Mary Napoleon

With consumers and professionals increasingly turning to mobile to consume content, choosing the right medium for your community is critical for ensuring that your members will return. In fact, the seismic shift to mobile is why we decided to build the SocialQnect platform.

Mobile internet usage has eclipsed desktop usage and continues to be the primary platform for digital media consumption. While desktop usage remains steady, content consumption on mobile platforms has taken off.

mobile-internet-usage

This trend isn’t just driven by millennials; the 55-years-and-older segment is the fastest growing population of mobile users, according to a study by comScore.

More than Responsive

But just having a mobile responsive website for your community isn’t enough. What users need is a solution that is native- meaning they can download it from the app store. Nearly all activity on mobile phones happens inside of native mobile applications. According to comScore, native apps drive the majority of media consumption activity, accounting for 7 out of every 8 minutes of media consumption on mobile devices.

If your organization’s community is to be an asset for improving customer relationships, the user experience should feel snappy and simple–not forcing users to wait for pages to load.

Always Available

Additionally, hosting your community on a native mobile app ensures you’re always connected to your community members wherever they go. Users literally have their mobile devices with them everywhere, which means you can engage participants throughout the day. The “mere exposure effect” explains why being on a user’s home screen is valuable. Your brand is taking up precious real estate that you just don’t have on a web app where users have to remember to visit and login.

As Susan Frech points out, your brand community is the missing link between your social media presence and your customer database, creating a powerful brand touchpoint that –if done right–builds customer loyalty.

“An owned community is valuable because it’s a database that you control, allowing for direct communication that builds loyalty — a group where the most passionate are easily identified and where the activity is measurable.”

The Power of Push

Another reason to invest in a native mobile app for your community is that it gives you two easy ways to reach your users long after they’ve signed up: email and push notifications. These channels will allow you to build a relationship with new members of your community and get them in the habit of visiting your app on a regular basis.

New members may not want to submit a question or comment when they first join. Welcoming them to the community with an email digest of recent questions from the community is a great way to reach them right in their inbox. Setting up a short, automated content email sequence via email can help new users get up to speed on how to use your native mobile app and what conversations are taking place.

Push notifications are an extremely effective channel for driving retention within your community. Because they are less noisy, open and clickthrough rates for push notifications tend to outperform email and help create the “habit loop” that leads to long-term retention. In fact, 56% of all app users in North America who opt in to receive push messages return to an app regularly, with over half of all users returning to apps eleven or more times, according to a study by Localytics.

Push notifications also allow for much more rapid customer response rates than traditional web platforms. You don’t have to remember to log back in, or get your ’email digest’ to find out if you got an answer to a question. Knowing the times of day your users are most active on your community app will also help you optimize send times for notifications.

Powering your community on the SocialQnect platform ensures that you’re creating a seamless native experience for your most engaged customers.

Find out more about the SocialQnect platform by reaching out to inquire@socialqnect.com.