In 2010 John Doerr, a partner at the VC firm Kleiner Perkins created the acronym “SoLoMo”.
He was working with his colleagues Bing Gordon and Chi-Hua Chien on an important presentation in the dining room of his house when he got an inspiration: to coin a term that defines digital marketing’s trend to simultaneously move in three directions, namely social, local and mobile.
In an article previously published on TechCrunch on the first-generation iPad, Doerr wrote that this technological innovation marks the beginning of a new era.
After that of the PC and the Internet, this third wave of digital revolution will be characterized by the ability to combine mobile devices, social media and local realities in a new experience. This defines SoLoMo: a personal, continuous and interconnected experience between the digital and the real world.
What Does SoLoMo Mean for Marketing and Business?
SoLoMo is not just a buzzword; it means business. It describes an area of interest for investments that is continuously growing. More and more local entrepreneurs are investing in social media to promote their businesses. Consumers are constantly online on mobile, they experience the local reality through their smartphones and, thanks to this tool and through social media, they communicate it to the rest of the world.
How can we put this into practice? Let’s think of the common experience of shopping. Smartphones are used to search for the most interesting shops nearby (like 78 percent of people do), while inside the store this device becomes useful to find more information about the products and compare them with those of the competitors.
When trying a dress, we may send a photo on Snapchat or Facebook to ask for our friends’ opinion. Lastly, smartphones accompany us in the check-out counter and allows us to pay, thanks to mobile payment apps. Everything is interconnected and the future of digital marketing lies exactly on this golden triangle.
However, some people disagree with this view. According to Forrester analyst, Jenny Wise, SoLoMo creates a limited view: the focal point is not on social, it’s the person. It’s not about the location but the context. It’s not just mobile, which is a simple tool, but any device that allows you to instantly find what you are looking for.
These are specifications that may be true but the fact is that after six years SoLoMo continues to be relevant and strategic. It is not a theory, but our current way of living with and through technology. Many brands have already turned it into tools and products.
Putting SoLoMo Into Practice: The Case of Nike+
There are only a few activities that are able to connect people with others in a very natural and strong way like sports. Nike, the sports brand par excellence, decided to fully exploit these routines by adding technology: so it created Nike Plus, a SoLoMo app by all means.
- Local: This application allows you to keep track of your sports activities and view previous routes on a map. You can save the most frequent ones and also explore new paths. This is a particularly useful option when you do sports thousands of kilometers away from home and the “local” is a temporary place.
- Social: The social intent is clear starting from the words used in the app’s registration form. Nike does not ask users to leave their email to access a service, but rather to join a community. Paths and results can be shared on Facebook and Twitter. You can challenge your friends or you can invite them to express their support while you are doing sports. For each country a specific local. Facebook page was created so as to connect users in the same geographic area more easily.
- Mobile: With Nike+ project, the concept of mobile apps goes beyond devices like smartphones and tablets.The brand has created a bracelet with GPS technology that can collect all sports activity data, from your movement to the calories burnt, thus taking the concept of SoLoMo a step further. Wearable technology seems to be the next frontier: will we be hearing of SoLoMoWe soon?
Now let’s get to the results: today about 18 million people all over the world use Nike Plus. Each of them left their email address when they signed up for the app, thus exponentially increasing the brand’s database. Moreover, every time a user uses the app, Nike collects a lot of information about him or her: where he/she lives, what kind of sport person he/she is, his/her local community of friends, how he/she uses social media and what he/she says about the brand.
What Can Nike+ Teach to Your Business?
Although your investments, resources, and target are very different from that of the famous American brand, there are still many inspirations you can draw from this case study. You don’t have to be as big as Nike to put into practice the strength of SoLoMo. You only need two elements to start: good technology and good strategy.
- First point, technology: making your business go mobile is now quite easy and accessible to everyone. Creating an app can also be done in a very simple way. You can create one by using an online platform that is immediately accessible to users and does not require special programming skills nor big investments.
- Second point, the strategy: how to make sure it’s really SoLoMo? Draw inspiration from Nike: its app is a service focused on people, not on the product. It does not invite people to purchase products, but to create a community. Try to do the same: put your sales targets aside and listen to your consumers. Do not force them to leave their data, instead invest in creating tools that are useful for their everyday lives and that can effectively improve their experience. Invite them to share it with their friends as well. If the tools are intelligently designed, the users will be the first ones to geolocalize themselves, talk about it on social and give you useful information for your marketing campaigns.
Social Innovations Follow Mobile and Local
It must be said that marketers who want to implement a SoLoMo approach into their strategy do not have to do everything by themselves. Social media, and Facebook, in particular tend to contextualize the experience and the use of smartphones. Moreover, more than 500 million people access Facebook exclusively on mobile.
So what are the tools that this social network offers for SoLoMo strategies? Besides continuously improving its mobile version, it has also introduced Local Insights, through which local businesses can collect the data of the people who are nearby their stores.
Furthermore, you can create specific ads for the local target: to make them even more efficient, you can also insert a map showing the location of the local store and a call-to-action button that gives driving directions to reach it. Another interesting option is that of signing up in a local business. This information is visible on the brand’s page and that of the user’s, thus creating a type of free sponsorship.
How Can SoLoMo Not Be Part of Your Strategy?
If you are not yet fully convinced of the usefulness of SoLoMo for your digital marketing strategy, then consider that 88 percent of people call or visit a store after searching for them on their smartphones. In an increasingly mobile world, it would be foolish not to think of a strategy that integrates the Social, Local and Mobile elements.
This can be done in many ways: you can create an app, optimize your site, invest in mobile advertising and carry out local campaigns on social media. Where can your business start? How can your brand create a digital and a real community that is dynamic, proactive, and loyal? Discovering your personal meaning of SoLoMo is the key to using it efficiently and successfully.