Chicago-Based Blueye Creative Providing Companies With Social Media Apps That Engage and Entertain

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Design Firm Launched 'Always Be Social' Division in 2009; Early Collaboration on Multi-Million-User "Where I've Been" App for Facebook Platform Spawned Further Work

It all started with “Where I’ve Been”, a showcase for the engagement possibilities of social media created by staffer Craig Ulliott. Nine million registered users later, “Where I’ve Been”, developed for the Facebook® platform, is now its own company—and Blueye Creative, through its business unit Always Be Social, is becoming an international leader in social and mobile media strategy, design and development.

This month, Always Be Social announced that it had been selected by Facebook as one of only fifty members worldwide in the Facebook Preferred Developer Consultants Program. The honor places Always Be Social among Facebook’s most elite third-party application developers, and the only one based in Chicago.

Social media applications are attracting millions of followers on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Easy to use and typically either entertaining or informative, social media apps usually take the form of games, interactive forums or targeted services. The most common element of most social media apps is their social nature; users must interact with others in order to achieve the intended reward or to maximize the value of the application.

Since the success with “Where I’ve Been”, Blueye Creative and Always Be Social have developed social media applications for Ticketmaster, Multiple Sclerosis and Patient Zero, among others. The Ticketmaster app, developed as a mobile WAP site to enable select ticket searches and notifications, will be expanded in the future to include an e-Commerce capability. “Where I’ve Been”, which allows members to show off places they’ve travelled as well as exchange information and take advantage of tailored travel deals, will soon appear on Motorola Droid phones as a mobile application.

According to Shannon Smith, founder and CEO of Blueye Creative and Always Be Social, social media applications have gone far beyond the “trivia games” of old. “Social media is so rich and so diverse, the standards have been raised considerably,” she notes. “To be successful, apps need to address at least one of four criteria: one, great word-of-mouth or viral pass-along; two, an enticing premise; three, something to keep people engaged; and four, an element that allows people to compete against one another.”

It’s critical, she notes, that companies realize they can’t simply push their message onto the public using social media. “Unlike traditional media, the public drives the social channel. So you must answer the ‘what’s in it for me’ question very early in the process,” Smith states. “Promotion and awareness for the company will come when you celebrate an aspect or benefit of the product that draws the user in through their own self-interest.”

Facebook, as the premier social media platform, holds special opportunities for companies that engage the public correctly. “Location-based apps will be huge this year,” predicts Smith. “As people begin to interrelate based on their physical location, a whole new realm will be opened. We’re already starting to receive requests to factor location into what we do. It will be easy, for example, to provide people on the street with electronic coupons for restaurants in their immediate vicinity.”

Augmented reality, which allows applications to superimpose information into real-time environments, is another powerful new technology. Using augmented reality, a person could hold up their cell phone camera in front of the buildings on a street and see descriptions of businesses in the buildings.

“Social media holds amazing potential for companies and organizations to connect with their constituents in truly personal ways,” Smith said. “The more we get into it, the more potential we see. It’s evident that as a society, we’re at the threshold to yet another new era in the digital revolution.”

About Blueye Creative:
Blueye Creative is a leading provider of graphic design, Web development, mobile and social media services. Located in Chicago at 1321 N. Wood Street, Blueye Creative has been listed as one of the top ten design companies in Forbes 2009, and as one of the top ten Web development companies in Entrepreneur magazine in 2008. For further information about Blueye Creative, please visit http://www.blueye.com or call 773-342-1200. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and at our company blog.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

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Jenna Moles

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