I talk a lot about social media marketing: tips, how-tos, etc. But a new and increasingly interesting field of social media marketing is taking place off line, in the real world.
So, I’ve been doing some research on the topic, and here’s what I’m finding out:
Tracking social media hits is really challenging. A great deal of the resistance of businesses, in particular, to starting social media marketing is because it’s hard to prove the ROI. What I mean by that is, “If I have a facebook page, how many tickets will I sell?” It’s hard to prove, because of the ripple effect of social media. If I send out an invitation to a show, I know who that invitation goes to. But any one of those folks could pass it on to their friends, or their friends’ friends, and so the people that actually show up at my theatre may be the 3rd or 4th generation (or more) of that invitation.
This is part of the reason why I love social media so much, but it does make it difficult to track where people are coming from.
Using social media offline can help to track where people are coming from. For example, a couple of weeks ago, I saw an ice cream place on Twitter post a tweet that said they would be offering a 1/2 price discount on ice cream for the first 10 minutes after the Canucks scored a goal. So, if the Canucks score a goal, and someone comes in and asks for 1/2 price ice cream, you know that person is on your Twitter feed.
Another reason why social media marketing offline is starting to catch on is because of the prevalence of smart phones. Nearly everyone I know has an IPhone or a Blackberry these days. If you see a sign like this, for example:
You can immediately go to your smartphone, go on the internet or to your Facebook app, and “like” this business. And people “like” to get exclusive social media offers–which for the business is a win-win, because it offers an option to track where that business came from.
Our smartphones also make it really easy for us to offer immediate reviews. A while ago, when I went to buy a futon, and drove across town to find the store closed, even though I was there within the opening hours clearly posted, I immediately twittered the #fail. The opposite is true for positive reviews: great meals, extra special service, etc.
Online relationships lead to real-life meetings
Last week, I published my very first e-newsletter. In it, I talked about the experience I had at Northern Voice. Briefly, I argued that social media is not killing face-to-face relationships, but, in fact, strengthening them. You see, we get to know people online, and when we meet them in real life, it’s less awkward, and we already know things about each other, so it’s easier to find something to talk about. Many of these online relationships are leading to real-life meetings, or Tweetups. That’s when a bunch of folks who all follow each other on Twitter, and have something in common, meet in real life for coffee or a drink.
Stay tuned… I’m working on a post with tips about how to use social media marketing offline.