Building an Online Presence With SoLoMo
Helping local retailers and service providers to get found
Among the many trends effecting social marketing is SoLoMo (pronounced So-Low-Moe) which is short for Social-Local-Mobile. Retailers and service providers are utilizing this strategy to attract new customers and stay connected with current ones. Today’s patrons want to feel special and to have a more personalized shopping experience. With the popularity of smart phones and tablets, Geo-Location Technology has taken the lead with apps like Yelp, Urbanspoon, Foursquare and even Facebook. More and more, search engines have given increased weight to geo-location and review based mediums.
To break down ”SoLoMo”: Social refers to connectivity and interaction with customers. This also refers to user reviews and ratings. Local is the understanding and data collection of a business’ clientele and location. Mobile refers to portability and the overwhelming use of smartphones and other portable devices to make decisions on the go. Search engines are giving more weight to location based data such as check-ins and customer reviews. Search Engine Optimization, properly utilizing these technologies is vital to SEO.
When searches are made from a computer, the search engine bases the location on the IP Address. However, this does not provide the hyper-local information necessary for most small businesses and mom & pop stores to compete with national chains. According to a recent survey by Pew, around 42% of Americans with cell phones have a smart phone, this translates to approximately 98 million people. A recent survey also found that over 70 million of the smartphone owners use apps on a daily basis. According to CNN TECH, the bulk of the growth has been with the college educated population under 65 years of age. Mashable reports, “… adoption rates are still stronger among certain demographics. College graduates, 18-35 year olds and those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more are 60% more likely to have a smartphone than other groups.” With these numbers, the marketing potential cannot be ignored.
Many of the apps that allow Check-Ins offer the ability for businesses to market promotions and to even act as a customer loyalty reward system. Once a user checks-in using the GPS in the phone, they can receive discounts or receive incentives for repeat patronage. Users can write reviews from their seats, upload photos and brag about where they are at the time. The more activity a location has, the better the search engine optimization (SEO), increasing the likelihood that your business will get found over your local competition.
It is ill-advised not to stay engaged with customers through the various social media accounts. This is much like having a phone number and answering machine but never checking the voice mail or returning calls. Customers like to feel that their opinion matters and offers the business the ability to see their prospective of what your business’ strengths and potential weaknesses that can be changed. Even with negative feedback a business has the opportunity to invite the guest or customer back to hopefully have a more enjoyable experience. Often customers will amend their public negativity to reflect their improved opinion.
Data gathering is another essential that mobility and other social mediums offer. Most programs have breakdowns of users’ gender, age and activity to see what is working/or not to help focus efforts to achieve maximum results. Analytical programs will also show which sites are generating traffic to your website. This also shows who your customer base is to allow your business to cater to the current base or alter efforts to attract a different demographic.
Like it or not, companies that understand and utilize SoLoMo will be at the forefront of marketing. Push marketing tactics are becoming a thing of the past as pull marketing is increasingly appealing to consumers. Stay connected, understand your customer base and improve patronage and sales through Social Local Mobile strategies.