You must be noticing the same thing: On my daily train ride to work, the majority of passengers (including myself) are constantly on smartphones checking e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more—we completely immerse ourselves in the social Web, no matter where we are. It’s plain to see that mobile devices are transforming the way we access social media, and there’s plenty of research to back up anecdotal evidence.
Naturally, Facebook is getting the most mobile traffic with nearly 70 million people accessing the site on their phones or 85.4% of the overall social networking population. Nearly 82 million Americans, or one quarter of the U.S. population, will use a social networking site on their mobile phone at least monthly by the end of 2012, according to digital marketing analysts at eMarketer. And by 2014, nearly half of the US mobile population will be mobile social networkers.
With so many people going mobile with their social media access, what does this mean for businesses?
The Business Impact of Mobile-Social
For at least the past decade, cloud computing has been changing the way companies conduct business. Today, mobile social media is accelerating that change, affecting the way employees conduct not only their personal lives but also their professional work. Reshaping the rules of instant access, smartphones make it so that we can handle most (if not all) of our professional duties on the go. From catching up on emails to hosting a conference call to collaborating on documents, former roadblocks have been wiped away by the modern workers’ ability to go mobile.
In the world of business, however, new and exciting technologies always come bundled with risks. As workforces go increasingly mobile, it is imperative that companies also consider compliance, confidentiality, and security risks.
Today, 71% of companies say that use of mobile devices for work have contributed to increased security incidences, according to a Dimensional Research survey of 768 IT professionals. Additionally, 72% say that careless employees are greater security risks than hackers. In spite of those figures, the same survey found that 65% of companies allow employees to use personal devices to connect to their corporate network.
Taken all together, it is apparent that companies understand the immense sales and marketing advantages of enabling their employees to use social media from any device, but they’re still not quite sure how to prevent the negative effects.
So how can organizations maximize all the benefits of mobile-social access while stamping out the associated risks? The answer lies in a strong relationship between marketing and IT departments.
The Social Enterprise: Collaboratively Built by Social CMOs and CIOs
The current digital climate requires that CMOs and CIOs work together if businesses want to reach customers on mobile or social.
You have the privilege today of knowing exactly where your customers are. Nearly a billion are on Facebook. Hundreds of millions are also on the other major social networks and an equally staggering amount use smartphones and tablets daily. The key obstacle preventing businesses from taking advantage of these hard facts, over half of marketers claim, comes down to the “lack of alignment” between marketing and IT.
“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed,” said Yuchun Lee, VP IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group. “CMOs and CIOs, an ‘odd couple’ in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”
Mobile marketing has proven fruitful but marketers realize they need to go beyond coupons and e-mail blasts to something more personal. Social media creates the opportunity for one-on-one relationships between customers and the company, represented by local employees. Because the customer is now a unique individual, marketers and salespeople need to foster this relationship more personally on their end as well.
Most important of all, those marketers and salespeople need to be able to conduct their social business in the way they choose: from the company network or home networks, on company PCs or smartphones or iPads, and with a powerful software solution like Hearsay Social together with native websites like Facebook.com. And in cases where compliance and content marketing at scale play in, it’s even more important to invest in a solution like Hearsay Social, which understands the pain points for both CIOs and CMOs.