Last week Walmart, who needs no introduction, purchased a mobile-social commerce firm called Kosmix, further legitimizing the importance of both mobile and social media marketing.
Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart's vice chairman said, "Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers’ day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping, both online and in retail stores. We are excited to have the Kosmix team join us to accelerate the development of our social and mobile commerce offerings."
Mobile and Social Are A Big Part Of Your Customers' Lives
If you really take a look at the simplicity of the statement that Castro-Wright made, you see that Walmart is simply trying to accommodate their customers and be where they want them to be. This concept is certainly not a new one, and businesses have been doing it for years. I think that one of the issues small businesses have been facing is the lack of realization that the web is just as much of a "place" for their products and services as the storefronts that carry their products or the trade shows that are targeted to their industry.
The web, both mobile and desktop, is a place that consumers spend a great deal of time. Your presence and attention to it should reflect that. If they don't your customers notice, and they will find providers that do provide the convenience of the web.
Mobile and Social Really DO Go Hand In Hand
A Pew Internet study in January of 2011 found that 23% of Americans use a mobile device to interact with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This number is conservative in my opinion. If you consider the volume of texting that happens from a mobile phone, it should not be much of a surprise that status updates, check-ins, and comments happen frequently as well.
How Do You Address Your Customers' Needs?
The question then becomes, how does YOUR company address the need for a mobile experience that is heavily integrated with your social presence? First, you have to have at least some mobile-optimized pages on your site. Even if you just make a mobile version of your homepage and add some device detection so a mobile phone is automatically directed to a mobile version, you will be in better shape than serving your desktop site to a mobile device. I won't get into the reasons here as we've covered them in the past.
Second, your business has to be involved with the major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) in a committed way. Not just by posting random one liners a couple times a week. Rather, by commenting on applicable updates by others and including links to your site where acceptable. If the links are clicked on by a user on a smartphone, your link will ideally go to a mobile friendly page through device detection.
Third and last, you must have an ongoing plan in place to better your mobile experience and social involvement. It's not going away, and it is much more fluid than a standard website. Get used to it and make the decision now to keep grinding. Comeback stories are not going to be as easy in this generation of the web. You need to move now, and we can help.