Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel
In a world where people engage more with their technology than other people, dedicating time to face-to-face networking becomes even more important. Social networks were designed to empower human-to-human connections, not replace them. Online marketing done well supports offline marketing efforts and vice versa. Why? Online marketing builds excitement and awareness for the brand. Commercial real estate professionals use online to market new products, properties, share news, engage consumers, and generate authentic leads. In the real world, CRE professionals build influence by networking at workshops and conferences. These new connections go online to share ideas long after the initial meeting. The cycle continues when professionals use online social networks to plan a real world meet-up.
The best content marketers transition online audiences to human audiences and back again. Strengthen online relationships in the real world to develop a stronger, more engaged user base in four ways.
1) Plan Ahead
Leverage your social media networks to build excitement for upcoming offline events. Announce the events you will be attending. Use social to promote any panels, keynotes, workshops, or networking events you’ll lead, places you plan to be, or where to find your vendor booth. Start well in advance of the event and regularly promote your attendance using special event hashtags. As a conference attendee, note any sessions you’re excited about attending and tag the presenters in social media posts. Get the conversation started early.
2) Host a Class
Gain some apples by educating others with an in-person class or seminar. Promote the event on social networks before the class. Lure signs-ups with a blog about what the content attendees will learn. For an example, see the recent blog about a class The Content Funnel founder Michael Beckerman taught at the University of Shopping Centers by ICSC. During the class, encourage attendees to discuss the concepts in small groups. Encourage networking amongst the attendees along with engagement with yourself, the host. Spend time after the class to answer any one-on-one questions and ask the interested individuals to connect with you on social. If you are able to video record the class, select key snippets to use for online campaigns. Turn the class attendees into social fans with a post-class email linked to helpful content related to the course and a request to follow on social networks.
3) Share Offline Happenings
CRE professionals are serious go-getters. Show the world how you are seizing the day and getting personal at your business. Consider all the ways your business engages the community in real life. Share a visit with a business partner or thank a special customer for stopping by. Highlight special events, like team lunches, a product launch party, or packing for an upcoming conference. Use online marketing to emphasize the real world connections your team builds every day. Remember to tag any relevant people included in the post for an extra social boost.
4) Turn People Back Online
Remember: online and offline marketing have a symbiotic relationship. Use your offline events to supercharge your online marketing. Hosting a special event? Create an event-specific hashtag and promote on the offline collateral: banners, flyers, handouts, or written on the whiteboard in a classroom. Point out the hashtag and motivate social butterflies to use it. No event hashtag? Replace with a call to action asking participants to sign up for a newsletter or to follow on social. Remember to include what they’ll get in return. Example: “Follow us on Instagram to learn our launch date!” Collect social handles from potential customers stopping a display booth and send a public thanks. Invite participants to a post-event scheduled chat to follow up on the conversation you’ve started.
Successful commercial real estate professionals know the value of face time. Use online marketing efforts to enhance your working relationships. At the same time, a positive face-to-face interaction will grow your online marketing. It’s a cycle where both strategies benefit.