Mobile Apps – The Perfect Addition To Your Business
Mobile device usage is now reaching the 4.77 Billion mark worldwide. It is just a fact of life that people use their devices each and every day, all day and night!
This proliferation of mobile traffic, of course translates into people looking for and interacting with local businesses & services. So naturally having a great looking, and easy to use ‘App’ for your business is going to provide benefits – both for your customers/clients and your business; but what exactly are these benefits and specifically what value do you as a business owner gain?
But you have already invested in a website, and linked all of your social media, do you really need an app as well?
Mobile traffic is a reality, and sure your website is still a valuable investment – especially if you have made sure it is ‘mobile friendly’ – but an ‘App’ is just a step further; an additional marketing tool and way to boost business.
What are the benefits?
Mobile Apps Provide High Visibility
Your Brand icon is right there on the mobile screen – whether or not the app is opened, your business is appearing every time the phone is used – there you are, front of mind!
The means to enable instant alerts – offers, deals, blog posts – very powerful! This is a major advantage – an instant link with each mobile device which is used every day. You can use coupons & loyalty cards – push notifications are a flexible means to communicate without needing to actually talk!
Gain A Competitive Advantage
A local business which offers an ‘App’ is going to provide a convenient means for people to interact with your business without needing to call you, to arrange appointments, bookings, purchases – all without needing to talk! Your business will be seen as ‘with the times’ – people love convenience!
Arrange for your Mobile App to be built, gain the advantage – your business will be right there on the mobile screen – push notifications, instant bookings, convenient modern business interaction – one more digital channel for your business to reach the exact community you serve.
There are any amount of generic posts, all advising you to use social media, engage with people and all of that.
In this next series of digital articles I want to present real living examples of how different professional people approach using the opportunity of the digital channels open to us all; it is useful to actually take a look at just how professionals, business owners, organisations take up these communication opportunities, because it is all about communication in various formats & employing a little imagination. Rather than talk about ‘EQ’ and preach social media techniques let’s have a look at social media in action.
The first example is an American plastic surgeon who uses ‘SnapChat’ to open a window into his daily practice; he now has 1 million people following his schedule, not too shabby!
Ideas & Further Thoughts
This is one example of using a particular platform, it does not mean you have to use Snapchat, but it does illustrate that you do not need a big production team, you can use a modest camera (like the one in your phone or tablet) to gain real traction.
Not everyone likes video, or appearing in video but you have to admit this is interesting. In the pre-Internet days it would have taken a lot of money to get one million as an audience, and to gain the exposure this surgeon has garnered. In the future articles we will take a look at how other real businesses are using one of the other social media platforms.
We have all been made aware in recent years by the emergence of digital culture, new technical solutions, transactional changes, mobile device uptake, disruption of traditional businesses by completely new players. This has been developing for at least the past 20 years, but it is more keenly evident over the past 5 years when all of the ‘talk’ suddenly seems to have materialized into cold reality.
The cloud, and all of the changes Australia is currently experiencing, the transformation of established industry is accelerating; matters are becoming crucial because the vast majority of Australian business has been coasting along and ignoring the signs to a large extent. But now the times have ripened and people are being tangibly impacted.
The big differences with ‘digital’ is that new ideas and concepts can now be very quickly deployed, tested with real customers and then tweaked and improved – the ability to use flexible tools, all of this drives disruption.
EQ Much More Than A Buzz-Word
Emotional Intelligence has now become a favored skill-set. Technology and digital culture have completely changed the approaches to customers, we are all seeking to be treated as unique cases, not just another number, another consuming unit. Digital culture enables a business to finely tune its presentation, to build exclusivity into its marketing so that granular characteristics of social groups can be tailored for.
However, for many of the established businesses, what Deloitte have termed long & short fuse disruption potentials, boards and senior executives tend to view the solutions as being primarily technology issues, when in fact it is more about the ways in which customers can be interacted with and the nimble responses to changes in the market; certainly technology is an aspect of this, but not the true emphasis.
This is where ‘EQ’ enters the arena. What for many has been just another marketing and HR buzz-word, EQ has emerged as being an extremely valuable business skill set!
Long & Short Fuse Disruption Candidates
The obvious growth of all kinds of social media has created an environment where real-time interaction and two way communication has completely changed how people approach and ‘do’ business. I don’t think many of the Australian business community truly grasped this during the shift, and this has continued to the present day. We see all kinds of awkward attempts, from hiring ‘Millennials’ to try and build customer rapport, to blasting messages 20th Century style.
It is very clear that Australian business will continue to experience disruption, in the short term:
Utility & Technical Services
Professional & Personal Services
will see digital culture impacting, driving and shaping new business solutions and approaches. We have all seen very powerfully how mainstream media has been massively disrupted by social media with the huge outcomes internationally of ‘Brexit’ & Trump’s juggernaut. ‘Uber‘ and AirBnB speak for themselves.
