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February 6, 2012

You started your business a year ago. You are doing all of the right things. You have a website. You have a Facebook page. You are on Linkedin. You are doing a bi-monthly flyer with very good pricing. But the bottom line is not moving up as fast as you think it should be.

Welcome to the world of SoLoMo. You may not have heard of it before, but it is an acronym for Social-Local- Mobile. It is a portmanteau or acronym coined by John Doerr to describe social media in a local setting being accessed by mobile means.

This is something new in the world, as opposed to other things that built on previous entities or concepts. The use of smartphones as a scanning device to connect to the Internet is a totally new concept that has no predecessor. Desktops and laptops have been taking us to sites all over the world. But being able to access and store a link to that same information as you scan a QR code with your phone is entirely new.

The first leg in this tripod is Social. Putting up a social profile is very essential today. Proctor and Gamble is slashing the company’s $10 Billion advertising budget and laying off 1600 people in the company including marketers. CEO Robert McDonald is changing the focus from traditional advertising areas to Facebook and Google because they are more efficient. Smaller organizations can use the same principle to let people know who they are, what they offer and how they may be able to solve a problem.

The second leg is Local. This includes all of the traditional means of advertising: your store front window, business cards, newspaper ads, flyers, satisfied customers, and signs on your vehicle, networking events, etc. It extends to electronic efforts: the local TV station, radio stations, your town’s online newspaper, online paid ads including Facebook and Google and online free ads. Spectacular publicity events can quickly raise local and worldwide awareness of your business.

The third leg of the tripod is Mobile. A Smartphone can access a QR code on most forms of advertising including TV as was witnessed by watchers of the Super Bowl. The Pentiction Herald has a QR code on their front page so readers don’t necessarily have to buy a paper to keep up with local news. With a smartphone you can access the Internet and all that is on there.

This is where many business owners are missing the boat. Dismissing a mobile connection that can tie their advertising to their Social Media through a smartphone can be costly in today’s market.  If potential clients can get a sense of your values and your business, it increases the potential that they will contact you.

Some startup companies are building on this three legged platform including Foursquare, SCVNGR and Gowalla. These online companies are staking their future on SoLoMo and it seems to be working for them.

Many places are posting a weekly or monthly schedule with a QR code included as part of the poster. Other place will make QR codes part of their advertising activity or put one on their storefront, vehicle or business card. If someone has scanned their code the information is immediately accessible wherever and whenever they are.

If someone has scanned a schedule that is online, they can enter the information into their cellphone calendar so as not to miss scheduled appointments. A Youtube presentation updated or changed regularly can keep prospects and clients up on special events in that business. Any promotion, whether with a large company or a small one is available when you have scanned a QR code because the link is stored in your phone.

Most cellphone users are not further than 1 meter away from their cell on a 24/7 basis. eMarketer estimates that mobile advertising in the US will reach  $2.6 billion this year. Smartphone use is increasing dramatically, quickly catching up with cellphone use (36% to 53%). Many smartphone users are using them to comparison shop (over 80%) and for all levels of items from toothpaste to big screen TV’s.

If you want to utilize this new tool you are going to have to do things very different and exactly the same. You can do this by using your Social Media as a way of promoting your solution first, your self as the director of that solution second and your business in last place as the tool that will solve the problem that you have perceived .

Having a good Facebook profile that shows people who and what you are will build good possibilities for a long term relationship in a business such as Yoga or martial arts. With Facebook, you don’t change what you are, you just are able to connect with more people.

Adding a Youtube presentation that shows a Yoga instructor relaxing by standing on their head and giving a short talk can be inspiring. This also applies to the martial arts instructor explaining that while you can break bricks (with a single demo) , discipline and self control are a big part of the reason people do it.

If you have a restaurant, the sign out front can be scanned and cell users will profile  various restaurants when they want to go out for dinner. It may be end up being the daily special at a particular restaurant when they are happy with three (3) or four (4) different restaurants. At the table, they can scan the tent at the table to enter a contest to win their appies, dessert or whatever.

If you have a large company with a programmer on staff, this is fairly easy. However if you are a small business these changes are usually expensive (relatively) and are more difficult to implement. If you are using free online QR codes, the destination cannot be changed on most of them. So they are a one time use, with any promotional material being discarded at the end of the promo making them not very long term or cost effective.

Switching to a paid QR code platform is very effective for a small business if the links can be changed easily. It  means that you may have to learn some new skills like making videos, editing them,  posting them to YouTube, and changing them as your marketing changes. You will also probably have to change your marketing strategy to include QR codes as a concept because it is not part of anything we grew up with and can connect with easily.

With your digital camera and a wish to let people know what you are offering, your two minute posting on Youtube can be changed regularly.  You can do it in a cost effective manner if you use a QR code platform like  Get Linked. You can change your links 24/7 with QRGL with no extra charge.  With World Quick Response  you get a landing page that allows you to put up a variety of online connections for less than a cup of Starbucks per month.

Remember  in 2012. Use SoLoMo to Get Linked to the World.


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