Integrating online communications to make offline returns

By Amy McIlwain

Financial Social Media Marketing


Don’t think you have the offline company resources to utilize the online world? Ask yourself the following questions.

The ultimate goal in most businesses marketing strategies is to increase returns and reap a higher profit. I’m sure many advisors are familiar with the saying, “Butts in seats, I want butts in seats.”

The great part about social media is its ability to integrate online and offline communications. If social media is all about people having conversations online, why not turn those conversations to in-person events and vice versa?

Think about it — the purpose of social media is to create and nurture online communities, much the same way as you would treat offline communities. Don’t think you have the offline company resources to utilize the online world? Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do you have a TV, radio show, blog or video blog?

  • Are you a columnist in a local paper? Or can you find someone to cover a story on you?

  • How do you participate in your local community?
    • Church
    • Chamber of Commerce
    • Sponsor events
    • Education
    • Smaller local networking groups
  • What are you currently doing for marketing?
    • Direct mail
    • Radio ads
    • TV ads
    • Newspaper ads
    • Newsletters
  • Do you do client appreciation events?
    • Wine tasting
    • Golf lessons
    • Holiday parties
    • Chili cook-off
  • Do you offer information seminars?

  • Have you thought about volunteering in your community?

  • Are there any associations you can join?
If you can answer yes to at least of one of the questions above, you have the ability to integrate your online and offline communications. Now let’s address the same questions above, but provide ways of creating avenues between your online and offline efforts.

Do you have a TV, radio show, blog or video blog?

Not only can you utilize your social networks to promote your TV or radio show (including creating groups and fan pages for each one), but you can also take the recordings from both and upload them to video hosting sites, such as YouTube, online. Once the videos and recordings are uploaded, post them on your social networks to promote the show. Blogs and video blogs can be treated much the same way, with posts on your networks promoting them. If you have a TV, radio show and/or blog, promote your blogs offline by hosting specific shows dedicated to the blog topics.

Are you a columnist in a local paper? Or can you find someone to cover a story on you?

At the end of your columns, make sure to list your social networks and tell your readers to visit your website and become fans of your organization. Make sure to have the columns published online as well, and link them to your social networks as well as push your followers to the columns online.
How do you participate in your local community?

When it comes to local community events, be careful with how you promote your business. You may find it to be inappropriate to promote your business at some events, but you’ll also find it advantageous to promote those events online beforehand.

Are you a part of local networking groups? Create groups on Facebook for members to post and discuss upcoming topics and meetings. If you have sponsor events in the future, create events online through Facebook and LinkedIn to promote the events. Utilize all your social networks to get the word out.

What are you currently doing for marketing?

Not only can all of these print marketing tools be turned into online communications, but they can also host a number of online resources that will direct them to your social networks. For example, if you send out direct mail or advertise in the newspaper, create a QR code that will take them to your website. Include a list of your social networking sites.

If you are using radio or TV ads, direct them to your website or social networking sites with incentives, such as become a fan of my fan page and receive a discount or coupon for further services. You can also utilize those recorded ads to host them online.

Do you do client appreciation events?

Promote these events online by creating event pages and forums where attendees can network and exchange information prior to the event. Not only is this a great way to spread the word about upcoming events, but it’s also a great way to keep clients and attendees informed about upcoming events and specific details.

Do you offer informational seminars?

Treat these like the events described above and create online event pages to promote and incentivize others to attend. When you’re at the seminar, push attendees to visit your social networks and website through QR codes, network listings, and even promotions or deals as incentives to follow you online.

Have you thought about volunteering in your community?

Most volunteer opportunities have online forums that discuss upcoming events – take advantage of these by posting in the forums and then promoting the event on your personal networks. This will create online avenues between your business and the event that will get people talking at the offline event.

Are there any associations you can join?

Many offline associations also have online forums for their associate members to utilize for information and upcoming events. Join these online groups and network with members. Post your blogs or any other relevant content and get other members interested in following you.

As you can see, there are so many different ways to integrate online and offline communications, and most of them not only benefit your business, but they also benefit your clients and your community. Did we miss anything? What other ways have you found to integrate your online and offline interactions? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

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