Doomsday is a recurring theme in today's society, especially with the quickly approaching end of the Mayan Calendar. All over the world, panicked individuals that believe in the end of days are preparing themselves. Similar to before the millennium, some people are constructing fall out shelters, undergoing survivalist training, and of course, and stocking up on an endless supply of Twinkies. So what does any of this have to do with social media?
Actually, a lot.
In many re imagined apocalyptic scenarios, such as the new show “Revolution” and the infamous novel, Atlas Shrugged, people wonder what would happen if electricity, vital resources, and yes, the mythological Atlas, ceased to be. So why shouldn't we wonder the same about social media? What if Facebook fans logged out for good, or Twitter followers stopped tweeting? What would the marketing world be like? More specifically, how would our marketing strategies be forced to change?
It's not too difficult to imagine, because once upon a time, that's exactly what the marketing world was like. Besides websites and blogs, people had very little value for online social interaction. Marketing professionals were had well-established print and promotional marketing campaigns that worked. Small businesses depended on old fashioned mailings, signage, and word of mouth from loyal customers to find new audiences. The world of marketing is drastically different than it once was, and at times, nearly unrecognizable.
However, even when most marketing campaigns start with Facebook, some companies haven't forgotten the value of traditional marketing. These small and upcoming businesses set out to incorporate “old-fashioned” marketing techniques into an overall strategy. These simple strategies can increase customer satisfaction while boosting the company's reputation- both online and offline. Here are traditional marketing strategies used by real companies and small businesses. (You know, just in case the social media world does end.)
- Give away some free stuff. Don't underestimate the value of providing your customer with a free gift. From company logo apparel to free orders, try showing your customers some appreciation without any incentive. After unknowingly placing the company's one millionth order, a Queensboro Shirt Company customer received his order for free.
- Get involved with your community. Instead of just tweeting about it, attend local events and become involved. Philadelphia based company SEER Interactive has the right idea. The online marketing company recently hosted a “Meet The Community” BBQ for their Northern Liberties neighborhood, with all $10 ticket proceeds going to charity.
- Let customers try your product. After launching their Big Hunk candy bar to a national market, the Annabelle Candy Company invited customers to try it- for free. Willing participants received a full size Big Hunk candy bar in the mail, without any requirement to review or give feedback about the product. The candy bar currently has over 50,000 likes on Facebook.
- Have a distinct personality. These days, there's hundreds of fast food and restaurants for customers to choose from. Highly successful restaurants, no matter the size, know how to cater to their loyal customers. Giovanni's Lunch Cart, literally just a seasonal lunch cart, serves a limited variety of fries, burgers and sandwiches to the residents of Victor, NY. Locals rave about the food, and the chef- Giovanni Gullace. Gullace, along with his wife, have been open for 22 years, operating out of the same small park.
- Offer something no one else can. Have an idea for an unusual product or service? It may just be crazy enough to work. While many companies struggle to find an identity for themselves, truly unique companies don't have to. Hangover Helpers out of Colorado has a very simple strategy- they clean up after college house parties and make the residents breakfast. The two man team hands each housemate an ice cold Gatorade, and prepares them a breakfast burrito while cleaning up beer cans, trash, and other party debris.
While most marketing professionals will confirm that social media isn't going anywhere, remember, it isn't everything. With the redundancy of promotional emails and limited time offers, social updates and postings tend to lose their punch. Set yourself apart from exclusively using online marketing, and find creative ways to set your company apart offline.
“Melissa Weidenborner is a content creation strategist specializing in social media and SEO. She's the SEO/Social Media Manager for Queensboro Shirt Company, a custom embroidered shirt and promotional products company in Wilmington, NC. Give her a shout on Twitter.”