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SoLoMo is a new buzzword coined by Venture Capitalist John Doerr that combines three powerful marketing strategies: Social, Local, and Mobile. Though SoLoMo might be a new buzzword, Xtreme Labs has been implementing these elements in our work for years. The idea behind SoLoMo is that consumers are becoming increasingly passive when it comes to brand loyalty, turning instead to the Internet and mobile devices to search for the best deals, customer reviews, and closest physical location.
When wielded in perfect combination, the use of SoLoMo can increase brand loyalty, awareness, and consumer perception. Each element on its own however, can contribute significantly to a company’s brand power.
No longer will it be enough for your customers to know your twitter handle, rather they will want to know where they can find a store; and if you have their size in stock. Being social as a company is not intrinsically linked to the use of social media. While corporate social media accounts have been revolutionary for some brands, they have become burdens for others. Social media channels are now oversaturated with corporate accounts, making it hard to differentiate one brand from the other.
Social refers to the ability to engage your consumers with your brand, and subsequently, with other consumers. Sharing purchases through mobile is becoming increasingly popular, with 42 percent of 18-34 year olds connecting or sharing their purchases via social media. While sharing may be enough right now, brands will have to figure out how to keep consumers coming back for more.
The evolution of the smartphone has come to include GPS capabilities, allowing location-based services (LBS) access to your phone. Location-based services like Groupon, Yelp, Yellowpages and Foursquare have helped to connect consumers with each other, and the businesses they are looking for.
Foursquare, the highly popular location-based social networking site for mobile devices, has gained over 10 million users in a two-year time frame. Foursquare’s mission to encourage mobile users to interact with their environment by ‘checking-in’ at various locations has been highly successful. Though foursquare uses rewards, and a point-based system to encourage increased user activity, none of these rewards are monetary. Simply engaging users with one another has been enough to foster a sense of competition and dedication to the social networking site. Local functionalities have the ability to turn a big city, into a small marketplace.
The key to making your brand both Social and Local is the use of Mobile. Research is now done on-the-go, and consumers would rather the product come to them rather than vice-versa.
The next generation of mobile will aim to not only connect customers together, but to connect customers to every aspect of your business value chain. Rather than going to the store to purchase a physical product, consumers are now looking to purchase directly from the warehouse and have their order shipped to them. Where the Internet has made online shopping easy, mobile aims to make it even easier. Now it is possible to be in-store trying out your purchase (one disadvantage of online shopping), but now you can skip the check-out process and have one less bag to carry. Imagine creating your Christmas list by scanning individual barcodes in all your favorite stores, then sending it to your loved ones. Your loved ones will love you even more when all they have to do is click to purchase and ship.
In coming years emerging technologies like scanning, bumping, location based searches, and augmented reality will increase the smartphone’s capabilities- making them even more indispensable to the consumer-brand, and consumer-consumer relationship.
So what does this all mean?
So far the SoLoMo concept has been used mainly as just a social feature, but it is time for businesses to capitalize on this trend. SoLoMo marketing seeks to participate with customers in the activities they enjoy most, and adding value to the experience by providing information, entertainment, second opinions, or discounts. If brands are constantly engaging the consumer with valuable content through their smartphone, they will be less inclined to disengage with that brand.
The use of Internet and mobile also means that unsatisfied customers will no longer be able to slip through the cracks. They now have a social soapbox to shout their grievances from. Implications of an uncensored consumer base entail that brands will have to play a more involved role in the post-purchase cycle, and actively manage consumer feedback and implement customer service infrastructure.
As native phone functionalities become more tightly integrated with mobile and web capabilities, our smartphones become less of a means to be social; and become social by default. As companies begin to position their brick-and-mortar businesses in the virtual space, having social, local, and especially mobile strategies are essential to remaining relevant.