There is no denying the huge amount of growth that has been witnessed in the social media spectrum these past few years with all manner of businesses and products now using social media to interact with customers and promote their products. With around 450 million smartphone users worldwide this market is now mobile and accessible from virtually anywhere.
One company that has capitalized on this captive and mobile audience is Iowan startup Dwolla. Launched on December 1st 2010, Dwolla’s founders developed a peer-to-peer payment system with a very low cost exchange, regardless of the amount being transferred. Companies such as PayPal charge for transactions below a certain amount and also for debit and credit card transactions, whilst Dwolla’s charges are static no matter what the amount and also give the money sender the option to assume the small fee rather than the recipient.
Some areas in which Dwolla have decided to concentrate their efforts are that of mobile technology such as smart phones and social media, it’s strong integration of services such as Facebook and Twitter allow users to connect to Dwolla and login using either one of these accounts. Once registered, users are able to transfer money to friends and family by searching their existing contacts on Facebook, for example, and transferring funds directly to them, the transaction is then confirmed with a wall post or Twitter direct message. This integration with social media coupled with a mobile device, such as a smartphone, affords users an instant and effective payment solution, which is far more convenient than having to transfer funds directly from a bank, or even from a computer.
Dwolla has recently just passed the milestone of dealing with $1 million in transactions daily, which is an impressive figure and stands as a testament to their devotion to social sharing and interactive promotion. Founder Ben Milne recently stated “now it’s time push the envelope and begin releasing the technologies, announcing the partnerships, and connecting the dots we see as the future of payments. ” When we consider current and emerging mobile payment technologies such as Jack Dorsey’s ‘square’ device, which plugs directly into your smartphone and facilitates credit card transactions, this points towards a more mobile and streamlined solution to mobile payments.
The ever increasing number of people using social media and mobile devices will inevitably lead towards a shift in the way we carry out many aspects of our lives, not solely those concerning payments and monetary transactions. However, such forward thinking and streamlined technology coupled with integrated social communication will always experience success through word of mouth and strong online community support. In this sense the users and fans of the system carry out the work that would traditionally be done using a tech PR agency .
The explosive growth of social media brings with it an ever expand network of connections, and through these connections start-ups such as Dwolla are given chances they may never have been afforded otherwise. The combination of mobile and social media opens new avenues of communication to interact with customers and users, while at the same time providing feedback and information in a more personalised and tailored manner.