SoLoMo is like planning a rocking party.

On October 25, 2012 I was honored to be part of a panel discussing strategies in SoLoMo, the intersection of all things Social, Mobile and Local, at the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV. The purpose of the panel was to encourage companies to not think of social or mobile endeavors as separate initiatives, but rather as a “total package” for effective marketing. What does this mean? How about first we plan a big party.

Social: Do you have friends who like you?

The generally accepted prerequisite to throw a party would be to have people who like you and others you know. This is accomplished by being personable, sharing interesting stories, and engaging in those who speak to you. Now put this in marketing terms. While some advertisers will have you believe Facebook and Twitter are great for broadcasting to a large audience, the real power lies in developing highly engaged communities around your product, service or brand. You would manage your community like you treat your friends:

  1. Be genuine in what you say (I call this a company’s “Voice“).
  2. Have “Value” in what you say (maybe it is something humorous or information that’s timely or new).
  3. Share your content regularly and respond to community discussions immediately, much the same way you’d respond to a friend’s text or email promptly (I refer to this as “Visibility“).

Voice, Value, and Visibility. Do these three things and hopefully you’ll have a pool of friends who will at least consider an invitation to your party. But what will really convince them to come?

Local: I’m going if you’re going.

Raise the roof?

What gets people to a party? The band? Meh. Cheap booze? No. It is because your friends have decided in Borg-like fashion to all go. Thus is born the ¬†“Local” aspect of SoLoMo. It’s easy to assume “local” means “something cool is happening just a few blocks down.” However, people are known to travel cross country¬† for sporting events or concerts. I consider “local” as the aspect of your “social” strategy that provides an incentive for the “popular kids” (or in marketing speak, “influencers”) in your community to spread the word about your party. Perhaps it’s a president of a social club, or a head of a student organization, or the owner of a car dealership with wacky commercials. Each of these people have influence. Your job is to give them the tools to talk about your “party” and provide unique value. Sometimes, it’s money or free advertising. It could be simply the exclusivity of being recognized in the community as an influencer. If they go to your party, so will hundreds of others. But how to get the word out?

Mobile: Did your friends get your invitation?

I don’t think I’m more than six feet from my phone at any given time. I’m sure I could cite some statistic proving that, but I don’t have to. You’re probably the same way if you are reading this article. ¬†“Mobile” in SoLoMo is really defining the medium used to reach the individual community members. Apps, text messages, mobile web sites are all bundled here. Too much to go into detail, but the main point is to develop a consistent yet optimized experience per the devices in mind. For example, you wouldn’t want to invest in a richly detailed video for just small screen of a phone. That would be best suited for a tablet. Asking customers to fill out a detailed form wouldn’t be wise on a tablet, but can be initiated on a phone and completed on a desktop. We can devote several posts to this strategy alone – but I’m tired of typing, so I’ll finish here and leave it for another post.

Friends? Check. Cool people coming? Check. Invitations sent? Check, again. As long as it doesn’t rain or the economy doesn’t crumble, you’ll have a highly engaged community coming to your party. Hopefully you can sell them something to make it worthwhile.