.  So, from a marketer’s perspective, what will you do to entice downloaders to use the application more than once or twice?  Perhaps you’ll roll out a new and improved version after a few months. Or, maybe it will make sense to continuously add new content or features to the app.  Lastly, one of the most important considerations is whether or not a mobile app is appropriate for your company or business.  A lot of people have iPhones, but a large portion of your customers may not.  iPhone users are typically younger and more technically savvy. If you find that this is not your audience, consider waiting to build a mobile app and focus instead on creating a presence within established social channels, where your audience is already participating.

With the thousands of applications available for download, below are a few that are widely popular.

Kraft iFood Assistant
The Kraft iFood Assistant continuously builds brand awareness from the kitchen to the grocery store.  It offers how-to videos, easy recipes, tips and a built-in shopping list.

Chipotle Ordering
You can order favorite Chipotle burrito, pay for it from your iPhone, and then pick it up from your local Chipotle with this handy app.

B&N Bookstore by Barnes & Nobles
This app offers everything from book recommendations to finding events at your local store. It also allows you to use your camera to take a photo of a CD, book or DVD cover, and receive product details, reviews and ratings of that product.

SitOrSquat sponsored by Charmin
This app contains information on where to find bathrooms, changing tables, handicap access and other amenities that you may need on the go.

September 23 2009

Facebook’s New Updates Spark More References to Twitter


Facebook has been very busy this past week. Not only have they have now topped 300 million active users, they have also launched two new simplistic features; Facebook Lite and Status Tagging. Many believe this is all in an attempt to stay competitive with Twitter, while at the same time pleasing their ever-growing user base.

Facebook Lite, is a pared down version of the original social media channel. Originally created for users with a slow Internet connection, the ‘Lite’ version does not include any applications, engagement ads or custom features that we have become so accustomed to seeing. Brand pages seem to have the most to lose from this new version, if it catches on. The search function is enabled only for profiles and not groups or pages, making it that much harder for a page to be found.

Facebook’s Status Tagging is set to function similar to Twitter’s @mentions. You can now tag any profile, group or page within your status updates. This is a great new way for pages to be able to interact with fans. However, reputation management within Facebook will now become a full-time job, with companies needing to stay abreast of all mentions of their brand within Facebook. 

Now, more than ever, businesses using Facebook need to develop and execute a clear-cut strategy for the channel and understand how each of these new features can affect their online goals with social media marketing.

September 21 2009

Running a Contest Using Social Media


Are you launching a new product or service? Are you looking to fill inventory at rock bottom rates? Using social media to drive hoards of traffic to your site could be the solution. Nothing brings in the people like the words “free”, “win” and “sweepstakes”.

Many businesses are using contests as a way to garner interest in a brand, product or service and get traffic to their site. Businesses can promote the contests on various social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. Marriott, for example, recently launched a contest, “Tweet Yourself to Hawaii”. This sweepstakes allows you to enter for a chance to win a trip to Hawaii using your Twitter username and login. Also, you can enter for another chance on Facebook.

It is important to make sure the prize is something people want. Free t-shirts are not as appealing as a free iPod or even a cash prize. Is the contest something that is easy to share with friends making it have a viral effect? Contests should be fun and engaging. This is not the time to tout a brand, focus on the contest and so will visitors.

When beginning a contest, it is important to let people know about it. Press releases, tweets, blogs, forums and even links to the contest on your site are all good ways to get exposure for your contest. Contests are a great way to increase traffic to your site and get people more engaged in your brand.

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