New technologies are now allowing users to stay connected to social networking through their mobile devices with many exciting and slick-interfaced applications, and this trend is growing at a rate incomparable to anything else on the Internet.
Mobile research firm M:Metrics reports that more than 12 million consumers in the United States and Western Europe in a one-month period used mobile phones to access social networking sites. Sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, and Tagged saw mobile-phone global visitor traffic skyrocket 50 percent between 2006 and 2007, according to global Internet information provider Comscore.com.
As social networks begin to find an identity among the millions who visit them daily, many are extending their reach into the business world. LinkedIn, for example, caters to professionals who want to exchange information, ideas, and opportunities. And with stalwarts such as MySpace and Facebook competing with each other to extend their brands, you will see the battle for supremacy in the mobile market continue to heat up.
What does this mean for you? There are a slew of user-friendly and better-working applications for your mobile device to help you stay connected with business colleagues and clients (current and potential). Many of the social network sites can transfer their user interface to your mobile device, keeping the same functionalities, such as avatars, video, chat, friends, comments, and mail. Some even offer third-party applications for your mobile device so you can get the most out of the network’s capabilities.
Thanks to the increase in mobile technologies such as faster Internet, global positioning systems, and Bluetooth, there are a number of applications that allow you to locate people within your network, ping them, and begin a conversation whether you know them or not.
So why should you start social networking with your mobile device? Because it is just one more way to stay connected, find new prospects, get more information on your subject, locate people, and be more efficient when it comes to time spent away from your desk.
Imagine walking into a meeting after you pull up a client’s LinkedIn profile and seeing his or her likes, dislikes, ideas, and other information that could help you seal the deal. Or maybe you’re at a conference and you’re looking for some new talent to fill the void in your marketing department. Thanks to your GPS or Bluetooth-enabled phone, you see five people standing within walking distance of you who are connected to a site such as LinkedIn or Google’s Dodgeball. Through mobile social networking you now have the ability to quickly read their profiles, spot the perfect candidate, and approach them with a new job opportunity.
How about putting a name to the face that is sitting across from you? iFob from iCloseBy, for example, shows you people on your network who are within close physical proximity of the Wi-Fi connection you’re on. This makes it possible to easily transition the virtual introduction into a face-to-face conversation.
With so many applications and widgets available (mostly free), reasons to not use your mobile device for social networking are disappearing. Search your social network sites and mobile application sites for software to outfit your mobile device for social networking. In today’s business world you’ve got to stay connected in person and virtually, even on the road.