Mobile Social Networks, The Next Big Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

22nd Dec 2011
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BIG Opps

By Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific LimitedFrom Facebook to Youtube, from Twitter to Linkedin, social media has given an easy way to connect millions of users around the globe every day. As a new way of communication across the digital platform, social media is now available on mobile devices. According to NM Incite from Nielsen/Mckinsey Research, two in five users are likely to spend their time on mobile social media nowadays. Social media applications (apps) have become the top category of apps downloaded by the users of smartphones, as the apps have created more access for users to social media anytime and anywhere.

The fact is that social media has become part of people’s daily lives. According to Forrester, a third of users publish their ideas on social media at least once a week. People like not only to post their ideas and activities, but also to get to know other people’s opinions and thoughts as well as to stay up to date with news.

Facebook still remains a top destination online. According to Harvard Business Review, Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide, followed by Twitter with 50 million users. The average quantity of time spent on social media has significantly increased by 82 percent in 2010, and spending time on social media is likely to remain a big trend around the world. This explosive growth of social media has led to much innovation on mobile devices.

Mobile devices give users the opportunity to integrate location-based services, social media, and the practical functions of mobile devices. Social media has stepped to the next level, where users are able to experiment with location-based information and share their influential ideas and thoughts according to their location. Facebook has developed its own location-based services to support this new way of interaction, while Foursquare stands out with its ultimate functions of sharing users’ pictures and activities at their location. Everyone will be spending their time on social media wherever and whenever they are, as long as their mobile devices are in their hands.

The most popular use of social media is to spontaneously share pictures and ideas using mobile apps. Although Facebook ranks as the top social media destination, Twitter has gained popularity amongst smartphone users. According to Compete, more than 40% of Twitter users like to access Twitter on their mobile devices. Twitter users record their activities spontaneously with short sentences. Twitter lets users to connect with their personal networks to keep informed of the recent and upcoming events.

Other than sharing ideas, mobile social networking has changed the way people decide on making purchases. Nielsen Research states that more than 40% of mobile users take pictures of merchandise and post them on social media so as to get feedback from their friends and family. Social media users will also be able to specifically identify the location of shops and research products and prices through barcode scanning and online product reviews. In addition, mobile users will be able to seek the best deals and promotions that are available online, or using specialised store-branded mobile apps.

Mobile social networks are becoming very important to people’s lives as means of communication in various circumstances. The adoption of mobile social media will enable users to stay connected and engaged with friends and family every day at any location. The urge to be social, whether while shopping, during the work day, or just to stay in touch, is a strong one, and has become a key driver in the development of the mobile space.

Recognising this, social networks have even gone to the extent of creating their own specialised apps to make accessing the network even easier, and third party developers have also joined in, creating client apps that tap into these social media networks using the publicly accessible APIs. This also means that marketing efforts that include social media elements can easily extend onto the mobile platform, with some consideration and creativity.

Social media and mobile have created new ways of interacting and communicating. The integration of both social media and smartphones’ functions has let mobile users be more influential and engaging. Mobile users tend to inspire each other through their ideas and thoughts spread out across social media in more fun and entertaining ways. This reflects the significant changes in mobile user behaviour. Influential social sharing is a new way people communicate and interact in modern times. Inspiration, aspiration, and passion can be easily expressed and shared to create excitement on social media.

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