Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Making Your Facebook Page Work for Mobile

There's plenty of mobile social platforms out there that lend themselves naturally to mobile marketing. Those with downloadable apps. and easy access like Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter (obviously) etc. There's also some that are less obvious and just as important - i.e. the grand daddy of them all, Facebook. Nearly 40% of Facebook users use the platform by mobile. That's nearly half of your audience. So how do we optimize our messaging to be visible to our friends, fans, and followers through Facebook mobile? It's actually quite elementary.

"It's that bloody Lestrade, still pestering me for a recommendation on LinkedIn..."

If we want to make our followers lives that little bit easier and make sure we get our words across there's a few simple things to think about and some experimentation to be done to optimize your Page (or personal) posts for Facebook.

One issue is Truncation, where your character limit is cut by the option to 'read more' instead of the whole message being displayed. Sometimes truncation is unavoidable, but with a bit of experimentation you can slip in a line return or the end of a sentence and prioritise your important message in the first part of your post. You're going to have say the crux of what you want to say in around 100 characters, which works perfect on the iPhone. A bit of testing with Android etc. can pay off and help you get this right. If you can finish a sentence prior to truncation (or on a leading cliff-hanger if that's your thing) it's a neat little trick.

Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. On mobile devices, links (which we want to get 'liked' for those valuable social signals) are much smaller that other posts and can sometimes open erratically within the application. We need to think about using images (which are large and eye-catching in the mobile stream) and video (which plays direct in the official Facebook apps.) as well. Mobile users can also see and answer Facebook Questions, an often unused and poorly explored tactic. Instead of links or just status updates, how about testing a few images with shortened (and measurable) customised links in the text to see what click-through rates you get? - "Find out more here >> bit.ly/squidgybum" etc. Mix and match - though really you should be doing this anyway to promote organic EdgeRank growth and give your audience some variety.

Mobile Social Ads are a great way into the mobile app. Mobile ads account for 23% of Facebook's ad revenue, that's around £200,000,000 a year. Rumours of push targeted deals and a new app for March abound, with Bloomberg talking abut Facebook location based software hitting the market any day. Current display options, all part of the News Feed, are the usual Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts. There's also Offers (putting discounts and promotions in the News Feed) and Mobile App-Install ads (the links to the likes to of games that are in my face and bugging me right now) but these require some dev skills and an app to support. You can do all the usual trageting by interest and demographics. There's a nice intro to Facebook mobile ads over at InsideFacebook.

Be a Place, but before you do considering the pitfalls as well as the benefits. The benefits of allowing mobile users to 'check in' and speard the good word are obvious, and it means you can also take advantage of (the much underused) Deals (which, incedentally, rank high in the new Graph Search) - Loyalty deals for repeat visitors, Friend deals to get (up to 8) folks to check in at the same time, Charity deals, etc. Places, however, are not that simple. You need to be aware that Places also disables some functionality that you get with a standard Page, but you can claim a Place if it already exists and merge it with you Page if needs be and that gives you more control (this is probably a longer post at another time, it's all bit of a mess to be honest). To add a new Place just head to touch.facebook.com, click 'check-in', give it a description, then click 'add'. Disco.

Cover images lay out differently on an iPad, an iPhone, on Android, in the browser, etc. Think about how it's going to look when people visit your Page. A bit of testing is essential, but many people will never see you any other way and this has to be taken into consideration. A scruffy experience reflects directly on your brand.

Anyway, as marketeers and community managers it's time for us to think about mobile. For some it's the elephant in the room, but we need to begin to think about how our audience are accessing our messaging and to react accordingly. It's only going to get MORE important, especially with Facebook.

If anyone else has any tips for making your Page work for Facebook Mobile, I'd love to hear them! PLease let me know in the comments below :)

Oh, and quick thanks to my good mate Jamie Grind, for knocking up the Holmes image above for me ;)
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