Let’s jump into that hot tub time machine for a moment, shall we? Back in the 90′s I use to work for Cellular One. The company I worked for was a franchise sort of like McDonald’s, that eventually sold out to the bigger companies like Vanguard Cellular One who eventually sold to AT&T, who then sold to someone else, and they turned back into AT&T. I know I’m probably dating myself now, but, this is back when a cell phone was a bag phone, or a phone installed in your car. We were just migrating from the infamous brick phone into the Motorola Flip. Hand held cellular phones were pretty “iffy” on the reception back then too. At this point in time the Internet was just starting to grow as well, I was very proud that I upgraded from a 14.4 modem to a 28.8!
Back then, I only dreamed about the cellular phones I sold being able to connect my computer to the internet, let alone it connecting all by itself and allowing me to access my social media communities (back then that was web based chats and forums!).
Here we are, over 15 years later and not only can I access my social media communities from my phone but I can play podcasts, I can not only watch videos, but record and upload them too. I can put applications on my phone that make it easier for me to find places to eat, hotels to stay in and find out what movie is playing at what location that’s closest to me. I get my email to my phone, text messages, I can have my phone function as my alarm clock and even tell me how much of a tip I need to leave the waitress for my dinner.
I use to think I couldn’t live without my computer (I probably still can’t), but now I look at everything I do with my smart phone, and I wonder, “can I live without my Droid”? I’m finding it increasingly difficult to see my life functioning easily without it. I’m not alone either.
I’ve written about how companies need to think beyond the web browsers and how social media communities are constantly trying to make it easier for its members to connect via cell phone applications. I was investigating some statistics and I was really blown away to see just how much society is relying on their cell phones (and that’s just in the U.S. – in Asia, it’s overwhelming).
- Social Networking via applications has grown over 240% in the past year
- 80% of Twitter’s usage is via mobile phone
- More than 65 Million users access Facebook via their cell phones
- In just 1 year the Mobile Social Network Foursquare (primary usage is via smart phones & applications)
- Has acquired over 500k users
- Users have created over 1.4 million venues
- Users have logged over 15.5 million check ins
- If Yelp is any indication of the power the smart phone holds, look at this iPhone applications stats for the site
- Over 27% of the searches were done from the iPhone app
- Over 500,000 calls were made to local businesses directly from the iPhone App, or 1 call being placed every 5 seconds
- Nearly a million people generated point-to-point directions to a local business from their Yelp iPhone App in May 2010
There are dozens of other statistics out there that continually point to the rise of the smart phone as an essential tool in people’s lives. From finding restaurants to keeping up with email, the cellphones with web capabilities are not just a passing fad, they are here, they are evolving and when you pair them with applications that allow people to connect and share in social networks, they are a force that marketers can no longer passively ignore.
Making sure that you are planning for Mobile Marketing as part of your social media marketing strategy is now becoming essential if you want to really reach out and engage with your audiences. Social media marketing doesn’t operate in a vacuum, social media and email, social media and search marketing, social media and offline marketing all need to be taken into account. However, even more important is social media and mobile marketing, people leave home without their computers, but they are rarely leaving home without their mobile phones these days.