Both mobile phones and online social networks keep today’s consumers connected, and their roles seem to be converging. Currently, wireless content providers are in a position that could enable them to leverage the unique properties of mobility in combination with the power of social networking to reach the desirable segment of downtimers; the 28 million US adults who have jobs with significant downtime that do not sit in front of a computer all day. One clear example of this trend can be seen in the way mobile phones are beginning to take on tasks consumers traditionally did over their computers. Almost 45% of current wireless customers already manage their account to some extent on their handset (viewing or paying their bill, viewing minutes, etc.).
In the online world, Compete currently sees social networkers frequenting an average of three social networking sites such as MySpace, Linked-In and other online communities that allow users to create and link profiles. Despite this busy networking schedule, these same online socialites say there is still room in their lives for more sites. Forty-five percent of social networkers say they would be willing to participate in at least four social networks (7% would join 10 or more), leaving an opening wireless companies can help fill.
Currently, 48% of social networkers join online communities in order to find entertaining content such as photos, music and videos, and 38% join to get information from other people. Successful handset extensions of social networks will need to optimize users’ abilities to perform these actions while overcoming the constraints of a two inch screen.
By leveraging unique mobile benefits like in-network calling, personal information management, location-based services (like Helio’s Buddy Beacon) and digital media on the fly, service providers can provide the sticky brand experience that will entice downtimers to take the management of their personal networks and content from their desktops into work.