Business Technology

Don't go mobile if you're not social or local

4 min read

19 April 2013

Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo) is a system creating sweeping organisational changes right now. Get all three of them right or you'll be quickly left behind.

If you think mobile is tech, you’re wrong – it’s a lifestyle.

This lifestyle is bringing sweeping changes to the culture of enterprise. The dynamics of social forces and connectivity are reshaping the way we live and work in fascinating ways.

This is a phenomenon often abbreviated to SoLoMo: Social, Local, Mobile. Modern consumers shop socially, search locally, and they do it all on mobile devices.

Research by event promotion company Eventility put SoLoMo into context for small and mid-sized businesses: an astonishing 78 per cent of small businesses now get at least a quarter of their new customers via social media. 97 per cent of consumers search for local businesses online, 72 per cent trust online reviews, and 61 per cent of young people refer to social media to decide where to go for social activities.

It goes without saying that the hyper-connected individual is rapidly driving cultural change. The problem with the culture of enterprise is that it seems to adapt to social and mobile separately, rather than seeing them – and local, the third member of the SoLoMo triumvirate – as an entity.

Social is really the factor driving mobile forward. Mobile is now a holistic approach to enterprise, being the first point of contact the average modern customer has with a business. This requires a mobile-first approach to the company web experience and, most of all, social engagement. “Today’s consumers are using mobile devices to access social media and business sites,” said Chris Horton, author of The Small Business Field Guide to SoLoMo. To reach them, you have to be SoLoMo too.

To draw up a SoLoMo programme for your business, get on social networks first. It’s the primary way to connect with a specific target audience, create relationships with new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones.

Next, think local. Customers looks for businesses that combine affinity and proximity. The Eventility survey suggests that customers find local businesses through social networks, maps, promotions or reviews (all on their mobile, of course).

And last but not least, plan, work on, and spend on your mobile plan. A mobile-optimised website is not optional anymore, it’s an imperative.

For example, you might post a link to a promotion on Twitter or Facebook. Great; but more people are accessing social media on their mobiles than ever before, so if that link isn’t optimised for a mobile site, then people are most likely to leave the site within seconds.

The Eventility survey showed that 73 per cent of consumers search for discounts and promotions online, usually via a mobile browser. Interestingly also, SMS marketing can play a big role in the mobile plan. It’s estimated that 8,000,000,000,000 text messages were sent last year and 90 per cent of them were read within three minutes; and incredibly high open rate. “The deployment of the BulkSMS messaging platform has offered a mobile technology that demonstrates the company’s dedication to customer-centricity through frequent and relevant customer updates,” Christine Nyaga, operations executive of self-service online platform Dash2do.

SoLoMo is a triumvirate that doesn’t work nearly as well if one of its features is left out – so make sure you build the system right.