For some, So(Social) Mo(Mobile) Lo(Local) may be a new term. For others, it may seem like just another trendy acronym. SoMoLo, a blending of three distinct marketing variables, is quite different, even though the individual elements may appear to be familiar. And what’s exciting for retailers, is that SoMoLo can produce outcomes far more effective than any of the single components alone could achieve.
Like any good formula, the value is all in the way the variables are combined and prepared. The power of the SoMoLo opportunity is a sustained relevant customer experience driven by engaged and aligned stakeholders.
Retailers create these sustained and relevant relationships by focusing on the needs and behaviors of their customers and prospects. While this may sound obvious at first, typically marketing tends to focus on the product or service benefits, and a promotional element is added to the mix to provide some incentive to buy or use your product or service. When marketing focus changes from a product perspective to a customer-centric perspective, the power of SoMoLo (Social, Mobile, Local) potential can be unleashed.
Neal Schaffer’s article, Changing Social Business Landscape in 2012, highlights emerging trends. Retailers can seize an advantage in this changing social business landscape by thinking more holistically about the customer experience. Increasingly consumers are moving seamlessly from one channel to the next, often engaged on multiple screens and platforms at the same time.
Being aware of these changing consumer behaviors is vital, as retailers have to think like their customers, offering relevant content when and where it is needed in the customer journey. Today a marketer can’t afford to limit their thinking to just purchasing products or services; how customers feel about using the product is very important.
Engaged colleagues, especially those who interface with customers, are critical to ensure customers enjoy a consistent experience across all touch points. Owners and marketers have to realize that internal communications and feedback is just as important as external marketing messages.
The new marketing landscape levels the playing field for smaller businesses; those who take advantage of SoMoLo are able to compete.
Breaking Down the SoMoLo Mix for Retailers
Let’s break it down by dissecting the 3 components of SoMoLo.
There are several important ways local retailers can incorporate the social component.
- Listen – Monitor the social conversations, especially those that include specific terms like your brand name or other important key topics like product or brand names. There are a number of free tools that will facilitate this process. Pay attention to what consumers are saying, what they like and dislike. If appropriate respond, but don’t be defensive.
- Make sharing easier for customers. All content should include, at a minimum, the most common sharing buttons. There are numerous social applications that easily incorporate platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
- Depending on your particular product or service, encourage consumers to take and share photos to show their experience at your retail location.
- Don’t overlook connecting with your colleagues and staff. Make sure they are aware of customer communications and offers, especially short term or special promotions or events. Equip frontline staff with answers to frequently asked questions and make sure they know where to refer customers who need specific help.
- Make access to the social platforms your customers use available from your website homepage.
- Develop a clearly branded Facebook page, keep it alive with activity, regularly highlighting recent promotions.
- Consider a Google Plus page, and while you’re at it check out New Feature that Makes Google+ A No Brainer for Business Marketing.
- Consider your Twitter presence and develop a hashtag (if you don’t have one already) to help customers identify with your brand.
Since one of the primary local uses of smartphones is research, Retailers focusing on the mobile component of SoMoLo will ensure their website is mobile ready. Being in tune to what your customers and target prospects are searching for is the first step to identifying how to “get found” among the online masses.
Since the mobile channel is a “pull” not a “push” channel, you’ll want to make sure your web site is not only mobile friendly, but optimized as well. Optimize your site for relevant local search terms. You may want to enlist the help of an expert since site and content optimization requires technical expertise; however, don’t just hand this to an expert. You will want to stay involved because an intimate knowledge of your consumer’s experience with your product or service is vital.
But realize that SEO can only take you so far, especially in terms of mobile strategy. What good is it to rank high in search engine lists if a consumer can’t easily navigate your site while on-the-go? Chances are, they’ll skip down to the competitor whose site is mobile-ready. Effective mobile content is simple and clean, and mobile friendly sites ensure customers can quickly find basic information like directions, hours etc.
Know your target. Mobile customers are action oriented, they are looking for specific information and they want to find it quickly with minimum effort. To get to know your customer better, ask questions like: Where are these customers? What are they doing? What do they need? By focusing on the customer you will be in a better position to provide meaningful content.
For Retailers interested in developing a SoMoLo marketing strategy, there are several location based platforms to sign up for and become familiar with. Refer to one of my previous Windmill Networking posts, 3 Ways to Businesses Can Use Location Based Services (LBS) to Integrate Social Into the Marketing Mix, to delve more into how LBS can help your business. The major search engines like Google are focused on delivering relevant local results, so claim your local space to make it easier for these services to find your business.
Remember, targeting your local consumers doesn’t mean you’re starting from square one. Here are some suggestions to help you focus on the local component of your SoMoLo strategy:
- Assess which of your current promotions can be tailored for added benefit to customers who are checking in at your locations.
- Explore other ways to reward customers who are willing to divulge their location.
- Don’t forget to use these types of platforms to promote specific local events. And be careful not to limit these events to your business. Where possible, connect your offerings to these local events. If, for example, you are donating to a charity or effort, tie a donation to a check in.
- Monitor services like Yelp, as customers are offering feedback and rating your business. Take advantage of this feedback; if necessary use it to make changes and improvements.
- Use in-store signage to remind consumers to check in and reinforce messages.
We’ve dissected the 3 components of SoMoLo, and while it’d be easy to follow step-by-step instructions in a SoMoLo manual, there is no one SoMoLo formula. Each retailer must configure the best concoction for their business and customers. SoMoLo (Social, Mobile, Local) is part of a continuously evolving new landscape, so be curious and adaptable. Ask questions and look for feedback from internal and external stakeholders.
What are some other ingredients and experiences that can add insight into developing the best SoMoLo concoction for your business?