Macro Management Stay connected to your corporate social network with the Yammer iPhone app

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 27, 2009 at 12:44 pm

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Mobile workforces are a reality for most businesses today.   People are spread between offices, meetings, and commutes, making it tough to manage your worker bees, let alone centralize operations.

In Everything looks like a nail, we discussed how Twitter-esque corporate tool, Yammer, can help.   Yammer keeps everyone in the loop through a “what are you working on?” live update.  As the platform increases in popularity, so have the features.   In particular, the Yammer iPhone App.

The app is free and does a nice job of mimicking the look and feel of the browser-based version.  As employees update their status, it streams across your iPhone screen.  You can reply to another worker’s status, offer feedback, or update your own status.   If you’re frequently out of the office (client meetings, travel, whatever), you don’t have to miss a beat.   You know exactly what everyone is working on and what they’re talking about.

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The Yammer iPhone app has been around for awhile, so why talk about it now?  Well, they’ve released a new version with some excellent upgrades.  Most notably, push notifications.  Push notifications operate like text messages with the added bonus of not being charged for a text message.  When someone updates their status, you get a pop-up notification, and if you choose, a sound.    You can also pick and choose which feeds you want to get push notifications for.   We see this coming in handy if you need to closely monitor the status of a project and the workers connected to it.

Other updates include the separation of master feed and received messages and cached feeds.  The latter gives you the ability to view updates offline, based on the last time the app connected to your Yammer network.   A time stamp lets you know exactly when that was too.

If you’re already using Yammer in your office, and have an iPhone, this one is a no-brainer.  It’s an app for the true “mobile worker”.

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated Yammer update is conversation threads. You now have the option of toggling between stream-view and thread-view, which means you can view comments connected to a particular update, a la Facebook.

Despite the industry accolades, many feared Yammer was just a Twitter wannabe, and it would struggle to find a place in corporate culture. Platform adopters actually argue that Yammer has improved their communications, eliminating superfluous emailing and crowdsourcing new ideas and feedback.

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  Choose your own venture Build your own iPhone App in 6 easy steps with SwebApps

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm

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As iPhone application developers, we get requests for all sorts of apps.  While the sky’s the limit with this new marketing platform, the budget often isn’t.

That’s where SwebApps comes in.   SwebApps lets you build a basic iPhone application in 6 easy steps – and for under $500.

Keyword here being “basic”.  But if all you need is a simple way to communicate with your customers, SwebApps is the tool for you.

Here’s how it works:  SwebApps separates and corrals app potentials by industry.  Choose from restaurant, retail, business, non-profit, education, entertainment, government, or custom.  Next, pick buttons for your app’s interface.  SwebApps provides a menu of common buttons that correspond with your industry.  For example, if you’re restaurateur, you can add a reservations button, a menu button, nightly specials button, etc.   SwebApps pricing structure is actually based on the number of buttons you choose- $200 for two buttons, $300 for 6 buttons, and $400 for 8.  There’s also a one-time set-up fee of $50 per button, and if you choose, a $25/month mobile hosting fee for your data.

After your buttons are finalized, submit your information (and artwork) to SwebApps to build.   They in turn submit your app to Apple for authorization. This process can take up to several weeks, but once you’re approved, you’re app is good to go.  SwebApps gives you access to an online user management system, where you add/edit/delete information in your application (e.g. menu item changes).  You can also access any customer information your application captures, like emails and phone numbers.

Sweb Apps How To Video from magaly Chocano on Vimeo.

SwebApps is a great option if you want to experiment with an iPhone app.  If your customers respond well, then you can make a real investment in the functionality, styling, and branding of your application.

For an additional $10/month, SwebApps offers analytics on your iPhone app. Track downloads, which buttons are being used and how many times are they are being used.

App World is Blackberry's equivalent/competition for the iPhone App Store. Blackberry is still the tool of choice for the corporate set, so take that into account when deciding what application - and which application platform - to choose.

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The tie that binds Use Social Cord’s TipCup to monetize premium content via Twitter

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 4, 2009 at 12:56 pm

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Charging for content may seem counter-intuitive in today’s blogging free-for-all market, but the trick is investing in the right delivery mechanism.

Social Cord is a service that offers premium content and subscription services via text message.  Not a bad idea, but how about adding Twitter to the mix?   That’s right, you can use Twitter – more specifically, Social Cord’s Twitter TipCup plugin – to distribute and monetize your content.

Here’s how it works:  Create a FanClub on Social Cord.  There is a pre-approval process, and you must agree to deliver a minimum of 3 premium content messages a month.  Since Social Cord is actually the mobile SMS offering, you can offer both text messages and Twitter tweets to your customers.  As long as you deliver the minimum content, you’re golden either way.

