Mobile is becoming a dominant vehicle for social networking.
More than 250 million people already access Facebook from their mobile phones and the company points out that the mobile users are twice as active as non-mobile users.
One of the facilitators of the move to more mobile activity is the increase in the number of smartphone owners, now estimated by Nielsen to be 37 percent of US mobile phone owners on the way to half by the end of the year.
And the increase in social interaction via mobile is substantial.
In 2010, 28 percent of social media users used a mobile phone to interact with social media, and that number increased to 40 percent this year, based on new research. That’s an increase from 54 million people last year to 80 million this year.
The findings are part of a large, multi-client study by a partnership between Knowledge Networks and The Center for Media Research at MediaPost Communications.
The on-going study found that the increase in social media usage via mobile is being driven by young adults and that mobile users tend to be much more active in and influenced by social media, which seem to be in line with the Facebook usage patterns.
Daily usage among social media mobile users increased from 43 percent in 2010 to 51 percent in 2011, while daily usage among non-mobile users stayed the same.
As might be expected, a majority (56%) of mobile social media users interact with social media outside their home, including before, while and after shopping. Hence, the expected mega-growth in location-based activities and marketing.
The implications of this socially-connected mobility are significant. It means businesses are going to have to pay much more attention to mobile consumers who are likely to be interacting with each other via social media while they look for products and services.
And this is a large wave, since the research shows that 84 percent of the U.S. population is now using some type of social media with more than a quarter (28%) reporting daily use. And much of this use is migrating to mobile.
For example, about a quarter of mobile social media users are comparing and checking prices as well as checking reviews for brands, places or services. The challenge and opportunity for businesses is to effectively interact with these consumers both in the process and at the time of a sale, since that is when mobile consumers are using social media.
These latest trends in the social media aspects of the mobile revolution are yet one more indicator that businesses need to seriously get into the mobile game.
The rate of mobile adoption cannot be underestimated.
Chuck Martin is author of The Third Screen; Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile, The Smartphone Handbook, CEO of Mobile Future Institute, Director of the Center for Media Research at MediaPost Communications and a highly sought-after mobile marketing speaker.