Monday, 29 December 2008

The youth is starting to change....

Ok, that phrase is taken from MGMT lyrics but their prophetic words encourage me.....

Amongst marketing executives, connecting with customers is perceived by 84% to be the most important benefit of social media, according to the latest MENG research. It is interesting that alongside this view, the pecentage of mobile phone users who say they access social networks from their phones jumped 182% between October 2007 and 2008 according to the Kelsey Group. is a global mobile platform that is growing rapidly with 2.5m members. More than 40% of its users have never used a social network from a PC. Many of the users are still in bed when they check their messages for the first time each day. eMarketer forecasts that by 2012 over 800m users worldwide will access and participate in social networks via mobile devices, up from 82m in 2007.

I'm not a mobile person. I don't mean my lack of gym attendance has left me house bound, i'm just not that enthused by mobile apps. I like my phone, it calls people and lets people call me. I have also been known to indulge in drunken text battles when my wit is at its sharpest. However, that's where it ends for me. I'm not interested enough to log-in to my social networks on the move when I know a computer is never far away. I guess that as much as I love technology, i'm not of the mobile generation.

Yet I am having conversations with friends on mobile devices. Take Facebook & MSN Messenger as examples. I have a good friend in LA with whom I am in regular contact but due to costs, I don't want to phone every week. So I send messages through Facebook and she picks them up on her mobile facebook app and replies. I'm also a big fan of MSN Messenger, so much better than email. We regularly have chats as she enjoys her morning coffee and i'm tucked up on the sofa with my dinner. Both applications sit easily on her mobile phone and the modern phone keyboards make it easy to type long messages. The barriers to quality communication via mobile devices are being quickly removed. It will never be the same as seeing someone in person but we regularly have to face distance as a communication barrier, so technology plays an important role.

And what does this fascinating insight into my social netiquette have to do with the commercial side of social networks? In a roundabout way I am saying that mobile will be playing an increasingly important role in connectivity, both between people and between people and applications, whether that application is a social network, a game or a company's website. 

There is a great opportunity for companies to increase the scope of interaction with their customer base via social media and mobile devices. Just think about the connections you can generate if you are regularly updating content to social networks that are accessible on millions of mobile devices. Your potential customers can access your content whenever they want, wherever they want. They can read, interact, share and buy on the move. Social networks will play an increasingly important role in the relationship between a seller and a buyer provided the sellers appreciate that it must be in a way conducive to the buyer's social preferences.

So do you agree? Will social media be important for you? Have to take the time to sit back and ask yourself how social media fits into your business strategy? If not, why not? Please leave any feedback you have.


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