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Archive for April 2014

5 Reasons Every Business Should be on Snapchat

Posted Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Snapchat is the newest social tool that lets you share photos and video, or “snaps,” with the bonus of adding drawings or captions to whatever you record. Here’s the catch: Snaps disappear after a few seconds, and the sender gets to choose how many seconds messages will be visible before they self-destruct. The concept basically blends photo and video texting with the age-old tradition of sending notes with disappearing ink.

What’s the appeal? Less pressure to be perfect than on other platforms such as Facebook, where content is more permanent. It’s a simple way to share simple things, and in a world where every social media lover has to become their own personal public relations guru, Snapchat offers a stress-free way to say — whatever. Here are five reasons your business should utilize the app:

1. People use it, and they’re going to keep using it. Snapchat first caught on among high schoolers, but now college students have checked in to the craze. The app, designed by Stanford students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy as part of a class project, launched in Apple’s app store in September 2011. By October 2012, the company tallied its billionth snap. The company is estimated to have more than 30 million users as of December 2013, although they’re coy about sharing the actual number.

Scoffers might wrinkle their noses and shrug Snapchat off as another passing phase. But skeptics were momentarily silenced in November 2013 when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg offered the infant startup $3 billion in cash and was promptly turned down. Whether you’re keyed in to Snapchat or not, Facebook knows Snapchat’s hot, but Snapchat knows it’s even hotter.

2. Prove you’re a “cool” company. If you hadn’t heard of Snapchat before Facebook’s stunning $3 billion offer (or before you started reading this article), you’re not alone. That’s part of what adds to the inherent allure of the app. The number of users is growing exponentially, but it’s still new enough to make those who use it “in the know.”

The Snapchat frontier is still wide open for adaptive marketers who are ready to start exploring. Those who hit the ground running will have the biggest impact, plus the chance to define the ways marketers will use an emerging genre. Can anyone say, “Innovator Award”?

3. You’ve already built the audience on other social platforms. Snapchat is part social hybrid and part revolutionary, but adding it as a marketing platform doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. After all, what about all those Facebook fans and Twitter followers you worked so hard to collect? Does Snapchat mean those metrics have an expiration date? Not at all. Existing social platforms can remain healthy even as they drive fans and followers to explore a new sharing tool with you.

Incentivize your audience to join you on Snapchat and you’ll not only gain an instant audience on an emerging platform, you’ll find a whole new way to interest them. Offer mobile coupons, the chance to take a sneak peek behind the scenes, and the promise to deliver hot brand news to Snapchatters before anyone else, and fans will follow.

4. Embrace a new wavelength of messaging. Remember when YouTube grew in popularity and politicians began to realize the simpler, less professionally-staged videos were ranking better with audiences than pristinely polished ones? Savvy marketers are realizing the same is true of Snapchat. The app is supposed to be less-than-perfect, and that’s why people love it. The bonus for businesses is that you have the chance to kick your shoes off at the edge of the dance floor and have a little fun.

5. This is the new world of advertising. Traditional radio commercials were zapped by satellite radio. Television ads were nuked when digital video recorders careened on scene. And now, even digital recorders are being outrun by instant streaming. Mute buttons, spam filters, pop-up blockers — all are ways audiences keep slipping through marketer’s fingers.

What if people actually wanted to engage with your brand? What if, instead of ducking behind junk settings and filters, people actually pushed a button of their own free will to watch your brand in action? Snapchat introduces a groundbreaking forum, one where people are interested in what you have to say and offer.

It may still be new, but it represents the new age of advertising.


Why Your Business Should Be on Google+

Posted Thursday, April 10th, 2014

There are some very compelling arguments in favor of including Google+ in a social media marketing strategy.

Google Plus has a huge user base
With more than 540 million active monthly users, Google Plus sees its number of users increase daily. Google is encouraging you to link your profiles on Google Play and YouTube and with more peopel using these platforms, more people will be using Google+

Make use of Google Hangouts.

With Google Hangouts, free live video conferencing can take place for as many as 10 people. The benefits for a small business are obvious: You can reach out to customers, dealers, vendors and social media contacts at no cost. You can also participate in Hangouts initiated by others and communicate with thought leaders in your niche.

Be cognizant of the Google connection.
Google is at the epicenter of all search engines. While Bing is also a player, Google is still the big daddy. There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that profiles that do well on Google+ get indexed quicker on Google. Add to that the fact that Google Plus business pages are beginning to show up on search engine results pages, and you have two very strong reasons to work on establishing a presence here.

Take advantage of Google+ reviews.
With Google+ reviews showing up on search results, potential customers might be influenced to choose your business if they come across positive reviews. Therefore, provide great service and proactively solicit reviews on Google+. Nothing beats a favorable reference from one human being to another.

Explore Google+ Ripples.
Google Plus is a feature-rich social media platform; you can leverage Circles, Hangouts, Hangouts on Air, Communities and Ripples. The latter category can be particularly useful for small businesses. It is a data visualization graph that lets you take in at a glance the manner in which your content has been shared.

Are you on Goolge+ or is your business? How do you think it compares to Facebook, Twitter or Linked?


Reskinning Apps- the opportunities to reskin differently

Posted Friday, April 4th, 2014

Here’s a blog post I wrote for an app blog which is about to go live and I thought I’d share. It looks at how many indie app developers are reskinning apps with he same old code and having trouble standing out in the app store. Here’s thoughts about a different approach and how reskinning could even help people around you.

