One way that companies might combine social with local in the future is by offering targeted coupons to individuals who are part of a group, Ling said. For example, a person who just completed a running race might post a message to other runners suggesting they meet in a restaurant. A company could see that message and respond by offering a coupon to anyone from the race who comes to its restaurant.
That scenario could represent the evolution of group messaging, beyond how current services like Yahoo Groups are used, for example, he said.
All the speakers on a panel here agreed that the first step to integrating social, local and mobile is to have a mobile-optimized Web site. Nearly 80% of the top advertising brands don't have a Web site optimized for mobile phones, Ling said. "That is absolutely tactic number one," he said.
The speakers also encouraged companies to experiment. "If you look at this as a massive [undertaking], it's going to be. But, especially if you're a small company, just try it," Martin said.