Mobile ready, social steady, socially mobile… wait, what?

So, the 65% smart phone penetration in Australia convinced you that you needed a mobile presence. You optimised your website for mobile, reviewed the options and have now decided that a native app is the way forward. You have answered all your marketing questions, you know the target market segment and maybe even have a brief idea about what your app will do… So what’s next? Social integration of course!

For some, social sharing for mobile apps may seem like a joke at first. In the past many app developers would have laughed at the suggestion that people want to share their experiences of your app through a wide variety of social media streams. In fact, it wasn’t until the release of iOS 6.0 in September 2012 that a native framework was introduced for developers on that platform. Now the question has changed from ‘why social’ to ‘which social streams will work with your app?’

The mobile apps landscape has changed drastically over the years. For the user, an app has always assisted with any number of tasks from finding the weather, or a bus, to dispelling boredom on the commute. That hasn’t changed. But now if your weather app doesn’t provide a way to tell your friends about the weather, share a picture of the latest graffiti on the way to the beach, rate the ice cream peddler’s quality or shoot a stop motion picture of your friend being swept off their feet by a big wave, then it’s hardly a weather app at all! AppZapp is a great example of an app, where users can find out the latest app deals, set up price alerts, share wish lists, ratings and even engage with other users in a community.

Okay, so this is may sound a little blasé, but in truth, social media share-ability in mobile apps helps brands connect with users, users connect with their friends and then, in essence, brands to connect with users’ widespread network of friends, acquaintances and followers. Once brands engage more deeply with their users it is possible to harness greater understanding of what users want, what they need and where brands can improve services to make every experience better. Basically, socialising mobile apps can help brands transform into the companies their users want them to be while engendering a relationship of true trust.

While building engagement through standard channels such as Facebook, Twitter and other social media, it is important to note that these are only one part of the whole conversation. Mobile not only forms an important part of your social ecosystem, by extending your relationship with your customers. It also allows you to reduce exposure to the risks that may occur should changes occur in these channels by giving you an owned digital platform that can be tailored to your needs.

By now, no doubt, you are truly converted to the fact that you need social media to keep both your users and you ‘appy’. So if you are just taking those first few tentative steps, or even if you have a long standing app, take look at any piece of text, image or video and ask yourself: ‘Would I want my other people to see this?’ If the answer is yes, then the next question is how?

 

Paul Napier
BY Paul Napier ON 22 October 2013
Paul Napier is senior mobile developer at We Are Social, a communications agency that specialises in socially-led thinking.