With 58% of the US population accessing the internet from mobile devices and 25.6% of website referral traffic being attributed to social media, it is increasingly important that businesses utilizing websites optimize both their mobile and social media presence (1,2). Businesses can certainly maintain a mobile-optimized website without a social media presence, but a social media presence without a mobile-optimized website is a recipe for a disaster. As a marketing tool, social media most often sits atop a business’ marketing funnel—that is, its purpose is to engage and funnel potential customers to the business’ website. If the next layer of the funnel is broken, all that hard work will be for naught. In order to be successful in the current digital marketing landscape, both elements must be fully refined.
When a business realizes that they want to start a social media presence, choosing the right channels is essential. The majority of failed social media efforts can be attributed to setting up and using the wrong channels (3). To get the most return on investment in their social media campaigns, businesses must determine which channels their target demographic occupy. With each business having limited resources, taking a deep dive into how each social media channel is used by certain demographics will go a long way in determining which channel(s) to utilize and what type of content to create. This type of analysis also gives stakeholders a clearer idea of the cost and time commitment needed to manage each channel properly.
After the channels have been selected, the next step is to develop engaging, effective content. Each channel will require different types of content that should be tailored to each specific platform and audience (4). Cross-posting should be performed minimally as it comes across as lazy to the reader (5). When it finally comes down to posting, content should be timely, relative, and appealing to the target demographic’s needs.
These days, if a company’s website isn’t mobile-friendly, the investment in a social media presence is almost useless. As the market continues to shift towards mobile devices being the primary tools with which people access the internet, it is more than likely that potential customers will be engaging with social media content and subsequently linked to a website on their mobile phones. Businesses get a measly 0.05 of a second to make a good digital impression on their customers (6). That 0.05 of a second is the difference between a potential customer staying on their website and exploring more, or simply pressing the back button to move on to a competitor’s website. To avoid this issue, companies need to decide whether they want their site to be adaptive, detecting the screen size of the mobile device and loading the appropriately sized layout, or responsive, where the website is designed to look exactly the same no matter the device on which loads (7). The decision depends on how personalized businesses want their content to appear and how much capital they have, as a responsive website requires a greater investment in design so that the experience is identical regardless of device. On the other hand, a site with adaptive design automatically optimizes for the device, which can create a more functional and customized feel. Customer journey mapping helps businesses make that crucial decision of whether they want to make their website responsive or adaptive.
In order to succeed, the business needs to keep the customer journey in mind. Developing a buyer persona that portrays the characteristics and traits of the customer they are trying to capture goes a long way. In doing so, businesses should be able to map out different digital trigger points, including social media, that will drive the customer to take out their phone and go to their website.
Once a business gets a customer to their site it is crucial that they tell the customer what they want them to do. Businesses need to design the site with the customer in mind and clearly portray what they want the customer to do. The journey should be clear across all devices and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be developed to measure conversions.
Ultimately, businesses have to consider many factors when deciding whether or not to have a social media presence, but before they do so, they have to make sure they have a mobile-friendly website design. If a business’s website isn’t mobile-optimized, potential customers could encounter a serious obstacle after engaging with social media, jeopardizing precious conversions. At that point, all the hard work of picking the right social media channels and the perfect content strategy would be wasted capital. Businesses must keep the customer journey constantly in mind to avoid this pitfall, and so that they can make strategic decisions to achieve conversions.
Choosing the right channels, developing engaging content, delivering an accessible website, and facilitating the customer journey—these are the most critical points to consider when thinking about implementing a social media presence. What other social media factors are there to consider? What other mobile strategies are there consider? What kind of experiences are relevant when implementing a social media presence and or mobile strategy?
(1) Enge, Eric. “Mobile vs Desktop Traffic in 2019: Perficient Digital.” Mobile vs Desktop Traffic in 2019 | Perficient Digital | Perficient Digital Agency, 11 Apr. 2019, www.perficientdigital.com/insights/our-research/mobile-vs-desktop-usage-study.
(2) Gesenhues, Amy Gesenhues Amy. “Search Outpaced Social for Referral Traffic Last Year, Driving 35% of Site Visits vs Social’s 26% Share of Visits.” Search Engine Land, 23 Feb. 2018, searchengineland.com/search-makes-comeback-2017-driving-35-traffic-publishers-vs-26-sent-social-networks-292834.
(3) McLeod, Betsy. “Which Social Media Platforms Should My Business Be On?” Blue Corona, 27 Dec. 2018, www.bluecorona.com/blog/which-social-media-platforms-best-for-business.
(4,5) Donkor, Ben. “Why You Should Never Cross-Post on Social Media.” Link Humans, 20 July 2018, linkhumans.com/cross-post-social-media/.
(6) “27 Eye-Opening Website Statistics [Updated for 2019].” 27 Eye-Opening Website Statistics [Updated for 2019], 2 Apr. 2019, www.sweor.com/firstimpressions.
(7) “Responsive vs. Adaptive Design: What’s the Best Choice?” Studio by UXPin, 17 Sept. 2019, www.uxpin.com/studio/blog/responsive-vs-adaptive-design-whats-best-choice-designers/.