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What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum

What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a featured writer with the team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Chris writes for Small Business Resources about social media, search, and what’s new for small business. Hundreds of publications link to Chris’ articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.

How Your Business Could Use The Hot New App Jelly from Twitter Co- Founder

How Your Business Could Use The Hot New App Jelly from Twitter Co- Founder

It’s hard to tell what to make of Jelly at first glance. It feels different yet familiar. Can it be used for business, or is it just one of those apps that will quickly come and go without any real social significance?

Some businesses are quickly jumping in, however, and one you’ve heard of seems to have the best idea so far.

First, for a little background, Jelly is the new app from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Jelly lets you take a picture of something and ask a question about it. It connects to your social networks. For now, it’s just Twitter and Facebook, but the company has indicated that it will be adding more networks. The more networks it adds, the more useful Jelly potentially becomes because it opens up the ability to reach more people for an answer.

That’s pretty much it. You ask a question about your image, and someone you know (or somebody who knows somebody you know) answers. Instead of seeking info from the greater Internet (which can be hard to do by image, though Google does offer features in this realm), you seek info from people you know and possibly trust. Such answers can add context and/or relevancy to the situation.

That’s where a business can come in. What does your business specialize in? What problems can it solve? These are the kinds of questions you can jump in and answer on Jelly.

That’s just what hardware chain Lowe’s (known for its past social media competence) has done.

One user turned to Jelly to ask, “How do I mount art on my exposed brick wall? Is it possible to mount heavier items like mirrors or a flat screen TV here?”

The user of course included a photo of said wall.

Lowe’s smartly chimed in, “It’s actually not too hard. You’ll need a drill, masonry drill bit and masonry screw. Find the spot on the wall for the art, drill the pilot hole and then put the screw in. Same process for hanging TVs, just use a good TV wall mount.”

No links or anything. Lowe’s isn’t directly trying to sell this person anything right from the answer, but it’s potentially going to sell such items to the person in question. Will she definitely go out and purchase these items? No. Even if she does, is there any guarantee that she’ll get them from Lowe’s? No.

She will, however, know that Lowe’s is the one that helped her, which could influence her purchasing decision. But that’s not even the real key here. The real key is that person is already connected to Lowe’s in the first place, because that’s how you use Jelly. You get answers from people you’re already connected to. That means that this person is presumably already following Lowe’s on Facebook and/or Twitter. This person is already a Lowe’s customer, and already a loyal one, apparently.

Jelly gives brands a potentially more engaging way to actually help their customers. Lowe’s may not be a small business, but small businesses can certainly learn from it. If you have followers on Facebook or Twitter (or other networks in the future), and they use Jelly, you can potentially reach them.

Now, the jury’s still out on just how popular Jelly will become. It’s entirely possible that it could be a bust, but the longer it’s out, the more potential use cases I’m seeing for it.

And let’s not forget who created it. Even Twitter sounded like a dumb idea to a lot of people when it first launched. Look at it now. Jelly could follow a similar path, even if not at Twitter’s scale.

Businesses would not be wise to ignore it.


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