SoLoMo OMG! Social, Local & Mobile Hook Up @ #SMX Advanced

Social, Local, Mobile - An Interesting 3-WayWelcome back to AIMCLEAR‘s coverage of #SMX Advanced! Let’s be honest – by and large, ours is a culture fixated on instant gratification, real-time engagement, the here and now. In such a fast-paced world, it’s no surprise we leverage shorthand vernacular where we can. From OMG to LOL to IITYWIMIWHTKY, we’ve got an acronym for everything. Likewise in an industry where every character counts, the online marketing realm has its fair share of abbreviations from SEO & SERPs to blogs & WYSIWYGS to PPC, CPA, and ROI to CPC vs. CPM. Many chic geeks (present company included) are well-versed in such vocabulary. But as far as “SoLoMo” goes? It’s one of the NKOTB.

As well it should be! The term was only recently coined by Kleiner Perkins internet visionary, Mary Meeker. She’s already begun referring to the next five years as the era of “SoLoMo,” or Social, Mobile, and Local for you n00bz out there (present company included…), and she’s not alone. This powerful intersection represents a serious market revolution to some, a natural evolution of the industry to others. Regardless of the perceived degree of influence, it is noteworthy statistic that for the first time ever, smartphones and tablets are outselling personal computers, emphasizing the fact that people want to be online now, instantly, without lugging themselves over to the other side of the room to boot up the ole’ family PC.

A stacked panel consisting of Kelly Gillease, VP Marketing, Viator, Jennifer Grappone, Partner, Gravity Search Marketing, Daniel Lemin, Founder & Principal, Social Studio, Mac Ling, Director, Mobile, iCrossing, and Nicola Smith, VP, Business Development, Performics, not to mention moderators Greg Sterling, Founding Principal, Sterling Market Intelligence and Michael Martin, Senior SEO Strategist, Covario, Inc. were ready to examine this behemoth trend as well as the opportunities and impact it carries for marketers.  Read on for an in-depth look.

Nicola, up first, began by discussing the evolution of purchases from purely transactional to transactional and greatly conversational:

Purchases Have Become Conversations | Statistics

  • 42% of 18-34 year olds connect or enjoy sharing their purchases via social media
  • Services are popping up, like Blippy & Swipely, that sync up bank accounts with social profiles, and allow users to share records of their purchases online
  • 400% increase in the number of searches via mobile in the last year
  • 74% of people use their mobile phones to search while running errands
  • 63% of people use mobile search before purchasing offline
  • 59% of people use content to share content with a family member or friend while shopping

Local, mobile, and social as a combined entity offer a really amazing benefit to brands: hyper-targeting of your potential customers, i.e.: you can reach the right person, in the right place, at the right time. This is different from any other medium we‘ve ever used. An additional benefit of using SoMoLo – it’s changing the face of marketing metrics and brand currency.

Traditionally, marketers have paid mind to awareness– offline media and attention; with the advent of social media, we started looking at participation and engagement – the number of tweets, blogs, comments, etc. Now we’re looking at proximity, and ways to track it. Being able to track and measure loyalty is the holy grail for marketers.

How can you start to build loyalty around a brand using SoLoMo?

1) Expand the Check-In! Consider the variety of check-in services:

  • Location based check-ins, such as Foursquare and Gowalla
  • Content focused check-ins, such as Miso and Filo (you can “check in” to a song… whoa)
  • Brand / Product Conversation, such as “Chicken” (a German-based service), allows users to check into a conversation about a brand or product

Takeaway: The check-in phenomenon is evolving and expanding well beyond location-specific check-ins.

2) Combat Fragmentation. There are tons upon tons of social channels out there. Consider leveraging Local Response, which aggregates check-ins across services and allows the brand to respond via Twitter.

3) Simplify the Process. Sometimes, even logging into a service to manually check-in is too time-consuming. Consider leveraging ShopKick, a service that offers a reader which registers when users enter a store – when you know a person is physically in their store, grant them points (Kick Bucks) at the register. Kick Bucks can be redeemed for discounts, or even transferred for Facebook credits. Whoa. Different forms of digital currency transferred across digital platforms.

4) Instigate Repeat Purchases. Groupon is hot, right? Sure, but their model is geared towards getting people in the store for one purchase. After that, they’re rarely seen again. Level Up, brought to you by the same folks who developed Scavenger, is like Groupon on steroids.

  • Level 1 – Same deal as Groupon, pay $10 for $20 worth of goods. But with Level Up, as soon as you achieve level 1, you… level up… to…
  • Level 2 – $10 for $30 worth of goods. Then, level up… to…
  • Level 3 – $10 for $40 worth of goods. Neat!

The value in a model like this is you get someone in your store multiple times –hopefully by the third time, they’re a brand advocate, i.e.: repeat customer. Another perk – you don’t pay for level 1, so if people don’t level up, i.e. don’t show signs of becoming a repeat customers, it’s no harm on your wallet.

