If content is the meat of the Internet, social media content from mobile devices is where the choice beef is. Bad metaphors aside, mobile social networking content is exploding, showing a year-over-year growth of more than 240 percent. Two years ago, businesses were ignoring social media. Can businesses afford to ignore both social media and a mobile strategy?
Social media usage, including the Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTubes of the world, regardless of what you think of them, have been growing at an amazing rate. This is especially true for increased usage on mobile devices, according to a recent ComScore report. Mashable quotes Twitter CTO Dick Costolo that the three year old startup has just broken 2-billion monthly tweets. Facebook, with more than 500 million users is just some 18 million unique monthly users from search giant Google.
And speaking of Google, they changed how they do search. Blogs, video, audio, social mentions and then your website content all seem to be part of the new search equation. While Google won’t discuss the makeup of their new “caffeine” algorithm (the mathematical makeup of their new search formula), it is clear that social media is huge. Google now integrates real-time tweets from Twitter. Word is leaking out that Yahoo will be integrating real time Facebook information.
Simply, with these numbers, if you don’t start an aggressive social media engagement plan AND a mobile strategy you could lose any edge that you have in your marketplace.
In 2008, I called mobile social media the “New Chewing Gum.” It’s what we do when we fidget. It’s what we do to relax. It’s also what we do to be informed, both from news sources, work and our friends. We are finding that all types of people, almost without regard to existing social, geographic or financial demographics want to be – and are getting connected. Social networks are more than just the place where people meet – it’s where your customers meet.
The Internet, to paraphrase New York-based journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, is not a medium, it’s a place. “It is a place where people connect with each other, with information, with actions, with transactions. The Internet is a Place.” [Read More]
The mobile side of this “place” is abuzz with what people think about things, including your products, services and perhaps even you personally. By 2012, according to Gartner, more web sessions will happen from cell phones rather than “conventional” computers.
Feature phones, excluding smart phones, already make up more than half of the phones sold today. The nearly 70 million US users who used these browser-enabled phones are looking for real-time answers – on their phone. They expect pre-sales, post sales and customer service when they need it, on their timetable, not the 9-5 weekday shift.
Knowledge and content management solutions, and formatting them for both conventional and mobile devices will be key to growing and retaining customers. Video and audio can enhance the answers – but do not overuse them.
The key is not to change your business. Rather it is to look at the opportunity to engage your customers and win them over one by one. For every customer you win in social media, thousands more can search that outreach with the search engine of their choice. Look at how short videos can be proactive support. New emerging players in search are the search engines on Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. Using these, people will know if you have a mobile and social presence, what support is available and if they can reach you in their hour of need.
If your customers would rather eat from paper plates, you would make sure they had paper plates. So why wouldn’t you be available where your customers want and expect you to be?