Digging for Your Social Media Feeds

Your organization may have tens or even hundreds of news feeds across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, RSS, Pinterest, Vimeo, and so on. For your alumni, finding the specific news they want to follow is hard.

The newest version of our app debuts several improvements targeted at getting your users to easily see and follow your social media.

We Find All of Your Feeds

Like pigs hunting for truffles, we sniff out (almost) ALL of the social media from your organization (alumni and greek chapters, sports blogs, student clubs, academic departments, and so on) and serve them up in one simple app.

Providing lots of niche news choices is key to building a strong alumni news following. Let’s say you have an alumnus who played soccer, studied history, and belonged to Kappa Delta Something. He or she wants to read news tailored to those interests.

Categories

Some organizations have a LOT of feeds (some of our customers have 250+). To make finding those niche interests a little easier, each feed is listed within a useful category such as “Sports” or “Academics”.

Feed Images (thumbnails)

To make the app fun and engaging, we attach a tiny “thumbnail” image to every news feed to give the user a visual sense of what the feed is all about.

Easy to Customize

As you add (or we find) additional feeds from your organization, these new feeds are highlighted in a “New” category, making discovery of news fun and easy.

Also, users can remove feeds (but not your features) by simply tapping on a little “x” next to those stories which they don’t want to read.

Takeaway

A fundamental demand exists for your organization’s news. This demand is currently being met by a variety of websites and social media. Now your office can satisfy this hunger by offering all this news to your alumni in a beautiful app… branded by you.

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What’s all the buzz about? Crib Sheet 2.0

Over the past few months, we’ve been busy bees building a great new update to our app, Crib Sheet. Now we’re really excited for you to see what all the buzz is about.

More Beauty

The most obvious improvement can be seen in the news feed. We’ve added an image to every story to add more beauty and “pop” to the app.



The banner at the top of the news tab also rotates to make the app feel more “alive”, and to remind users about all of the great content the app has to offer.

Easier Sharing

You’ll find one-tap sharing on almost every screen of the app. We think that easier sharing on Facebook, Twitter, email, and SMS will result in many more downloads and visits of your app.



Since Crib Sheet is customized for a school or organization, we think sharing the app with a smaller group of friends (e.g. fellow alumni) is more powerful than sharing with ALL friends.

So, we’ve added a special Facebook sharing function which allows users to share with friends from ONLY your organization.



Faster

Speed in an app is crucial, so we found ways to increase speed and reduce taps everywhere. For example, you’ll find a faster news feed and one-tap sharing right from your news feed.



In addition, tapping on a news story now takes you directly to the full article, which is particularly powerful on the iPad:

More Guidance

We provide more instructions for the best way to enjoy the app.

Our rotating banner provides more helpful tips.


Relevant Ads

We view advertisers as important partners to the app.

Our advertisers give schools the chance to subscribe at discounted rates and they give users the chance to take the “next step” when learning about auto insurance, investing, etc.

So we’ve made ads more visible (when in context) within our life 101 content.



It’s with great excitement that we debut these updates. Search almost any app store for “Crib Sheet” to see many customer examples.

We welcome feedback or suggestions – e-mail me. We are already back in the hive, working to make your app experience even sweeter.

Enjoy!

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FAQ: How To Close Your App

This is a quick “frequently asked questions” post if you want to show off your beautiful load screen or view an update made from your Dashboard.

The short answer: close your app then re-open it.

Sometimes your app stays open in the background as a benefit of “multi-tasking”. Your app will close on its own after a period of time, but you can force close it now using the following steps:

 

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Promoting Your App Via Social Media: Do This, Not That

This post is part of a series for our customers on easy ways to promote your app.

Have you ever read the “Eat This, Not That” books? They’re fun books that not only tell you what’s bad for you, but they give you a healthier alternative.

I hope this post will give you similar “healthy” tips for promoting our app (or any app) via your social media and get you more downloads.

A Typical Mobile Reader

I’d like to caption the above photo: My husband reading e-mail while holding toddler and doing dishes.  The truth is that your typical “mobile reader” is a multitasking alum with a short attention span and a tiny screen.

The below tips will help get your typical mobile reader to quickly download your app.

Tip #1: Keep it simple.

Link directly to the app (using our smart link, see Tip #2). If you send users to another page describing the app with more instructions for downloading the app, they’ll give up.

Tip #2: Make your links tappable. 

If the “http://” prefix is in your link, it will usually be tappable (otherwise, it may just be text). In the above example, our smart link recognizes the reader’s device, and gets them to the right app store to download the app.

