Sian Jamieson: Get ahead with mobile social networking
In 2016, two billion people will be using their smartphone on a daily basis.
Last year, 38 per cent of all website views came via a mobile device. In the UK alone, two-thirds of the population have a smartphone and it’s changing the way we engage with businesses.
Mobile search has exceeded desktop traffic to websites for the first time and this trend is predicted to continue into 2016 and beyond. So what are you doing about social mobile networking? Here are some tips and insights to get you started.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you’re more than likely losing out to your mobile-friendly competition. A mobile website is essential to the success of your digital strategy, but there is more to mobile optimisation then simply having an adaptable website. You must think about the experience of the mobile user first and foremost. Using a mobile device is about convenience – customers want to access information now, easily and in a format that is clear and intuitive.
For your eyes only
Customer conversations are increasingly taking place through messaging services such as WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Messages. These private messaging services enable businesses to speak directly to their customers one-to-one. As online shopping increases, customer service and social networking will become even more intertwined – social media will become less about being a broadcasting platform for businesses and more about customer service.
As the digital experience improves and becomes an integral part of our lifestyles, customers and audiences have higher expectations. Good quality, unique and interesting content will always gain you more reach and traction, but content designed from a mobile perspective will earn conversions. Tools such as BuzzSumo and GoogleAlerts can assist you in finding good content to share.
Hello – can you hear me?
Customers also expect that your business will be on social media. For the social mobile generation, we expect to be able to connect with you, and most importantly be responded to, within at least an hour, via your social media channels. You have to be there in person, otherwise what’s the point? If a customer doesn’t get the answer from you when they need it, they’ll search Twitter, Facebook and other social media to find someone who will.
Wanna be in my gang?
Social media is an extension of ourselves and community. We connect with brands that we identify with. Brands need to embrace this aspect of social networking, especially as people can interact seamlessly, easily and at any time with you via their mobile devices. So think about who your target market is, what and who they identify with and structure your social media marketing and customer service accordingly.
Don’t ignore the millennials
There are two billion millennials around the world today. They are tech savvy, live in the digital world and expect the same of the businesses they engage with. A millennial is far more likely to buy from an up-to-date mobile app, website or social media network – in fact in 2015, our millennials accounted for half of all retail spend around the world. If the navigation, infrastructure or content is not up to spec, they won’t buy from you, and they will tell their peers about it to via their social networks.
To app or not to app
Mobile applications have shaped our smartphone experience immensely. Today we even see services that operate exclusively via mobile, Instagram being the most notable. The success of Instagram is that it has considered the interests and needs of their customer base and designed an app that people actually want. The same can be said for the rise in mobile shopping apps such as Amazon, Etsy and Wanelo. The major benefit to a mobile app is that it provides your business with exclusive direct contact to your customer base 24/7, 365 days a year.
Location, location, location
There are two approaches to using location-based mobile social networking. The first it by linking in with location-based networks such as Foursquare and Yelp, firstly to provide your business details to people using these mobile applications and secondly to improve your SEO. The second approach takes advantage of Bluetooth and GPS-enabled smartphones, called proximity marketing where you can send targeted marketing messages to customer’s mobile phones based on where they are geographically.
What about you?
Of course mobile social networking hasn’t just shifted for the customer, it has for businesses too. From your own mobile device, you now have a whole host of digital productivity tools. You can access and manage your social media channels from the Hootsuite app while on the go, you can read informative industry specific articles via LinkedIn’s Pulse app, you can edit photos and video on the go via apps such as Splice and Color Pop, check your website data via the Google Analytics app and even create social adverts via the Facebook Adverts app.
• Sian Jamieson is consultant and trainer at Tuminds Social Media