SoLoMo – the convergence of Social, Local and Mobile
Like every other piece of buzz, or most other buzz at least, SoLoMo is not the end all. You will still be able to market other ways but for the local business: the chiropractor, the real estate agent, the auto repair center, and other services offering services within a relatively narrow diameter – SoLoMo is now. Much like the yellow directories of yesterday SoLoMo focuses on local market areas with a higher transactional focus.
Breaking it down
Social is the first of the trinity of flavors. For our purposes, new media/online marketing, social begins online and ends in personal space. Sites like MeetUp and the horribly abused Facebook Events make it easy to plan and coordinate live events. (Yes, I know there are others – feel free to spam your own in the comments section.)
Local is relative. For a car dealer local may mean a 50 mile radius while for a chiropractor or cafe local is a 5 mile radius. This was an early challenge to marketers online and I addressed it as best I could back in 1998 when I wrote on iCobb, “in the future many websites will use IP numbers to determine an approximate location and deliver information more relevant to the visitor”. At the time most sites would have the user input a geographic location then poll the database based on user input. Now it’s blind on most sites.
Mobile is growing and will likely be the standard for the foreseeable future. As wireless bandwidths get faster and mobile devices take the place of laptops and desktops more and more users will make their first search and connection with others online. Apps like Color.com, a currently sparsely populated application, will make geolocal engagement a natural part of life.
Putting it all together
Often the reaction from small and medium businesses alike is, “how are we supposed to keep up and master all of these marketing challenges?” It really is not that difficult. In fact in today’s online world there are many solutions to provide everything you need to get started a a reasonable cost or simply an investment of time.
Business owners, more than anything else, need protection from scammers and inadequately experienced providers who will do little more than stir the waters and leave half-done things that would have been better never started. Keep this in mind: your brand is at stake. Having a half-assed social media presence, a blog you never write on or respond to comments on, a Twitter account you never check or a Foursquare special that expires 4 months ago is almost as bad as having a “Food’s great but the service sucks” sign on the front door of your restaurant.
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