Category Archives: Mobile Apps

7 Ways Manufacturers Can Use Instagram To Grow Brand Awareness

7 Ways Manufacturers Can Use Instagram

Manufacturers can and should value social media marketing as a unique way to build brand awareness, grow revenue and reach new markets and audiences.

A recent study of B2B marketing by Brightcove shows that 87% of B2B brands and manufacturers engage in some form of social media marketing.  It works…if you do it right.

New platforms, like Instagram, offer an opportunity for savvy marketers to reach new audiences. Instagram is a free mobile app focused on photos and images. It has grown quickly, is the fastest growing social media platform of 2015, and has over 100 million users.

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 and now allows marketers to use the same in-depth targeting for Ads that Facebook has.

Instagram is an up-and-coming platform not to be ignored. While originally a place largely for teens and young adults, the demographic growth of 30-50-year-old adults has been outstanding.

Your business should, at least, take the leap and start a few tests to explore the platform, the targeting available, and posting some brand messages to grow your audience.

To help you take the first step, here are 7 ways to grow brand awareness with Instagram:

  1. Gain customer feedback during product development. Instagram serves well when used as a two-way conversation, as you can share your company’s content through pictures and 15-second videos and also open the opportunity to hear from your customers via comments. Post a sneak peek of new products, design changes, and company news to get initial reactions and feedback that can help guide decisions.
  1. Show off equipment and Processes that play a role in creating your products. Giving a behind the scenes look at creation, testing and production of new products helps to gain awareness of practices and insights to keep your company ahead of the curve. Take snapshots of the product during main points in the manufacturing process. People like to see the process!
  1. Go behind the Production. Share a sneak peek of some of the glamorous and funny aspects of product creation – during photo shoots for ads or catalogs, when filming a commercial, or getting ready for a media interview. Basically, take photos and videos of the process of your photo and video shoots. These are moments that limited numbers of people get to experience, so think of it as an exclusive backstage pass!
  1. Highlight what your products can do. Sometimes advertisements can only show so many product features, and prospective clients imagination can only take it so much farther. Use Instagram to show off the more unique and niche uses of your products to generate buzz and demand. This opens up a great opportunity for user-generated content as well – ask your customers to post photos or videos on Instagram showing off creative and innovative uses of your products.
  1. Show off your team and office. The faces behind your company and products help to bring a personalized take, which people can relate to. Post photos that offer a glimpse into a day-in-the-life – during meetings, social events, or highlighting employees. This offers a bonus of great exposure for the company culture to help with recruiting.
  1. Leverage established Hashtag trends. Users are engaging on Instagram, with certain topics trending up and down, and the very best ones endure. Hashtags like #photooftheday, #selfie and #instalike are extremely popular, and joining in on the craze can get you noticed and shared.
  2. Hook onto popular themes. Instagram has popular themed hashtags that you should consider.
  • #TBT (or #throwbackthursday) would let you reminisce about your company’s past and how far you’ve come.
  • #followfriday lets you highlight your favorite companies and individuals to shout out to your followers, which will make it more likely you’ll get highlighted too.
  • #motivationalmonday lets you focus on positivity, share thoughts that resonate with your company’s mission.

That’s a wrap on 7 ways manufacturers can use Instagram for their products and brand.  Feel free to chat with one of our digital marketing consultants if you need expert knowledge with moving forward.

Also, be sure to check out the Instagram blog. Instagram posts lots of inspiration and ideas to help spur your creativity for uses there too!

PicWhack Mobile App Development!

PicWhack Logo 4C

The ultimate social gaming experience using your smartphone camera to create a competitive and interactive game among your friends and family.

Finally! A fun and safe way to whack your friends!

itunes-app-store-logo
Apple iTunes Link

Google Play Link

The PicWhack Story

Digital Hill was approached to develop a mobile game, which is a mobile app that has in-app purchases and is available in both the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores. This app is a fun way to sneak pictures of your friends and family and send them a WHACK! Once someone has been whacked, the other game members can whack you back without you even knowing! Beware, you may get WHACKED by a friend or family member playing PicWhack.

Try it out today and download the app with the links provided above!

apps

Important Things To Consider for Mobile App Development

When having a Mobile App developed, consider the following items:

1.) Technology is always upgrading, phone screen size changes and operating systems are consistently updating. Make sure to have a yearly budget for application updates to ensure app users have the best experience with your Mobile App.

