The ultimate goal in most businesses’ marketing strategies is to increase returns and reap a higher profit. I’m sure many advisors are familiar with the saying “butts in seats.” The great part about social media is its ability to integrate online and offline communications. If social media is all about people having conversations online, why not turn those conversations into in-person events and vice versa? Think about it—the purpose of social media is to create and nurture online communities in much the same way that you would treat offline communities.

Don’t think you have the offline company resources to utilize in the online world? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a TV show, radio show, blog or video blog?
  • Are you a columnist in a local paper? Or can you find someone to cover a story on you?
  • How do you participate in your local community (church, chamber of commerce, education, smaller local networking groups)?
  • What are you currently doing for marketing (direct mail, radio ads, TV ads, newspaper ads, newsletters)?

If you can answer yes to at least of one of the questions above, you have the ability to integrate your online and offline communications.

Now, let’s address the same questions above but provide ways of creating avenues between your online and offline efforts.

Do you have a TV show, radio show, blog or video blog?

Not only can you utilize your social networks to promote your TV or radio show (including creating groups and fan pages for each one), but you can also take the recordings from both and upload them to video hosting sites, such as YouTube. Once the videos and recordings are uploaded, post them on your social networks to promote the show. Blogs and video blogs can be treated much the same way, with posts on your networks promoting them. If you have a TV or radio show and a blog, promote your blog offline by hosting specific shows dedicated to the blog topics.

Are you a columnist in a local paper? Or can you find someone to cover a story on you?

At the end of your columns, make sure to list your social networks and tell your readers to visit your website and become fans of your organization. Make sure to have the columns published online as well, and link them to your social networks as well as push your followers to the columns online.

How do you participate in your local community?

When it comes to local community events, be careful how you promote your business. You may find it inappropriate to promote your business at some events, but you’ll also find it advantageous to promote those events online beforehand. Are you a part of local networking groups? Create groups on Facebook for members to post and discuss upcoming topics and meetings. If you plan to sponsor events in the future, create events online through Facebook and LinkedIn to promote the occasions. Utilize all your social networks to get the word out.

What are you currently doing for marketing?

Not only can all of these print marketing tools be turned into online communications, but they can also host a number of online resources that will direct them to your social networks. For example, if you send out direct mail or advertise in the newspaper, create a QR code that will take them to your website. Include a list of your social networking sites. If you are using radio or TV ads, direct them to your website or social networking sites with incentives, such as, “Become a fan of my fan page and receive a discount or coupon for further services.” You can also utilize those recorded ads to host them online as well.

As you can see, there are so many different ways to integrate online and offline communications, and most of them benefit not only your business but also your clients and your community.

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    Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and president of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website at www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.