With the world and its wants changing as quickly as it is, to maintain a successful presence in the locality
has become more of a challenge than it has ever been before.

This has been a growing issue for many of the businesses within the town and surrounding area. To attract the consumer while being able to show off their products has been a constant struggle. A possible answer to this
showed up recently, at a Town Team Business Networking seminar in Gullanes Hotel.

At this meeting, Terry Young of TownApps, showed off an innovative mobile, tablet and desktop app. The principle idea is for Ballinasloe to have its own app, which would contain all the local businesses,
community groups and sport clubs within the locale. Then each business owner or PRO would have its own admin login and would be able to constantly update their own page within the app, with special offers and/or events. This app once started would be free to download and would provide up to date information on a daily, weekly
basis to the community and for any tourists who happen to pass through.

It is effectively a weekly newsletter on your phone available at any time. This app concept is already successfully in use in Ireland in towns such as Athlone and Dundalk. The promising idea was well received at a broad representative meeting with a view towards tapping into the over 2.1 million people using apps. The majority of this group are between the ages of 15-55, the key demographic for many organisations and clubs. It is a huge market pool to dip into and it is crucial that the community makes use of these services in the future, especially when its APPs and social media that is now taking the place of maps and motor way signs for most passing motorists on the M6.

Critically the meeting was briefed on some of the social media landscape facts for our online community – for instance some 40% of businesses here, still have not gone live with the listings on Ballinasloe.ie. A service set up by the Town Team – a year and a half ago which promoted the businesses and gave them an online presence for FREE. Equally concerning is some 65% of all commercial organisations or facilities have no presence on Trip Advisor, 75% are not on Google Maps and 80% have not been updating or refreshing their information on social media sites within 10 days.

These figures are in in stark comparison to the community groups and clubs who are examples of good utilisation of social media. Needing a minimum of 80 socially engaged businesses, All Club PROs and community organisations will have to frequently update their own pages – the possibility for this app to be effectively used will take
some more ground work.

The Town Team, the LIFE Marketing Team and Ballinasloe.ie Webmaster Sinead Colleran are examining the feasibility of a pre launch rollout campaign for the Autumn – early winter period to ensure that within 12 month that the business community will be app ready.

The enjoyable and successful networking evening hosted in Gullanes Hotel concluded with refreshments and questions and answers from all present.

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