Recently, most users of iPhones, iPads and iPods went on a downloading rampage — frantically upgrading to the then-just-released iOS 6. This new release includes a number of great features that marketers can take advantage of to increase their reach and presence online. In this article, you’ll learn what an iOS is, how iOS 6 is different, and how you can utilize these changes to improve your marketing.
What Is An iOS?
Your first question might be, “What is an iOS?” iOS stands for iPhone Operating System and is the foundation for Apple’s mobile devices. Similar to Windows 7 for your PC or Mountain Lion for your Mac, your iOS is the operating system for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It provides you with the interface for using your device’s apps and helps different systems work together in an integrated way to provide you with a consistent experience across devices.
What Is iOS 6?
iOS 6 is Apple’s latest mobile operating system. It’s no surprise that Apple released this to coincide with its iPhone 5 debut.
Apple is touting the new iOS as the world’s most advanced mobile operating system and is taking a clear jab at competitors, going as far to say that even as others try to catch up, the technologies and features built into iOS keep your Apple devices years ahead.
The update includes improved integration with Facebook and Twitter, shared photo streams, Smart Banner support, and the addition of Apple’s Maps app.
How You Can Take Advantage Of iOS 6 To Improve Your Marketing
Your next question is probably, “What does this mean for me as a marketer?” With over 2 million pre-orders on the first day, the iPhone 5 (which comes loaded with iOS 6) is sure to be in the hands of your customers. Here are a few ways to take advantage of the new features:
1. Set up loyalty programs easily with Passbook.
Apple’s new Passbook app on iOS 6 allows users to store boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons and loyalty cards all in one place, similar to a virtual wallet.
There are a slew of 3rd party apps such as PassRocket, Passdock and PassSource to help you take advantage of this for setting up your own loyalty program. These apps, and others like them, allow businesses to create their own loyalty cards or coupons for free, along with a link to share with customers.
When the customer opens the link with their iOS 6-enabled device, it’ll be placed in their Passbook application and also make them eligible to receive reminders about the offer when they’re in or near the store’s location.
Many of these apps come with pre-built templates to make it quick and easy to get started. With this feature, any small business can develop its own rewards program like CVS’s ExtraCare Rewards or Starbucks Rewards.
Sephora took advantage of this feature to promote its “Beauty Insider” card and generated 20,000 users in day.
Download one of these apps to get started on yours. Having a stellar loyalty program can be a great way to drive repeat business, track your highly-engaged customers and continue to market to them in targeted ways. This is definitely one of the hottest features for marketers. For additional ideas, take a look at our How to Give Your Audience the 5-Star Treatment With Exclusive Offers blog article.
2. Drive likes and shares through increased social media integration.
iOS 6 features native integration with Facebook and Twitter for users, which means no more waiting for the Facebook or Twitter app to load.
After a one-time setup, users can now post to Facebook and Twitter directly from their notification center and through Siri. To set this up, users go to Settings -> Facebook (or Twitter) and enter their account credentials. By doing this, users can now pull down their notification center to post even faster, making it easier for them to share and like your content.
To take advantage of this, make sure that you’re giving your network something to talk about. Some examples: If you’re hosting a webinar, make sure that you promote a hashtag for them to use on Twitter. If you’re doing a live event, create photo ops through giveaways, meet-and-greets with presenters or relevant quotes and tips on a slide to make snapshot-able moments for participants to share with their networks.
3. Increase Facebook likes of your apps and podcasts.
Speaking of increasing likes and shares, podcasts and apps can now be liked on Facebook directly from the Podcasts and App Store iPhone interfaces.
When users do this, it’ll show up on their timeline and newsfeed. This, in addition to the star rating system in the Music and App store, is a great way to help your listeners and customers spread the word about your content. Users just search for your app in the App Store or podcast in the iTunes store and click Reviews to like it on Facebook, as well as through the App or iTunes store.
4. Make it easy for customers to find you on iOS 6 Maps.
One of the major changes released is that the Google’s Maps app has been replaced with Apple’s own Maps app on iOS 6. Because of this change, Google local listings are not going to be featured.
At this point, it looks like business listings for Maps are now sourced from Yelp. If you run a business with a physical location such as a restaurant, store or office where location-based discovery matters, be sure that your Yelp listings are up-to-date with your current information to make it easy for customers and prospects to find you.
To do this, simply go to Yelp.com and search for your place of business to confirm the information is correct. If it isn’t correct, or if your business doesn’t have a listing already, you can create a free Yelp Business Account to manage your information, create deals and message your customers.
5. Generate app downloads with Smart App Banners.
iOS 6 introduced a new feature called Smart App Banners to help app developers promote their iPhone apps in Safari.
By adding a simple line of code to their website, marketers can direct their website visitors to their app without having to use full-page popup messages or hire a developer.
These Smart App Banners are unobtrusive, provide a direct link to the app, and also display the app’s icon, title, company name, star rating, and price. Here is the Smart App Banner HubSpot is using for its iPhone app on our login page and on Marketing Grader.
Adding a Smart App Banner is incredibly easy. Simply add the following meta tag to the head area of your site HTML:
<meta name=”apple-itunes-app” content=”app-id=534167981″/>
Be sure to replace the value for app-id with your own iTunes identifier for your app. Additional information on implementing Smart App Banners can be found on this article by David Smith.
Let us know: How are you taking advantage of Apple’s iOS changes?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.