03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

End the Mobile App Guessing Game

A recent report by SheSpeaks called The Annual Social Media Survey claims that "80% of female Internet users said they had become a fan of a product or brand on a social network." The report continued to say that "72% had learned about a new product or brand, or joined a group around one."

That means bloggers, internet publishers, and branding pros need to take notice. It also infers that you need to get mobile very quickly lest your brand falls behind and loses market share. After reading the full survey, I believe that Adarsh Pallian's site is much more profound than I had originally reported.

The big question for content providers has always been which platform to embrace in the mobile app world - Apple, BlackBerry, Android, or Symbian. Each platform needs an app all its own, and that has meant substantial investment. If you have the money, the best app developers are locked up with existing engagements and have a docket full of new business, so you're SOL there too.

Guess the wrong platform and you'll have wasted time and money and lost market share very quickly. You might lose your job too. Think: VHS versus Betamax, or more recently, Blu-Ray versus HD DVD. There is no mobile platform industry standard - they are all standards. To make matters more challenging, the demographic differences between Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry and Google's Android are not so clear, making the mobile platform guessing game much harder to handicap.

The study also noted that "users seemed more receptive to social network advertising than they were in 2008, with 9% saying that they always look at ads and often click through, compared with just 2% last year." Those are numbers you can bet on, but you've got to create a very large catcher's mitt to capture the user data. The study did not delineate which mobile platform the social media sites were accessed through, but it did mention Twitter and Facebook by name.

If you haven't decided which of them to embrace, you can follow the advice of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and internet marketing pro Neil Patel: Blog because you can write about something that will benefit your customers. Twit because you want to engage with potential customers. And create a Facebook fan page to allow your customers to express themselves.

One very affordable solution to the dilemma of needing more than one platform for your content can be found through MotherApp, a firm based in Palo Alto that can get you going on your first iPhone app for about $100.

Heidi Rielly of MotherApp said, "The nice thing about MotherApp, is that we're not just for bloggers - it works for any content publisher with an RSS feed." They can also integrate your YouTube account as well as your Twitter feed.

Folks who've used MotherApp thus far include Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek and Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents. (I've read each book and they are both great reads).

MotherApp specializes in apps for each of the mobile platforms mentioned above - iPhone, Blackberry and Android, enabled by what is called the MotherApp Engine. In effect, MotherApp is platform neutral. For developers this means lower development costs and maximum distribution thereby streamlining the customer experience for both the reader and the publisher.

Many companies and organizations are using MotherApp for custom mobile applications, such as the TED Conference, for example. "The inquiries we're getting for custom apps are from large companies who need their apps to work on a cross-platform basis," said Rielly. "With MotherApp, these customers get scalability, lower development and maintenance cost and broader distribution."

For the iPhone app, once you contact MotherApp, you'll be asked for some follow-up data in order to create the landing pages and screen shots for the UI (user interface). MotherApp then sends the app to Apple App Store at iTunes for approval, which they say can take between 2-3 weeks or faster.