Reaching Facebook’s mobile audience – 3 ways to build it into the marketing plan
At the end of February, Facebook announced big plans for its mobile platform. It’s unsurprising that Facebook is keen to make the most of its mobile platform, as more than 450 million people use Facebook Mobile on a monthly basis. More importantly, mobile is outgrowing desktop use on the social network by two-to-one. As such, Facebook has planned a variety of mobile-centric product announcements this year. Not least, was the news that the Timeline-friendly format already available for users’ profiles would now be available for mobile brand pages, and companies will now be able to advertise in mobile news feeds through Sponsored Stories. These game-changing trends mean that marketers have a great opportunity to reach users on their smart phones in 2012.
Here’s three ways marketers can build mobile in to Facebook marketing plan:
1. Make your content mobile friendly
Until the recent announcement that Timeline for brands was coming to Facebook mobile, brands’ mobile pages had almost no functionality. Custom apps haven’t worked without a complicated hack-job, tabs haven’t worked, etc. This is all set to change. Since Timeline for users works in a mobile Facebook environment, Timeline for brands should be equally as versatile, giving brands the ability to provide engaging mobile experiences for the first time.
As nearly half of Facebook users access the site through a mobile device, by optimising your content for mobile, a brand’s reach could effectively double. And, because users will soon be able to experience the exact workflow on their desktop as their smart phone, page managers will now be able to curate an identical experience for all users, regardless of the viewing device. This means it will be increasingly important to ensure your applications are viewable across all platforms and devices. Ideally, you’ll be able to design once and deploy anywhere, by running your mobile content from a platform that offers “responsively designed” apps and social pages.
2. Make Sponsored Stories part of your marketing plan
To date, there has been no way to advertise to Facebook users on mobile devices. This has been an enormous lost opportunity for marketers— until now. Sponsored Stories premium ad units will now be placed not only in users’ news feeds, but in mobile news feeds too. Again, given the audience accessing the site this way, marketers now have a great opportunity to feature sponsored advertisements in mobile feeds, and have twice the reach! The challenge is how to make this work with your existing Facebook marketing programs.
The most effective way to integrate Sponsored Stories is to include them into an editorial calendar. Brands should take advantage of the fact that Sponsored Stories are driven from the activity of their users. Brands can then create a calendar of user story-generating activity, translating it into the Sponsored Story format. For example, a store could plan its weekly status updates, featuring in-store specials and colourful coupons, as Sponsored Stories.
3. Use Facebook Mobile to create successful offline campaigns
Mobile-optimised marketing campaigns can also be used to enhance consumers’ in-store experience. Mobile phone users are already showing a great affinity for in-store comparison shopping and mobile interaction with products; so there is a lot of room for marketing flexibility with social campaigns that include seamless mobile components.
Savvy marketers will develop integrated marketing campaigns that include in-store and mobile-focused facets. This could include unique codes for scanning, in addition to more traditional social campaign approaches like promotions and exclusive content. Just remember to keep it simple, a 100-step treasure hunt may sound like fun, but it’s unlikely to drive wide engagement. Keep it simple and users will engage.
Many brands will advertise promotions on their Pages, designed to drive activity in-store, but won’t replicate this messaging in the store. This means that loyal in-store consumers who haven’t interacted online will miss out. By ensuring you match up your messaging in-store and online, you can influence both sets of customers; creating a deeper, longer-term connection with them.
Marketers cannot ignore the staggering growth of users who access the internet and social networks via mobile. So, it goes without saying, that those who get mobile right can effectively double their social network reach. So, the final question is – what are you waiting for?
Victoria Ransom is founder and CEO of Wildfire Interactive