Whether you're already sold on its importance or still could use more convincing, here are 10 reasons to love mobile social media.
1) It's still early. You're often dealing with consumers who are early adopters, and there's room to experiment. In such an environment, the upside of doing something groundbreaking tends to outweigh the downside of a flop, as long as it's planned to fit in with your goals and strategy.
2) It's mainstream. Facebook reports it has more than 150 million active mobile users globally. Are we there yet? Yes, we're there.
3) It's real -- as in, it's part of the real world. You use mobile social media in conjunction with where you are and whatever you're doing, not just while you're online.
4) It brings people together in the real world. I remember years ago when I was demonstrating Twitter to a friend at a 4INFO party. After I sent a tweet via text message, someone came up to me and asked if I was David. Sure enough, it was a Twitter follower who caught my note saying I was at the party, and she wanted to make a real-world connection. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago. I was in Portland, Ore. waiting on line at Voodoo Doughnuts when I checked Facebook Places and saw that my New York friend Mike Lee was having Chinese food nearby. I texted him and he came over before I made it to the front of the line. When these moments happen, they're memorable because they matter.
5) Complete strangers sometimes know best. Some people wonder why anyone would trust tips left by complete strangers through review sites and apps. Given that we trust mysterious algorithms to tell us which search engine results are relevant and we trust four out of five guys in lab coats on TV with their toothpaste recommendations, following tips random people leave at restaurants and bars is hardly a stretch. I can rattle off great foods -- deviled eggs and bacon scones in New York, apple turnovers in San Francisco, grape-flavored doughnuts in Portland -- I've tried thanks to recommendations from people I don't know.
6) Mobile games are better with friends. The Words With Friends application became a massive hit by turning a mobile version of Scrabble into a multiplayer obsession. I wish all my favorite game apps, such as Angry Birds, had a social layer.
7) Real-world sharing is the best kind. I was just having drinks with MediaPost columnist Kaila Colbin and our valiant editor Phyllis Fine when the conversation ultimately turned to Cat Paint, an app I hailed as a "social media breakthrough" late last year. As I always do in such situations, I shared my favorite Cat Paint creations like a father who passes around baby pictures (someday, when I have kids, I will have to Cat Paint them so I can do both at once). While I can share the pictures through various social media sites, it's far more fun in a live setting.
8) Any mobile site or application can incorporate social media. Any mobile content worth sharing can be shared, whether through third-party registration such as Facebook Connect or links to post content to various social sites.
9) The canvas keeps getting bigger. Mobile social media is starting to change how people watch TV and movies, interact with products, find new businesses, determine directions to the store, and find the nearest bathroom. The use cases grow by the day.
10) If you can't beat it, join it. Beyond the 150 million Facebook mobile users --- a figure which is clearly much higher since Facebook last updated it -- consider the 60% of mobile internet usage spent on social networking (Ground Truth) and the 240% increase in social networking app usage year over year (comScore). Like it, love it, or remain totally baffled by it, but as a consumer trend it's here. Marketers, it's your call whether to ignore or embrace mobile social media.