The SoLoMo Revolution and what it means for your business
SoLoMo - short for Social, Local, Mobile - is the combination of social media, local search and mobile communication that is currently revolutionising the way businesses market and interact with their customers. Think of a Gen-Y using their mobile to check in on Facebook.
SoLoMo has emerged as an evolution of local search, wherein desktop users would look for local businesses, news or products in search engines such as Google. Desktops use IP mapping to match content, adverts and information to a particular user. The disadvantage is that local search results are not always accurate as the IP address can only give a very general approximation of location, to the city or town location.
However, in the coming revolution, smartphones and tablets that integrate geo-location technology will enable greater local precision and more accurate geo results. Social media is a key part of this, providing the applications and connections that integrate with local search and mobile devices.
What this means for your business
SoLoMo can enable you to connect with potential customers within your area of business who are searching for your products or services. This gives you an entirely new way to target your customers, giving them a personalised buying experience while also effectively using your online advertising dollar.
If your business has a store front, then SoLoMo can help you to increase foot traffic to your store, as customers who are looking for business locations on their mobile devices are most likely already on the move and ready to buy.
Let's look at some businesses that are using SoLoMo to interact with their customers:
SoLoMo in Action - iPhone Apps
Mobile phone users spend 80% of their time using apps, not web browsers. Here are some examples of apps developed by businesses:
Gloria Jeans Coffees - Gloria Jeans offers an iPhone app that enables their customers to find the store nearest their location and to browse through their menu.
Domino's - Domino's also offers an app that allows their customers to find a store nearest them, customise their own pizza, browse through the menu and even track their delivery order!
The Body Shop - Aside from locating the nearest store, The Body Shop app enables their customers to also browse through their product catalogue, see their latest promotions and online offers and even shop directly from their iPhones!
SoLoMo in Action - FaceBook
A popular trend on Facebook is members checking into Facebook Places so they can easily spot friends who may be in the same location. Create your Facebook Place page for each physical location your business operates in, so members can easily check-in to your store and make comments, recommendations and tell Facebook friends about your products and services.
Steps your business can take towards SoLoMo
The first step your business should take is to leverage social media, as SoLoMo is also a function of users identifying their own location using social media. Your potential customers may have a Facebook or Twitter account, with many now accessing social media through their mobile devices.
Foursquare and Google Local are other location-based social media tools that your business can use. Creating your pages in Foursquare and Google Local will not only enable you to interact with your customers but also improve the visibility of your business in local search.
Other steps you can take are:
- Optimise your website for local search
- Develop custom apps that will give your customers access to your products and services
- Provide exclusive deals or rewards to customers when they check-in to your location
Some final words
Standby for the SoLoMo revolution! SoLoMo is in its infancy, and the available tools and approaches used are set to explode. While SoLoMo provides businesses a novel way to market and interact with their potential customers, it still raises some issues such as user privacy and limited editorial control over user-based recommendations and reviews. As such, it is integral to regularly review the results of your SoLoMo efforts to ensure they are an effective part of your business marketing.
This article was written by Martha Punsalan and Nick Jerrat of IdeaBank.