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Want to Find More Fans? The #1 Place You Need to Be (And It’s Not Facebook)

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Want More Fans? Go Mobile! We talk a lot about how you have to find your audience online. Go where they like to hang out, whether that’s Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or somewhere more niche like a community forum about your industry. It’s solid advice that you can use to build your business online or find more traffic for your blog, podcast, or videos.

But are you missing out on the number one place where your audience is hanging out?

Forget about Facebook. Say ta-ta to Twitter. The number one place you need to be to connect with your fan is on their mobile devices. This week, Pinterest released new mobile apps to connect with their social network via your Andriod phone, iPhone, or iPad, and this was a much-needed, smart move for the company. If your audience uses a mobile phone (and chances are good that they do), you need to be there.

Mobile by the Numbers

Mobile is growing at astounding rates. When Tom Webster talked about the state of social media at BlogWorld New York 2012, He kept mentioning over and over again how millions of people are accessing social sites via their mobile devices. According to a June 2012 report by mobiThinking:

  • As of the end of 2011, there were 6 billion mobile subscribtions world-wide. This is a huge increase from 5.4 billion in 2010 and 4.7 billion in 2009. Even when you take into account the fact that many people have more than one subscription, there are an estimated 4.2 billion people world-wide who are connected via their mobile devices.
  • Sales for mobile devices were up over 11% from 2010 to 2011. These sales are expected to grow another 7% by the end of 2012.
  • In 2011, over 470 million smartphones were sold (up over 60% from 2010). IDC predicts that in 2012, 686 million smartphones will be sold.
  • 68.7 million media tablets sold in 2011. This is predicted to rise to 106.1 million units in 2012.

In other words…mobile is important!

Taking Your Content Mobile

So how do you get a piece of the mobile pie? There are three main options, and I suggest that you explore all three:

  1. A mobile version of your website
  2. Mobile advertising
  3. A mobile app

If nothing else, it’s very important to have a mobile version of your website. Don’t point to your stats and say that no one mobile is visiting your site. Of course they aren’t if the site isn’t mobile-friendly. I can’t tell you how often I go to a site using my mobile phone and there’s some kind of pop-up feature that completely blocks everything and is so big I can’t click out of it. Even if you don’t have that problem, though, your site probably has teeny tiny text and is hard to navigate on a smaller screen. And let’s not forget about data costs. If your site isn’t optimized, it’s going to be expensive for someone to load, as well as taking a long time. So, install a mobile version of your website or develop a responsive design.

Mobile advertising is also a facet of this conversation to consider. If you’re a small business, use geo-targeting to reach people in your immediate area. But even if you’re not, you can make use of mobile advertising. Think about the huge number of apps that are downloaded every year and consider purchasing advertising with some of these apps that fit your niche/industry best.

Lastly, you may want to consider developing your own mobile app. App development can be expensive and if you aren’t a tech-savvy person, it can seem impossible. However, before you go out there and hire someone to create a custom app for you (or write it off completely), check out the affordable options offered by companies who specialize in helping small business owners, bloggers, and others online create their own apps. Some require more knowledge about app development than others, but at least you have options:

If you work in a specific industry, there may also be customizable apps you can choose. For example, here at NMX, we’re in the conference/trade show industry, so it makes sense to work with a tool specifically for events.

Not everyone needs an app, of course, but don’t ignore this option. If done properly, an app can bring you tons of new fans and customers.

Be Mobile

For a long time, I made the mistake of saying how much I hate my smartphone. I complained often about how I wish I could just have a phone that made calls and nothing else. I think a lot of people are in that same boat. But it’s the wrong boat to be in.

If you truly want to be successful on mobile, you have to understand how mobile devices are used. That doesn’t mean becoming an expert on the technology behind mobile, but it does mean having first-hand mobile experience. How do you use your smartphone most? When it’s your primary means of connection, what are some of your patterns of use? What are some of your biggest mobile frustrations? These are questions you can really only answer by being a mobile user yourself. So pick up your phone and learn to use it so you can see how your audience is using it too.