5) Make it Fun! Location is about more than just place. Consider this case study: eBay teamed up with Shazam, and now, every time a user searches Shazam for a song, for example, eBay will make product suggestions that align with that song, artist, mood, etc. They call is Inspiration Shopping.

shazam music and product discovery service


  • Loyalty + Proximity = Currency. The value of currency is currently undefined.
  • Purchases have become conversations
  • Think beyond the location based check-in
  • Combat fragmentation – helps in regards to investment dollars
  • Simplify the process; the easier you can make it for a user, the more likely they are to engage
  • Instigate repeat purchases
  • Make it fun!
  • Explore content other than offers and deals!

Next up was Kelly, set to tackle the paid side of social media & mobile marketing .

A Look At Facebook

  • Targeted paid ads, not just for external sites, but to grow fans on Facebook.
  • Amazing targeting: interests, affinities, demographics, associations and more.


  • On the social side, growing fans and likes via paid marketing is a massive, largely untapped opportunity.
  • “Like” building is a contact list for email, building fans on FB grows an audience for important launches, offers, messages, etc.

Social necessitates a shift in content delivery behavior – companies need to provide content where their audience wants to be; don’t rely on them to visit your site.

  • Ads for external sites have mixed results, but ads to grow fans, or sponsored story ads involving fans, are largely positive.
    • Sponsored Stories – an ad endorsed by a friend. Pick a page like or a page post or a post like to promote, will target friends of connections
    • Page Like – when people like your page, their friends see a story about it
    • Page Post – when you post an update on your page, your fans sees a story about it
    • Page Post Like – when people like your page post their friends see a story
    • Great for contests, sales, but also growing fans
  • Facebook sweepstakes with Wildfire
    • For example, an iPad 2 giveaway – you can grow fan base (“Like us to win!).
    • Several advertisers have tripled fans with a sweepstakes such as this

A Look At Twitter

  • Promoted accounts & promoted tweets
    • Promoted Accounts – paid placements to promote a twitter account with the goal of gaining followers
    • Promoted Tweets- select a tweet to promote to drive engagement, retweets, followers
    • Promoted Trends – promote a trending topic. When clicked, shows a promoted tweet from advertiser. Very expensive.
  • Don’t forget the opportunity to include a video.
    • This is something Kelly doesn’t see too often, but it’s really great. In the new Twitter UI, you can view the video in-screen, don’t hve to navigate away to YouTube, etc.

How to Value a Follower or a Fan?

  • Track direct revenue from FB & Twitter for both paid and unpaid placements
  • Track paid placements with campaign codes, then subtract from overall Facebook or Twitter as referral source for unpaid
  • Track followers and fan totals – then, calculate per follower and fan values based on total sales and total followers or fans
  • Example: Twitter follower value / Total twitter revenue / # of Twitter followers
  • Very basic, but valuations are higher than you might suspect
  • Can skew with campaigns to quickly scale fans or followers (like a wildfire contest)
  • Valuation aids in allocating appropriate spend for paid media in these channels
  • Click to call ads – if you’re not participating in mobile search, you should be!

Paid Ads for Mobile Apps

  • Support mobile app launched with paid campaigns on mobile networks
  • iAd – Apple only, mainly iPhone, iPad in beta
  • AdMob
  • JumpTap
  • Takeover – must schedule far in advance

Facebook and Twitter Takeaway: A coordinated effort with unpaid channels is key for success to achieve higher rankings at initial launch, coordinate email, PR and site side promotion.

Next up was Daniel Lemin, who introduced his 3 SoLoMo concepts:

  • Point of engagement – brand awareness, affinity
  • Point of sales – local and mobile
  • Convergent metrics

The SoLoMo Purchase / Conversion funnel:

  • Awareness / familiarity / opinion = social
  • Consideration / one make model intention = mobile
  • Shopping / purchase = local

Point of Engagement

  • The dinner party analogy
  • WOM rules the air
  • People are just casually talking about products, not driving sales
  • Infiltrate these conversations by way of social technologies, get in there, might help lead people into a more serious look at your product leveraging mobile and local
  • Driving awareness, testimonials, recommendations, interactions

Local and mobile have a beautiful link to POE!

  • Direct line to purchase
  • Drive loyalty, incremental sales
  • Improve margins

Consider this M&Ms case study. M&Ms hosted a Find Red campaign in Canada. The objective was to help the M&Ms find the Red M&M, who was lost somewhere in cyberspace. This campaign leveraged a trifecta of SoLoMo technologies, mostly offline.  Interesting. Leveraged Google Maps API, QR codes, and other offline technologies that helped give users clues to where Red was. KPI was engagement, not purchases.

