The Evolving Worlds of Social Media and Mobile Marketing

Next to email, I don’t think there’s a better partner for marketers to pair social media marketing tactics with other than mobile marketing. In a previous column, I wrote about adoption rates in Europe being higher than in the U.S. However, the adoption rate of smartphones in the U.S. is at its highest rate ever, and as these smartphones become faster and more compatible with our lives and what we need them to do, marketing tactics in these channels will need to change as well.

In the beginning of mobile marketing, we had to build sites in WAP (as a former programmer, I’m really glad those days are behind us). Basically, WAP was a stripped-down mobile version of the website – no bells or whistles, basically just text. The experience was miserable.

Now smartphones can render most pieces of a website without having to learn another programming language or sacrificing the experience the mobile user will have. With that in mind, marketers no longer have to utilize nearly ancient technologies and figure out ways to adapt them to this fast-changing world of technology we live in. Intuitive people and companies are out there creating, adapting, revising, and reinventing new ideas for mobile every day.

SnapTags Are QR Codes on Steroids

While at the Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit in San Francisco in April, I was introduced to SnapTag technology. You can think of SnapTags sort of like QR codes, but where QR codes are just delivering a URL to your mobile device, SnapTags can actually deliver a lot more: from videos to PDFs, contest entries, URLs, the “like” button to a fan page on Facebook, and even ringtones. SnapTags also don’t force the user to have to download a reader (but it can make the experience even better), and they can also use SMS by texting their photo of the SnapTag to a short code.

The fact that SnapTags can deliver true social content, rather than just a URL that you’ve got to hope the user knows what to do with, is very appealing. What’s even more appealing is being able to tie in your branding in a very obvious way and being able to bring back metrics to truly measure if your audience is engaging from their mobile devices. SnapTags do both. No longer are you stuck with that “black square” of tiny black spots that may or may not contain your logo. You are no longer limited to just knowing how many mobile users visited the URL the QR code serves up.

SnapTags can incorporate a logo for a company, product, or brand within a ring. Where the ring breaks tells the server what to serve up, and since it’s not tied to a URL and the content instructions are served up on the backend, a company can reuse the SnapTag later on for a different campaign.

SnapTag examples: SnapTag, Coke Zero, and Marine Corps

Along with being able to keep your branding consistent with your marketing channels, you’re able to garner some incredible insights from your efforts. From mobile adoption rates, how many “likes” were initiated, how many times your video was truly watched, and just about anything you can create your campaign around, the SnapTag offers a lot more to marketers who have to prove that what they are doing is working.

marine-directory-example  marine-snaptag-ringtone-delivery
Marine Corps SnapTag example delivers ringtones

SNAP Takes Loyalty Programs to a Whole New Level

Who doesn’t have one of those loyalty plastic cards on their key ring? I have about 10 of them. The only interaction I have with that card is when the cashier says “do you have your rewards card,” she scans it, and then on my receipt it shows me how many points I’ve accumulated. That’s it; no thank you, no telling my friends, no true “reward” socially, which so many users are becoming used to in a world of 24/7 social engagement.

What if your loyalty program could connect with a location-based or geo-social community? And not only that, but it let your customer’s interaction with your loyalty program become a topic of conversation in a Facebook news stream or on Twitter? Isn’t that one way to take your loyalty program to the next level of engagement with smartphone and social media users?

SNAP helps take customer loyalty programs to the next level. By connecting the loyalty portion of scanning the card at the register to noticing that the customer logged in to Foursquare, it can create a whole new experience with the customer and their network. From assigning “bonus” points to offering to tweet or post on Facebook about it, their friends are going to know just how loyal and what they are getting for their loyalty. Their network gets curious, and guess what – they want in.

Think Outside the Box

There’s a lot more out there, technology-wise, from special applications to new programs that are either on the market right now or are coming in the next year. Marketers should be looking seriously at how social media and mobile marketing can be integrated to not only improve reach and be where their audience is, but also to be delivering valuable content in the way their audience wants it.

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