2.) Develop a Marketing Strategy How will you tell people about your app? Not everyone uses Facebook, think of more ways to get in front of people so they will download your app. Think about the market niche that your app will most appeal too.

3.) Be open to pivot or adapt your idea (i.e. Facebook started as a place where you could rate people’s attractiveness). Your idea might be great, but the once the public gets their hands on it, it maybe used differently from your original intention.

4.) Think of ways this App could bring in income for you. Do you want an App that earns you extra income? If so, will that be through companies paying you to advertise on your app or will it be through in-app purchases? These are very important questions if you are not sure that is what  having a Digital Marketing Strategy can help you answer.

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If you or a business you know needs a high-end professional Mobile App Developed or Website, please contact Digital Hill and request a free quote!  We don’t just serve the Goshen, South Bend, and Michiana area, we serve the world and make the web work for you!

Should Your Business Have a Smartphone

Should Your Business Have a Smartphone App?

Should Your Business Have a Smartphone

The statistics are astounding…

Should Your Business Have a Smartphone (2)

We have become a mobile computing society.

For businesses, this means there is an important need to consider how to reach and do business with your customer base via mobile devices. One of the best ways is with a smartphone app.

Business apps for smartphones can vary greatly in use, type, and features.  While 72% of all smartphone users have the Facebook app on their phone, and active users spend nearly 40 minutes A DAY on Facebook, (TechCrunch report 7/2014) your customer base is unique to you and likely won’t spend that much time in a app you create each day.  So the questions are, what kind of app would work for your business, and is the investment worth it?

In this article we’ll look at some of the main app types and their uses.

Member Services:

One app area that is growing significantly is the Member Service app.  It is essentially an app for existing customers of a business to use and a benefit that can be marketed to new potential customers as something that set this company apart from others.  This is often seen in the bank and credit union realm.  Common member service app features include private logins with access to account information, services, and specific tools.

For banks and credit unions this means bank account access, paying bills, and depositing checks.  It’s a great tool to offer convenience, value, and a way for consumers to stay connected to the business.  A primary value for a business of a member service app is the ability to send “push notifications.”  These are in app message alerts to the smartphone user that mobile sites cannot perform.  It increases the touchpoints a business can have with an individual and provides a customized experience.

Utility / Membership Apps:

A close cousin to Member Service apps are apps in the utility and membership service areas.   A utility is a app that has a function such as tracking your miles walked, giving you ability to scan or fax documents, or send postcards from your phone.

Membership apps can be apps that are an extension of a monthly service such as a gym or fitness app.  These apps help users perform certain tasks or track certain information, or they provide ongoing new content and resources.  Similar to website with private member areas, these apps can pack power in your pocket, giving users on-the-go access and the key is that the business gets more access to the user.  The “stickier” the app features so that users become dependent upon them, the greater loyalty and connection to the business the user then have.  This loyalty can translate into additional purchases and sales and higher long-term spending per user.

apps Smartphone Apps for Business: Should your Business Have One?

Games:

Games are always a popular business-to-consumer app option.  It can be a stand-alone game where the game is the only offering of the company, or it can be a game that is simply one part of a larger company.  In the latter case, this is typically used as a way to build brand awareness and grow leads for the company via the free app installs.  Games typically take one of three methods to earning money.  They either have a cost to download, so an initial purchase, or, secondly, they have “in-app” purchases.  In this case the app is often free but to gain features or have more value there are options to purchase items within.  The third option is a game with ads within it.  These apps are also typically free and then the company earns money from delivering ads that companies pay for within the game experience.

Office or Dealer Tools:

A third type of app that is often used by businesses, is an office or dealer app that exists to meet specific, functional needs.  One example is an orthodontic office offering an app where a potential or new patient creates an account and adds their medical information, schedule appointments, and completes pre-appointment forms.

One other example is a manufacturer who offers their dealers an app to use as they work with their customers to create an order.  Whether it’s for a boat or an RV, the app could be used by the sales rep to show various models and features within those models to customers.  This way, the company may have some inventory but can sit down with the customer and use the app to go through more models as well as complete a order and add specific customized features to it.

