How SoLoMo can leverage successful business

Jun. 05, 2013 | by cat.kobylinski

I’ve been discussing this with the iCrossing SEO team and there’s no doubt about it: mobile has transformed consumer shopping behaviour. According to research by Google and Nielsen, more than half of consumers who search for items on their mobile devices intend to buy. With 75% UK smartphone penetration predicted for the end of 2013, traditional marketing strategies have had to change.  Smartphones allow more opportunities for a business to target and connect with its audiences but in order to succeed, it is critical that they communicate with the right message, at the right time on the right channel. Enter SoLoMo.

So –Social

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received before using a service or buying a product has come from conversations I’ve had with existing customers over my social channels. I suggested this to Natural Search Director, Magico Martinez, who agrees and referred me to a one-man burger van, The Troll’s Pantry, which since its opening last year now ranks as one of the best restaurants in Brighton owing to Tripadvisor reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Martinez tells me, explaining that “SoLoMo is a much more personal marketing activity than any other strategy” and that the way to grow a relationship with your audience is to be passionate about what you do and what you can offer them.

Social media can and does help brands, big and small, gain recognition, as well as driving sales directly from Facebook or Twitter. However, if brands want to benefit from these platforms, they need to become more involved in engaging with customers beyond the ‘like’ button.

By following social chatter, brands can also serve targeted personalised ads, which Twitter started allowing earlier this year in order to offer customers the right message at the right time. It’s important for brands to realise that true conversations and real-time responses can enhance authenticity, creating relationships with new customers and strengthening those with existing customers.

Lo –Local

Interactions between brands and consumers are no longer restricted to the home. Senior Natural Search Analyst Kevin Ellen believes that, today, searches are performed most often whilst “on the go”, meaning that consumers are wanting localised results at that very moment. The fact that 43% of total Google searches are local indicates the importance of having a strong local web presence and Ellen highlights that by incorporating geo-targeting tactics, businesses can run locally-motivated, cost effective campaigns.

He also advises that “businesses can make the most of SoLoMo by creating a Google Places account, which will help optimise your website in local search and support your connection with local, engaged audiences”.

Location-based websites such as FourSquare, and even Facebook to a degree, allows a customer to interact with a brand via their mobile device. Both allow a user to input information such as check-ins, status updates, ratings and reviews, but FourSquare takes it further allowing users to search for nearby services and promotional offers. By allowing businesses to take advantage of knowing a customer’s location and demographic detail to capture their attention, sites like FourSquare can deliver a personalised, relevant offer that, ultimately, generates sales.

Mo –Mobile

The mobile revolution means that consumers are connected 24/7 and therefore businesses have to be ubiquitous. Brands can target consumers by recognising location patterns and behaviour, which means large and small marketers are on an even playing field to inform consumers where their nearest outlet is and what promotions are on offer.

Tesco has revolutionised the way retailers can use mobile with its interactive mobile shop front in South Korea and at Gatwick Airport. Customers can browse a digital ‘shop’ using their phone to scan images of food via QR codes and order for home delivery. Mobile has been used to enhance brand awareness and offer an experience consistent of shopping online and in store, proving it’s possible to engage with a customer via their mobile device based on their physical location.

Other brands, such as Becks’ beer, have used gamification to encourage interaction with their consumers via mobile, creating an app that decides the sobriety of its user. If the player fails the game, the app determines their location and arranges a taxi for them.

As mobile develops, brands have an opportunity to create new contextual conversations with their audiences and deliver relevant experiences. These interactions should reiterate a consistent customer experience and generate highly relevant engagements.

Future of SoLoMo

While Martinez admits it’s difficult to predict where SoLoMo will take us, he believes a future where social search will be key to helping brands drive online visibility, is likely.  Brands will need to create more targeted and search-friendly content, and “small brands in particular will need to be more granular when approaching potential customers”.

For Natural Search Director, Mark Williams, “the key pitfall of SoLoMo is to treat them as a stand-alone strategy. Social, Local and Mobile are intrinsic to all areas of digital marketing so all three should be taken into account when reviewing your marketing plans”.

He advises that brands trial new approaches to marketing to consumers using SoLoMo. “If they don’t produce the required outcome, then quickly move on and learn from [it].”

As search queries from smart devices continue to grow, businesses need to optimise their strategy to secure local customers. Williams believes mobile will evolve to encompass “a whole raft of devices from smart-watches to tablets” which means that while it’s vital to have a mobile optimised site, businesses’ need to realise that mobile is always developing.

Consumers of today expect brands to deliver contextually relevant information, entertainment or resolution. In order to stay relevant, businesses need to act social, think local, and spend on mobile. Is your business ready for the new digital revolution?

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    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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