The real world is often overlooked when small businesses try to raise awareness of their online efforts. But with a few clear exceptions, people still do most of their living offline. Physical space can be as good of a place as any to advertise your website, social media accounts and blogs.
There are a bevy of creative ways to get your online properties in people's offline views, and we've got the photographic evidence to prove it. These seven strategies will help you kick-start your brainstorm for the perfect offline efforts for your online strategy.
If you've already dabbled in promoting your social media efforts offline, let us know which ways were successful in the comments below. Don't forget links to pictures!
1. Integrate Your Web Presence into Offline Advertising
Jeweler Samuel Gordon ran this full-page magazine ad in a local publication. It includes the company Twitter account, Facebook Page, iPhone App and a QR code for its Android App.
The folks at Martin Flyer linked to their website with a QR code on their ad in InStyle Magazine. You can learn more about using QR codes for small business marketing here.
2. Make Traditional Business Cards Online-Friendly
Maria Todd, the CEO of Mercury Healthcare, frequently speaks to associations and healthcare professionals. She includes a special tracer code on her business cards and Facebook Fan Page that gives those who use the code a 25 percent discount on future webinars, seminars and speaking engagements. In order to view her schedule, you need to visit her Facebook Fan Page.
Social media-friendly business cards give others more options for connecting with you. At appbistro, employees add Twitter handles to their business cards. "It's simple, but when people want to reconnect with you, it's always there as a reminder," says Heath Black, the owner of this card.
3. Use Your Vehicle as a Billboard
BumperTwit will help you turn your car into a billboard for your Twitter account for $7.
Jay Ducote runs a blog called biteandbooze.comabout food trucks in Baton Rouge. "The Baton Rouge food truck scene is emerging, and [trucks] heavily use social media to promote where they are located at any given time," he says. "In order to increase their social media following, they all promote their social media accounts on their trucks."
4. Integrate Online Components into Offline Events
BestSmallBizHelp.com invited small business owners to come together to blog about each others' companies. It named the shindig a "blog party." For details on how to start your own, see its website.
H20 Audio took photos and short videos of people using its waterproof headphones at a promotional event. They posted the images in a Facebook gallery and then directed everyone at the event to the brand's Facebook Page to vote for favorites. People who were out of town could also submit photos online.
5. Get Creative
To promote his reflective bike tape business, Brent Thomas sends postcards with a QR code that may link to videos, pictures or his website.
Thomas also organized a scavenger hunt to promote his product. He announced the hunt on his blog, hid free BikeWrappers all around the city, and disclosed their locations over Twitter. The first one was found 20 minutes after the first Tweet.
ItsMyURLs.com co-founder Mukhtar Mohamed wore some hi-tech bling (yes, that's an iPad) to demo the profile aggregator website in Harvard Square, Mass.
When Page.ly hands out a T-shirt, it comes with a label that asks the recipient to add a "Page.ly" tag to photos that show the shirt on Flickr. T-shirt wearers' photos then show up on the Page.ly website.
The team members from Brazilian social media agency Agencia de Sites showed up to the Social Media Brasil conference with their personal Twitter handles displayed on each of their "jerseys."
The team members from Brazilian social media agency Agencia de Sites showed up to the Social Media Brasil conference with their personal Twitter handles displayed on each of their "jerseys.