Tip #3: Use your actual app name.

Some readers will search for your app in an app store. If you supply extra words, their search results might be empty.

Tip #4: Give specific reasons to download the app.

Tell them it’s FREE, available on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and any computer. It’s full of news from you and useful life tips.

Tip #5: Don’t use QR codes in social media.

QR codes are cool, but they’re best used in print ads. A QR code is scanned by a phone. If users read your post on their phones, they would need to set up a complicated set of mirrors to scan your QR code.

Here’s an ideal post (from a fictional college):

##

The “Faber Alumni Crib Sheet” is live! Search for our FREE app in any app store with timely news from us and humorous life 101 tips for you. It’s available on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and any computer. Learn more at http://www.mycribsheet.com/faber.

##

And if your creative juices are running low, we’ve got monthly post suggestions for you. Or, feel free to run a post by me at nicole@capandcompass.com.

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A Happy Update To Our Crib Sheet App

 

One of our newest topic photos

The happiness of our customers is what drives our happiness, which makes us very pleased to announce a great new update to our Crib Sheet app.

Thanks to the great feedback from our buyers and users, we’ve made a bunch of improvements which make the app easier to use and understand.

What’s the most important highlight of this update? Five new smart and helpful topics that range from the keys to happiness to the keys of a rental car.

(1) Happiness: Yep, read this topic and you’ll be happy forever.

(2) Disability Insurance: Prepare yourself for that “staple injury” that prevents you from earning a paycheck.

(3) Wills & Trusts: We know you’ll never die, but just in case… we’ve got your crib sheet for planning for the stuff and people you’ll leave behind.

(4) Long-term Care Insurance: Until the Fountain of Youth is sold in aisle 6, this topic is a must read.

(5) Rental Cars: We help you navigate all those extra fees, insurance choices and more.

We hope you love the new content. And stay tuned, because we have more exciting updates to come soon.

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Customer Love

At Cap & Compass, we aim to create great products and treat our customers as we’d like to be treated. We generally keep our heads down and let our customers handle the boasts.

But as a subscriber to many services myself, I often like to read what others have to say on a vendor’s website before I purchase. So here you go…

Book

“We are very pleased with the book, and I think it will be the best gift we’ve ever given our graduating class.”

“THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. The books arrived and are a great success. Feedback has been wonderful.”

“Our book was a great hit! Could not have given a better ‘send-off’ graduation gift. Your entire operation – service, attention to detail, end product – were all outstanding.”

“We got our gorgeous books today! Everyone in our department ‘oohed and ahhed’ over them, I assure you!”

“WE LOVE THEM! THANKS so much for everything. You were so easy to work with – excellent in following up. You’ll be hearing from us in the future, no doubt!”

App

“Our alumni love the app! We’ve had several comments via social media channels indicating they find the tips useful and fun, and they appreciate the service.”

“Our program, dean, vice president, president, and marketing members love the app and what it has done for our students and alumni.”

“The dashboard for our app is an easy-to-use feature and the one-on-one contact with Cap & Compass has been extremely beneficial.”

“I’m so glad we decided to purchase your app.”

“I’m very pleased with the app. It’s extremely convenient using the dashboard to create polls, quizzes and feedback forms…”

General

“I do have to say, I’ve been very impressed with your company and the service we’ve received. Everything is always as it should be – or better.”

“I must tell you that I think you and your company are phenomenal! Your customer service and the speed at which you provide it are outstanding.”

“Your customer service has been wonderful and we have nothing but good things to say about the way business went with you.”

“Your company is truly exceptional! I appreciate great customer service and will definitely let others know how dependable you are.”

“I just wanted to take this time to thank you for your courtesy, professionalism, kindness and especially your patience. Your customer service is excellent.”

I hope you enjoyed them. Now back to the coal mines

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Creative Features: Spice Up Your News Feed

In our recent post, we highlighted our “secret sauce” of the features and feeds in the News tab of our mobile app.

Maybe we’re hungry around here, but this post is focused on ideas to add in some extra flavor to your News tab through the creative use of features.

For starters, we offer five types of features. How you use them is only limited to your imagination:

(1) Links: Direct users to any external website such as benefits or giving pages, class notes, spirit store, event calendar, directory or an important YouTube video.

(2) Feedback forms: Request user-specific feedback such as address updates, RSVPs, or pledges.

(3) Polls: Request and share anonymous feedback such as demographic information, alumni event planning, or app feedback.

(4) Photos: Post a series of photos to promote an event, highlight an achievement, or show campus happenings.

