Going Mobile: Facebook Mobile Microsites: A New Option for Multichannel Branding1 Jun, 2012 By: Bill Schick Response
Going mobile is even more important than going social today, as hyper-local news, advertising and search brings new meaning to being “near you” — and businesses strive to support sharing and liking their brands by consumers on the go. It’s natural for marketers to think about each platform as a discrete development project — you create a website, then a Facebook page, then a mobile site or a mobile app.
However businesses are uniquely using Facebook to take their marketing beyond the landing page to acquire and keep customer “fans” engaged. New technology called “integrated Facebook mobile microsites” makes it fast, easy and affordable to go mobile and social, all at once.
Integrated social/mobile microsites are a simplified version of a company’s website with branding and messaging designed to fit comfortably on the screen of a mobile device.
They enable companies to seamlessly bridge the gaps between traditional media, new media, mobile media and social media. The technology allows companies a “develop it once” approach to creating a mobile site that will also provide the consistent, yet appropriate, look and feel on Facebook and on multiple devices. They avoid the need for months-long separate initiatives to thresh out approaches to the design and functionality of a mobile site and engaging Facebook content.
For example, St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, N.H., has a Facebook mobile microsite that is embedded within the hospital’s Facebook page and also drives its mobile site. When users visit www.stjosephhospital from a mobile device, they see a simplified version of the hospital’s website. Although the mode of access is a little different with an iPad tablet today due to Facebook tab access limitations, iPad visitors are presented with access to the same integrated Facebook mobile microsite.
Microsites work best when they include about five to seven pages with the most important information their consumers would seek from a mobile device, such as contact form, directions, maps, promotion, services, about, or news and events. In the St. Joseph Hospital integrated Facebook mobile microsite, the hospital offers a physician finder, about, campus maps, critical contact information, news and events, directions and a contact form.
Behind the scenes, the mobile microsite is pulling information from the corporate website’s database to present dynamic information, such as physician information that populates the “Physician Finder.” The technology can also integrate with event information and registration, news and directories, making it a seamless process for updating the integrated mobile microsite. This enables the hospital to better engage its audience through a completely socially integrated platform — giving people what they need, fast.
Integrated social microsites remove a common fear that some smaller company executives have with Facebook — that managing the company’s social presence takes too much time. Through the integrated Facebook mobile microsite, companies are able to be present without having to post regularly on Facebook. The technology makes it fast and easy to retain a consistent brand no matter where an audience interacts with the site.
These integrated microsites also help companies better cope with the new Facebook Timeline interface, which imposes new restrictions on the way brands can lay out information on their Facebook page. Since Timeline went into effect on March 30, brands can no longer promote “Like Us” or offers on their main cover image/landing page. The Facebook cover image is the default.
Today’s marketing mantra is no longer just branding but multichannel branding, because the plethora of traditional, new media and social media demand reaching constituencies across more channels — each with their own design and development demands. Facebook mobile microsites represent a time-saving approach to achieving an elegantly integrated social mobile strategy.