A perfect storm. Mobile and social have converged.
Today, you cannot execute a business social strategy without executing a mobile strategy. According to Flurry, a leading mobile analytics provider, social networking accounts for 32 percent of all time spent using mobile applications, second only to gaming. Mary Meeker from KPBC estimates that by 2013 there will be 800 million social mobile users worldwide. According to Twitter, over 40 percent of Tweets are composed on mobile. And Facebook, with more than 250 million mobile users, reports that people who use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active as non-mobile users.
You cannot support social business without supporting mobile. Your shared content, web presence and communication strategy need to be focused on the mobile user.
The Content Economy
The engine that drives social business is in-bound marketing. Over 30 billion pieces of content are shared every month on Facebook alone. For business, the opportunity is to generate compelling content people want to read and share. Content generally comes in two forms: web pages and documents.
Web pages need to resolve on mobile devices. However, most organizations are challenged to support this key requirement. As I have written before, 97 percent of organizations launch mobile websites using a different domain from their primary website, whether “M Dot” or another designation. Because the primary website and mobile solution use different domains, a web page shared on Facebook or Twitter will often not be optimized for mobile.
In order to truly support in-bound marketing and user expectations, marketers should maintain one URL for every web page and display the content contextually for a mobile device or a PC visitor. If mobile and PC content have been separated onto different domains, the web server should forward mobile users to the correct version of the page for their device.
Sharing documents raises another set of challenges for mobile users. In an ideal world, all of the content used in in-bound marketing programs for social media would have a web view optimized for phones. However, the reality is that many forms of content, such as white papers and financial information, originate in a document format. When sharing documents via social media, it is best to use the Adobe PDF format over Microsoft Word or another document type. E-readers, such as the Amazon Kindle app and Apple iBooks, read PDF. Moreover, a PDF can be stored in the reader’s library, ensuring the content can be saved and accessed at any time.
Increase Mobile Conversions
There is an art to mobile conversion. Getting people to fill out a webinar registration form or purchase a product from their phones may be a challenge, but supporting mobile conversions is critical for in-bound marketing, out-bound email marketing programs, and social media campaigns.
In the mobile era you need to rethink conversion.
- Optimize mobile registration forms and landing pages. Web forms should support touch-based interactions and gestures, such as tapping a field to change the focus area or to expand a selection box. jQuery mobile provides a good starting point with mobile forms capabilities using standards-based web forms. Landing pages should support a mobile view and deliver the right mix of content and calls-to-action. One approach that works well for mobile users is supporting micro-sites that provide related landing pages and can offer more content and value proposition to help tip the mobile user.
- Shorten registration forms. You can use progressive engagement to build the information about the prospect overtime. You do not need to capture every piece of information the first time a mobile user registers.
- Say goodbye to cookies. The proliferation of mobile devices means that online marketers can no longer count on using cookies as the unique identifier for website visitors. For campaigns and websites that place a premium on user profiles, providing sign-in using Facebook or Twitter accounts can increase the conversion for both PC and mobile users.
- Provide mobile context. People will be much more likely to complete a transaction or register with a website if it provides an optimized mobile experience. Supporting mobile creates a higher level of trust with the user and gives them confidence that their mobile purchase or registration will be successful.
Timing is Everything
According to link sharing service Bit.ly, once you post a link on social media there is a three hour window when people are most likely to follow the link. After three hours the post slips down in the stream and draws little attention. A compelling piece of content may extend that awareness window up to fifteen hours, but generally social media posts have a very short shelf life.