There is good reason for brands and marketers to be bullish on social media as a customer interaction platform. With millions of people logging into Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (to name just a few) every single day, we’d be foolish to ignore the opportunity for direct and ongoing dialogue. However, there remains a significant disconnect between the way consumers use social media and how marketers view it. Consider these statistics:
- - 88% of Facebook users never return to a Fan page once they “Like” it
- - Only about 16%-18% of fans actually see brand posts in their Facebook newsfeeds
- - Less than 5% of consumers desire brand offers via Facebook or Twitter…even those that gave permission to do so
Now, compare those numbers to research that states over 90% of brand-related word of mouth conversations happen in person. Offline, in-the-flesh engagement remains the undisputed champion of customer contact. This is the foundation of what I view as the new and most efficient engagement model – online to offline (O2O). At the heart of this approach is the belief that online tactics should mostly be used to drive targets offline for major impact marketing efforts. For example, a brand monitors Twitter conversations and sends out surprise gift-giving street teams to followers.
Diving even deeper into O2O, consider the next level of fusing online and offline experiences by determining where each tactic will activate most effectively along the communication timeline.
- - Before Offline Experience: Here we find triggers or sparks that set the table for offline experiences. Utilize online systems to tease the upcoming event
- - During Offline Experience: This is when participants utilize social (via mobile) to share their experiences with friends and family. Offer exclusive, real-time content that is easily shareable and helps consumers express their unique selves
- - After Offline Experience: Recognize participants will go online to research and verify your brand via reviews, your website and social media channels, etc. This is a great time to close the communication loop and inspire further action customized to each person’s needs
Viewing digital marketing as a springboard for “hugs and handshakes” offline communication is an extremely valuable way to enhance the overall customer experience and position your brand in a meaningful light.