Maybe you’ve seen Flipboard as that gimmicky iPad reader. Maybe you’ve played with it a little bit, but got away from it before you made it a real habit. Maybe you do enjoy just kicking back and flipping through content — after all, that’s what most people do with tablets anyway.
So what if I told you that Flipboard made a couple of tweaks recently that make it a serious consideration for your business?
The New Wave of Sharing
Flipboard had a huge hurdle to overcome: Who cares about sharing in an app that only a handful of people use very often anyway?
The solution came from “unbundling” the simpler tasks that we think of when it comes to “sharing” something:
Ideally, if you’ve thought about a curation strategy at all, you understand that you don’t have to create metric tons of awesome content if you can be the go-to person to find it and share it. Certain topics lend themselves to a lot of information, and your value as the sifter of the wheat from the chaff is not to be overlooked.
So what is Flipboard doing that is so special? It has moved beyond the app, into categorization, collection and personalization.
Here’s what that workflow can look like:
Sharing Starts Where You Find Things
You find cool things in the browser – so that’s where you need to begin. It would be tedious to copy the link, email it to yourself, open the app, then Share. Instead, you can do it from a little bookmark:
This example is from Chrome, but you can configure the same experience in a tablet browser if that’s where you are reading. Again, the simplicity here is that you can start the moment you identify the content as useful.
Once you click, a pop-up window emerges to allow you to “route” the link.
Notice that you have two levels of sharing to think about here: The top line is the Custom Magazine you’re going to Flip this story into — the lower left is your connected social accounts. Level one is for the people on Flipboard, Level two is open to everyone.
More Channels is Better
My first magazine, Ponderous Wonders, was born of my desire to share cool photos and articles. But as it turns out, not everything I found that was share-worthy matched that label. You want your collections to make sense, because readers can subscribe to them independently.
I also found, at times, that I just didn’t have the time to read an entire piece before sharing. So I created a private magazine where I could Flip things for future consumption.
Sell the Sizzle AND the Steak
So back to the Jason Falls piece on Viral things…
The art of flipping articles is remembering that readers are going to see the title as well as your comment. So you want something that is complementary, not repetitive:
As you can see, I have put this in my Clear Business Thoughts magazine, and I am goosing it through all of my connected social accounts. It’s what happens when it gets to those social accounts that becomes special.
Notice how this looks coming through Twitter:
The link will open in Flipboard for those who have it — but if it detects that you don’t, you can always look at the preview and go straight to the source. No one is left out of the experience:
Over time, you may end up convincing some people to actually download the app. And that is exactly where you want them.
On the Flip Side
Within Flipboard, you can create as many Magazines as you need:
You can edit them either within the app, or on a standard desktop browser:
And the Holy Grail of this whole exercise is to build a base of people who are subscribing directly to a channel — from which they are quite likely to re-share your information:
The Big Picture
This stands to be an excellent play for businesses who differentiate themselves based on customer education. I might not buy brakes or air conditioners very often — but I might be inclined to buy them from people who took the time to educate me along the way.
If you’re a coffee shop, with a decent knowledge of your local customer base, then you could really score with this sort of tactic. You could have a string of magazines with reading suggestions, local events, music, art — oh, and news about coffee blends.
This could be the ticket for a busy entrepreneur with limited time for writing and “thought leadership,” but who is enough of a topical consumer of links that filtering and sharing can become second-nature.
What Flipboard has done is made the acts of sharing, compiling, and curation as frictionless and as inclusive as ever. And being able to target specific networks in isolation or in bulk is a time-saver.
Anyone out there have a favorite magazine?
And what magazine would you want to manage if you could?