Twitter was designed as a method of delivering short, spontaneous messages to a group of friends. It worked beautifully with mobile because it allowed you to express your thoughts while things were happening.
“I just saw Brad Pitt at Starbucks.”
“These lunch truck tacos are incredible!”
And not long after, we had the ability to take and share pictures of Brad and the incredible tacos to back up on our story. Now, thanks to the rise in smartphones and tablets and the forethought of social network app makers, mobile is becoming an even bigger factor in the social media game.
As you can see from this eMarketer chart, social media users are slowly cutting down their dependence on the PC in favor of the mobile phone and tablet. There’s even been an increase in Internet-enabled TV, game console and ereader use – devices that aren’t well suited to updating Facebook.
In the past year, daily social mobile usage climbed from 54% to 60%. Clearly, consumers are ready to cut the cord.
The downside for marketers is that the social landscape will become more limited. On the PC, you might see 25 items in your newsfeed but on an iPhone you might only see half of that before you have to scroll. And we know how people hate to scroll. If users check in and post more often, that means that posts are going to get pushed off the page at a faster rate. All of this equals less opportunities to get your message across in each session.
On the upside, there’s less clutter on mobile devices so your post doesn’t have to compete with flashing ads and a sidebar full of links.
Before you send out another update, spend some time using Twitter, Facebook or other social networks on your smartphone or tablet. Take note of your own behavior. Do you scroll? Do you click? What kinds of posts catch your eye. Be especially aware of how your hand naturally moves across the device. There’s a big difference between using a mouse and using a touch-screen and there are certain behaviors that we do instinctively. Just think about side scrolling on the tablet vs up and down scrolling on a PC. That’s just the start of what makes the two environments different.
Going forward, you can’t assume that what works on the web will work on mobile. Test, track and figure it out before social gets so mobile it takes off without you.