As I was recently teaching my Social Media and Mobile Apps course at North Shore Community College I was asked, “Why are Social Media Apps important?” “Why do people use them?”
To me, an individual on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y, I wanted to say, “Because they are cool.” However digging deeper and making this course worth their money, my answer was, “it helps make the world a more interconnected place”… I know very “beauty pageant-esque”. But VERY true.Many years ago when the internet became widely adopted, naysayers assumed we would become a disconnected generation; constantly tied to a screen and our communication habits would change (for the worse). Today, I agree, we are tied to our devices and our communication habits have changed – but NOT for the worse. I see these social media mobile apps popping up as a way to make us more connected – through the screens in front of us. These apps are shifting us back to an interconnected world through social media.
This course was focused on Foursquare, Instagram and Pinterest. Each of these social media apps have unique ways of bringing worlds together and allowing us to get to know one another – beyond the screen.
Foursquare’s purpose is to “connect people to business.” It accomplishes this by encouraging brand interactivity with individuals. This app incentivizes users to physically “check in” to gain deals, specials, earn points and unlock badges. It is a fun way that takes these users offline and gets them into the physical location. More importantly, Foursquare has become the digital version of word of mouth marketing. Individuals tag themselves in locations, their friends can see if they are nearby or check out the tips they leave when they stop into a location. If you are a business and on Foursquare you should run a promotion through this App to test out the brand interactivity and literally be put on the social map.
“Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.” However, if you look at a person’s account, you see more than recent photos. You get an actual ‘snapshot’ of their lives; what they do, what they like, who they hang out with. For marketers this is a great research device to understand who your target market is. My Instagram feed is spot on of who I am as a person; wife, daughter, aunt, business woman and a flower and dog lover. All that information just from one glance at my feed. It is also a great way of staying connected with your friends. Instagram is the digital version of our photo albums.
For businesses, it allows the brand to develop a brand personality. See what is going on behind the scenes, who works there, what it takes to make the business run. It is melting away the screen and giving us insight into what this brands/businesses are all about.
“Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.” Another great way to get to know your audience and target market. What makes them tick? What do they like? What are their interests? Pinterest is an aspirational marketing tool, however users share information, articles, videos, Infographics, etc. It has become one of the most popular E-commerce social media tools today. It is the digital version of dog earring or ripping out pages (pins) for your inspiration folder (board).
Businesses should use this tool to get their products out there in the digital world, with links that lead back to their site (for transactions). Bed Bath & Beyond does a great job of keeping their boards updated with the latest trends that are going on and the products you would currently find in their stores.
To summarize, social media apps help us stay connected and up-to-date with our networks. I am going to take it one step further and state that good social media apps add value to our lives either by making our lives easier or enhancing them for the better.
If you are interested in learning more about these apps check out my Social Media and Mobile Apps course presentation here. If you are interested in taking other courses visit my website for the latest information.
Photo Sources: Social Media and Mobile Apps Presentation