If you follow the tech conference circuit as closely as we do, you’ll notice that seemingly every year the likes of South by South West (SXSW) and the Mobile World Congress (MWC) bring us a host of new social media startups. From Twitter to FourSquare to Gowalla to Highlight, new ways to connect with each other are flooding the market like a Yankee Candle Store on Mothers Day. With so many new social media outlets popping up all over the web each year it would seem that getting your social media presence to soar would be simple. Yet as many startup businesses will attest, this can be a much larger task than it seems.
There are plenty of ways to go about increasing your stamp on the web via social media, as this blog has shown time and time again. One of the most effective and possibly most underrated methods is to build a website that is optimized for mobile devices.
I’ve spent the past year of my life preaching about the need to go mobile, and whether people are hearing it from me or elsewhere, they are getting the message as mobile web use is skyrocketing. Most businesses that go mobile do so to enhance their sales or expand their client base, not necessarily to see their social media presence grow. Increasingly, however, businesses that do launch mobile optimized sites are seeing their social media footprint expand greatly.
So what exactly makes social and mobile such a perfect match? Well, a number of factors contribute to the marriage.
Optimized sites mean easier navigation to social media.
Probably the most obvious advantage of a mobile optimized site in terms of social media is convenience. Sites designed for mobile can make locating and following social media links much easier. While a non-optimized site can certainly lead you to Facebook or LinkedIn, an optimized one generally makes social icons or links prevalent and simple to tap. Social media traffic tends to quickly grow as a result.
Building a separate site for mobile increases your SEO presence.
The hot debate in mobile web at the moment seems to be designing a single responsive site versus designing both a desktop site and a mobile optimized site. While responsive design may seem the simpler option, this direction actually tends to be much more difficult to develop, can be far more costly, and may actually hurt SEO status. Businesses that create dedicated mobile sites are seeing an increase in their SEO rankings, and in turn a spike in their social media presence. One of the most beneficial elements of social media is its ability to drive traffic to a business’ websites, and more traffic to social media sites via increased SEO will in turn drive people to return.
Social is going mobile, so don’t get left behind.
Take one look at the top download lists for both the Apple and Android markets and you’ll see that not only have social media sites embraced mobile wholeheartedly, but so too have their users. Facebook is the number one most downloaded app of all time, with other social media players like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest climbing the ranks every day. If users access a link from one of these social apps using a mobile device and they are redirected to a non-mobile optimized site, the chances of these users returning drop off dramatically.
Social sites make the perfect complement for mobile media.
Mobile web designers tend to worry about including too much media content on their mobile sites out of a fear of slowing down load times and clogging up bandwidth. A perfect solution is to link to social media sites where businesses can share photos, videos, or other media that promote your product. This allows you archive media outside of your mobile site, in turn helping your mobile site operate efficiently and load quickly without having to delete any material.
I mentioned how closely my team follows the mobile conference circuit, and at MWC this year the folks from Facebook made it clear that they are focused on going mobile. The recent billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram, the introduction of the mobile web app test suite Ringmark, and the purchase of a number of the mobile-targeted patents that Microsoft recently bought from AOL, only pad Facebook’s mobile initiative. While the big dog in the social game may hog all the headlines, social media companies across the board are recognizing the importance of the mobile web, such as Linkedin, which recently released its new iPad app that relies on 95% mobile web versus just 5% native app technology. Companies that get on board are seeing the massive benefits mobile optimization can bring. The sky is the limit for the future of social media, however as far as the present is concerned, social and mobile go hand in hand.
Has your company optimized your web presence for mobile?