Are you missing this communications secret weapon?

by PR Coach

What is the size of the mobile market?

Mobile market is booming. Calls? Not so much.

The impact of mobile social media on our daily business and personal lives is huge.

Because of social media, and the growth of mobile, we’ve forgotten one of the most vital communication secret weapons available. The phone call.

It’s almost quaint to call it a “telephone” call anymore. At the risk of sounding low-tech to my geeky friends and colleagues, I think we’ve forgotten something very important in our communications toolbox.

A personal phone call is powerful.

In fact, most of us rarely use our smartphones for calls with another person. We’re too busy checking e-mail, texting, searching, browsing, blogging, tweeting, navigating and buying on our phones.

Microsoft chart shows mobile usage

What do people use their mobile phones for?

A phone call? You mean actually use my iPhone to call somebody? Oh, well, um… I guess I could.

Where we used to say “call you later.” Now we’re just as likely to text you, Facebook you, tweet you or IM you right now or later. Even if we’re doing something else.

I wonder if we’re not missing something really important about communication? With all our shiny new social tools, it’s not surprising that young people are using Facebook less. They’re looking for shorter, faster, more visual ways to connect and communicate.

social media and mobile have a huge impact on marketing and PRThink Pinterest, Twitter, instant messaging as well as some of the newest channels, apps or tools you may not have used yet. You’ll soon be adding one or more of them to your smartphone and tablet including Pheed, Vine, Thumb, Medium, Conversations, Chirpify, Flayvr and Chirp.

Bonus points if you know what each of these eight new platforms does and how it might benefit you. Here’s a good overview of them by Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes in case you need some help.

The BIG Telephone Experiment

I thought I’d do a phone call experiment. I made 15 impromptu phone calls to see what happens.  I called a mix of colleagues, clients, people whose company or ideas I enjoy and a couple of random calls thrown in just to make things interesting.

The results were thought-provoking. Out of 15 calls, only four reached someone in person. The others? No answer or voice mail Hell!

Even better were the delight of those I called. We had great conversations even though I’m in contact “socially.”

I know that had I IM’d, messaged or tweeted, I may have received faster responses from the majority. By the time I finished this post, four more calls have been returned.

And, I answered them before they went to voice mail!

Mobile Phone Stats Going Through the Roof

1/2 of the searches are on mobile devicesWe’re just not using our phones for phone calls as often anymore.

Think apps, photos, IMs, e-books, video games, movies, music and many other practical uses.

Consider these mobile phone stats from a recent post by Danyl Bosomworth:

  • 30% of smartphone owners access social networks from mobile devices
  • Device preferences during the day: mobiles in the morning; computers during the workday; tablets at night
  • Mobile browsing: 10% of worldwide traffic in 2012, up 192.5% since 2010
  • Preferred retail purchases online: 23% by smartphone and tablet (and these are 2011 stats)
  • Of 4 billion mobile phones in the world, more than 1 billion are smartphones
  • By 2014, mobile internet use will overtake desktop internet access
  • 86% of mobile users use their phone while watching TV
  • Americans spend more than 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile phone
  • On social media: 1/3 of Facebook’s 600 million members use Facebook mobile; 50% of Twitter’s 165 million users use Twitter mobile; 200 million videos are viewed on YouTube on mobile devices daily.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Mobile matters. But so do personal calls and engagement.

PR and Marketing Implications of Mobile

I’ve written before about the implications of mobile on PR and marketing. We’re way down the road using our phones for critical parts of our daily business.

My point today is simple. Don’t forget the importance of a personal phone call. Got a crisis? Need to respond quickly to correct wrong information? Trying to pitch an important story idea? Need to ensure your CEO has the correct message for an upcoming interview?

You got it. Use the phone. Here’s a powerful stat. You’ll be 100% certain You know where things are at with a phone call. Assuming the person you’re calling isn’t using their smartphone for some other purpose than taking your call.

Well, I gotta run. My phone’s ringing and it could be important! I promised myself I wouldn’t screen my calls.

I’m making an extra effort to make at least five calls a day, every day, instead of resorting to social media when I can call instead.

Just so I don’t get rusty. After all, we are communicators!

Author: Jeff Domansky

Visuals: Microsoft Mobile Marketing

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