SoLoMo

What The Heck is SoLoMo?

By Rex Richard

SoLoMo… , the internet marketing and search marketing mantra that represents the entire direction of everything from application to device development.

I first heard of SoLoMo in 2008 at a web developer’s conference in San Francisco.  I immediately understood this was the inevitable direction we would go, in fact it was already the direction we were headed.  Back then, (just 4 years ago), the technology was not quite ready, but today we are more that ready and the transition is well underway.

“SoLoMo” stands for, “Social, Local, Mobile”. 

The following details a few factors to consider in both your business and your personal life, , (yes the line between the two is being blurred), as technology takes us into this new era.

Social – The “open graph” represents a set of metrics that track everything you do on the web and in real life.  Since you are now “geo located” by simply owning a phone, your proximity data are also a part of the metrics.

It is more important than ever to develop your “personal” brand as well as have a clean company image within the “social web”.  The reason is your brand will be connected to you and due to the social connection, your clients will want to know who you are, and will either gain or lose a sense of security relating to your business corresponding with your personal online metrics.

One effective tool for measuring your own personal metrics and tracking their movement in a positive direction is http://klout.com.

The sites where you want to be sure to have a presence in the very least are, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.  These four are all powerhouses for social search and relevancy and each has it’s unique strength. (I might add Houzz, Pintrest, and Instagram as well)

Local – Since you are now being “tracked” everywhere you go, location is becoming a huge element in the marketing conundrum.  Browsers track you, websites track you, advertisers track you, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn track you, Apple tracks you, Amazon tracks you, your phone of any brand or operating system tracks you… are you getting the message?

All this “tracking” is for one primary reason…, marketing!  Since “search” in a part of the marketing equation and because search utilizes these geo location “markers”, it is important to participate in the practice if you want the best opportunities in the search results, and in getting found by your customers in general.

There are many ways to do this, but one that is great for the pool industry is the use of “geo tagged” pictures.  Having your “location” feature on your phone enabled, take pictures from your phone to upload to: 1) Google+, 2) Pintrest, 3) Houzz, 4) Facebook, in that order of importance.

Once they uploaded then be sure to send out a “tweet” announcing the new picture. (This step may not have much use unless you attract a fairly large audience, but the main purpose is to drive traffic to the picture for viewing.)

Also be sure to add descriptive captions including the city, state, and key descriptive elements in the description so they will be picked up by the search engines to further validate your location.  This method can be valuable in expanding the “area” the search engines see you serving, thus increasing the number of cities you will display under when searched.  (cool eh!)

Mobile – Like it or not, it’s all going mobile and FAST!  It is projected that between tablets and phones 80% of all search will be done via “mobile” devices by next year! WOW!

That means that “desk-top browser”, designed and optimized websites, are already losing power at an unprecedented rate, while mobile websites are rapidly becoming the predominate marketing tool.

But this one takes some real thought…, and few are prepared to enter this new technology with the best strategic mobile design.  You see, mobile and desk-top browsers are treated very differently by consumers.  What works well for a “desk-top” browser will crash and burn on a mobile device.  I mention this difference primarily because almost all web designers have gone the wrong way with this new technology.

In essence, what most web designers have done is to provide a “smaller and scalable” version of your website that serves up on mobile devices.  On the surface this may sound like a good solution, but it is a weak alternative that is more inclined to frustrate your clients that to boost your sales.   Many examples of this “wrong” approach are widely embraced by web designers who call this methodology “responsive design”.

Now I must be careful here, because with the use of tools like HTML5 and JavaScript, a responsive design can be a good way to go, but few are using these tools and instead are merely addressing the resizing of the site in the “design” elements rather than the code itself.  The reason for this failure is, you guessed it, they are “designers”, not programmers.  You see until now, websites were built by “web designers” and required little programming interface to work.  Today’s best websites, particularly sites that will work best on mobile as well, are much more like an “operating system” than the old style traditional website.  As we all know, “operating systems” require programmers first, then designers second.

Also the way clients use the mobile web is entirely different.  It is much more of an “impulsive”, “buy now” device and less of a “research” device. As a result, the way pages are served needs to enter the thought process.  You may want your customer to “land” on the “contact us” page for mobile, where that would be a poor decision for desk-top design. Also “links” that are on the desk-top page might be in the way of navigating through the mobile site.  Also having to “zoom in” to view text and navigation features is a particularly frustrating experience to mobile viewers, so a “small version” of your site is not the way to go.

We are in a time of rapid transition and the direction is explicitly clear.  The direction we are traveling is SoLoMo!  It may be time to verify your business is headed in the right direction as well.

(Rex Richard is the founder of Peak Dynamics LLC, a company focused on the R&D of advanced web marketing technologies including the development of advanced platform desk-top and mobile websites, and effective search engine optimization. Rex can be best reached at his private email address – poolgenius@gmail.com)

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