5 Tips for Integrating Social Media Presence with Offline Locations

By Lauren Sleeper

As all savvy marketers know, the integration of your social media presence with your marketing efforts in your brick and mortar locations is hugely important.  Not only will the integration improve your campaigns' performance, often times it is key to their success.  Contrary to the many businesses doing this, true integration is NOT slapping a poster in the window or on the side of the building with "Follow Us on Facebook." The fact that your brand is on Facebook now is like saying you have a cash register - it's no longer something special, it's something that is expected. When you say follow us, the customer should have a reason why, and know what is waiting for them when they get to your page. The following five tips will help you make the most of your offline/online integration, and combat the dreaded stand-alone signage:

  1. Include a strong call to action on signs: Signage and collateral that calls out your brand's social presence is fantastic, and is the one of the first easy steps to take to let your customers know to look for you on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram etc.  As I mentioned, what isn't fantastic is a sign that just says 'follow' or 'like us.'  I equate that approach with walking up to someone at a bar, handing them a napkin with your number on it, then walking away.  Sure, you might get some calls if you're cute and they liked what they saw, just like you may get some new fans and followers with a simple sign because they clearly like your brand- they are already at your location. But, you're probably not going to get the quality or quantity of dates that you would if you took the time to talk to people, and let them get to know you before handing over the digits.  If your customers have a reason to like or follow you, and immediately know what is in it for them, they will be more likely to join you on social and also come away with the sense that you are an engaging brand right from the get-go.

  2. Offer customers something exclusive: This "offer" is what you should include in your call to action.  Fan only contests, sweepstakes, coupons and other promotions are the most obvious, and while they might not be out-of-the-box creative, they do work well and serve as a good first interaction for a customer to have with your social presence.  And while a giveaway or contest are great drivers for new fans, the "offer" doesn't necessarily need to be a free product or service.  You can instead provide exclusive content - a behind the scenes look at a new product, interviews with VIPs in your organization, an opportunity to contribute to upcoming product releases for the brand etc.  If the "offer" is something exciting for your customer demographic, which you undoubtedly know very well, use it on social media as a draw.  They will not only become your fans and followers, but they will be engaging with your brand even more than they already were by walking into your location.
  3. Include social mentions on receipts and packaging: If this is a feasible task for you business, do it!  If your in-store signage and presence is done well, and your staff is trained to answer questions, the customer should have a good idea of what you are doing on social media and why they would want to follow/like your brand.  The receipt and product packing (if you have any) are what is leaving the store with the customer, and will both serve as reminders for them to find you on the network(s) you are active on.
  4. Train your staff: If you are using manpower to create stellar signage, manage your social profiles, and run exciting promotions - but your in-store staff isn't aware of what you are doing - only half of the circle is being completed.  Make the effort to train your staff not only on what networks you are on, but also the brand voice/tone, and specifics of promotions/contests that you are running.  Customers will undoubtedly have questions (even if the details are right on the collateral) - how do I find you on "X" network, how do I enter, how do I redeem my extra loyalty points, what's a MAYOR special? etc.  If your staff is able to answer those questions, they will be able to convert more customers to fans and followers.  Furthermore, if they are empowered to do so they will likely become your best advocates for your social presence.  I would even encourage you to incite them to participate on your profiles, as they are the people who know your brand best.  However, and this is a big however, you need to create a social media policy for them to follow first.  Read more about creating an internal social media policy here. 
  5. Perfect your community management skills: While this tip is not something you will be doing in your stores or locations, it is essential to your success with those efforts.  Encouraging customers to join you on social media will obviously result in more fans and followers.  As your community size grows, your community management needs will also grow.  Make sure you are prepared for this increase in conversation, and you are engaging with all of your fans on both the positive and negative comments and conversation.  If you think you need brush up on your community management skills, join Likeable's CEO, Dave Kerpen, on the 'Five A+ Attributes of an Amazing Community Manager' webinar June 27th at 1:00 pm ET.


What are other best practices you have seen companies engage in in-store to support their social efforts?  Share in the comments!  

For more tips on how to improve you social media presence, download our free Beginner's Guide to Community Management here