BlogWorld app now available

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For those of you attending BlogWorld New York this week, we’ve just launched a new app to enhance your conference experience! The new BlogWorld app, powered by Mobile Roadie, will allow attendees to find conference sessions, connect with peers, and get the latest news about the event. The app is available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android and is available for free from iTunes.

Gimme the app!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Small Businesses Need to Go Mobile [Video]

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Did you know that an astounding percentage of mobile searches are people looking for local information? It makes sense, right – someone is out and about, has the urge to stop for food, and wants to find the hours and location of nearby restaurants. Or they’re at the mall, decide to see a movie and need show times. Or their car breaks down and they need to find a nearby mechanic.

If you’re a small business without a mobile-optimized website, you’re missing out. This video explains further:

We’ll also be talking about video at BlogWorld New York next week! Check out our mobile track, as well as the Social Media Business Summit, which has even more great social information for small businesses. There’s still time to register and get tickets here!

Knowing Me, Knowing You

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Extra points to those of you who recognized the title of the post as being an ABBA song from the 80’s! Music is a bit of a passion of mine. I have music playing all the time when I am writing. The other major passion in my life right now is Mobile; mobile technology and mobile platforms. That’s why I was incredibly excited to partner with Qualtrics, who provides survey tools and are enabling me to reach out to a huge slice of the U.S. population and ask them questions about how they use their mobile tech (you can take the survey here).

Mobile technology is moving at an amazing speed. As Apple CEO Tim Cook said recently, “Apple’s lifetime iPad sales across all generations have now topped 67 million. To put that into context, it took us 24 years to sell that many Macs, five years for that many iPods, and three years for iPhones.” The world is shifting its preference for consuming and producing content to mobile devices. What can you, as a content producer, do about it?

With the increasing use of mobile devices for the consumption of content, you, as content producers, have to understand the mobile consumer so that you can produce content that reaches and appeals to them. This is not just about having a mobile-optimized website, this is about having the type of content that actually captures attention through all the other distractions that surround a mobile user. Content producers have to understand the setting and context of the mobile user and how it differs from that of the non-mobile user (even though those two may, in fact, be the same person at different times in their day).

The experience of consuming content while sitting at a desk is vastly different from that of sitting on a train or in front of the TV. While you may well believe you have optimized your existing content for mobile, did you do it because your audience needed it or did you do it because you were told it was something that should be done? If nothing else I suggest checking out your Google analytics and seeing how many of your readers/content consumers are viewing your content from a mobile device, and seeing which areas they are consuming. Then, place your focus for optimization on that content.

Remember mobile optimization isn’t about your content as much as it is about the audience experience. In our efforts to be better at what we do as content producers one of the most valuable assets in our arsenal is knowledge. Aside from reconnecting with friends and making new contacts, attending a conference like Blogworld Expo is one of the easiest ways of gaining new knowledge.

If you come to my session in New York, “Smartphones, Smarter Users – The Who, When, What of the Mobile Consumer,” I am going to discuss the day in the life of the mobile user. The research I will be unveiling is brand new, never seen before, and the presentation is tailored specifically toward content producers. So if you want to know the when, how, why and what of the mobile content, consumer I’ll see you in my session.

Is Your Small Business Missing Out on the Mobile Crowd?

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As much as I hate to admit it, if you see me, there’s a good chance you can also see my cell phone. Or at least hear it if it rings. I was a late bloomer, not getting my first cell phone until I was in college and only getting my first smart phone about two years ago. I’m still a little resistant. I like a phone that makes calls and allows me to send text messages from time to time.

But even as a new media lover but a cell phone hater…well, I have to admit that my cell phone comes in super handy when I’m not at home. I can use it to set alarms. To check Twitter and Facebook. To take pictures. To send quick emails. To look up product prices to see if I’m getting the best deal. If you have a small business in a physical location (or locations), cashing in on utilitarian cell phone users like me can boost your profits more than you think. Let’s face it – you might be cutting edge, but most smart phone users are still pretty new to the whole new media thing. So how can you grab their mobile attention?

