Social media remains a booming industry. Last year, Gartner estimated that by 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, generating revenue of more than $77 billion. Social media lives on mobile now – for example, 78% of Facebook’s active monthly users  access the network solely from mobile devices. Now’s the time for a social media network to start making decisions on increasing loyalty in such a saturated market, managing security for its users and finding fresh ways of monetizing its offering.

Leading networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn use SMS – here are 9 smart ways social networks can use SMS services:

1)      User authentication: Most social networking apps use SMS services for user authentication – for example Whatsapp, Beetalk and Viber – as they hold a lot of personal information about their users. When a user signs in, a one-time PIN (OTP) is sent to a registered mobile number to complete the login process.

2)     Updates on the go: SMS services allow users to make updates when they don’t have internet or own a smartphone, whether it’s a status update, profile change, posting photos etc. Both Facebook and Twitter use this SMS service.

3)     Content sharing: Similar to in-app alerts, social networks like MySpace use SMS to update its members on new content that has been shared.

4)     Alerts: SMS alerts can be set to notify users of page updates, for example selected friends, important changes to a friend’s profiles or invites from other users to join a social group.

5)     Promoting competitions: To widen the reach beyond people liking your page, in the case of Facebook, businesses use SMS to their database to spread the word about a competition. This way you not only get more fans but also give them an incentive to like your page.

6)     Driving traffic: There is nothing wrong with asking users to follow you via SMS so consider including a link on your messages. This way, users can also receive updates via social media instead of SMS.

7)     Mobile conversations: Smile is a mobile social network in Pakistan. Instead of businesses creating a page/account online, they get a Smile business account along with a dedicated keyword. By sending this 3-5 character keyword to 8333, customers will start receiving updates on their mobile phones.

8)     Virtual gifting: Here users can share digital content as gifts for friends, which can be sent as WAP-push SMS messages. E.g. TinyBox  is an app that sends a surprise photo gift to anybody via SMS.

9)     Monetizing social media: Social networks can offer SMS updates as part of a premium service package, for example weather updates, sports scores and travel information. Another way to monetize SMS is through sponsorship. Once you’ve established an SMS alert stream, you could have it sponsored by related businesses.

So whether you are currently developing your social media app or looking for fresh ways to promote your service, don’t forget SMS services as tried-and-tested add-ons to your service.

For more ideas on how other companies are using SMS within the social networking, download our 101 uses for SMS guide.

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Clickatell Platform is a bulk SMS system that enables you to send messages securely, reliably and instantly, sparking a dynamic dialogue between business and customer.

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