So, here we are on the eve of the launch of the new Dream Smartphone from HTC/T-Mobile. It will be interesting to see how this expands opportunities in Social Media in the mobile sphere. Certainly there will be many more custom applications being developed for the new Android platform, so you’ve got to wonder if this is the next ‘thing’ or just another ‘me too’ (remember the Zune, anyone?). Regardless if this particular phone grabs attention from the iPhone, it’s clear that the Android platform will definitely be a player (and possibly a game changer) as it rolls out and gets fine-tuned. While this particular phone lacks the elegance and panache of the iPhone, it makes up for this in powerful functionality at your fingertips. Competition is good, and I’m sure this will spark a new race to provide the most functionality in the sleekest device possible.
This almost sounds like a movie we’ve seen before with the Social Networks. Think MySpace and Facebook a couple of years back. In the end, they are both still relevant, and have their own strengths and opportunities for brands. This is just one more reason to get onboard with Social Media and mobile apps right now. Waiting around to see what happens will cost more in the end. Start thinking about how you can add value to your customer on the go. Whether you develop an application for iPhone or Android, engage on Facebook or MySpace, or all of the above, the time is now. The holidays are fast approaching, and you can bet that this season we’ll be seeing a lot more Smartphones in the hands of everyday consumers. Time to get moving!
There are seemingly endless opportunities to connect with consumers online – but how do you pick where to put your resources? It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the cool thing of the moment and bet the farm on it. However, with the landscape changing so rapidly, that course of action can be perilous for brands.
Consider for a moment the idiosyncrasies of each network or platform that you can engage consumers on. What works on one doesn’t necessarily work on another. For example, many companies developed custom applications for Facebook, but when MySpace opened up their platform to applications, not everyone jumped on board. Why? For starters, MySpace didn’t give the applications as much leeway as Facebook did for activity based alerts. Also, members on MySpace had fewer reasons to dive into the applications – much of the functionality that Facebook lacked in its core platform has been part of MySpace for years (think Top Friends or FunWall), and thus custom apps weren’t needed as much. Now imagine the quirks across the vast social network landscape and it becomes clear that brands cannot just blast their message out to all of the networks and expect the members to flock to them. Each community has to be approached differently and with sensitivity to how members are engaging on the site with their friends, not how brands want them to listen to their messages.
And of course, there is the mobile world. What if you have developed a program that targets Blackberry customers, but now you want to copy and paste that program for the iPhone. Is that the best approach? Maybe, but I doubt it. Blackberry customers are different than iPhone customers, and the devices themselves present unique opportunities. I recently wrote a White Paper about Embracing the iPhone Phenomenon – check it out if you would like. The White Paper speaks to a specific niche, and attempts to spark ideas on how to engage this audience in an effective way by providing value to their mobile experience while interacting with the brand.
So, what’s the bottom line? You need a Social Media Strategy if you are going to be effective. One size does NOT fit all! Sometimes it’s best to stick to a couple of proven tactics. Sometimes venturing out and being on the edge will bear more fruit. It’s OK to not know – that’s what Strategic Consultants are for. 🙂 Just think about it before you put yourself and your company out there.
Wow – what a day for technology and marketers too! Release glitches notwithstanding, the release of the new iPhone 3G is going to usher in a new era of mobile media consumption and the proliferation of consumers who have even greater access to information and the ability to stay connected with their friends. Of course, the usual suspects like MySpace and Facebook already have applications for the iPhone that will no doubt reinforce their place as a mainstay of the daily life of millions of people worldwide. But iPhone is making waves with other, more traditional media outlets also – The New York Times and AOL among them. And then there is my favorite of all – Pandora. I’ve written about Pandora before, but it’s perhaps the coolest website for discovering and sharing music ever created, and it’s totally FREE! Now Pandora is making the leap to the iPhone, which is going to change the game of how people discover and listen to their favorite music, once again.
With a price point of just $199 and the addition of enterprise functions such as integration with MS Exchange, the iPhone is going to explode into a totally different dimension. The big guns obviously see it, but it’s going to be interesting to see how other marketers react and embrace (or not embrace) this incredible emerging medium. I think it would be wise for marketers to take note of this phenomenon and figure out how to carve out a niche that helps customers stay more connected with their brand. The time is now! Like the old adage goes: Lead, follow, or get out of the way!