Social media was born in the PC era, when consumers were sitting by their computers at home, engaging with their friends and eventually also with brands.
So what’s happened since the emergence of social? Well, let’s see…
- Smartphones now make up more than half of all U.S. cell phones
- Americans now spend more time on Facebook mobile than its website
- One in five smartphone owners use geosocial or “check-in” services, up 50%
It’s a mobile world – and brands are just living in it?
Yes, the mobile paradigm is here for brands to embrace. And when it comes to social marketing, the game is now changing. Mobile is already on its way towards becoming the dominant channel, and this trend will not be reversing.
The biggest challenge marketers face in this new era is customer fragmentation across social-mobile platforms. Just a couple of years ago things were quite different. In August 2010, for instance, Facebook was supposedly killing Foursquare with the launch of Places. And a year later, almost the opposite was suggested when Facebook killed Places. But what really happened was that Facebook doubled down on location by making it platform-wide. And with Foursquare’s continued growth, it’s certainly no longer a question of which of the two platforms brands should embrace. It’s about leveraging both – and more.
More than ever before, brands now need to take a holistic approach to social-mobile marketing. Because social engagement happens on the go to such a great degree and across multiple platforms, connecting the social-mobile ecosystem is critical. The reality is that these platforms are not silos at the local level; they are part of an ecosystem, where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Each platform offers unique features and qualities. For instance, Foursquare and Instagram are superb sources of location-specific content, so publishing geo-tagged photos and tips to the corresponding Facebook place pages is a perfect way to make the platforms work together. That’s free content created by local brand advocates that is then shared with local fans. And the brand advocate who originally took the photo or left the tip can get a tweet saying thanks for posting and check it out on the local Facebook page. Brands can initiate this “game of tetherball” with their customers and create a virtuous cycle of earned and owned media. (Full disclaimer: This type of content curation and publishing is a specific feature-set in the MomentFeed platform.)
At MomentFeed we recently launched tools for centralized management of Facebook Offers and Foursquare Check-In Specials. With or without MomentFeed though, smart marketers realize the importance of “managing the whole” when it comes to social-mobile campaigns as well as understanding campaign performance in the broader context of overall customer engagement at the local level. Check-ins, likes, photos, tips and geo-tagged tweets all need to be looked at together – along with any social-mobile campaign data – for brands to get the most out of social in the mobile paradigm.
Rob Reed is Founder and CEO of MomentFeed, the first social marketing platform built for mobile. MomentFeed brings together Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, and Instagram as a unified solution for connecting brands and consumers at the point of sale.