If you are running a small business – say, a mechanic shop, diner, dentistry or hair salon, chances are people are talking about your business on Yelp. Over 30 million customers have written a review of a local business using Yelp and about 78 million folks check out those reviews every month. The site’s popularity is such that a search for a business by name could list it’s Yelp review even before the business’ own website.
Getting a positive (or negative) review on Yelp is not hard, but since a big chunk of Yelp’s 78 million monthly users are accessing reviews directly via their website or app, the challenge is getting your business at the top of Yelp’s search results. Here are five tips for improving your ranking on Yelp –
Thanks to Facebook, facial recognition technology is now a part of our everyday lives. Our subscription to being face-printed is almost seamless and without thought as we contribute to refining Facebook’s massive face-print database by uploading images to the social network and Instagram, then tagging the images with names of people we know. Marketers have not been left out of the fun. Businesses can now access face-print database systems procured by Facebook and some government agencies to target shoppers and offer them special deals when they walk into a store or are in close proximity.
One company that’s falling down on the job of using negative sentiments to improve its service is Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC. Subscribers to Capital Bikeshare’s service have access to 1,100 bicycles at 110 stations throughout the city. They pay an annual fee and can check out a bike for 30 minutes at a time – usually for short trips and errands around the city. If they keep the bike for longer, they pay a nominal fee.
Realtime #fail share
Bikeshare is a great idea – in fact, I’m a subscriber. But the service is plagued with negative sentiments from dissatisfied subscribers broadcasting their frustrations via twitter and other mobile applications. A survey of a few real-time search engines yielded the following negative sentiments:
Short supply of bikes at popular docking stations
Subscribers lucky enough to get a bike for their morning commutes can’t find a docking station when they arrive at their destinations in the busy business district
Subscribers unable to find a dock must pay to wait for one to open up (and bear the inconvenience of being late for appointments etc.)
Realtime #fail saves
It appears Capital Bikeshare has a social media strategy focused on promotion; the company uses Facebook and twitter to tout the service daily, and in April they joined LivingSocial to offer a generous discount on subscription which netted over 8,000 subscribers for their 1,100 bikeshare service. But a social media strategy that ignores real-time negative sentiments could ruin their brand.
Here are three ways Capital Bikeshare (CB) can use real-time technology to improve their business.
1. Real-time technology for customer service. Acknowledge and reply to customer complaints via twitter. Many tweets at the company complaining about empty docks and other issues go unanswered. Tweeting solutions and info about alternative docking stations is something the company should commit to especially in the mornings when subscribers use the service to get to work.
3. Real-time info billboards – a partnership in the making? It’s difficult for riders to stop to check their mobile phones for information on available docs while riding. Will some innovative entrepreneur partner with CB to provide info billboards (or bike widgets) that re-directs bikers to empty docs before they spend 20 minutes biking around chasing empty docks?
Thanks to technology, businesses and organizations function in a real-time information environment. Feedback on your brand’s reach, influence and performance is broadcast across the globe 24-hours a day in an endless news cycle fueled by social media. Remaining competitive means using real-time technology to do more than promote your wares, cause or services. Negative sentiments should be a guide to service improvement for Capital Bikeshare and others.
Starting today, the iPad 2 is finally available at an Apple store near you. The revamped device is 33% thinner, 15% lighter, and outfitted with HD cameras, improved battery life and other delights. Apple fanatics the world over are excited and ready to test Apple’s latest gadget – but what about Microsoft? Is Bill Gates intimidated by Apple’s latest smash hit? What does the Microsoft founder think of the iPad?
Well, just last year one brave soul dared to ask Mr. Gates that question after a lecture at Stanford University. The CEO did not give any indication that he was intimidated by Apple’s iPad, instead he explained that portable devices like the iPad are “great advances” for computing and said that Microsoft is still a key player in the industry.
“Computing is destined in a way to almost disappear because all the walls [and] desktops around you will be capable of displaying, and you’ll be able to do input though gestures, and through voice — that’s not to say that keyboards and pointing devices will go away,” said Gates, “but they’ll be supplemented by an ubiquitous type of computing where every surface is a output and every action is an input.”
