Welcome to the Android Nation

Welcome to the Android Nation

I had a BlackBerry for years. I loved the keyboard. I loved scrolling around with the trackball, I loved my BlackBerry. After a while, I started to notice something. It was slow. Really slow. The apps I wanted weren’t available for my model, It was clunky. The trackball needed to be cleaned or replaced more times than I can count. Did I mention it was slow?

My co-workers were primarily split between the iPhone and an array of various Android models. Their phones were quick. Their phones were slick. The GPS was accurate, and the Apps, oh my the apps… I soon realized I had Android envy.

This past Saturday, with little fanfare and trip to the phone store, I said goodbye to my BlackBerry and joined the Android Nation. I was reluctant to say goodbye to my BlackBerry keyboard, however, once it was gone I didn’t miss it – at all. The apps are phenomenal, the speed is amazing. I’m sure I’ll learn more about the things my phone can do in the next few weeks, but it’s intuitive enough that the lessons I’ll learn will be easy and painless. I have been asking myself, Why did I wait so long?

It’s interesting to note that as early as Q2 2010 there was a far smaller percentage of BlackBerry owners who wanted to upgrade to a new BlackBerry. As time goes on, I predict we’ll see those numbers decrease even more and the demand for Android and iPhone continue to grow.

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Useful Tips on Engaging Your Followers on Facebook

Useful Tips on Engaging Your Followers on Facebook

If you didn’t get a chance to catch the Golden Globes this past Sunday, you may not know about the movie “The Social Network” is one of the biggest winners of the evening. They took home four Golden Globes including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Score. For those of you who don’t know, “The Social Network” is a film about the founding of Facebook.

Today, there are more than 500 million active users and people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events. The average user creates 90 pieces of content each month and share more than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) each month!*

When I read those stats, the only word that comes to my mind is OPPORTUNITY. Facebook is a fantastic resource to expose your business to people all over the world but most importantly people within your communities. Maybe you already have a business fan page or maybe you don’t, but today I have five tips for Facebook engagement that I think you will get a lot of use out of!

Tie Promotions with Content
– You can use prizes or promotions to increase brand awareness and help increase traffic to your business.
Ask Questions
– Seek Customers Opinions
– Asking questions shows your customers (and potential customers) that you care what they have to say! Plus, it’s a simple way to engage with your fans and use your page as a resource.
Test Their Knowledge
– Create short questions and quiz your fans about your business or something that is associated with your brand or services.
Use Your Fans to Generate Content
– Instead of you constantly adding pictures, stories, etc… to your own page, ask your fans to post them! Fans like sharing their experiences and by you asking for them to share it gives me the opportunity to interact and contribute!
Thank Your Fans
– This is an important one! Show your fans you care about them! Offer them an exclusive offer on Facebook to make them feel special and create an incentive for others to become a fan.

How are you using Facebook to engage your fans?

Will That Be Cash, Charge or Smartphone?

Will That Be Cash, Charge or Smartphone?

In 2011 we predicted that paying with your smartphone is would be the next big trend in mainstream technology. We may even, dare I say it, stop carrying cash and cards altogether (not in the immediate future but eventually).

Mobile commerce experienced tremendous amount of growth in 2010 as evident by the latest numbers from eBay. Almost $2 billion of their $53 billion in revenue came from transactions via their mobile app. Amazon also sells over $1 billion per year via mobile commerce. Even Starbucks is getting in on the game.

Sure, there are a few barriers to entry for using smartphones in place of cash or credit cards. Some even believe that this form of payment will never replace your wallet. There were also those who believed that the Internet was doomed to fail and that laptops would forever remain as toys for the rich. Whoops!

Nielsen has predicted that by the end of 2011 there will be more smartphone owners then feature phone owners in the US. In the latest report published by the U.S. on e-commerce in 2008 e-commerce accounted for $3,704 billion in revenue across multiple sectors. Utilizing a smartphone will simply be an extension of that. 60% of cell phone users admit to carrying their phones everywhere with them. This means that they can instantly be connected to your brand, whether that’s via the mobile web or an app, at all times.

Payment via mobile is all about convenience. No cash on hand? Can’t seem to find that credit card? Right now I bet your cell phone is sitting within arms reach. How convenient. You can instantly compare prices not only store to store, but also from online retailers like Amazon and eBay. And if there was only one more click to make a purchase – oh, how convenient!

Consumers already purchase billions of dollars worth of product online from their computers, credit card unseen by the merchant. How is mobile much different?

Referring Friends Via SMS

Referring Friends Via SMS

One of the biggest (and most obvious) ways of creating word-of-mouth buzz for products or promotions is word of mouth. At one point or another, everyone has seen something along the lines of “refer a friend and get __ off your next purchase.” I love referring friends to places in general, but give me an added bonus and I’m definitely game. My co-worker was telling me earlier today about a new and interesting way to “refer a friend.” It was through SMS text messaging!

This business, let’s call them Restaurant X, is offering a free product to whomever signs up to their community (via SMS) if a certain situation happens in the Superbowl this coming weekend. So, the “refer a friend” part comes in after you sign up. You receive a text verifying you’ve signed up and then it suggests to “refer a friend” by texting back your friend’s phone number.

At first, I thought this was quite genius! This is a great way to build your mobile marketing list. Then I started thinking logistically about the ease of use for the program. Imagine holding your phone and thinking, “Oh! I bet my friend Jim would love to get this free product from Restaurant X! I want to refer him.” I then have to exit the message center, go find Jim’s phone number, write it down (where else will I store it?), then go back to the text message and type it in. Not so simple. And definitely not convenient.

The next issue I thought about was privacy. It’s 2021, and I don’t know about you, but I pretty much know 4 numbers – my sister, the office, 911, and my own. If I’m on the receiving end of the “refer a friend” text, how will I know who referred me? Physically go through numbers in my phone? That could definitely trigger getting upset not knowing who referred them to the program. Also, even though there is technically an option to opt-in, there is plenty of room for confusion receiving this “refer a friend.”

Overall, I think it’s a great concept but there are definitely some kinks that need to be worked out. What do you think of “refer a friend” programs that are done via SMS text messaging? How would you do things differently?