Two of the most prominent trends in technology are undoubtedly social media and the emergence of mobile devices. Aaron Smith recently reported that Facebook has passed the one billion user mark. Mobile devices have also made headlines, as, according to research reported by Mark Walsh, mobile devices will overtake desktops in 2013 as the most common Web devices.
For any business, there is much to gain with social media and mobile-specific marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a proverbial gold mine for small businesses. Nearly every aspect of online marketing is touched by social networking. Add in some extra niche networks and you have a lot of possibilities.
Facebook marketing and Twitter marketing are the two global giants of social media marketing. One of the most impressive advantages of these networks is the word-of-mouth advertising that occurs. Businesses are experiencing impressive growth by creating shareable, useful, and even entertaining content. However, some businesses are putting off customers with poor social media use.
These primary social media networks are offering more than just another marketing platform:
- Brand Awareness: This was listed as the top business goal in a July 2010 study of U.S. marketers. Establishing a strong social media presence can certainly improve brand awareness.
- Customer Service: Many customers flock to Facebook and Twitter for customer service. As this trend progresses, offering customers quick service on these networks can be a great asset for their convenience.
- Much More: Chris McLaughlin reports that social media – along with sharp marketing practices – can offer much more than increased profits. He notes a local restaurant group that is giving back to the community, where social media plays a key role in greater awareness for the cause.
Social networks can also connect with the business’ blog to interconnect marketing avenues and offer further possibilities. With niche social media sites like YouTube and Pinterest, there are even more options for small businesses to zero in on its target customer base.
Does your business utilize SMS marketing to offer great deals to customers – similar to an email campaign? Mobile marketing opportunities like this can offer a great deal to small businesses, much like social media.
Mobile marketing is not far removed from social media marketing. Smith notes that 102 million Facebook users – over 10 percent of the site’s membership – exclusively access Facebook’s mobile site. Half of Facebook users – now at one billion – use it at least once a month.
How can your business cater to mobile users? Here are a couple of examples that utilize mobile marketing principles:
- Website: Is your business website optimized for mobile users? Take a look and see if you’re catering to potential customers who use their mobile device. If not, responsive design practices and/or a specific mobile site can allow your business to capitalize on this opportunity. Otherwise, 61 percent may look at a competitor.
- QR Codes: Increasing by 300 percent in 2011, QR codes could offer marketing relevance for your small business, depending on your industry and customer base.
Take advantage of Facebook marketing with mobile-friendly blog links. Consider YouTube videos that engage clients and offer SMS deals. There are a wide range of opportunities that utilize social media networks and mobile devices.
These two areas are experiencing a great deal of growth. It is that growth that should be noticed by small businesses – as customer engagement, brand awareness, customer service, and the wide range of online marketing practices (SEO, link building, email lists, etc.) can call be improved by deploying efforts in these two areas.