A new marketing buzzword has emerged that sums up, in one word, the new world of marketing in which small businesses are operating. In short, SoLoMo combines three types of marketing:
- Social Media
Businesses are already aware of all three of these as inevitable parts of any marketing strategy. But SoLoMo is emerging, not as a combination of these three popular marketing emphases, but as an extension of a trend that has become popular in small-business marketing in recent years: “hyperlocal search.”
The Importance of Local
Hyperlocal search underlines the popularity of mobile for searches today. No longer are consumers confined to using Google on computers at home or in the office. Customers now search for restaurants, shops, attractions, and services while on the move, using a mobile device’s GPS to locate the nearest establishments.
SoLoMo refers to consumers’ desires to get information based on where they are at any given moment. Search engines and social media sites are aware of this ongoing trend, and have been gearing their software to address it for several years. Social media uses a person’s GPS to allow them to check in at their current location. If a person looks up movie times, buys tickets to an event, or asks for directions to a restaurant, an application is programmed to automatically search for a person’s current location.
SoLoMo extends to ads placed on sites. Using location-aware technology, websites can now place ads so that consumers see ads specific to where they are at the time. Your business’s closest location could then be displayed as part of the ad. The ad could even have information specific to that location, like sales or the opening of a new store.
Small businesses are already utilizing SoLoMo by ensuring they feature prominently in search results, and by using location-aware technology to customize ads. In the near-future, small businesses are expected to incorporate SoLoMo into their own mobile apps and websites, similar to the way larger businesses like Groupon and Starbucks are using the strategy. Consumers will then be able to get ads and specials based on their own current location. Soon, SoLoMo is expected to be used to send coupons and messages to users as they enter a store or restaurant.
SoLoMo isn’t without its flaws, however. Location-aware technology is not perfect, so you can’t guarantee your efforts will pay off. It’s also difficult to test, especially if you’re trying to reach consumers outside of your immediate area. Business owners can drive around town and check to ensure their business shows up when a mobile user searches, but with so many devices carrying so many different operating systems and browsers, there’s no guarantee your message will get through to the consumers most likely to use it.
SoLoMo isn’t merely a passing trend, though. Location-aware technology is only in its infancy, and is expected to remain a part of consumer searches on mobile devices for many years. Small businesses who learn to harness this technology can benefit from a successful marketing campaign that will meet the needs of today’s mobile-driven world.