The saying, “there’s in fact an app for that” has become a tired cliché, but this ultimately comes from how true such a statement is.
Most people now acknowledge that any marketing strategy should include a social media component. The problem is that working with social media requires a goodly amount of human effort and there are so many social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, FourSquare, Instagram, and on and on, to choose from.
Some ideas in social media work (for a little while) because they catch a break and resonate with the target audience even if the idea itself was a bad one. These types of concepts include Foursquare apps that try to stalk attractive women (lifespan: 1 week), video chatting sites that connect random people (chances of seeing a penis: 1 in 4 and rising), and anything that depended on the Twitter API to make it work.
I found it humorous that Yelp’s stock prices fell after Facebook announced Graph Search. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Facebook over the years, it’s that the only thing they’ve been able to slay in their various attempts to jump into something was social networking pioneer MySpace, and even they’re bringing sexy back to some extent. Facebook didn’t kill Foursquare. It couldn’t kill Twitter. It never emerged as a blip on Amazon’s radar and their Craigslist killer was a no-show. No, Facebook will not replace Yelp for business reviews and they won’t make a measurable impression on Google’s search dominance.
There’s no doubt. When it was first uttered, “there’s an app for that” was as much wishful thinking as it was great advertising. But now there really is an app for everything. You’re a soccer mom needing a cleaners near an away game? There’s an app. Someone owes you money and you need to read up on creditor rights? There’s an app. In this deluge of new programs, some are good, some are bad, some are helpful, and some are useless.
The best apps help you find something you need on a regular basis, they do that well, and they give you a little something extra. To that end, here are my favorite apps for finding restaurants (something I need on a regular basis). They’re all free (because why pay for it) and some help you score bargains.
I am a great fan of Yelp for two reasons. First, it’s helped me find an endless array of great goods and services, and especially when it comes to restaurants the reviews are plentiful and helpful. Second, Yelp has increased the power of reviewers considerably, which means that when you get really bad service somewhere the threat of a negative review is generally enough to get you a steep discount.
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of Foursquare check-ins in principle. Usually when I go out somewhere it’s to get away from people I know, and the last thing I want is for people I know to find out where I’m at. But that aside, the Foursquare app does help you find places where people you know have checked in. Following the flavor trends of friends I trust has served me well on many occasions.
#3 Around Campus
Although I’m no longer a college student, the college environment is always a good place to find good fun and a good conversation. In the right college bar, you can even get wasted while discussing Kierkegaard with a co-ed – and that should be enough to recommend this app to anyone living in a college town in the US who has either a beer or a brain…or both.
Scoutmob connects customers looking for a new dining experience with restaurants looking for new customers. The restaurants offer deals, which can sometimes be as much as 50% off their prices, in order to pull customers in. That means you get a steep discount on your meal, and because you’ve let the restaurant know you’re a first-timer (and prospective regular) you’ll usually get great service as well.
#1 Drink Specials
This might not be the #1 restaurant-finding app out there, but it is probably the best app for finding cheap drinks nearby the restaurant where you just spent your money having a nice meal . Drink Specials uses GPS to locate you, then pushes deals from bars convenient to that location.
While it’s true that the app the soccer mom uses to find the cleaners or that the creditor uses to bone up on creditor rights are valuable when they’re needed, these apps will help you satisfy three of humankind’s most basic needs: food, drink, and a good deal.
When the Patriots of New England take on the Giants of New York—a game that could be decided by kicking a oblong ball made of pigskin through a giant “H” for a most ripping victory—thousands of football fans will converge on Lucas Oil Field and the surrounding areas for Super Bowl XLVI. The vast majority of attendees are sure to use mobile devices to disclose various details of their fun during a full week of events. An unprepared city could experience a social media logjam, but the city of Indianapolis has taken all of this into consideration.
The recent introduction of the iOS 5, the new operating system included in the iPhone 4s, has not only created opportunities for Apple, but third parties as well. Geo-driven social network Foursquare is one party that has decided to tap into its rich functionality right away with the recent launch of Radar.
I was listening to my rock radio station of choice the other day, and when the commercial for a big bank mobile app aired, some thoughts I’d been having about social media and apps started to really make sense.
The spokesperson, in jocular, soothing tones, told me how even if I forgot to deposit my checks before I went to the ballgame, it didn’t matter, because I could do so with the app while the pitchers warm up. “All you have to do is take a picture of both sides of the check and boom it’s deposited,” he said.