By adaptive - October 21st, 2013

Organisations need to adapt their social media strategies to reach the mobile market or they can lose out on a huge opportunity

Mobile - it has taken off at speed and many organisations are scrambling to keep up. The figures are fantastic. According to Adobe’s 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey 71% of people use their mobiles to access social media and these devices have changed the way consumers interact with businesses. In 2012 there were 121 million smartphone users and 94 million tablet users in the United States alone and these were increases of 31% and 180% from 2011 respectively. That is a staggering growth and represents a brilliant opportunity for brands to engage with their customers via the medium of mobile.

“Knowing where and how your audience interacts with your brand is hugely important,” says Devon Stanton PR and Promotions Manager at Megarom. “Analytics today are able to pinpoint what medium people are using to access your content right down to the make of phone. We used this data in our own campaigns to target and maximise our exposure.

“We know that the majority of our audience interacts with our brand using their mobile phone for Facebook and that on weekends that increases. We can assume this is because people are away from their PC. With that knowledge in mind we target mobile users with an eye catching graphic and target people only using smart phones. As a result we’ve managed a click through rate of 4% over other campaigns.”

The infographic from Telmetrics (below) shows that UK mobile searchers are more likely to use their mobile devices at home than US users with 81% of tablet searches taking place at home and 58% of smartphone searches outside of the home, and of those 10% are conducted on public transport. Here lies a captive audience, ready to interact with your brand.

UK Mobile Search

“The one point that the [above] research made clear for businesses, and their mobile marketers and publishers, is that mobile campaigns cannot take a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and brands need to better understand consumer’s mobile motivations and intent before deciding how and where to best engage them,” says Bill Dinan, President of Telmetrics.

The route to mobile

As with any medium, mobile must be tackled with careful planning. If your brand is using the same strategies employed across other platforms to reach your mobile audience you have a good chance of failing, especially if they don’t translate to the singular features of the mobile device. Organisations need to adapt their social for mobile and keep ahead of the rising number of users to ensure that their social media channels are mobile friendly. To start with, be aware of differences and the issues.

“The capabilities of mobile devices are infinitely less than those of the desktop machine,” says Pierre Dorfling, Head of Digital at Boomtown, “To successfully launch a social strategy into mobile you must understand the limitations of these devices – screen size, processing speed, media access – and find ways of working with them.”

Content also needs to be optimised for mobile to make sure it is easily accessible and easy to use. Consumers do not want to scroll through heavy text, battle with clumsy layouts or spend hours fiddling with their screens. They will leave your brand, feeling frustrated, if they struggle with unsupported file formats or large downloads that their devices or data packages cannot handle.

Leticia Supple, Content Strategist and Founder at Brutal Pixie says, “Businesses need to realise that mobile is convenience and that nearly all social media channels are inherently mobile friendly. It is why they are so ubiquitous. It is not only about how you use the social platforms, but how relevant your content is to your audience.”

Relevance (as outlined in our previous series on delivering targeted messages feature) remains key, regardless of what device, platform or typeface you use. Without relevant content you may as well be talking to the wind, it may blow in someone’s direction, but it probably won’t stick.

“Mobile devices tend to have shorter session times, so businesses need to have more clear usability and let the user get to what they need quicker,” says Alex Genadink, Founder of Problemio.

According to Timetric the number of mobile users around the world is expected to reach 6.8 billion by the end of 2013 and social media mobile payment solutions are on the rise. This means that now, more than ever, organisations must develop the right strategies to engage with their markets so they are the brand of choice when consumers go shopping.

Avoid the pits

Adapting your strategy also means being aware of mistakes most often made by businesses as they start the shift to mobile.

“One of the most common pitfalls is to try and apply the same rules in understanding and reaching your customer that you have used on the desktop,” says Telmetrics’s Bill Dinan, “Recognise that mobile consumers are unique and search, connect and purchase differently compared to other media channels. To effectively target customers on mobile it is crucial to understand mobile purchase behaviours.

According to Adobe, it is imperative to learn about your consumer through analytics and measurement. This will help you to optimise your mobile channel and enhance your online presence, allowing you to engage more effectively and achieve business goals.

Know that Android devices lead the way in popularity and cross age and gender gaps almost equally (52% in the youth segment and 54% in the middle-aged, for example) and how best to reach those users with targeted campaigns. And iOS seems to be the operating system of choice for those who like to browse and is more popular with users to like to stay connected and who use more apps and websites. Missing these tricks is going to lose you ground in the race to mobile.

“Keep on top of your user metrics and design. Are you designing and targeting iPhone users when 80% of your audience is on Android?” says Brutal Pixie’s Leticia Supple, “I think many businesses get blinded by the technology and forget to go right back to basics, looking at their audience profile and their strategic goals.”

Boomtown’s Pierre Dorfling concludes: “Consumers have realised the convenience of a mobile device to ensure access to information anywhere, at any time. Understanding that users are moving towards a mobile world is the first step in ensuring you are staying ahead of the curve.”

The next piece in this series will be examining how capture your consumers on the move, communicating the right messages at the right time and place to ensure high levels of engagement with your brand.


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