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Users interact separately with their phones, with one another, and with your physical storefronts. But what used to be only a one-way conversation of location between users and brands is evolving into a three-way conversation: between smartphone users, their social networks, and businesses.

Marketers never imagined for these three worlds to collide, but as smartphones have gotten more advanced and are reaching near pocket personal computer status, the lines between social, local and mobile are starting to blur and converge. With more accurate GPS technology, accelerating speed of 3G & 4G networks, increased adoption of smartphones, and use of mCommerce and location-based social networking services, brands need to consider incorporating SoLoMo into their marketing strategies.
So what is SoLoMo—or better yet—the So-Lo-Mo-tion?

SoLoMo refers to user interaction with brands, products and businesses through their social networks and gamified applications using their mobile phones to share their location, pictures and favorite places. In most cases, SoLoMo is defined as any consumer initiated location-based engagement with a geographic area via their mobile device through sharing their experience, mentioning or liking on social media or interacting with other users.

Two factors come into play with SoLoMo:

1. Social Location Sharing

With social and location products, the issue of privacy is a huge concern so smartphone users have the ability to choose who they want to share their locations and experiences with. A large number choose to share information with their closed network of friends, many others choose to keep their information public and share their experiences with the world. The public shares have proven to be a powerful and influential marketing tool when it comes to giving exposure to products and retailers and influencing purchase decision. When a user gets particularly excited about a brand interaction or experience, they will share with their social networks almost instantly.

2. Social Location Marketing

When brands and businesses use social location marketing, they are engaging with users on mobile devices who are prepared to share their location. Now that brands are able to interact with consumers in the mobile sphere, the opportunities for creating more intimate experiences are huge. Techniques such as targeted messages combined with real-time location data tracking open up a new era in marketing to consumers.

Some popular implementations of SoLoMo include:

  • Location-based check in services – Businesses create their check in property. When users check-in, they can receive advertising and promotions for special offers. They can also see friends who have checked-in nearby or that are already there.
  • Location-based offers – Companies delivering and enabling mobile marketing activities according to the social sharing factor can deliver offers to customers based on geographic location, time of day, and demand.
  • Location-based loyalty programs – Users can register a digital loyalty card and elect to update their check-ins via Twitter or Facebook. The user data is input to a CRM system so the merchants can use the information to send personalized offers.

Certain vertical industries have proven to provide better opportunities to employ SoLoMo marketing campaigns than others; successful industries include:

  • Fashion – Luxury brands to small boutiques successfully blend social media and location-based marketing by offering exclusive content and making users feel privileged to deals and offers.
  • Retail – Location-based check-ins can provide businesses with a unique way to reward regular customers through loyalty programs.
  • Restaurants – A popular method of using check-in services is to offer time sensitive offers such as happy hour check-ins where users check in during a certain time to receive free items or discounts.

Despite its growing popularity, SoLoMo does have one main limitation: users’ willingness to participate due to privacy and safety concerns. But as location-based services establish better privacy controls, more users will slowly adopt and participate in the opportunities to receive offers and exclusive content. SoLoMo offers great potential to truly engage with consumers without being intrusive. To learn more about how Velti can help you send targeted messages through mobile CRM databases or other mobile marketing campaign tactics, visit our Velti mGage™ page.

Do you think SoLoMo is a worthwhile mobile marketing investment? Or is it too much of a privacy concern to catch on with most consumers? Give our comments section some love, and share your thoughts!

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