What it means for your Business:

The bottom line is that with the massive growth in smartphone use and the advances in app technology, apps are in range of a wide array of businesses and organizations to have and offer to their customer base.  Beyond information that a website provides, apps provide a more customized experience, offer tools tied into the smartphone for better communication and reminders, and can be used by a business to provide efficient services that otherwise would take much more paper, time, and effort.

Have questions on apps?  Let’s chat! 

smartphone apps mean business

Mobile Apps for Business

smartphone apps mean business

The statistics continue to astound…

We have become a mobile computing society.

For businesses, this means there is an important need to consider how to reach and do business with your customer base via mobile devices. One of the best ways is with a smartphone app.

Business apps for smartphones can vary greatly in use, type, and features.  While 72% of all smartphone users have the Facebook app on their phone, and active users spend nearly 40 minutes A DAY on Facebook, (TechCrunch report 7/2014) your customer base is unique to you and likely won’t spend that much time in a app you create each day.  So the questions are, what kind of app would work for your business, and is the investment worth it?

In this article we’ll look at some of the main app types and their uses.

smartphone apps mean business body

Member Services:

One app area that is growing significantly is the Member Service app.  It is essentially an app for existing customers of a business to use and a benefit that can be marketed to new potential customers as something that set this company apart from others.  This is often seen in the bank and credit union realm.  Common member service app features include private logins with access to account information, services, and specific tools.   For banks and credit unions this means bank account access, paying bills, and depositing checks.  It’s a great tool to offer convenience, value, and a way for consumers to stay connected to the business.  A primary value for a business of a member service app is the ability to send “push notifications.”  These are in app message alerts to the smartphone user that mobile sites cannot perform.  It increases the touchpoints a business can have with an individual and provides a customized experience.

Utility / Membership Apps:

A close cousin to Member Service apps are apps in the utility and membership service areas.   A utility is a app that has a function such as tracking your miles walked, giving you ability to scan or fax documents, or send postcards from your phone.  Membership apps can be apps that are an extension of a monthly service such as a gym or fitness app.  These apps help users perform certain tasks or track certain information, or they provide ongoing new content and resources.  Similar to website with private member areas, these apps can pack power in your pocket, giving users on-the-go access and the key is that the business gets more access to the user.  The “stickier” the app features so that users become dependent upon them, the greater loyalty and connection to the business the user then have.  This loyalty can translate into additional purchases and sales and higher long-term spending per user.

Games:

Games are always a popular business-to-consumer app option.  It can be a stand-alone game where the game is the only offering of the company, or it can be a game that is simply one part of a larger company.  In the latter case, this is typically used as a way to build brand awareness and grow leads for the company via the free app installs.  Games typically take one of three methods to earning money.  They either have a cost to download, so an initial purchase, or, secondly, they have “in-app” purchases.  In this case the app is often free but to gain features or have more value there are options to purchase items within.  The third option is a game with ads within it.  These apps are also typically free and then the company earns money from delivering ads that companies pay for within the game experience.

Office or Dealer Tools:

A third type of app that is often used by businesses, is an office or dealer app that exists to meet specific, functional needs.  One example is an orthodontic office offering an app where a potential or new patient creates an account and adds their medical information, schedule appointments, and completes pre-appointment forms.  One other example is a manufacturer who offers their dealers an app to use as they work with their customers to create an order.  Whether it’s for a boat or an RV, the app could be used by the sales rep to show various models and features within those models to customers.  This way, the company may have some inventory but can sit down with the customer and use the app to go through more models as well as complete a order and add specific customized features to it.

The bottom line is that with the massive growth in smartphone use and the advances in app technology, apps are in range of a wide array of businesses and organizations to have and offer to their customer base.  Beyond information that a website provides, apps provide a more customized experience, offer tools tied into the smartphone for better communication and reminders, and can be used by a business to provide efficient services that otherwise would take much more paper, time, and effort.

Have questions on apps?  Let’s chat!

mobile website

Mobile App or Mobile Website: Which is right for your business?

mobile website

Here at Digital Hill, besides developing top notch websites, we develop Apps for iOS and Android devices. When meeting with potential clients, we commonly hear them say they need an App for their company. In some cases, they do, and in some cases they would be better-suited to use a mobile website.

What’s the difference and how do you know what to use?

Mobile App or Mobile Website

Mobile Website:

A mobile website is a site that you can view on a smartphone or mobile device. It is essentially another website, just built for mobile viewing.

