Flipboard is a free mobile app that takes advantage of two of the biggest trends in digital content: mobile and social. At its core, Flipboard is a news aggregator with a gorgeous user experience. The app will help you to discover content by aggregating tailored-for-you content from across the web, news sources, publishers, and social networks. The immersive in-app experience allows you to read stories and articles, watch videos, and browse through countless photo streams. You can also connect your social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Google+ to see what your friends are posting and easily share articles with them. Spend just one hour using the app, and you will easily see see why Flipboard has become a global favorite since its launch in 2010. In fact, Flipboard’s audience has grown to more than 100 million active readers and adds 250,000 to 300,000 users every day. It is the most popular of the magazine-like content aggrregator apps for iOS, Android, Kindle, and Nook.
You can use Flipboard to manage and discover various content streams, but businesses can really benefit from using this robust and powerful service in other ways.
> Create marketing materials.
Use Flipboard to create a beautiful customer-facing publication to complement your existing portfolio or resume. Present the best of your work, along with any notes on the projects, press coverage, awards, client feedback, social media commentary, services lists, and more. Share your magazine with prospective clients, and include a link on your business card. This is especially useful for a freelancer or independent contractor to stand out from the crowd.
> Let your audience tell you what they want.
Consider using Flipboard as part over your overall listening strategy. Create boards to monitor the larger conversation around your brand in real time, then use those results to drive your activities. Flipboard reader Gerry Moran, the Head of Social Media at SAP in North America, recently wrote a blog post targeted to sales people, with more great ideas on how Flipboard can help make your “time spent on social media listen more profitable.”
> Grow your audience.
Use Flipboard to promote existing content to a new audience without adding significant labor hours to existing budgets. Flipboard is compatible with many of the file types you are probably already using, including multimedia such as videos (MP4, YouTube, and Vimeo), and audio (MP3 and SoundCloud). If you have a Flipboard-optimized RSS feed, it’s free to get started with promoting your brand through Flipboard.
> Increase your brand’s reputation.
In addition to requesting that Flipboard share your content through their streams, use Flipboard to tell your brand’s story in a new and exciting way. The Flipboard Editor on the Web allows you to create your own magazine, which can be shared via email or social media at an opportune time—during a launch, a press event, etc. Collect articles, photos and videos from prominent sources, like trade magazines and influencers in your field, then add your own content to seamlessly way to inject your voice into the wider conversation.
Flipboard marketing exec Marci McCue said that its “top” brand magazines — created by brands like Levi’s and Cisco — are seeing readers access anywhere from 20 to 40 pages per visit. “For the top performers we also see that 10 to 20 percent of the readers like the content so much they subscribe to that brand magazine, meaning they add it to their Flipboard for later reading.”
If you are so inclined, Flipboard also offers paid full-page display ads. These are inserted between pages in existing Flipboard magazines. Users who really like a brand’s ad can “flip” (or “add”) it into their own magazines. On average, Flipboard’s click-through rate for these magazines after a reader sees an ad for them is 3 percent, according to McCue. (For comparison, the average click-through rates on digital ads are generally estimated at less than 0.1 percent.)
Going forward with Flipboard
Earlier this year the company acquired personalized news application Zite from CNN. Flipboard will use the technology to improve the app’s recommendations, personalization, and search options. “You will see us [in 2014] start to enhance our discovery capabilities, making the discovery capabilities work with all these magazines that people are creating, so that you will be able to discover this stuff,” McCue says.
As you can see, Flipboard has money and a growing user base, making it a safe and easy way to incorporate mobile and social to your brand’s marketing mix.
What do you think? How can Flipboard help your business bridge the divide between print and digital publications? What obstacles would you face if you started using Flipboard as part of your marketing mix? Let me know in the comments.