More than 200 million Facebook users access Facebook from mobile devices every month, according to Facebook. If your business wants its share of those mobile eyeballs, it’s time to combine your social media marketing with mobile marketing.
Some consumers have embraced mobile-social interactions without much interference from marketers, mostly because the major social networks seem to have been relatively slow in developing opportunities to market to mobile-social users. That doesn’t mean you have to be as slow moving.
Here are three ways you can drive more social-mobile interactions with your business while you wait for more abundant social-mobile marketing opportunities to emerge.
1. Offer check-in deals.
When people "check in" to a physical location using a mobile device via Foursquare or another app, they do it to share their location and activities with friends. Marketers call this "proof of presence." If your customers frequent your physical location and tell lots of people about you through a social network, that behavior should be rewarded.
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You can reward these customers by offering discounts and special privileges on social networks that provide check-in rewards features. Foursquare for Business and Facebook Check-in Deals both provide ways to reward people for checking in.
I did a quick check for local deals available near my hotel room while writing this article and found that I could check-in to a nearby Chili’s restaurant for free chips and salsa and get some free color printing done by checking in to a local printer's shop. I also found that I could enter to win a year of free haircuts from a Great Clips hair salon. I decided to skip the hotel spa’s free laser hair-removal check-in offer.
Foursquare allows you to create deals for multiple check-ins based on frequency, and Facebook has a variety of deal option s including individual deals, group deals for up to eight people and even charity deals in which check-ins result in donations. As of this writing, both Foursquare and Facebook allow businesses to create check-in rewards for free. That may change, so take advantage while you can.
2. Update your followers via mobile.
Your customers aren’t the only ones connecting through mobile devices. Your business should be able to share photos, videos, deals and other information from anywhere so your social updates are timely and efficient.
There are two basic ways to update fans from your mobile device. You can use an app or website such as ping.fm or Seesmic to update fans on multiple networks including your Facebook business pages. And, you can update fans on a single network using a variety of methods. For example, Facebook allows fan page updates via text message, mobile email, mobile website and mobile app (currently for iPhone only).
3. 'Mobilize' familiar social interactions.
Mobile devices have installed capabilities such as cameras, GPS, speakers and even gyroscopes that you use to interact with customers. Try these ideas for fun and engaging mobile-social marketing.
- Post a quick-response (QR) code to your social-network news feed or photo album containing a link to a mobile coupon or a video that educates your customers or demonstrates your value. You can create free QR codes on sites such as qrstuff.com and XZing and then download them as images for posting to social feeds and photo albums.
- Use your social newsfeed to post offers that can be redeemed through or with a mobile device. Since people bring their mobile devices most everywhere, your news feed can be shown to a salesperson or customer representative for a discount or other special offer.
- When you interact with customers, ask them to use their mobile devices to interact with your business. For example, ask people to take pictures of your products so they can share them with other decision-makers or ask your happy customers to write a quick review on a social shopping site or business directory listing.
- Crosslink your Facebook page, Twitter page, blogs and other social sites to a mobile website. Make sure you also add share and follow links to your mobile website so people who visit on the mobile web can touch the link and start accessing your social updates instantly.
John Arnold is a Boulder, Colo.- based consultant, speaker and trainer specializing in marketing advice for small businesses. He is the author of three marketing books in the 'For Dummies' series including Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference and Mobile Marketing for Dummies. Follow him on Twitter: @ArnoldMarketing