What the Collision of Social and Mobile Means for Your Brand

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

With over 74% of U.S. Smartphone users accessing social networks from their mobile device, the collision of social and mobile is clear. The statistics continue to show staggering intertwined social and mobile usage, with 42% of people accessing their social networks daily. These results from a recent survey conducted by internet statistic firm, Compete, show the inevitable interlacing of popular technologies has arrived. Now, businesses who were caught behind are revising their traditional marketing plans to try to keep up with this new way to connect and compete.

But now that you’ve heard and seen the proof in the pudding about how vital social media and mobile marketing are to your success, how can you put it to work for you? Here are a few ways your business can get on board the social and mobile train and stay – literally – in the palms of your customers’ hands.

  • Go real time – With the explosion in popularity of Foursquare and other location-based mobile apps, customers have grown accustomed to sharing their location and experience with their network by checking-in wherever they go. To encourage these check-ins, businesses are using small incentives, such as giving away a discount or free dessert as a reward for the check in.
  • Simplify new connections – Your customers flock to your brand because of similar interests. They typically share these interests with their network of friends who may not know about your brand just yet. Simplify the connection between your customer and the hundreds of business leads they have waiting for you on their social networks by giving them something quality to share. High quality content gets shared by loyal customers and puts your brand in the eyes of the leads you are hot to get your hands on.
  • Encourage offline experiences – Social media does not have to stay simply online or in print. Now, mobile app developers are creating innovative networking technology to allow their attendees check in and find others in the vicinity to meet up with and create real offline experiences. If your business is hosting an event, encourage people to join you offline by promoting it online to your followers and fans.

Social media and mobile technology have undoubtedly converged to create new ways for businesses to connect with new leads and keep current customers engaged on a more interactive, real-time level.

What has your business done in terms of social media or mobile promotions?

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FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – The Good, The Bad, and The Dangerous of Living a Public Life

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

In less than a decade our worlds have changed dramatically. Now, old flames are being reunited and marriages are being dissolved over the use of Facebook – a service that was in its youth only 8 years ago. The way people interact with each other has shifted to socializing online instead of in person. People are kept up to date on what is happening in a distant friend’s life on social networks instead of on the phone. And while this is a great way to keep people close, it can also expose your world to people you may not have intended.

The following are a few examples of just how public our lives have become with the increased use of social media to interact.

  • Location-based services – With services such as Foursquare that encourage check-ins at local restaurants, shops, or businesses, people are broadcasting where they are for the world to see. While it may be fun to strive to be a mayor on Foursquare, opening up your location to be seen by your friends can be a risk. Imagine letting everyone know that you were at a local bar, only to have your ex-boyfriend show up for an impromptu greeting. There are fun sides to these apps, undoubtedly, but it is important to be aware of who will be seeing your location when you shout it from the social media rooftops.
  • Status updates – Even if you are not using a location-based service, status updates can also provide a wealth of information that divulges sensitive information (think: exposing your new-job search to your current boss), or brings to light that you are on vacation, opening up the possibility of thieves seeing your status and breaking into your home when you are gone. While these are extreme circumstances, they are meant to show that it is important to be mindful of what you are posting and how public your posts actually are.
  • Websites that watch – Today is the last day in a privacy policy poll that Facebook put out to its users on giving a little more leeway on the information they can share about their users. But it’s not only Facebook that is delivering tidbits of information to their users. Google and other websites gather information on where you visit, and what you search for. Your privacy is eliminated as soon as you type in a search query. Don’t believe us? Look at the ads that are being displayed in your direction. They, without a doubt, have something to do with a website you have searched before, or the subject of an e-mail you received.

Exposure is not always a bad thing. However, it is important to be aware of just how public your data is each and every time you hit your keyboard or send an update from your smartphone.

You tell us – Do you worry about your life being overly exposed online? And if so, what privacy measures do you put in place to help stop it?

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Photo credit: Stan020

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Girl-Finding App Removed From iTunes Store, Still Reveals Extremely Creepy Things About the Internet

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

Ever wondered what the downside might be to geo-location social networking platforms like Foursquare and Facebook’s check-in feature?

The recent firestorm over a now-defunct app points to just exactly why you might want to double-check your privacy settings with such services, or stop using them at all.

The app, called “Girls Around Me,” was voluntarily pulled from the Apple iTunes store on Monday, but not before what seemed like the entirety of the tech and social media worlds weighed in on whether or not it was the creepiest thing ever to hit the social networking scene.

Basically, Girls Around Me used public Foursquare and Facebook profiles to find “girls” near the user, and even created a map of the surrounding area pinpointing where people had checked in. Last week, Foursquare disallowed access to its location data from developer SMS Services O.o.o., rendering the app basically useless; SMS Services later got rid of the app altogether, claiming the company would re-launch a different version at a later date.

Much has been made of the creepiness of the app, which, according to its iTunes store description, was a “radar-style” to “SEE WHERE NEARBY GIRLS ARE CHECKING IN” (sic). And sure, it’s gross, not least for its referral to presumably grown women as “girls.”

But regardless of the app’s rise and fall, the real lesson here seems to be in protecting one’s own online privacy. After all, Girls Around Me wouldn’t have been possible if people (men and women alike) weren’t voluntarily providing public information about their whereabouts for anyone to find and, yes, creep on.

And whether or not this particularly icky application still exists, it should probably be a lesson to all of us: Especially when it comes to location-based social networking, those privacy settings should be on lockdown. Because it’s not just skeezy app developers who might want to know where you are; anyone from thieves looking for empty homes to crazy exes to that weird peripheral friend you don’t ever want to hang out with one-on-one can easily find you via such services.

Our advice?

  • Don’t make your Foursquare account public; set it so only friends can see your check-ins
  • Ditto Facebook; only friends should be able to see check-ins and, just to be on the safe side, all your other information, especially things like addresses and phone numbers should be restricted as well
  • Configure Facebook settings so that you have to approve the post anytime someone else tags you somewhere; that way, friends of friends can’t see where you are unless you let them
  • Be careful, and be smart, with your location on social media. Posts like, “Out of the country for 2 weeks!!!!!!,” when public, may as well scream, “No one is home so please rob me!!!!!!!”

How do you keep yourself secure and creep-free on social media? Do you use location-based services, or find that they provide a little TMI? Let us know in the comments!

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