Social Media and SMS

Social Media is an important channel for consumer communications today. Social media interaction is not only being used on dedicated sites like Facebook and Twitter; it is also integrated into a wide range of other websites and services, such as retailers and video hosting SMS OTP.

Mobile social networking

One of the major trends in social networking has been the rise and popularity of mobile functionality. A variety of services are offered by web-based social media providers. Facebook reported that more than 200million people use mobile to access its site.

Most of the attention on mobile social networking has been focused on creating mobile rich media interfaces. This basically means that it can be recreated through smartphone apps or mobile web pages. However, these tools only allow a portion of users to access the social network on the go. They are not catering to all potential users.

The limitations of the mobile internet: ubiquity & penetration

The problem is the very low penetration rate of internet-enabled smartphone in America (NPD, 2010, 2010). This means more than half of all consumers can’t access rich mobile social networks services even on the most advanced handsets.

This, combined with the very limited reach of 3G that allows mobile internet access to users, makes it obvious that rich mobile services for social networking are severely constrained in their ability to reach broad consumer audiences.

Mobile alternatives

SMS, an established mobile technology, provides the solution to this problem. SMS is practically everywhere: Every phone has it, and most people know how to use and understand it. GSM network coverage is nearly universal for SMS support.

SMS is a versatile tool that offers many benefits. SMS is a simple format for messaging, but the wide variety of SMS services available shows that it can be used in a vast range of applications. This is true of social media as well as in other sectors. SMS is capable of enabling many different social networking functionality from any device.

SMS can serve many purposes.

Mobile updates

SMS can be used to update a service or social profile. This is probably the most simple SMS social networking function. The ability to update an online service from your mobile phone, be it a microblog, a status change, or even a profile modification, can all be done via SMS. Social networking revolves around short, relevant messages. SMS is easy to use for this kind of interaction.


One benefit of social networking is being able to access updates from your friends and contacts at any moment. SMS can be used to integrate this process. Subscribers’ phones will receive the page updates through the channel. These alerts could contain updates from selected friends or important changes to friend profiles. They might also include invites from users to join a particular social group.

Content and applications

For many people, social networking involves sharing content and apps. SMS can be used to help with this distribution. WAP–Push SMS is a cost-effective and easy way to send content via SMS. It makes it easy for users access rich media and install it onto their phones.


Security and privacy are vital as social networks store large amounts personal information. SMS can be used for a simple two-factor authentication to improve security. To complete the login process, users are sent an OTP (one-time password) to their registered mobile numbers. This ensures that users who are not authorized to use the service’s password can be blocked from accessing it.

Premium services

Monetizing social media has been a problem for many services. Even large players are still trying find an effective business model. As a premium offer for their free subscribers, any social networking site can offer SMS. A user could be asked for payment to receive regular SMS updates, as well as the ability of posting to their social networking network via SMS.

Virtual gifting

Virtual gifts are an increasingly popular feature on many social media networks. This allows users to share pieces of digital content and give them as gifts. These virtual presents can be made mobile by being distributed via WAP-push text messages.

The mobile mixture

Mobile is going be a big part of the future for social networking. The question now is how this mobility will be achieved. Rich mobile access will play an essential role in providing functionality for the tiny but growing number of smartphone users. Social networking service providers who want to reach the vast majority of smartphone users who do not have internet access must include SMS technologies into their mobile offerings.

This argument is stronger when one considers mobile and geographic distribution of social networking. While social networks tend to be focused on developed market countries, future growth will occur in less developed regions with low smartphone penetration and limited 3G coverage. These markets will have SMS as a critical part of their mobile growth strategies.