By: Christian Williams, Social Media and Visibility Specialist
Have you ever opened the browser on your mobile phone with the intention of looking up some important information – say, prices for the restaurant you were planning on dining at – only to unintentionally end up on Facebook Mobile?
Or how about the time you clicked the icon for your Twitter application instead of using the calculator like you were supposed to?
We know we are not the only ones – actually, we are certain that we have plenty of company.
According to the latest version of PR firm Ruder Finn’s Mobile Intent Index, 91% of mobile phone users go online to socialize compared to only 70% of desktop internet surfers. The results of the study “clearly show that immediacy is the driving force behind [mobile] usage.” The accessibility mobile users have to the internet allows them to “socially connect with friends and family ‘on the fly’.”
And the opportunity for social networking transcends social boundaries as well; Facebook has mobile sites that are compatible with everything from your latest iPhone and Android models to the most basic of flip-phones, and more than 50% of Twitter users use a mobile client to talk as they go about their day.
Every influential news site and blog has a Facebook and Twitter icon on their mobile pages that enable phone or tablet users to share multimedia content with their entire network (and with the arrival of the Pinterest sensation, Pin It buttons have started popping up across the internet too). In a sense, mobile devices have become an outlet of expression that allows users to showcase their interests with their friends and family from anywhere, at any time.
But in this world of immediate connectivity and constant expression of thought, how do you make your company or brand stand out so that the masses can see you no matter where they are?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Businesses that haven’t made the leap into social media are definitely far behind; however, you can pick and choose which social networks are right for your brand. If your company is just getting into social media, we would suggest increasing your expertise in one social network rather than trying to take on too many at once. A company that lacks a presence on an established profile is much worse than not having one at all because it makes you seem like you don’t take your brand seriously. Nothing makes our eyes roll harder than when we see an otherwise respectable brand hasn’t tweeted from their established account in almost three months.
Remember that certain social networks are not right for every organization. Different social media networks serve as niche sites to certain demographics (i.e. Pinterest for brides-to-be, foodies and travel buffs; Tumblr for high school and college students; and DeviantArt for members of the art community). If you have a targeted customer base, you are better off choosing and focusing on a niche site instead of trying to expose your brand to a broader network that will end up on the back-burner.
For example, if you are representing a business that specializes in business-to-business, you might want to look into building your brand on LinkedIn rather than investing time and resources into Facebook. Every major company, large and small, is represented on LinkedIn through its employees. These employees hold positions at every level of management, ranging from the head honchos (CEOs, or in our case, the CVO) to the newly-minted college graduate serving as an intern. While most employees have profiles on both sites, LinkedIn is designed to build business partnerships and connections rather than the social connections you would build on Facebook.
Stay human. We can’t stress this enough. We encounter enough robots in our day-to-day living; don’t let your brand become a social media robot! Be creative with your tweets, create conversations and remember that your typical follower, regardless of their status or specific industry, is a human that expects to hear from another human.
Remember the choice you are making. Companies that make the decision to hop into the social media game also make the decision to keep their businesses open 24/7/365. Because social media is so accessible through mobile devices, there are no breaks. Your business is always open to the public – open for conversation, troubleshooting and damage control. Consumers can tweet you from their job at 3 p.m. or from their bed at 3 a.m.
If you are the social media community manager remember that, thanks to the mobile phenomenon, the beast you are trying to tame keeps one eye open at all times. Make sure the beast sees the best from your company. If you have any questions about which social media site is the right fit for your company, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.