It's Time to Mobilize Your Social Fans

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Every key indicator worth watching shows us that the mobile Internet is exploding. We have now reached a point where smartphone and tablet usage, and accompanying Internet speed and application performance, are such that users actually find their phones—and tablets—legitimate and preferred alternatives to their desktop or laptop computer. This, combined with critical audience size, opens up an enormous untapped market for brands to engage social mobile fans. So it should come as no surprise that this past Cyber Monday's sales generated by mobile phone visitors jumped by 260% since 2010—more than 6x the growth of sales overall. The same study by Deloitte predicts that 68% of smartphone owners are expected to use their handheld devices for holiday shopping this year.

But are your customer touchpoints ready for social fans visiting you on their smartphones?

A study released by Google in September 2012 showed us that mobile consumers are increasingly vocal about poorly designed mobile experience on their smartphone. The study tells us that mobile-friendly web experiences drive sales, and that while 75% of users prefer a mobile-friendly website, 96% say they've encountered sites that were clearly not designed for mobile devices.

So what should you be thinking about, particularly with regard to the social component of your marketing campaigns, when it comes to mobile? Perhaps you've deployed a delightful Facebook contest, sweepstakes, wish-list catalog, storytelling campaign, challenge quiz, or other social-sharing campaign on Facebook. These types of campaigns are highly engaging, and great drivers of fan growth and viral sharing, particularly among mobile fans. But when fans click on your shared campaign links on their smartphone—where they are gathering in rapidly increasing numbers—does that link work? Does it work well? If it does, can that fan participate easily on their phone, and then share to their friends, who also want to participate on their phone?

Here are some planning pointers to ensure your Facebook social marketing campaign is mobile-friendly.

Mobile-friendly traffic drivers

First, think about how you drive traffic to your campaigns through traditional marketing channels, and how you accommodate mobile fans with mobile-friendly call-to-action links. Attach mobile-friendly drivers to all your marketing messaging, including QR codes and mobile-smart hot links. If you've invested in a beautiful social campaign on Facebook, promote it everywhere to your fans while they're out-and-about with their phones. What we've seen is that a social campaign launched on Facebook cannot be promoted simply by a copy/paste of the Facebook URL to the app. There needs to be a mobile-friendly “smart link” that directs the visitor to the right “version” of the campaign, based on whether they're a desktop or mobile user. (Check out our study of the top 10 consumer brands on Facebook—7 out of 10 failed their mobile users.)

A seamless mobile experience

Next, think about how your social campaign appears to your mobile users. Do you just send your mobile fans to the same page you send your desktop fans to? #fail! A campaign designed for a desktop computer is not suitable for mobile users. It's not just that a point-and-click experience doesn't translate well into a finger touchscreen. (How many of you have had to “pinch and zoom” just to see a button, let alone click on it?) It's also that a desktop workflow is not necessarily ideal for a mobile user who is on-the-go.

Compare the two experiences below, for example. Which is easier to read on your smartphone?

No mobile user is happy to step through screen after screen to find, browse, learn, share, or buy. Mobile users need an experience that is fast to load, easy to read, quick to interact with, and asks for minimal type-in information. If you use the right tools, you can deliver the same campaign to both desktop and mobile users, and have it be intelligent about resizing and re-factoring for the different destinations.

Test the mobile experience

Finally, you should always assume that every link you deliver to the consumer—and we mean every link—is just as likely to be clicked on by a mobile user as a desktop user. And increasingly by a tablet user. So when you share that link in your Facebook News Feed, test it on a smartphone. And not just an iPhone; test on lots of flavors of Android phones, too.

Also test smart links and QR codes, which further encourage mobile traffic from other marketing channels, like print, product placement or signs. Read more about how to test your links on social here. Then try this link (on your phone) for a well-crafted mobile experience: http://bit.ly/Pi3NFO.

Bottom line: Fish where the (mobile) fish are

When you're investing so heavily in marketing campaigns, don't short change the extra time and effort needed to include review of the mobile experience. Make the necessary investment in both to make your campaigns mobile-friendly and equally as robust on mobile as on the desktop. John Wanamaker is famously reported to have said in regard to how hard it is to reach potential customers: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” Well I'm here to tell you…if you're not explicitly addressing mobile with your social campaigns you're wasting half of your campaign dollars. Instead, mobilize your social fans.





Roger Katz is CEO of
Friend2Friend.

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