He also stressed that getting prices down, and improving the quality of content are improvements he’d like to see with portable devices such as the iPad. Mr. Gates also acknowledged that iPad computing could be key to the digital delivery of textbooks – something his foundation would regard as good for the environment.
Enter your email address and wait for an email that will allow you to download, install and configure the application. You will need your Twitter username and password to complete the process.
Once the application is loaded to your phone, click the icon and begin tweeting!
Popular FAQ – Are there other ways to find Twitter applications that will work with my phone? Yes. You can visit an app store to find a wide selection of Twitter apps. Blackberry App World and the iTunes app store are two popular spots.
There are apps for almost every interest and activity under the sun – apps for products, services, games, tips, guides, and apps for keeping up with social networks. It’s true that app developers are making lots of money selling apps – but business and organizations are doing just as well by giving away free applications they pay to develop.
Three reasons free apps can be great for your business or organization are –
Service. Make your customers or constituents happy by providing apps that meet their needs and they’ll do more than thank you for it. Not sure what that app might be? How about developing an app that reminds customers of appointments, birthdays, events or updates to your Website? You can also browse an app store for ideas.
Branding. Engaging apps are great for branding. Some of the most engaging apps are those that feature a game or enable social networking – or stuff that people spend a lot of time doing. Associating your brand with a game or a network could be a great way to keep customers thinking about your product or services.
Revenue. You can earn revenue from your free app through advertising. Most free apps pay for themselves by running ads from Google, AdMob or other networks. But best of all, a free app can bring customers to your business or engage constituents!
Getting ready to launch an app for your business? Don’t forget marketing. What’s the use of a great app if no one knows about it? Fact is, if you wait until your app is complete to start promoting it, you’ll have to wait longer for it to gain traction with an audience.
Here are three tips for promoting your apps before they get to market- 1. Create a splash page. As soon as you start building your app, create a informational Web page to let your visitors know that your app is coming soon. Allow visitors to join a mailing list to learn more or be notified of the launch. 2. Use promotional videos to build interest in your app. Demos, how-to, and video reviews are great ways to get tech blogs to write about your app and build a buzz. 3. Invest in advertising. Word of mouth and getting your app in an app store is great, but an advertising plan will certainly boost sales.
And here’s another tip – if you are working at developing a slew of apps, don’t release them all at once. According to the experts, releasing your apps one at a time is a better way to create a sustainable buzz.
Talk to an interactive marketing expert to see which app could get your business out there — or give us a call, we’d like to help!
Leon Palm, Developer, Google Public Sector Team
Ken Yarmosh, Analyst, Developer, & Author: App Savvy (O’Reilly Press)
David Smith, Developer, AudioBookShelf
Natalia Luckyanova, Developer, Harbor Master
Robert Sarvis, Developer, Wertago
Join us on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM for live blogging from Google’s Washington DC Office as technologists gather to discuss, “The App Economy: How mobile developers attract users, win fans and make money”. We’ll share insights from successful app developers about this innovative new sector. How does someone go from creating mobile apps as a hobby to a full-time job? What kinds of apps are most popular with consumers? What’s the difference between paying to download an app and making your app free but showing ads? How are app developers making money from their creations? And where is this new growth area going?
Over the past two years a new and burgeoning economy has grown quietly in the tech sector. Fueled by the boom in smartphones, programmers and entrepreneurs have been attracting users and making money by building mobile applications, commonly known as apps. Mobile apps keep us entertained and productive while enhancing communication and information sharing. Today it is estimated there are more than 500 thousand apps running on more than 150 million mobile devices, and many of these apps are making serious money for their creators. The “app economy” is estimated to be $2 billion annually, growing to $4 billion by 2012.
Panel: Leon Palm, Developer, Google Public Sector Team; Ken Yarmosh, Analyst, Developer, & Author: App Savvy (O’Reilly Press); David Smith, Developer, AudioBookShelf; Natalia Luckyanova, Developer, Harbor Master; Robert Sarvis, Developer, Wertago.