Point of Sales
Many companies struggle with social and struggle to understand why they’re putting money into it. This grey area can become black & white when you leverage SoLoMo, and help create a direct line to purchase.

What are some metrics to consider?

  • Business metrics – margin, COGS, acquisition cost, lifetime value
  • Convergent analytics – engagement rate, sentiment, conversion funnel analysis, events / conversions
  • Platform metrics – Twitter influence, page views, check-ins, interactions
  • By its nature, SoLoMo is convergent. Therefore, so must the analytics.

What are some advocacy metrics?

  • Loyal customers spend more
  • Better connections with core customers
  • SEO implications
  • Intangibles, press and awards

Jennifer was up next. She spent a fair amount of time on a Justin Beiber case study, which I morally could not capture. So. Onto the case study about ice cream.

Coolhaus started very small, one ice cream truck, one city. Cool factor they had/have going from them, no pun intended, was they offered/offer a fantastic product… ice cream. Yum! Also, they were/are rocking a pretty righteous SoLoMo marketing effort.

SEO sidenotes: The Coolhaus site isn’t/wasn’t very usable, not well optimized in a traditional sense. But that’s okay, because the life of the brand’s marketing activities take place in social channels, not on their site.

Photo Share = Success

Jennifer shares an example of one customer sharing a photo of his/her yummy ice cream experience. You’d think Coolhaus would spend a lot of money encouraging people to continue to share photos – but mostly, people just do it on their own. Coolhaus is of limited resources, so they decide to spend their funds trying to get things to happen that might not happen automatically, such as customer loyalty, getting on front of new customers, etc.

Typical day in the life of Coolhaus

  • Share location information
  • Share coupon codes
  • Localized strategies

Geotargeted Flattery
Coolhaus doesn’t have swagger everywhere. So they turn to the people who do. A few days before they pull up in a city, they do research of who’s there, and reach out to the social influencer in the local area. “Hey, @LocalInfluencer, your name is our coupon code for today! Please spread the word!” (Author’s note: Incredibly smart. Vanity baiting IRL.)

Co-Marketing with Competitors
Coolhaus doesn’t have a problem with tweeting at @BigGayIceCream. Lesson: don’t be afraid to tweet with your direct competitors to build a sense of commodity


  • SoLoMo is not magic
  • Make it easy to share
  • Cross-sell with your competitors
  • Open your mind to breaking SEO rules
  • Know your audience

Next up, Mac Ling. Topic of discussion: SoLoMo Business – Today and Tomorrow. So… we know there is an intersection between social, mobile & local… now, what do we do with it?

The Spectrum of Online Communication
From group messaging to Twitter to invite-only discussions to photo sharing and location sharing—the technology of online communication is nothing new. For the younger generation, though, privacy has become a ticket to the experience. If you walk into Facebook, your willingness to share info about yourself is the ticket into the doorway of this community. As you give more information about yourself, you’re able to participate more in these communities. This is where the shift is.

What we’re doing now is creating groups that have social aspects to them. Smartphones are the cornerstones of what make this possible. It’s a freakin’ PC in your pocket. Longevity and engagement provide deeper insight into customers and these groups.  Parse info from the streams, connect the dots between what you’re trying to sell and what someone else is in need of.

This connection is the Holy Grail (apparently another one) we all search for – we all have more information than ever before to be able to make that connection happen

However – relevance has a shelf-life, so we have to be nimble enough to communicate to consumers in the decision stage of the purchase funnel.

What do we have?

  • Group with shared interests
  • Location info
  • Contextual info
  • Immediacy of fulfilling a need
  • AKA: A qualified lead!

How do we use this?

  • Provide targeting offer to pod
  • Future group buying deals
  • Merchants can bid for this groups patronage

Is this the SoLoMo revolution?
Not as much of a revolution as an evolution of the tools. We’re now starting to see, as with the Internet we have a new medium, a new way of talking to customers. We’re using the same fundamental marketing concepts with new tools to achieve similar goals. It’s simply the next iteration of the marketer’s toolbox.

Top Takeaways from the Panelists:

  • Mac just spoke, so he passed.
  • “Have a mobile website. Make sure it’s optimized.”  – Kelly
  • “Know who your audience is, what they’re using, what they like.”  -Jennifer
  • “Experiment – this is a constantly evolving space, if you’re not prepared to take a little bit of a chance, you’ll be behind the curve. Always.” –Nicole
  • “Don’t look at SoLoMo as a massive thing – just try it. There’s very little incremental cost with tools, if it doesn’t work, at least you know.” – Daniel

That wraps up the SoLoMo session, which, all the while, I’ve wanted to call “Slow-Mo.” But that’s probably because my brains have practically turned to mush. Yes, this truly is an… advanced conference. More coverage coming at you right here in AIMCLEAR blog & via my tired fingers @beebow. Until then, cheers!

photo credit: ianwedlock

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