Offline Support Can Improve Your Online Presence
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Do you remember a time before Twitter? How about wishing someone across the country a happy birthday somewhere other than a Facebook wall? How did we communicate before email and instant messages?
Telephones. Paper. Handshakes. Before you write them off as archaic or inefficient, think about the power of a piece of paper. When your email inbox is full of thousands of inane messages, a piece of paper can still be center stage on your desk. No matter how many computer widgets are invented, people still seem to need Post-it notes to stick to their monitor or phone.
So, as you develop your social media strategy, don’t let tunnel vision set in. You don’t have to start sending out direct mail campaigns, but you do need to remember the value of offline networking and impressions. For small businesses, cash flow management is imperative. From that perspective, social media is one of the great equalizers of the modern era. For a very low cost, a great marketing effort or public relations campaign can be executed. But what can you do offline to support your brand?
Write a Note
For something important — like celebrating a colleague’s big achievement or thanking a prospective business partner for a meeting — put pen to paper. A written note offers a more powerful message than an easy to send status update or quick email. Note cards aren’t expensive and you can likely find them at your local store for as little as one dollar for a pack of eight. For a bigger impact, you can certainly get into customized stationery and higher quality paper. The important thing, however, is the message on the paper. Don’t use a lack of embossed cardstock as an excuse.
Stop By and Say “Hi”
Social calls seem to be an archaic tradition, but there is still power in a personal hello and a handshake. Want to pick someone’s brain for ideas or expertise? Invite them to take a walk, go to lunch or meet up somewhere. (Disclaimer: don’t interrupt their day and demand attention if they don’t have the time to devote to you at the moment. Also, know when to leave.) People generally want to share what they know and — given the right circumstances — could probably do with a reason to get up from their desks and move a bit.
Don’t be afraid to go to networking events. Before there were LinkedIn groups, there were Chamber of Commerce luncheons and conventions. Go to those, and meet people in your industry and your neighborhood. You can create valuable new relationships and add more people to your online networks.
Pick Up the Phone
And don’t forget the telephone! As an introvert who prefers to communicate in writing, it’s very easy to avoid making phone calls, but sometimes it’s more efficient to cover something over the phone instead of email or social network messaging. It’s certainly more personal! If you can’t meet in person, and need to address things that will require a lengthy conversation or extensive explanations, wouldn’t you rather be on a phone call than email?
Which offline marketing strategy will you try this week?