Offline Strategies for Your Online Presence

by Ken Mueller on October 26, 2012 · 23 comments

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2012 10 12 16.16.10 300x225 Offline Strategies for Your Online PresenceEarlier this week I did a little exercise with my undergrad students. First, I gave them a stack of magazines and newspapers and asked them to go through ads to look for how businesses were promoting their online and social presence. I told them to look for what businesses were promoting, and how they were promoting it.

In other words, did they have any calls to action regarding,

“Find us on Facebook”

or links and references to website, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like. Not surprisingly the students didn’t find a lot of this, but they did find some.

The next step of the exercise was to actually check the online properties of those businesses. If they’re promoting their social presence, how well are they using it? They found several great examples. Kohl’s for instance, not only does a great job promoting their online properties, but they are using their properties well. Both their Facebook and Twitter accounts are pretty incredible in terms of marketing and customer service. CVS also has a strong social presence and an app that they promote offline.

Not surprisingly, there were also quite a few companies that were promoting an online presence that didn’t really exist. One local furniture company had a rather small newspaper ad dominated by a big Facebook logo. Sadly, their Facebook page had no updates, and hadn’t been touched since July. All they ever seemed to do was change their cover photo, but never add any other types of content. And then there’s the little gem up there in the picture…

Then we did one final exercise. Since it was nice weather I took the class outside and we took a field trip around town. We walked past a variety of businesses to see if they were doing any on-site promotion of their online presence. We found very little: a few Yelp and Foursquare stickers in windows, a QR code or two, but that was it. I know a lot of these businesses. I know they are doing a good job online. But do their customers know?

We’re really missing out on some great opportunities, especially for local, small businesses and non-profits.

There are two lessons here:

1. If you have a social presence, don’t just promote it online. Promote it offline as well. I’m sure there were plenty of businesses that have a strong online presence, but unless they tell us about it, we’ll never know.

2. If you have a social presence but aren’t using it, don’t waste your time telling us about it. We don’t want to go to a Facebook page or Twitter account that offers nothing.

It’s that simple.

Use it, and promote it.

How are you doing?

 

 Offline Strategies for Your Online Presence
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22 comments
GregMeyer
GregMeyer

Ken -

Thanks for the article - agree completely that businesses need to engage in the channels where they participate - this doesn't necessarily mean that you need to become an expert in every social media channel, but if you're going to be there, you need to engage and have conversations that inspire people to come back. If you'd just like to redirect them elsewhere, you can do that too (see @nextdraft for a demonstration of how to do this.)

So don't just promote your presence, but use it and engage with it - it's a surefire way to get more customers, even if you're a brick and mortar business. One of my favorite Facebook pages is https://www.facebook.com/RedPepperPizzeria - a local pizza joint.

joyike
joyike

i knew this was going to be a good post before I even read it!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Great post Ken. This is really important. I was asked by a client brand new to social how come in 3 months they have 300 twitter followers and 14 facebook fans. I said i can get followers on twitter from twitter. Facebook you have to reach people.offline to like the page. I cant do that on facebook without buying ads

FreshStitches
FreshStitches

Can I take this opportunity to add my pet peeve? 

I've seen many shops that say 'find us on facebook' or 'follow us on twitter', with no link/URL/name. It's not trivially easy to find a company's twitter/FB name... don't make your customer hunt!

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

Love this post Ken! So many businesses seem to feel pressured to have a Facebook page, yet don't do anything with it. I want to take your class! 

ADemme
ADemme

"Googling it" aside, how many people use QR readers on the street? 

LizJostes
LizJostes

I completely agree! Businesses who are on social need to include their social profiles in all the same places as their "traditional" contact info, though not many do.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@joyike Ha. thanks, Joy. This fits in so well with what you do. In my one class I have a musician, and we discussed how this works well from a point of purchase kind of setup at your merch table. It's so easy! Besides, the most annoying thing about being a musician MUST be going back after a tour and putting all those dang email addresses into your database, and hoping you spell them right based on how they were written.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@HowieG And you know how I feel about spending money. It can be done, and it can be done well organically. here's the thing, social media is all about word of mouth. Word of mouth comes from your existing customer base, not random people. So you need to use your offline contact with your customers to get them to connect with you online. It really isn't rocket science.

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@FreshStitches I was just grousing about this yesterday. Social CTAs in offline advertising (print/radio/television) without calling out the account name is meaningless. It's easy to claim a vanity URL on FB once you've hit a threshold of likes (I believe it's 25 or 30?). If you're not at that level yet, have the CTA direct website visits and link to social outposts there. 

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KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@FreshStitches Well, I go back and forth on this. And that's one reason I like QR codes. But optimally, I like it clean. Like the one in the image above...that's no good. Twitter name is easy, Facebook URL is a bit more clunky.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@ADemme I honestly have no clue. They haven't achieved widespread adoption yet, but it's a chicken and egg thing. People won't use them if they don't have things to scan. My feeling is, at this point, it can't hurt to use them. You can track them and see if people are scanning them. The other thing is: the QR code needs to take you to something worthwhile. Give people a reason to scan.

And we'll be discussing this in our class sometime in the next few weeks, so get ready. Just won't have a field trip though, since it will be cold and dark..

joyike
joyike

@KenMueller @joyike haha...ditto! That is definitely the most annoying part. I'm thinking of bringing my laptop to shows so i can start having people enter it in. I've also set up a Google Voice number and have started asking people from the stage to text it to me: 267-CALL-JOY (hehe). But passing a physical newsletter around is still the most effect.

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@KenMueller @RebeccaTodd I really want to do the walk around part! I like how active you make it. I am too easily distracted to take classes OH SHINY!!!

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@KenMueller @ADemme Yes most I've tried so far are useless, but I could see some valid applications...eg on a real estate sign-it could send you to the MLS listing. 

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@KenMueller  That's what I need! I am a very kinesthetic learner.  If I can move and talk, I can focus. Why the busy sales life suits me. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@RebeccaTodd @ADemme I want restaurants to have an interactive menu online. When we did our walkaround, a lot of the restaurants were closed, and some of them had no menus in the window, while others taped up like 10 pages of photocopied menu stuff, all washed out by the sun. 

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