The longer term outcomes affecting the public sector, banking, transport, manufacturing, medical care will take more time to play out, but you can be certain that the digital revolution will see us living in a vastly different world by the end of this decade. Will you be ready to respond, to have the flexibility to adopt new ways of thinking? The writing is on the walls, 2020 is not very far away, digital disruption waits for nobody – digital media is cheaper, powerful and flexible but the digital culture which has arisen enables disruption to occur. The field really is wide open.
Since the beginning of mass access to the internet from around 1995, ‘Websites’ have been the default format of presenting business identities, enabling the exchange of information, the sale of goods & services, and of course presenting the business image of all kinds of commerce & industry.
Back in the early days (relatively speaking) building a website was a major undertaking, it was a slow, costly exercise with some businesses investing 10’s of thousands of dollars on expert designers and HTML builders. The resulting on-line HQ for many business owners could run into serious money.
The skills needed to produce a site which looked decent, professional and credible ranged from HTML, Java, CSS, PHP, Dreamweaver, Photoshop a whole slew of acronyms!
Agencies, and high street ‘web-shops’ sprang up in towns, sporting all kinds of garish logos and advertising industry graphics – the web became associated with predominantly graphic designers, and particularly here in Australia business people tended to look to these people to build their professional sites, companies like these assumed a dominant role in providing ‘Marketing’ on the new digital media.
Are Big Name Marketing Agencies Really ‘Better’?
These corporate marketing firms offer a seemingly glossy approach, with expensive designers, and ex-advertising executives delivering their smooth spiel with Powerpoint presentations and statistic-based graphs to impress the CEO’s and management of client businesses. But are the business results gained from these services more effective – or do they simply appeal to the digital naivety of the market?
The point is we have moved very quickly away from these early incarnations of ‘The Web’, today we have a very dynamic digital culture, social media and mobile have massively changed the game; the ultra glossy ‘high ticket’ presentations do not always perform.
The ‘big names’ of the marketing industry do not have anything more to offer than many other services – in fact many of the established big names in the high street are completely lost with today’s digital dynamic.
Many of the advertising ‘name brand’ agencies have been scrambling to re-invent themselves, they ignored the emergent digital culture, and now times have definitely proven to be very different.
The Digital Opportunity
The reality is that you now have a huge opportunity, you can choose to ignore the digital revolution, but this will be to your great cost. The world is changing very quickly, and the digital culture which is emerging via many social media platforms and the ubiquitous usage of Smartphones is massively shifting the numbers.
We need to move the focus away from raw numbers and gain the benefits of building rapport; rather than blasting sales messages we need to be gaining the advantages of customer relationship building; then we need to use the advertising tools to generate genuine sales.
The reality of today’s world is that ‘Digital’ is the major growth area, you can successfully implement useful digital approaches, or you can get stung with enormously useless ‘gloss’ from the big pretenders, the cool guys in that high street agency who are angling for another ‘award’ for their cool designs; which have zero impact on your business numbers.
The world has shifted, too many of the ‘big end of town’ agencies trade on industry bluster and hype. The results are being gained from recognizing the specific opportunities for reach & communication. This is the true face of disruption.
The current state of play with web development is vastly different today, excellent sites can be published far more quickly. It is in the after management of business websites that the real power lies.
The ongoing production of high quality, useful content, the syndication of that content, and your digital presence across multiple digital channels; this is the true ‘service area’- and this is not being addressed any more effectively with large name agencies; in fact it is the nimble smaller guerrilla agencies who are crushing it.
So you will need to choose wisely who you select to help you, are the people working for your business brand more concerned with their next industry award and being seen as ‘Cool’ rather than obtaining genuine results? Avoid the generic approaches, seek out people who offer you tangible results.
So much of the message from the large corporate ‘leaders’ is generic in nature. It seems many of the executives working in IT & Digital areas these days all read the same blog posts, they spout the same ambiguous, general digital advice, they adopt an air of authority that is not earned, or genuine.
This is why so many small and medium businesses are doing so badly with their digital efforts; they listen to the big companies.
Digital marketing should now be a large part of your overall marketing. If you understand that 82% of adult Australian consumers have a Facebook account, and the raw numbers of participation, then it simply makes good sense. We are all basically aware of the good sense in adopting digital presence building, but too many business owners still do not know just what shape this should take.
You might be among the many people who are aware of the growth in social media use, and of the various platforms which are being widely adopted and massively used each day by millions of people globally.
The situation is that mobile, graphics-based platforms such as Instagram & Snapchat have a considerable user base, and these represent many different markets, and localities. But how practical is it to participate with these and gain genuine traction, in fact to leverage them to build your business – or are they simply trivial and superficial mediums where it is just too noisy and chaotic to gain anything of value?
Good question, and I’m glad you asked!
The Raw Numbers
Let us take a quick look at the numbers, it is always useful to evaluate any channel on the basis of raw numbers, and demographic participation to see if they offer us a meaningful and relevant audience.