  • Create some kind of very useful free app. 
The likelihood that I’m going to pay for any app is slim to none. Seriously, I think to date I’ve purchased three apps…and I’ve had my phone for over two years. Of course, other users may be more likely to shell out a few bucks for an app, but if you create something useful and FREE? I’m there. Maybe you’re a restaurant that creates an app allowing me to order online. Or maybe you’re a bakery that creates a simple game I can use to win free cupcakes. Whatever. Be creative and get people downloading!
  • Give me a mobile version of your site.
Nothing annoys me more when using a cell phone than trying to look up something on a business’ website on my cell phone and there is no mobile version of the site. Half the time, some ad pops up on the screen making it impossible to click on anything. Yuck. Creating a mobile site is actually extremely easy (WordPress users have their choice of plugins that create it automatically for example). So no excuses!
  • Reward loyalty. 
People are still kind of figuring out location based mobile apps, but there are already likely thousands of Foursqaure and Gowalla users in your area. Reward their loyalty when they check in to your business’ location. An easy way to do this is to give a free item or discount to anyone who shows a waiter/clerk/etc. that they’ve checked in. You can also give a bigger reward to the person who is the mayor on the first of every month – it encourages coming in often to compete with other users.
With more and more people embracing their smartphones every day, your small business will really miss out if it is ignoring mobile altogether. This crowd will only continue to grow and it doesn’t take much time or money to reach out to these consumers and get them spending more money with your business.

New Lightbox App Feature – Your Photo Journal

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The social photo app for Android, Lightbox, unveiled a new app today with a new feature – The Photo Journal – which allows others to follow your updates, as well as like, comment and share. The fantastic thing about this new photo journal is it requires no extra work on your part. Just update the app and you’re good to go.

The previous URL Lightbox users were given has now been turned into their very own photo blog, where the photos are automatically organized. Here’s a description of The Photo Journal from the Lightbox app page:

YOUR PHOTO JOURNAL:Lightbox is a place to capture, enhance, and share your moments. Photos you post are automatically organized into a timeline of postcards on Lightbox.com. Keep them private or selectively share them with friends, family, or the entire Lightbox community.

MANAGE YOUR PHOTOS ONLINE:
All the photos you take with the Lightbox app are automatically uploaded to Lightbox.com for safe storage. So if you lose your phone, you won’t lose your memories.

As you can see in the screenshots of the app above, each user is given a follow button. When you hover over their photo, you’re given the opportunity to “like” that particular photo. And just like the blogs we are all familiar with, you can comment, Tweet, Facebook or add to Google+ each individual photo page.

The Lightbox app update was already added to the Android market this morning.

So Android users, what do you think of the new photo journal feature to Lightbox?

Facebook Confirms Gowalla Hire

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Facebook confirmed on Monday (December 5th) the rumored acquiring of the Texas-based online location service Gowalla.

The plan behind the deal is to hire the talent behind Gowalla and shut the service down completely. They have not purchased the Gowalla technology or service, but rather have hired the team.

Facebook said in a statement, “Gowalla co-founders Josh Williams and Scott Raymond, along with other members of the Gowalla team, are moving to Facebook in January to join our design and engineering teams.”

Neither company would say how many employees Gowalla has or how many would be joining Facebook. They also didn’t comment on what they would be working on together, but from Williams comment in his blog post, signs are pointing to the Facebook Timeline.

Williams said, “The Gowalla Passport has become a record of all the places we’ve visited, the people we were with, the photos we took, and the stories we told. Many of you even use Gowalla like a scrapbook of sorts — a place to keep all those memories.”

What are your thoughts on this announcement? Did you use Gowalla?

comScore: Mobile Shopping is on the Rise

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Have you ever made a purchase from your Smartphone? If you answered yes, you are among the 38 percent of smartphone owners who have used their mobile device to purchase something.

A new study done by comScore shows that mobile shopping is on the rise.

The most popular products purchased on a smartphone includes digital goods, clothing/accessories, tickets and daily deals. Maybe that’s one reason Daily Deal sites have exploded so much this year. It’s easier than ever to purchase a deal right from your phone and according to these stats, people are doing just that.