(5) Emails: Give users a simple way to e-mail someone other than the administrator of the app, for services such as resume review, transcript request, or class notes submission.

Be creative! Below are some examples from our wonderful customers:

Poll Feature: Saint Joseph's Demographic Poll

Link Feature: NC State's link to a Students Today Alumni Tomorrow video.

For a creative example of a feedback form, read our post on LaSalle University’s Scavenger Hunt.

Think of features as spices. Sprinkle them into your News feed to keep app users abreast of alumni events and resources, and garner their feedback in return.

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The 8-page Insert: Our Field of Wildflowers

Two blocks from my house is a big open field. My kids like to run in it, neighborhood dogs like to fertilize it – in short, it is generally enjoyed by everyone around us.

The other day, it turned vibrantly purple.  Soon, perfectly rational adults were staging pet photo shoots and roving bands of little girls were gathering weedy bouquets. In short, something good got even better.

Our customers customize the outside and inside cover of our book and give it as a thoughtful gift. Graduates love our content and our buyers love the branding.

So how do you make it even better?

Add 8 pages of custom content to the front of the book. It’s not quite a field of wildflowers, but the 8-page insert is a great way to share a lot of specific information about your institution.

We love to read the creative ways our customers use their insert:

Keeping In Touch: Showcase the ways your alumni or members can stay connected.

Benefits: Share details of your alumni benefits program.

Career Services: Let your alumni or members know about career services you offer.

Our 8-page insert is an inexpensive way to include substantial information about your institution. We can even print color pages (at a slightly higher cost) if your information looks better nestled against something bright, like say a field of purple wildflowers.

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Feeds & Features: Our Secret Sauce

The Colonel has a secret recipe. Coca-Cola locks up their secret formula in a vault. Our app has its own secret sauce: our feeds and features.

Feeds

Feeds contain the stories told via your social media (Facebook, Flicker, YouTube, RSS, etc). The posts appear chronologically (most recent at the top), so if you include a lot of feeds, your app always has something fresh.

Since users want news that is both fresh and relevant to them, they select feeds important to them (e.g. engineering and football). Your alumni return for news they want to read.

Add as many feeds as possible (newspapers, clubs, blogs, and so on). With lots of feeds, you let users select niche interests from an institution they love.

Features

Think of features as “special messages” from your office which you want to get read or responded to.

Features can include address update forms, event RSVPS, links to your website, and videos promoting your next event.

Features appear every third item in your news feed and never disappear (users can’t turn them off and they never “roll down” your feed). When Bobby checks his news, he’ll see your features.

Our buyers add and delete as many features as they’d like, and prioritize them in any order. Update a feature and your app updates immediately.

We think the reason our secret sauce works is its simplicity. Users read news they love in one simple place. Schools get their messages (features) read.

So that’s our secret sauce. We think it’s better than a bucket of chicken and a medium-sized drink.

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Celebrating Ten Years

Ten years ago, in the unfinished basement of our tiny Connecticut home, Jesse wrote the first edition of our flagship book, “life after school. explained.

What I remember most about that time are the late nights sitting next to each other in that damp New England basement – Jesse endlessly editing and trying out new jokes, making me laugh out loud while I was trying to write papers. It was our first year of marriage, my first year of graduate school, his first entrepreneurial venture.

The book was born out of a seminar series. In the beginning, schools would advertise free pizza to get their students to a taxes seminar. Jesse quickly learned that if you don’t make HMOs and 401(k)s funny, people will smile, take their pizza and leave.

The book has had its high moments: when a 22-year-old Marist College grad was elected mayor of his town and credited his early success to our book in his inaugural speech. And we didn’t even know the guy.

Photo from an article in the Hartford Courant, 12/6/05

And, of course, there have been low moments: like when the warehouse storing books caught fire. We learned that books are made of wood.

Over the years, we’ve loved watching our creative process spark the creativity in our customer schools – from amazing cover designs to cover photo shoots.

With over half a million copies sold, the book is very much still a living document. Over the years we’ve improved the customization options, revised pop culture references (Britney Spears out, Kim Kardashian in) and kept up with technology (Facebook didn’t exist, so neither did Facebook etiquette).

Most recently, we added chapters on Unemployment, Renters Insurance, and Travel Insurance. The book content is the foundation of our newest product – a mobile app called Crib Sheet.

A decade later, Jesse is still at his desk making edits to the book and I’ve joined him. We’ve traded in a damp New England basement for a humid Orlando office, and been joined by a local staff and a team working around the world to improve our products.

We hope you will give the updated book a read, and welcome your feedback.

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