What’s your key advice to smaller businesses that want to make the most of SoLoMo?
Get on and do it. Social, local and mobile are all channels that the smaller business can afford to compete in, even if they can’t access large brand building campaigns.
Do it regularly (vital where social is concerned) and react to events quickly. One of the key attributes of a smaller businesses is its ability to be more fleet of foot than their larger competitors.
Cover every possible angle – SoLoMo is about more than having a business Facebook page and Tweeting occasionally. Key is to do both, but keep them fresh, regular and above all, interesting. Then make sure your website is optimised for mobile devices and you are using Google Places / Google+ local business pages – this is effectively free Google advertising at a local level – claim it.
With all the talk about business exports and expansion, SoLoMo advocates a more local approach. Can small business owners develop their businesses in today’s economic environment by focusing on the local?
This clearly depends on the product and area, but one thing that effective internet marketing gives businesses is the option to choose. Companies can now target their advertising geographically, particularly through Google’s various platforms. So, if they want to market to the Middle East, they can, but if they want to attract local traffic only, they can do that too.
What in your view are the pitfalls to be aware of when approaching SoLoMo for the first time?
Choose your battles carefully. It’s unlikely, for example, that the local pizza place will develop a full blown mobile website that can outdo Pizza Express in terms of functionality, but it is quite possible that the local restaurant can optimise their local search listings, create a rich, useful Facebook business page and tweet with relevant, useful information on a regular basis – all things that actually the local Pizza Express branch may well struggle to do.
Remember as well, that a lot of what makes SoLoMo marketing so attractive is that many of the channels are free. However, this factor is at the mercy of the product providers (such as Google, Twitter and Facebook) so is quite likely to change at some point. Google in particular has a track record of making services that were previously free, paid for – witness its recent action with Google Shopping.
How can SoLoMo fit with the other marketing activities that small businesses should be involved with?
It enables small businesses to tap into highly targeted, specific opportunities that are much more likely to convert into customers for them. This means small businesses with a local target audience can extract more ROI from advertising than has traditionally been possible. It’s probably worth making the point though, that this is effectively advertising as direct response so should probably not replace brand building-type activity in its entirety. Rather, SoLoMo should complement brand building in the same way that direct response has done traditionally.
How do you see SoLoMo evolving over the next few years?
Targeted, localised advertising is only going to increase as advertising platforms continue to develop, in response to the increase in mobile device penetration and functionality, combined with increased engagement in various social media participation channels.
Hyper localised advertising - outlets serving advertising to smartphone users with an interest in their product when they are within a certain radius of a store - will grow. This may be supplemented by additional technology such as augmented reality. This can serve smartphone users with enhanced information about a product or service when they physically scan a QR code or URL - from the likes of Blippar and Aurasma.