This year, social media has undoubtedly been a hot topic when it comes to marketing.
Many big brands have run campaigns on social platforms that have attracted widespread attention both from the media and the general public. This has inspired owners of small businesses to try and emulate their success by embarking on similar schemes. While there are instances of viral success for such promotional efforts, many more that have fallen by the wayside. This goes to show that social media is not the new one-size-fits-all solution to marketing that some believe it to be.
One method that really makes the most out of the potential of social media is hybrid marketing. As the name suggests, hybrid marketing involves combining real-world marketing techniques with aspects of social media. By doing this, companies can enhance their marketing and branding efforts with next to no extra expenses. By creating such ‘hybrid’ marketing campaigns, micro businesses can really reap the benefits often associated with big brand campaigns.
Let me explain…
Advantages of Hybrid Schemes
One obvious advantage of hybrid marketing is that it increases the potential outreach of a real-world campaign. Due to the face-to-face nature of many marketing techniques such as sampling and demonstrations, you only reach the people who are actually present. By combining a scheme with social media, you can access a far wider audience.
Another great benefit of hybrid schemes is that they encourage interaction between the public and your business. Consumers can experience your business in person and interact further online. This not only spreads awareness of your brand to users’ social circles but can also help provide valuable consumer feedback for your products and campaigns. Perhaps the least obvious but most advantageous feature of hybrid marketing schemes is the ability to use analytic tools to monitor the success and efficiency of a campaign. Through the utilisation of a variety of tools and techniques it is possible to quantify your marketing campaign’s effectiveness to an extent that would be virtually impossible when using just using traditional marketing schemes
Here are 3 examples of hybrid marketing, mixing offline and digital techniques that can be easily implemented by micro businesses to emulate tactics the big brands use:
1. Create a Facebook Page for your Physical Product Launch
If you have an exciting new product that is about to hit the market, you may be interested in running demonstrations in public areas with heavy footfall, to raise awareness of your brand or product and generate enthusiasm for the launch. One method you can use to transform this into a hybrid marketing scheme is creating a Facebook Page dedicated to the launch. By doing this you can also measure the demonstration scheme’s effectiveness in reaching the public.
Facebook provides ample in-built analytics tools that allow effective tracking of not just how many ‘Like’ the page, but how many Facebook users are being reached through those people. You could also combine this with Google Analytics tools for you main website. By taking an average of page views before the demonstration scheme, you can measure its effectiveness by comparing the increase. You can even use Google Analytics to track where the page views are coming from, allowing you to see how many people reach your site through the Facebook page.
2. Run a Twitter Feed for you Product Road Show
Running a road show to spread brand and product awareness throughout the country, or simply different locations within your local area, is a popular form of direct marketing. Combine your road show with a specific Twitter account to transform this traditional technique into a hybrid scheme. Twitter is the perfect platform for such a scheme as it enforces a maximum of 140 characters for each post, forcing firms to be clear, concise and clever in their interaction. The most effective firms don’t use Twitter to constantly push their marketing, communication is key when winning an appreciative audience.
Do ‘tweet’ essential information about the road show such as places and times but also interact with locals on a personal level. Creating a hashtag and encouraging people to use it in their own tweets can be an effective way of measuring your road show’s outreach. Include your designated hashtag on banners and posters publicising the event to prompt visitors to tweet using it. People are unlikely to engage if you just ask them to promote your product so for maximum efficiency provide people with an incentive to tweet.
3. Sampling Session with Foursquare
While Facebook and Twitter are the social networks with the largest userbases, Foursquare is quickly growing in popularity and shouldn’t be ignored. This location based platform offers great potential for transforming many real-world marketing schemes that are hosted at a specific place. Foursquare allows users to interact with events by ‘checking in’ through their smartphones. One way in which you could utilise it in hybrid marketing is by combining this ‘check-in’ function with a sampling scheme.
By encouraging users to ‘check in’ when receiving a sample, you are actively spreading the word about your business to others online. This improves your return on investment when giving away samples and also offers an effective way of measuring its efficiency. Foursquare offers a fantastic, free set of analytics tools that can provide information on a variety of relevant variables such as the times people choose to check in and other important attributes such as gender.
Today’s Micro Action
How could you combine social media with a real-world marketing campaign to help promote and grow your business? Take some time today to brainstorm some creative ideas and create a strategy that works.