Once you’re FanClub is established, you need to signup for TipCup and send a promotional tweet to your followers.  They will be directed to a custom landing page where they choose their delivery mechanism and subscribe for $5.95/month.

Probably one of the biggest selling features of Social Cord and/or TipCup is the fact subscribers don’t have to enter any credit cards or account information.  All charges are billed directly to the member’s mobile account.   Social Card supports all major carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Nextel, etc.  The phone carrier makes off with a good chunk of the profit, and after Social Cord takes their cut, you end up with $1.80/month for every subscription.   Even if you only amass one hundred subscriptions, that’s $180 a month for three (140 character or less) tweets.

Twitter has proven to be an effective venue for music sales and promotion.  A service like Social Cord makes sense for a band trying to publicize an upcoming show or offer their fans exclusive material.  It will be interesting to see how businesses and bloggers use Social Cord to promote their content.  Would you be willing to pay $5.95/month for some insider tips from the feed growth! staff?

Social Cord also provides revenue reporting, so you can see how many people have visited your sign-up page, how many people have subscribed, and how much money you have made.

The Associated Press recently dropped a bomb and has begun charging for the republishing of their articles (starting at $2.50/word - yikes). iCopyright, a licensing agent and platform, is being used for "the routine republishing of full AP articles". This leaves some wiggle room for bloggers who typically quote only a portion of an article and are not the AP's main target (or so they say).

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  It's all in the reflexes Flick and exchange virtual business cards with My Name is E iPhone app

Posted by maggie.hunsucker July 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

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In Introductions are not necessary, we discussed how virtual business cards are an easy (and non-committal) way to publish all of your contact information, including social media profiles.   The only sticking point – virtual cards can’t be passed along.  So when you’re out and about and meet a potential client, what’s a high-tech marketer to do?

Try using the My Name is E iPhone app.  My Name is E is a virtual business card service.  Like Card.ly, it allows you to amass all your social profiles (Facbeook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, etc) in one spot.  The service just released an iPhone app that lets you “flick and exchange” your virtual business card with another iPhone.   While testing the app, my iPhone found 12 other surrounding iPhones and attempted to beam my card their way.  Not bad, of course, the other iPhones need to have My name is E installed for a successful exchange.

My Name is E Screen My Name is E App Screen
My Name is E is a free app, but you will have to create a web-based account to build your business card (this too is free).  It’s worth noting that My Name is E works with other mobile devices, like Blackberries, through a mobile version of the site.  You lose the cool flick-and-exchange motion, but card transfer is still possible with a few button taps.

The biggest drawback of My Name is E is the fact that another iPhone user has to have the app.  But, if widely adopted, it makes a pretty interesting case for the virtual business card.  You don’t have to worry about having a physical card on you or loosing/tossing extra business cards that end up in your pockets, car, desk, etc.  Not to mention, My Name is E eliminates the extra step of transferring information from a card to your phone list or contact database.

My Name is E uses WI-FI to beam your card, but the super cool flick action is made possible by the iPhone's Accelerometer, which detects physical phone movements and translates them into actions and commands.

You can actually create more than one business card with My Name is E, so you can have a personal card for friends and a professional card for clients and leads. When exchanging E cards, choose your profile first, then flick.

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  Burning down the house Shorten iTunes links to socially promote your iPhone application

Posted by maggie.hunsucker July 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

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There are several URL shortening services on the market, thanks in part to micro-blogging platforms like Twitter.   It was only a matter of time before the idea was applied to iTunes links (perhaps, the longest and gnarliest links ever produced).

Appsfire is one such service.   If you have an iPhone application, (shameless plug: Digital Scientists is a certified Apple SDK developer), you can use Appsfire to shorten the iTunes link and promote the app on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Digg.

So, instead of this (FYI this links to the Mission Zero iPhone app):

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=303530072&mt=8

You get this:

http://appsfire.com/a7

Appsfire offers analytics too, so you can track your link’s performance over a 30-day period.   This would be simple and easy method for separating click-throughs from your marketing efforts from regular iTunes surfers.

Appsfire link shortener & analytics are free.  It’s actually an auxiliary service for Appsfire’s main offering, an iPhone application for sharing iPhone applications.   It lets people recommend apps to friends directly from their iPhone or publish that recommendation to their blog or social media page.

Bit.ly was able to oust TinyURL from it's top spot on Twitter by offering real-time link tracking, including clicks, referrers, and conversations surrounding your link.

It's important to remember that the iTunes store is just a distribution platform. It's up to you to hit the social media circuit and sell your application.

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