Smashing Apps

We’re all in the app reskinning business and hopefully everyone is smashing it! It took me some time to get my head round how it all works and implementing the systems that helped me release quality apps quickly. But as I’m sure many people experienced, I hit some early financial losses when I started which I couldn’t afford and what’s more, I was worried whether the app business would work for me or I would get it right.  It forced me to find a way of making guaranteed income from reskinning before I spent all the money I had to build apps

I’d love this article to be about how I’ve cracked it, instead it’s a couple of thoughts on the opportunities reskinning offers and how I’ve used what I’ve learnt to make alternative revenue. Initially I needed to find a way to cover my costs to reskin my own apps but eventually I realized how reskinning could apply to any new business. Hopefully there’ll be a follow up message on how I’ve nailed it!

The Background

I run a company called SWARMbuzz which helps businesses with their online, social and mobile strategies. I’d been running the business for 3 years when I discovered how to build an app, I love everything mobile so I thought I’d give the app game a go. But I took a massive early hit; I made some poor decisions on my first app, severely overspent and finally got nailed by the developer. It was a disaster. But I tried again and whilst I’d learnt a few lessons, I still made mistakes and made a loss, poor developers and my own inexperience were costing me. By my third attempt I had an app released which saw some good early downloads but it would have needed to be a smash hit to recover expenditure on 3 apps, 2 of which didn’t even get released!

I couldn’t afford to keep losing money but I wanted to continue having a go at building apps as I believed it was a great market and I enjoyed it. I needed to find a way to cover my early losses and get some quick income to fund further projects. I continued to release some small games which were making money but my P&L sheets weren’t looking very healthy and I needed to do something about it

 

How can I play the reskinning game differently?

Initially I thought that the reskinning game was a secret I should keep. As I’d spent the time and money learning only I should know about it. But this didn’t last, partly because I think it’s better to share knowledge and secondly I’m not very good at keeping secrets! The more people I told, friends and clients, the more they were interested and saw the sense in it. Until a friend who owns a successful company asked me to produce monthly games for his business targeting families. He knew they were reskinned apps and he was happy they were, I wasn’t cheating him, I was helping him. He’d been producing apps for his other companies paying tens of thousands of dollars but I was telling him I could produce apps at a fraction of the cost and quicker, he was naturally very happy and I now produce small games for him each month. You may ask why I wouldn’t just produce these games for myself but in the early days the money I charged allowed me to recover my loses, I liked working with his company and we’re about to start new mobile businesses together because it has worked so well

When we think reskinning we think of games immediately because that’s what we’ve seen our teachers do and what we’ve read most about. But I’ve come to realize that the opportunities are truly endless, so far I’ve found a source code that has suited all of my crazy ideas! As an example, my family run a charity to help educate children less fortunate in India and Africa so I decided I could take a wallpaper source code I owned and use it to build a charity app. I wanted to offer it to other charities so I contacted local charities to show them the app I’d built and how I could do the same for them. I covered my costs and time and whilst it made a little money, it was the chance to help charities reach a mobile audience and acquire donations via an app which was all for good causes.

Where are these opportunities?

Networking networking networking! Speak to new people on social media, forums and friends at the bar!. Reach out to new people and speak to your friends to share your app knowledge because mobile is still very new to many people. I made a point of listing the people I knew who ran a business which could best benefit from apps. I sent them an email and just asked if we could meet for a chat. All of them agreed and those who understood mobile liked apps and they loved reskinning because quite frankly, it makes sense! Keep in contact with the people you know who own or work in a small business with a simple email or text message; majority of your business will come through people you already know.

To help my online business I took out a $1500 loan from my family and joined a networking group which could be hard work as it started at 6.30am once a week, but it gave me the chance to meet local businesses and talk about the online and mobile world. Remember we’re tech ninjas, there are a lot of people, even young people, who don’t understand the mobile game and how it’s conquering everything! When I decided to offer reskinning commercially I arranged meetings with fellow members and we discussed how I thought apps could help them. Over the course of my two years with the group I did $25000 in business (a mixture of mobile, social and app work) so I was thankful the investment was worthwhile.

It’s not as though my time is now filled with building other people’s apps, I still have plenty of time to build my own. But it brought in some early money to help cover my mistakes. What I’ve enjoyed the most is being able to help companies build a low cost app that is equally effective as one that would’ve cost far more money. It also started conversations with successful business owners who now want to build other mobile businesses together.

The fighting talk

What’s cool about all of this is that I’ve never written a line of code, I can’t design an icon or implement a chart boost SDK. That’s not what I do, a property developer doesn’t build the walls, they try to spot the opportunity and that’s what I enjoy the most; now and again it pays off!

It might not be your bag getting involved in other businesses; personally it’s what I love to do. If you’re in reskinning just as a passive income then you can still consider how your app flipping knowledge could pay for your first app, your next app or a big app you’ve been dreaming of releasing. You could reskin an app for your local restaurant or even your or your kid’s school and then multiple schools in your area. Charge whatever you’re comfortable with or enough to pay for your next app. Or simply find fun opportunities to utilize your app reskinning knowledge.

How cool would it be to build fun apps, extraordinary businesses and potentially help others, with the app reskinning lessons we’ve been taught, there’s no reason why we can’t!

Good luck to you all!

Get in contact:
Twitter: owhittle

 


 
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