The Social Impact of Social Networks; SMS Best Practices List

Topic: Social Media | Author: Jeff Hasen | Date: August 5, 2011

social network sites The Social Impact of Social Networks; SMS Best Practices ListThe Pew Internet Project is consistently a source of valuable data and this week the organization has again produced fascinating research into how technology is changing our lives.

The wide-ranging report, which details people’s use of and behavior on social network sites (SNS), is full of insights and analysis explaining how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement.

By way of background, the results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from October 20 to November 28, 2010, among a sample of 2,255 adults in the U.S., age 18 and older.

According to Pew, 79 percent of adults said they used the Internet and nearly half of adults (47 percent), or 59 percent of internet users, say they use at least one social network. This is close to double the 26 percent of adults (34 percent of Internet users) who used one in 2008.

Pew said that the average age of adult social network users users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. Over half of all adult users are now over the age of 35. Some 56 percent of SNS users now are female.

We also have proof that Facebook dominates the social network space. A whopping 92 percent of SNS users are on Facebook; 29 percent use MySpace, 18 percent used LinkedIn and 13 percent use Twitter.

There is considerable variance in the way people actually use SNS. Half (52 percent) of Facebook users and 33 (percent) of Twitter users engage with the platform daily, while only 7 percent of MySpace and 6 percent of LinkedIn users do the same.

Delving into our interactions on Facebook on an average day, the report reveals that:

  • 15 percent of Facebook users update their own status.
  • 22 percent comment on another’s post or status.
  • 20 percent comment on another user’s photos.
  • 26 percent “Like” another user’s content.
  • 10 percent send another user a private message

How I See It: Pew once again delivers us important data points, but has chosen not to break out the mobile numbers. This is unfortunate (and counter-productive) since we know that Facebook and Twitter users are twice as active on mobile as they are on a PC. As I have written here on MobileGroove, social is what we do on mobile — and why Facebook has hatched an ambitious plan to get 500 million worldwide users via mobile. I believe that we’ll see major shifts in daily activity once more people access Facebook via mobile. And, drawing from the Pew report, we can bet we’ll see even more users update their status, post their photos and reveal their location. As marketers, access to this information is gold as we seek to be relevant and engage with Facebook members.

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Editor’s note: As we go live with this post mobile marketing firm Augme Technologies has announced it will acquire Hipcricket for $44.5 million in cash and common stock. In addition, the transaction calls for a twelve-month earn-out payment valued at up to an additional $27.5 million.

I’m fortunate to work with Hipcricket, long a leader in marketing via SMS.  (We also work with other mobile marketing approaches and formats.)

This week, Luxury Daily (a Mobile Marketer destination) asked me to offer advice and insights about text message marketing and the most effective ways to reach — and engage with — affluent users on their mobile devices. I responded with the following list of top ten best practices.

1. Use SMS as a customer relationship marketing tool, not just a means to provide one-time offers.

2. Use past experiences with the customer to offer luxury customers what they actually want.

3. Do not assume all luxury customers have smartphones – make sure SMS plays a large role in your program to connect with large numbers of consumers.

4. Use SMS for time-sensitive offers and information. Ninety-seven percent of text messages are read within four minutes of delivery.

5. Consider location to boost relevance.

6. Make sure SMS campaigns fit into the brand’s overall marketing strategy.

7. Use SMS as a means to connect to richer brand experiences. For example, link back to the brand’s mobile Web site or app.

8. For this audience, over-deliver on customer service – it is more of an expectation.

9. Use SMS to drive customers to the store.

10. Exclusivity is important as it makes customers feel like VIPs, so reward the brand’s best customers with something special.

How I See It: Of course, mobile marketing is more than SMS. But, if you are after reach, no other format or approach comes close in terms of effectiveness. What’s more, text messaging often opens the door to engagement that consumers desire — and have even come to expect. At Hipcricket we are gearing up to do our annual mobile loyalty survey, the fourth year in a row. In it, we ask mobile users about their attitudes towards brands’ loyalty clubs and programs. Last year, the majority of mobile users told us they are open to joining loyalty clubs and are eagerly waiting for more brands to approach them to engage. I’m eager to see what this year’s results reveal.

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