Last week we turned a corner: from Mobile Friendly Street onto Mobile First Avenue.
Last week was when Facebook’s Zuckerberg announced “Facebook Home,” a mobile software system designed to take over smartphones by pushing Facebook to the forefront of the mobile experience. And while increasingly people have been shown to be moving from their PCs to mobile devices in their online browsing habits, Facebook’s move has cemented what marketers have been muttering about for the past few years: The age of “Mobile First” is really here.
Smart marketers for years have been advising clients to have a mobile strategy, with the recognition that smart phones and tablets increasingly are being used to access the Internet.
According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, 55 percent of US adults access the Internet on their mobile phones; and in fact, nearly 20 percent of all cell phone owners use their phones for most of their online browsing. By 2014, 90 million people in the US will use tablets: 36 percent of the overall Internet population. Incidentally, access to the mobile web is much, much higher in many other countries, and much more common among Millennials.
But now, mobile may be all that matters. Last month, Facebook announced a new newsfeed, where images reign, and mobile versions of the application are as robust as the PC version. As 680 million of Facebook’s users currently access the network from a mobile device, this makes good business sense for Facebook. Today, with Facebook Home ready to bring social media to every aspect of your mobile experience, it’s do-or-die: Mobilize your content or be left behind.
What does this mean for your social media marketing? Here are some steps to take… now!
Optimize your website for mobile
- If you haven’t already, make sure your website automatically switches to a mobile version when viewed on mobile devices.
- If you are creating a new website, consider designing the mobile version first! Instead of “graceful degradation” — going from a PC screen to a mobile phone — consider instead “progressive enhancement.” Begin designing for the mobile platform, and go on to enhance your PC website, where there are fewer constraints.
- Visit your website’s mobile version(s) often in order to experience what your mobile visitors experience. Make adjustments to optimize your site accordingly, to make your mobile site as complete an experience as your desktop version. If your visitors feel as though they must click the “View full website” option, you’ve got to work harder to on your mobile site.
- If you have a separate mobile website, don’t assume that your visitors are already a member or familiar with your company, product or service. Make it as welcoming as your desktop website.
- Don’t bombard mobile visitors with exhortations to download your mobile app, if you have one.
- Your website should load quickly and easily. Mobile users can occasionally find themselves on slow connections, and often won’t wait around for more than a few seconds for content to load.
Design your social marketing for the mobile web
Many people surf social media on their mobile device while simultaneously watching TV. At the same time, newsstand sales of magazines and gum are down. Why? The “mobile blinder effect”: People waiting in line at the grocery store are staring at their phone screens instead of making impulse purchases at the checkout line. You can also see this behavior at the ballgame, or at the park, or anywhere else: People reading, in large part, social content in stolen moments. How to take advantage of this phenomenon?
- Your social content should be easily digestible. Keep content short, concise and visually interesting.
- Your social content should also be effortlessly sharable. Create quality branded content that people want to share with their friends and followers.
- Use pictures or images whenever possible. If you need to link to an article, paste the shortened URL in the text of your update.
- Keep status updates short and snappy.
Fifty-six percent of retailers intend to put more resources behind the development and implementation of their mobile marketing and e-commerce strategies in 2013 than they did last year — and this was research done before Facebook’s highly transformative announcement. It’s obvious that mobile requires a dedicated experience for customer engagement and commerce alike. Is your digital strategy evolving?
Lynn Christiansen Esquer is a principal at SocialProse Media. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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