Ever since its official launch at SXSW this year, there's been a ton of buzz about GroupMe. In case you're a bit late to the party, GroupMe is a social app that lets you create groups with your friends to share texts, photos, locations and conference call. It's also free and works with any phone that can text. I downloaded it for my iPhone recently to use at Coachella (woot!), and I've since started adding all of my friends who are going with me, so that we can easily stay in touch when we're all off dancing to our own beats. There's a ton of potential from a personal perspective, but there are strong business implications too.
GroupMe has the potential to play a big role in community development and communications. They recently released Featured Groups, which helps brands connect directly with members to share information, news and promotions. So far, there are only 5 brands with this feature. As GroupMe users create groups around one of these brands, the brands can engage with the group by sending messages, photos, answering questions or posting special promotions directly to each group. This is a pretty cool feature, and really allows companies to interact with people who they know are passionate about their brands, building stronger ties with their biggest fans and growing awareness through Word of Mouth. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until GroupMe resolves any kinks this first group may experience and opens Featured Groups to more brands.
Another potential use for GroupMe are small closed communities. Brands who host closed advisory panels may decide to test GroupMe to send members updates and and host regular conference calls. Depending on the size and preferences of the group, members can also send messages to one another, building relationships and solidifying the community itself.
Currently, GroupMe doesn't allow groups larger than 25 people and recommends smaller groups to prevent message overload. However, if the digital prophets are correct, and group messaging is the next 'big thing', then it is only a matter of time before platforms like GroupMe expand, offering more options for brands and branded communities.
Are you currently using GroupMe? What do you think?