Unless you’ve been living under a rock or on a different planet, you already know that social media is considered to be the most revolutionary, life-changing thing to hit PR in 20 years. It may have taken you a while to accept this fact, a little longer to start using social platforms for PR and are probably just now getting comfortable with your corporate blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites. Good for you!
I hate to break it to you, but once again it’s time for you to innovate, put your creative thinking caps on and learn something new. This time around, the new challenge is to create apps. Yes, I’m freaked out too. But what I’ve learned might help you.
According to Matt Holland “If you know how to create a blog, you know how to make an app”. Here’s what I suggest you keep in mind:
- There are online sites where you can create a basic app for free (check out http://mobile.conduit.com/ and http://www.appsgeyser.com/). They will ask you to enter the name of your website. Do it! The app creator will extract all of the information it considers useful and make your work that much easier.
- Your motivation: learning something new can be really frustrating (trust me, I know). So always remember that you’re doing this because half of mobile phone users have smartphones. In the UK alone it’s expected that 32 million people will have them (and be downloading apps) by next year.
- Who is your audience? Keep their interests and needs at heart. Try to think like them and you’ll be able to create something that they truly find useful. Check out Heathrow Airport’s app.
- What are you going to focus on? Do you want to raise awareness about an issue? Do you want people to buy your product? This will be the main focus of your app.
- Keep it simple: content should load quickly and be light weight. Don’t try to squeeze in content for the sake of it.
- Think of what your phone has to offer: it has a camera, a clock, sensors that tell it when it’s vertical or horizontal… use this as inspiration. One of the most useful apps I have is a flashlight that uses the flash from my phone’s camera to light the way.
- Link it: by including links to your Twitter feed, website and Facebook page, you’re adding value to your app and keeping it updated easily. More importantly, you can get people who’ve downloaded the app to check out your social media platforms.
- Promote it: Mention it in your blog, on your Facebook page and Twitter feed and get people interested in your app. Hopefully, they’ll share your posts and tweets and get even more people interested!
- Create some supporting content: Facebook polls, widgets, YouTube videos… If you can come up with complementary tactics for your app, you can make it the focus of your (hopefully viral) campaign.
- Create something you can update: if you’ve come up with a game, periodically offering new versions of it will keep your audience interested. Think of all of the versions that are out there of “Angry Birds”… it’s still going strong! Keep calendars of events updated and periodically update the app’s functions to keep people interested.
I’m not going to try to fool you and tell you that you won’t make mistakes and at that you’re not going to yell at the app creator when you can’t get it to do exactly what you want it to. I’m still doing that. But think about how cool it will be to create your own app and then download it and use it. You’ll be on top of the game… for now!