Are you too in love with social media?

Like many business owners, you’ve gone all in with your social media efforts, tweeting, Facebooking, and generally building a loyal following. But you’re missing some of social’s best opportunities if you haven’t thought about how to integrate your social effort with your traditional marketing. In fact, proven offline strategies don’t undermine your social efforts–they complement and enhance them. If you marry online and offline efforts, and allow social to open the door for other avenues to be optimised, you can form one very impressive business development tool.

Here’s how to do it.

• Give Customers a Say – When was the last time someone on your team developed an ad or direct mail piece, where it was unanimously approved without any edits? Never, right? There are always multiple drafts with tweaks on messaging and design. Well, let those in your social channels weigh in with their preferences. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to have a say, AND you’ll be able to get your information out before anything hits the market, which prolongs the marketing effort.

• Make Them Famous – Businesses should always share press releases and media alerts with followers. But, why not let them be part of the publicity effort? Explain in a post that your business will be crafting a press release, and that you are looking for a quote from a satisfied customer. Be sure to clearly explain what the topic of the press release is, and invite them to weigh in with their positive experiences. Choose the quote that best fits the press release subject matter and speaks to your brand’s identity. Reach out to the “winner” and be sure to get their approval prior to releasing the announcement to the media and posting it online.

• Integrate Online Content with Offline Events – Let’s say you are sponsoring an event, participating in a community / charity program, or will have space at a tradeshow or conference. A few weeks before the event, reach out on all of your social media channels and alert followers that you’ll be there. Create an event page on Facebook, and an event hashtag on Twitter. Be sure to post fresh content regularly, and ask that information be shared. You can even offer an incentive–something like if a follower shares content with 20 others, they receive an admission discount. During the event, stream it live online.

After the event, post fun and engaging photos, video, and information, which will add longevity to the offline initiative.

With so many channels for people to consume, it is important not to pigeonhole your business or brand to one avenue. While the current tendency is to emphasise social to build business, you have to remember that the purchasing journey takes many directions. There is no question social media has changed the marketing landscape, and it’s all very exciting with an abundance of possibilities. But, you can’t fall in love with only online efforts.