Business on the Fly With Mobile Tech By Jessica Miller-Merrell on October 10, 2011 / Business, Social Media Mobile not social media in my opinion is the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution. With mobile technologies (including social media) you are truly never alone. And since 63.2 million Americans own a smart phone, we can quickly and seamlessly connect with anyone at most any time for business, personal, or family reasons. Mobile technologies serve as a channel to enhance the social media experience. Fifty-four percent of Twitter users surveyed as part of a May 2011 Pew Research study rely on their mobile device to provide real-time updates and information to their social network. Mobile is changing the way not only in how we engage those most important to us, but how we as well as when and where we digest and share the news and information through these technologies. Certainly for businesses both large as well as small, mobile offers a unique opportunity to engage the user. It was just last week that I was traveling near Tampa, Florida, and posted to my social networks (Twitter and Facebook) asking my friends and followers for recommendations or suggestions for dinner in the area. Within literally seconds, I had several viable options as well as addresses and directions in which to get me there. But mobile isn’t just about social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Mobile offers opportunities for businesses to make it easy to be found as the general public relies more on their mobile devices. This includes offering mobile friendly websites that are quick and easy to navigate with built in Google Maps for directions, and easy access to a phone number so I can quickly call for reservations or other questions. As a customer, there is nothing more disappointing than having to work to find these answers. Make it easy for your customer to find the answers and information they are looking for. But not all mobile phone users own smart phones like Blackberries, iPhones, and Android type devices. Smart phones allow mobile phone users access to the internet, but not everyone has a smart phone. Text offers a universal opportunity to reach your customers regardless of their device. One hundred eighty-seven point seven (187.7) billion text messages are sent each month in the United States. Text messaging is no longer solely used by boy-crazed 14 year old girls. Fifty-four percent of 18-34 year olds send and receive text messages with 34% of 34-54 year olds population also receiving text messages. Text messaging and its use is increasing because it allows users to send a quick and succinct message without the hassle of verbal pleasantries. Text messages are 160 character messages similar to the size of an email subject sent directly to your phone. Businesses can leverage text messaging by offering customers to subscribe to receive mobile alerts using what is called a Short Code. This 5 digit phone number is used for business text messaging called SMS or short messaging service. SMS users must opt in to receive the messages from businesses and is similar to subscribing to an email newsletter. The user can unsubscribe at any time with a simple text message sent to the short code containing the word ‘stop’. Companies and businesses can use SMS to serve as a customer service tool, marketing platform, or quick communication service that offers a 94% read rate. SMS text messaging offers an interactive opportunity to provide updates in real time and solicit feedback or response very quickly. You also do not have to have a large audience for your messaging to be effective. My blog’s mobile club uses text messaging to reach 200 of the blog’s most dedicated fans looking for content suggestions and information in a moment’s notice. Two times a week I send a scheduled message normally posing a question to the group and a second weekly message providing them with the most popular blog post of the week. It’s amazing the insights, information, and feedback I receive from the blog’s most dedicated readers using something so simple. Feel free to test out the Blogging4Jobs mobile club for yourself by texting ‘B4J’ to 55678. Mobile communication provides companies the opportunity to engage customers on the fly putting information and the opportunity for engagement at their as well as our fingertips. Because life happens on the fly and shouldn’t your marketing and customer communication do the same? I’m honored to be a writer for Edmond Active Magazine as their social media and marketing expert. This article is part of an ongoing series where I introduce social media and other digital communication tools. Check them out on Twitter @edmondactive.