Instagram launched on October 6 2010, so it is one of the newer players in terms of internet businesses, and it was not long before the potential for leveraging the global mobile user population was recognized, and Facebook purchased the platform for a cool $1Billion in April 2012.
Currently Instagram has 500 million active users, of which 75% are outside of the USA; not bad, that is a lot of people, but who are they and is it relevant to you?
According to Pew Research, which is a source I tend to refer to quite a lot because they are non-partisan and competent, the age groups represented on Instagram are:
55% are in the 18-29 bracket
28% are in the 30-49 bracket
11% are in the 50-64 bracket
From this it is clear the user groups tend to the younger end of the spectrum, however significant numbers of the other age groups makes it worthwhile to include in our mix of platforms that offer us powerful opportunities. Plus because the platform is targeting Photography and also Video it offers us broad scope for presenting lots of different products & services!
Any platform where significant numbers of people are present on a daily basis of course is a marketing opportunity – it is common sense and the basic and essential nature of business marketing; technology may be driving and creating the space, but it is people who we are interested in.
Conclusions & Moving Forward
OK, so we have evaluated Instagram in very basic terms, and it is pretty clear that we can derive the benefit of being able to reach large numbers of people, and that these people will indeed represent interest in a broad range of markets.
How do we actually go about participating, and driving specific groups to our business?
Photographs! We need to have compelling, intriguing, powerful, attractive, inspiring, delicious, beautiful, interesting photographs of what we work with – or indeed that will derive a response 😉
The actual mechanics of participating on Instagram can be very time consuming, and involve editing and tweaking photographs, using tools and utilities, filters, text editors – in fact a wide range of tools to enhance and add value, messages, links.
It can represent a significant investment of time and skills to optimally use the medium for our marketing. This is common to all social media, it requires that we invest our time, or pay someone else to do it on our behalf. This is why so many people get stumped by using these resources, we do not all resonate with the activity, but one has to adopt a pragmatic approach to all marketing, it is a means to an end – a way to build our business.
This series of posts will be taking a look at the mobile platforms which are widely used in the world. ‘Social Media’ being the slang term for the current state of the internet** – we should simply regard all of these sites as being what people generally get up to online in these times – it makes simple sense to investigate, and actually to implement using them; this is what is happening in the world.
This is where people’s attention is, this site is largely targeting the mobile user, however there are ways to also use it on desktops and laptops-there are a number of utilities and tools available which marketing agencies (like us) and others often use to leverage the potential of Instagram.
We provide services for clients wishing to reach groups on Instagram, this is definitely a worthwhile and profitable approach, one that we include in our Social Media mix of services.
The two-way dynamic of social media continues to baffle business
The Riddle Of Using Social Media Effectively
82% online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those ages 30 to 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older – this is significant because it means that a majority or significant quantity of each group is represented. If you then factor in the global participation rate of internet usage – well you have a huge number.
In the year 2000 the number of people using the internet was placed at 738 million; this has blossomed to 3.5 Billion in 2015. We can safely claim that the vast majority of all developed nations are online, with a good percentage of less developed countries also joining the party each month. This critical number has had overwhelming consequences for our entire civilization.
Without getting too academic about it, I think we simply do not fully understand the full impact of being globally connected – those of us who have been online for 20 years tend to take it all for granted these days, but in actual fact the impact on politics, economics, business has been massive*. Socially the influence and effects have been even more apparent!
The fact that we have all taken to using smartphones in our daily lives is a further development which we are all experiencing, and this has enormous implications for business. There is a critical difference to the dynamic of social media which is completely different to all versions of mass-media we have developed, and were completely used to in the 20th Century – this is of course the interactive nature of the media, as opposed to broadcast.
We can see that this broadcast type thinking is still very much in evidence with many businesses in their attempts to use the new social media platforms, and we can quite easily see that this is not terribly effective. This accounts for around 80% of the commercial content we see each day in our news feeds, and other social media accounts.
Facebook is now the ‘default’ platform for heterogeneous market types – just about every man, woman, child & their dog has a Facebook account. So it is useful to use Facebook as the typical social media activity for people in general.
From a purely ‘business’ perspective Facebook is an interesting case. We have lots of local businesses publishing their business page & displaying that ubiquitous ‘Find Us On Facebook’ sign – however there is a confusion of purpose with this approach. By concentrating on gaining ‘likes’ and gauging the ‘ROI’ of their Facebook activity on the sheer numbers of people seeming to interact with their biz page, many business owners are missing the whole point.
Certainly seeking to build rapport, and interact with customers is valuable as a customer-service activity, but it is the Advertising platform of Facebook which offers us the most powerful employment of using Facebook for business.
However, we should not be using this advertising opportunity in the same way as using the local community newspaper, or radio station; this is where so many business owners get it so terribly wrong. The use of traffic from ‘dark posts’ is the answer to this riddle. Building landing pages, media presentations and opportunities for selling from these online ‘funnels’ is the truly golden mean of leveraging social media for business. This is what we focus on.