It requires a connection to the internet to use. Mobile websites are often less costly to develop than a mobile app. Almost anything that can be done on a regular website can be done on a mobile website. A mobile website will work on any smartphone with a browser.

  • Mobile site reaches more people
  • Less cost
  • No download required
  • Analytics friendly
  • Less red tape in development

One disadvantage of a mobile website versus is an app is that there is no ability to send “push notifications” via a mobile website like you can with an app.  More on that below!

Mobile App:

Mobile apps can be downloaded from the an App store (iTunes, Google Play, etc.) for free, for a fee, or privately used by a company for various tasks.

iTunes googleplay

With a mobile app you have some decisions to make such as:

  • Do I want the app to work on all mobile iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad?
  • Do I want my app to work on Android devices or Windows devices?

The answer depends on your needs and the devices that your users use. Google analytics can give you a breakdown of the types of devices your web visitors use.

You also need to choose if the app needs to work with or without Internet connectivity. Mobile apps often work when not connected to the internet. However, some mobile apps still need internet access to keep updated with current information.

A key benefit of an App is the integration with the smartphone operating system.  Since the app is developed within the ecosystem of the store (Apple / Android), it enables added features.

You’ve likely seen app notifications in a smartphone that alerts you to a message or update.

push notifications

This allows a business to “get in front” of the user and be “top-of-mind”.

A good example of a hybrid type app that is used more internally would be a salesperson at a tradeshow. They might want to show off their latest product without messing with a slow busy internet connection. In this case the app could show all the product details to a potential client and never be connected to the Internet. The salesperson could also input prospective client data into the device, and then when he was able to connect to the web, upload that data to a central company database or website.

  • Better user experience
  • May require a submission process user will have to download to use.
  • Faster and more interactive
  • Users spend 4X more time on an App
  • Device integration(camera, geolocation, voice and motion controls)
  • Push notifications

There is no reason a business can’t have both, a mobile app and a mobile website. 81% of business owners recognize that they could benefit from both!

By 2015, 780 million people will be mobile only users and not own a desktop or laptop computer!

Contact Digital Hill or your web developer to find out which is right for you!

 

Source: http://barnraisersllc.com/2013/08/mobile-app-mobile-website-14-decision-makers/

Create and Edit Social Media Images with your Smartphone

iphone-with-ps-express

I’ve talked in past posts about the importance of using images in online media.  From the images on your website to using images in social media for your business, the bottom line is that images work.

Photos tell a story at a glance and provide a much better method of drawing visitors in than does text only.  Data collected in research by HubSpot, a leading online marketing software, found, for example, that photos on Facebook generated 53% more likes and 104% more comments than the average post.

Images online also have much higher engagement rates. Engagement is the sum of likes, comments, retweets, and shares related to a post on a social network.  The value is that the more viewers engage, the more they help to spread the image to their friends and networks, thereby increasing the reach of the post and increasing the audience that learns about your business.

Knowing that images are important and that small business owners and marketers are busy daily with a multitude of tasks, how can creating and using images while on the go be done more efficiently?  And related to this, how can images be quickly edited to help with branding and customization?

The answer is likely right in your pocket!  Smartphones with a few key apps allow busy business persons to capture images in the field, at tradeshows, in the production area, in the showroom and more; then quickly edit, add some text captions in company colors and upload to various social sites.  Being able to quickly crop, adjust, and add a caption is important in enhancing your images.   As well, these apps offer tools like free drawing and arrows, so if you wanted to make a quick help tip or point to a new feature it can be easily done.

Apps for Editing Images:

While there are many photo editor apps available, my favorite ones (available on both Apple and Android devices) include:

Aviary and PS Express (by PhotoShop) offer the most powerful tools for editing images including features such as blurring areas, masking, and of course adding filters and text.

InstaQuote is brilliant for quickly adding text to a image.  It allows you to use their own starter backgrounds and add text, or to use photos on your phone and create tag lines or short messages.

Others that you may want to consider as well are PhotoWizard and Phonto.  If you are looking to create a single image with multiple photos in it, then a app like Collage or FrameUrLife can be just what you need.

Smart apps like these on my phone allow me to capture photos at events, add some adjustments and messaging, and then easily share socially allowing me efficiency with effectiveness.

What’s your next doable step?  Download an app for your smartphone and consider what images your company can be sharing as part of your digital marketing strategy!