Ask an Expert: What Small Businesses Need to Know About the Influence of Mobile on Social Media

If you own a small business, chances are you’ve already heard lot about mobile and why it’s so important to provide a positive mobile experience for everyone who visits your website, reads your email, or searches for your business online.

And by this point, you probably don’t need a stat like 51% of Americans now own smartphones, to understand that the influence of mobile is more important than ever before.

One area where mobile is having a major impact is on social media. Today, a majority of users on sites like Facebook and Twitter are accessing the sites via a mobile device. For your business, these users are likely to be the most active and engaged members of your social communities.

On Twitter for example, mobile-first users are 87% more likely than non-mobile users to check the site multiple times per day.

But mobile is also introducing a new element to social media that all businesses need to be aware of. With tools like smartphones and tablets, consumers are conducting more searches on-the-go than ever before. These searches are bringing consumers to your website, your online listing and reviews, and yes—to your social networks as well.

Today, half of all visits to Facebook Pages are coming through mobile devices. For businesses that are adjusting their strategy on social media to meet the demands of mobile, this could be a valuable opportunity to reach new fans and grow your audience on social media.

What do you need to know about the influence of mobile on social media? This week, I sat down with Constant Contact Social Media Specialist, Danielle Cormier to find out.

Check out this week’s Ask an Expert and make sure to share your comments below!

Here is the transcript if you would rather read.

1. What exactly does “mobile” mean for small businesses and what impact does it have on social media?

People love to throw the term “mobile” out there and say, “Mobile marketing is the next big thing!” or “2013 is the year of mobile!” but don’t provide much context for what that really means.

What it really means is that a lot of people are going to be using their mobile devices for a lot of different things. That includes searching for new businesses, integrating mobile apps into the stuff their already doing every day, and interacting with brands and their friends on social media. For small businesses, mobile can also be a tool that makes marketing their own business easier as well.

Mobile comes into play a lot—especially for small businesses. People use mobile to find answers right away. They’re looking for new restaurants, places to shop, specials, and deals on-the-go. So, it’s really important to make sure everything they find when looking for your business is up-to-date.

I recently saw a stat that 50% of Google searches are now being done on mobile, 70% lead to action, and 40% are being done by people who have local intent. So, people are definitely using their phones to find businesses in their area that they can go visit right then and there. And for a lot of people, social media will be the place they look first.

2. What can small businesses do to take advantage of all the mobile activity that’s happening on social media?

The first thing I would suggest doing is searching for your business on Google from your phone. Make sure all of those listings that show up in your results have up-to-date information.

Then, do the same thing on Facebook and make sure that information is correct. You can also go into your Facebook settings and make sure you have all the right Basic Information. Check that you have the right address, the right hours, and also make sure you have the right Category.

The Category will be at the top of the Basic Information when you go into edit your settings. This will help for a tool like Facebook Nearby, which is a tool from Facebook that could get more popular on mobile this year. Facebook Nearby makes it easy to search for local businesses—whether it’s pet grooming or a local bar—right within Facebook and find a list of businesses under that specific category.

Also, check out Google+ Local and make sure all your information is up-to-date there. You won’t need to do a ton of engagement on Google+ but you do want to make sure you have the right information so people can find you. Your Google+ Local Page is going to be one of the first things they find when performing a search on Google.

You always want to encourage people to interact with you when they check into your store. Give them an incentive like, “Check out this deal!” or “Rate us and get a free gift!” That will help bring your listings to the top, so when people are searching for you on mobile they’ll be able to see your listing right away.

3. How can a small businesses use their own mobile device to help with all the stuff they’re already doing on social media?

Your smartphone is a great tool for creating content. People are always running into problems  with creating content and they’re not sure how to create stuff their audience will enjoy.

But why not just snap a picture at your store and show people something cool that’s happening in real time. Or if you hear something positive from a customer, why not tweet that out right from your phone?

It really makes it a lot easier to have all the social media apps on your phone. With the mobile apps, you’ll get notified whenever someone is interacting with you.

So you’ll be able to create content on-the-go and monitor all the stuff that’s going on as well.

More mobile marketing resources

Over the last few months, we’ve talked a lot about mobile and what small businesses need to be aware this year and beyond.

Whether it’s updating your website, picking the right template for your email marketing, or adopting a more mobile strategy on social media—there are small steps you should be taking today that could have a big impact on helping you reach new customers and grow your business.

Here are a few resources to help you out:

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