Applications and widgets are all the rage at the moment. Everyone is talking about them but what is the strategic rationale behind them?
In this post I would like to bring the Six Minute Strategist thinking to the issue and suggest 6 reasons why you should think seriously about using Apps for your business.
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First Mover Advantage
It is relatively early days for the Adoption of Apps – sure Apple is pursuing a disintermediation strategy in the media space using Apps on Apple TV but Corporate and Personal Apps are still thin on the ground. One of the best examples I have come across is that of Brian Solis – author of Engage – The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web. His App which I have on my iPhone enables me to get updates on his recent activity, news, appearances, fan wall and a whole load more of background information. I am not surprised that he is ahead of the curve.
Mobile – ‘Andy Apps!
The rise and rise of smart phones is old news – iOS, Android, Windows 7 for Mobile – these are now core technologies and are driving the trend for more and more mobile computing. Hey lets at iPads and other tablets (No – I am not biased but there are so many silly names around and you know what I am talking about!) – to the mix. In the coming years mobile computing will be a prevalent as SMS texting – although we could do with better 3G (and 4G to come) connectivity when we are out and about. As a personal brand or a corporate marketer, you must be thinking Mobile and making it a core part of your Social Media Marketing strategy!
Presence of Mind – No time like the Presence!
One of the great things about Social Media Marketing is that, if done correctly, you can stay in the forefront of your customers minds. Having this presence is vitally important to maintaining the relationship between you and the customer. When a problem or a need arises – who’s he gonna call? An App uploaded to the customer’s smart phone is a daily reminder of who you are and makes it far more likely that he or she will call you at a time of need. A fast response to this call is highly likely to lead to business…
Access – A two way Thing!
Now that you have established the Presence of Mind with your customer – you can begin to create two way communication – the essence of Social Media. Prompt response to his enquiries is a good start but why not set up the App to leave him news and messages relevant to him – perhaps an invitation to a seminar which is going to be in his locality. You are already embedded on his mobile – permission is granted, the door is open – push hard!
Offers, Discounts, Promotions
The next logical extension of this strategy is presenting the customer with early or exclusive access to offers, promotions and discounts on new products or services you wish to sell to him. Wallet share is the name of the game here and as I am sure you know new customers are expensive to acquire – existing customers should be serviced thoroughly and you should ensure that you and not a competitor is fulfilling his corporate needs.
The BAT phone!
In the sixties Batman TV series, Chief O’Hara had a large Red Telephone in his office – his directly hotline to Batman. Clearly a satirical spoof on the cold war hotlines between Washington and Moscow intended to prevent nuclear war, your App need not be so dramatic but could be as important for your business. Think of it as your customers direct line to your business. You could provide direct access to your helpline or the ability to send a priority message to your account manager. Sure, you must make sure this is connected in the real world and you respond to it but Social Media is about creating connectivity and this is a great way to achieve that – relatively inexpensively!
Looking into the telescope of the future, it seems clear to me that Apps will only get Easier. At the moment, specialist programming skills are being offered to help you programme your Apps. I believe that it is only a matter of time before you will be able to get a WordPress plugin which will enable you to offer an uploadable App from your website. (WP programmers – please get on to this Thanks! :)) In the meantime, if you have the budget, it is certainly worth thinking about making a Corporate or Personal App part of your Social Media Strategy!
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