Sep 15, 2016 / by Guest Contributor

According to a recent study by Fluent, consumers who are reached through a greater number of channels engage more with, and buy more from, brands. The study surveyed 1,802 Americans and found that traditional engagement channels — such as television and print — offer the most reach.

Another study by Statista found that as many as 43 percent of Canadians relied on traditional media to research Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in November 2015.

While social media is increasingly gaining prominence, it shouldn’t be treated as isolated from the “offline” world; this is is because out of the 7.4 billion people in the world, only 2.3 billion are active on social media.

There’s still a lot of audience to be tapped into outside the social media world.

“Moment marketing,” which creates a real-time connection between offline and online media, is gaining momentum. A recent report by TVTY found that 67 percent of brands are planning to spend more on digital campaigns triggered by offline events.

The real question is how does this apply to your social media strategy?

By following the five tips below, you’ll be able to boost your social media engagement through the power of offline marketing.

1. Have consistent social media profiles, and feature them in your offline marketing.

If I had a penny for every time a major brand asked people to follow them on social media only to include social media logos, I’d be filthy rich. At the end of the day, is it the Facebook or Twitter logo you want people to follow, or your brand?

If possible, ensure you use a consistent handle — hopefully your brand name — across all your social media channels. Then include this handle in your offline marketing materials.

Don’t simply say, “Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.” Instead say, “Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @Brandname.” Let people know what account to follow; this is especially important if there are duplicate, or similar, social media accounts to yours.

2. Encourage people to go online and engage with your brand.

A study by Global Web Index found that 80 percent of Internet users own a smartphone. Another study led by Nottingham Trent University found that the average person checks their mobile phone 85 times a day, with an average of five hours — or about a third of their waking time — spent on it. It has also been revealed that 46 percent of U.S. smartphone owners use their device while watching TV on a daily basis.

For the majority of people’s waking hours — whether in front of the TV, on a commute or at the mall — there’s a huge probability that their mobile device is with them.

Take advantage of this fact and ask them to go and interact with your brand on social media; you can ask them to tweet a particular message or use a particular hashtag.

Popular TV shows do this by asking viewers to live tweet the show: Scandal star Kerry Washington credits social media for helping sustain the show and keeping it running. One episode of the show drew over 119,000 live tweets by inviting viewers to come online and tweet.

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3. Reward offline users for interacting with your brand.

Getting an offline user to interact with your brand online can be a bit tricky, but not impossible. Sometimes, rewarding offline users who engage with your brand will do the trick. Here are some tips:

  • Run giveaways for offline users who come and interact with your brand online
  • Offer coupons to offline users who engage with your brand on social media
  • Feature customers who engage with your brand on social in a unique way

4. Ask a question or insert your brand into a trending conversation.

While you should always err on the side of caution when discussing a controversial topic, if done right, engaging in a trending conversation is one of the best ways to boost social media engagement for your brand.

Usually, people get bombarded with offline requests to follow or like a brand on social media, so they naturally tune out these messages. However, it’s hard to resist the desire to be part of a major debate.

A good way to approach this is by asking your audience an interesting question and asking them to take the discussion online — it is important to ensure that the questions you ask interest your audience and are relevant to your brand. Asking random questions won’t do the trick. They can share their views on your platform, share it to their social media accounts, tag you in their answer or blog about it.

For example, on Oreo’s product packaging, they ask their customers a question: “To dunk or not to dunk? Let us know at” Oreo currently has 42 million fans on Facebook and lots of engagement. They must be doing something right!

5. Encourage people to live tweet your events.

If your brand runs an offline event, or if you’re part of the panel at an offline event, you can boost online engagement by encouraging people to live tweet what’s happening. If done right, this can result in a massive boost in engagement even with a limited number of attendees.

Moz did this for their 2,500-person MozCon event. By asking attendees to live tweet the event with the #MozCon hashtag, they started to trend on Twitter, creating massive engagement around the Moz brand.

It is also important to keep things relevant; for example, if you run an annual conference or event, you can change the year at the end of your hashtag to make it easy for users to keep track of things. A good example of this in action is the #BTTF2015 hashtag that helped mark the Back to the Future Day on October 21, 2015. This made it easy to share information about the trilogy and gave fans a means to communicate on social media.

Track what works – and what doesn’t.

As with any marketing activities, continually measure the impact these tactics have on your online and offline success. Just make sure you’re tracking the right things.

Learn how to accurately connect your communications to results that matter by downloading Avoid the Numbers Trap & Give Your Clients Meaningful ReportsThis free guide can help agencies and brand marketers alike prove (and improve on!) their value.

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Author John Stevens is the CEO of Hosting Facts, a top hosting reviews firm. He is also a partner in the Website Setup blogging project.

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