Tim Witcherley

What is SoLoMo? And why should you care?

by Tim Witcherley on March 20, 2013

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As marketers we’re perpetually obsessed with creating neat and irritating acronyms to define trends, but here’s one of some use.

SoLoMo represents a paradigm shift in how we are interacting with the Internet and therefore how your business can interact with your customers and consumers.

Short for Social, Local, Mobile, it boils down to three essential questions:

Do you/your customers have a smartphone?

  • Probably
    • 58% of the UK do (Dec, 2012)

Do you/your customers use social media?

  • Probably
    • Facebook has over half of the UK population registered and 62% of the online population
    • Twitter has 34 million active accounts
    • LinkedIn has over 10 million users (for a niche business networking tool – this is estimated at 80% of professionals!)

Are you/your customers, erm… somewhere?

  • Always!

The SoLoMo approach mixes the real-time, real-world location with the internet, uniting social media and search media to give your customers the best, most relevant and complete experience.

We now have a multiplicity of ways to research purchases and make decisions. We also trust our friends and colleagues more than a company who will obviously say great things about itself.

This therefore doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t, mean the hyper-targeting of search or social adverts as the only strategy you can use to try to attempt to generate customers.

The SoLoMo approach still has to be socially relevant and engaging. As the users own social media (not you!) there is a large percentage of people who actively abhor being “marketed-at” on their terms. Don’t be the social equivalent of a spam email!

Lots of people don’t want to talk about their consumer/customer experiences online – they’re too busy looking at cats or videos of people falling-over and taking pictures of every meal they eat!

So what can you do?

Sorry if this practical advice is sat firmly on the fence... It depends on your business objectives and target audience but successful campaign activity has encompassed:

  • Rewards or discounts
  • Gamification
  • Social connection to the brand
  • Massive audience benefit
  • Virality - ease of share-ability

How should you do it? Should you do it at all?

Firstly, define what you’re trying to achieve and have measurable goals linked to your business objectives.

This sounds really obvious, but don’t just see a SoLoMo campaign as more marketing stuff to do. See it as an opportunity to be part of a conversation. Choose the right people, places, times and a great activity or reason to take part.

Is it an ongoing relationship with recurring discounts for socially checking in, or a big one off discount to clear some stock?

Add value and catalyse engagement – if it makes sense.

The SoLoMo approach isn’t for every business. Precise locality isn’t always part of your brand experience, but all businesses should still own a presence where their potential customers and evangelists are. Have you got a Google maps presence? A LinkedIn page? A Facebook page with location defined?

Don’t just look for sales

Sales don’t always happen socially. On the biggest shopping day in America (Black Friday, imagine a riot with people wielding wallets as weapons) an IBM study showed shoppers referred from Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube only generated 0.34 percent of all online, a decrease of more than 35 percent from 2011.

Make it easy to participate for your target audience.

In the same IBM Black Friday study, the rise of multiscreen shopping was prevalent. 58 percent of consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best bargains.

Can you integrate and align your social, search and local real-world activity to maximise basket value or drive recurring sales?

For many brands, SoLoMo isn’t quite yet a marketable and commercial reality – but if locality is in the decision making process for your customers, it soon could be!

Talk to us today about how we can help you generate increased awareness, demand and sales.

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Tim Witcherley

This post was written by Tim Witcherley

As Cognition's Managing Director, Tim sets by example by being an incredibly driven and commercial businessman who has built a very impressive marketing consultancy which has continued to grow year on year. With a very straight and honest approach to business, he ensures he gets the best results for his clients and builds strong partnerships with his suppliers.

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