For many years now, mobile phones have become an essential part of individuals’ lives. In 2015, 70% of the Australian population owned a smartphone. This percentage even reached 89% for Australians between 18 and 39. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, an increasing number of organisations use mobile marketing. Simultaneously, social media has become more and more popular, with 68% of Internet users using networking sites in 2015. As 70% of social media users access their accounts on their smartphone, a new form of mobile marketing was created: social media marketing.
Kaplan defines mobile social media as a “group of mobile marketing applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content”. Traditionally, companies did not have access to their customers’ time and place. However, thanks to mobile social media, they can now access this data, better understand their customers and deliver additional value to them. In order to help businesses make the most of mobile social media, Kaplan developed the “Four I’s” of mobile social media usage.
First of all, organisations must integrate their mobile social media activities into the lives of users in a way that is not considered as intrusive. Indeed, individuals mainly use their mobile devices to communicate with friends, and only download applications of companies if they have a close relationship with them and trust them. Such a relationship is very valuable for businesses. Therefore, they must nurture it and avoid irritating customers by bombarding them with time- or location-related content, such as notifications.
Facebook notifications are time sensitive. Users who receive multiple notifications from the application in a short amount of time can perceive it as being intrusive and be annoyed. Plus, if users are not interested by the content of the notifications, this practice is not delivering value to them.
Mobile marketing is personal because each individual has his or her own device. This gives organisations the opportunity to customise their communication and deliver additional value to customers. They can adapt the content and frequency of the notifications to the preferences and interests of each user in order to deliver additional value and better satisfy them. Moreover, they are also able to use the users’ location to send personalised and relevant push notifications to them.
Location-sensitive applications can send notifications to users when they are near one of their stores and increase in-store traffic. Only customers who are near a store (in the example the casino) would receive a notification.
The success of any social media campaign often relies on the involvement of users. In my first blog posts, I talked about the importance of involving and engaging with users on social media. Mobile social media also enables companies to involve and engage with customers, especially thanks to real-time conversations.
For example, Michel et Augustin, a French food business, organised a treasure hunt and communicated about it in real time on social media. Four golden cows figurines were hidden around the country, and the company gave clues on the locations of these items to customers on Facebook. Michel et Augustin was able to deliver value to customers and create closer relationships with them.
In addition to getting users to engage with companies on social media, organisations must encourage them to generate their own content online. Indeed, word of mouth is the most effective type of communication and user-generated content is more likely to create viral marketing campaigns. Mobile social media enables companies to encourage customers to create user-generated content that is associated with a specific location.
Gelato Messina is a brand that highly benefits from user-generated content. Many customers post pictures of their ice cream on social media, increasing brand awareness and creating word of mouth for the company. Often, users tag the place where the picture was taken. Whenever Gelato Messina participates in a food festival or opens a new store, customers post pictures from these events and attach the location. In addition to promoting the opening of the new store or the products available at the festival, they also let other users know where they can find these products, which increases traffic and sales.
Mobile social media is a great tool for organisations. The time-sensitivity and location-sensitivity of mobile social media applications enable businesses to deliver additional value to their customers and better satisfy them. However, it is critical that businesses use the time-sensitivity and location-sensitivity of their application appropriately. In order to use mobile social media effectively, companies must integrate their activities into the users’ lives, individualise these activities based on the preferences and interests of users, engage conversations with them and encourage the creation of user-generated content.
What is your favorite application on your smartphone? Is it applying the “four I’s”? Did you have a bad experience with an application that was too intrusive? Let me know in the comment section below!