“Fueled by smartphone adoption, mobile is becoming a central part in the shopping funnel for many consumers,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president for mobile. “In September we saw two-thirds of all smartphone owners perform shopping activities on their phones, including comparing products and prices, searching for coupons, taking product pictures or locating a retail store. Considering there are currently 90 million smartphone owners in the U.S., retailers without a well-developed mobile strategy are not only missing a tremendous opportunity with these customers but also risk becoming obsolete in the minds of these digital omnivores.”

The chart pictured above shows where people are when they purchase something via their smartphone. Home came out on top at 56%, with Out Other Places (restaurant, school) and Work tying at 42%.

Mobile shopping is changing the way businesses do business. The retail world is changing and businesses need to jump on the smartphone bandwagon to snag a piece of the mobile sales.

Do you frequently purchase items from your mobile phone? If yes, what?

Google Re-Releases Gmail App for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Users

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When Google first released the Gmail app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch on November 2nd, there were some unfortunate glitches. The app kept crashing, was giving error messages and was over all a big huge mess.

They have re-released the app today. The problems have been fixed but users still aren’t happy with the outcome. Some say the notifications are super slow and that it’s still basically the same app that was originally pulled.

Google does plan on enhancing some of the features, which they mentioned in a blog post from today:

In the short time the app was public we received a lot of helpful feedback and feature requests. This included requests for everything from bigger features like multiple account support to customizations like improved notifications and mobile specific signatures.

We’re just getting started with the Gmail app for iOS and will be iterating rapidly to bring you more features, including all the ones listed above plus many more. Based on your comments we have already improved our handling of image HTML messages – they are now sized to fit to the screen and you can pinch to zoom in.

Here’s a description of the features from the iTunes app store:

With the Gmail app, you can:

  • Receive notification badges for new messages
  • Read your mail with threaded conversations
  • Organize your mail by archiving, labeling, starring, deleting, and reporting spam
  • Keep track of important messages with priority inbox
  • Auto-complete contact names as you type
  • Send and receive attachments
  • Search through all your mail

Have you tried out the new Gmail app for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch? Let us know what your experience has been with it.

Are QR Codes Dead?

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If QR codes are already dead, its epitaph would read “we hardly knew ye.” It seems like just yesterday that someone was explaining a QR code to me, and I’m a pretty tech-savvy person. I know that some of my less Internet-y friends don’t understand or use them, my sister doesn’t even have a smartphone, and at BlogWorld, a group of us were actually talking about how the scanning aps we have don’t work very well, so we don’t scan them very often.

So are QR codes already dead? Is this a failed technology that we should put in the “it was a cool idea that never really panned out” pile?

Recently, Dave Wieneke from AdAge wrote a piece entitled “Why Marketers Shouldn’t Waste Their Time With QR Codes.” It’s hard to disagree with his claims – that marketers love them more than consumers do. They’re overused and often just lead consumers to more advertising, which is turning off anyone who has decided to check out what this QR thing is all about.

Not everyone agrees with Wieneke, of course. On ClickZ, Melinda Krueger argues a case for QR codes and if you do a quick Google search for “cool QR codes” you’ll come up with tons of results for people and companies using them in really unique ways. At BlogWorld LA 2011, Peter Shankman actually used the Stefan Pinto ad pictured at right to highlight smart advertising – it’s an example of a QR code used in a really funny way.

But there are a lot of people misusing QR codes, and it’s perhaps making them irrelevant for all of us. I can’t tell you how many times I see QR codes on websites. Really? That doesn’t even make sense. Or when I scan a code, it often takes me to the company home page. So what? I could have found you easily online after shopping…a QR code wasn’t necessarily. There was no “next step” for users (like “liking” a Facebook page) or benefit (like getting a coupon for some free products).

I don’t think QR codes are dead…yet. They are perhaps in the hospital bed, but the disease isn’t incurable if we take action. What do you think? Are QR codes on the way out? Do you use them for your website or business? As a consumer, do you scan them when you see them as part of marketing campaigns?

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