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After text messaging, social networking ranks as one of the most common activities for smart phone users. In a way, this fact is not surprising given the fact that the mobile phone has become the center of so many people’s social life.
According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the average Facebook mobile user is 50% more active than a general Facebook user.
Local Social networking just pulls that up a notch. Local Social Networking, also known as ‘lo-so’ (Martin bowling) is incredibly popular. People ‘check in’ to physical locations and then share that with their friends. It first started when people tweeted their location, asking people to meet them there. Then people started to check in on FourSquare and Gowalla where you can earn badges or mayor ships. And then that was followed by Facebook Places.
Foursquare even took lo-so to another level. It gave the ability for businesses to track and evaluate their customers, giving marketers deep insights into the people who were ‘checking in’: how often they visited, how often, where they were coming from, where they were going next, what they bought and which offers they liked the most.
In a sense, all this information is exciting in the sense that it combines ‘real-life’ and ‘direct response’ into a traceable form. The potential for marketers to create highly specific offers that customers are looking for is mind-boggling.
So how can you leverage the mobile social revolution? Here are some tips:
1. Twitter: According to statistics, over 70% of worldwide Twitter use happens on a mobile phone. You can almost envisage Twitter like a gateway to an SMS strategy. You can send out reminders for sales, information about special events, promotion codes that can be redeemed in-store. You could use Tweet links to give your consumers downloadable mobile content, like applications, games, videos, wallpapers and ringtones. You can even use Twitter to promote your current SMS system. You can say something like Text “Mobile” to 12345 to sign up for our mobile alerts”
2. Foursquare can be used for getting insights about your visitors, offering special deals to people who check in but can also do much more. You can create competitions, scavenger hunts or races. Jimmy Choo used the FourSquare platform to launch a new line if sneakers. The campaign was called CatchAChoo… Using Foursquare, Jimmy Choo set up a profile for a pair of sneakers and built followers. The sneakers would check in to various locations around London and were left in a Jimmy Choo bag for the first follower who showed up. Everyone watched the account to be the first to show up and get the free ‘pre-release’ shoes.
3. Facebook is an indispensable mobile-social tool. Make sure you have your Facebook fan page up and running. A Facebook fan page is really more like a mini-website and can automatically be made mobile with the ‘m’ sub domain. People can ‘like’ your profile, write on your wall and look at your photos. This is also a great place to feature your coupons or mobile downloads. If you have a mobile app, make sure to include a picture of it in your photo albums and link to it from your fan page. Maps, phone numbers are anything that will get people to interact with you while they are on mobile will also work here. If you have important articles that are not mobile friendly, link to them from Facebook and then cross-post them on your Facebook fan page as notes and they will automatically be mobilized.
4. If you have updates that are relevant to a mobile audience, encourage users to click the ‘subscribe via SMS’ button so they can get your Facebook updates sent to their mobile phones as text messages.
What is interesting about mobile social networking is that you don’t have to invest heavily in mobile technology to start reaching out to mobile customers. You just need to grab onto the coattails of some of the big social network players who are already mobile and add a dash of your personality and imagination and you are good to go.
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