As of September 2013, 73 percent of online adults use social networking sites. With that in mind, marketers spend a majority of their time building an online presence. From maintaining social profiles to launching digital campaigns, most marketing strategies revolve around the Internet. We’ve seen first-hand how valuable social media is, and maintaining your presence there is absolutely essential. But don’t write off the analog world! There are still benefits to building offline connections.
Today, community managers, marketers, and social media enthusiasts around the globe come together to celebrate the fifth annual Social Media Day. Launched in 2010, the event serves as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. Each year, thousands of people organize hundreds of meetups around the world and share in conversations of how social media impacts our lives.
Whether you choose to celebrate or not, we hope that you take some time to step out from behind your computers and iPads to engage with colleagues and fans offline on Social Media Day, too. Here are a couple of reasons why you should.
Become a Resource
While your job requires you to communicate with customers, it’s just as important to use those communication skills to keep in touch with coworkers and industry colleagues. If you’ve been following our Community Manager Field Guide series, then you’ve seen first-hand how rewarding it is to share experiences and tangible ideas.
“I work with a brilliant group of ladies and regularly bounce ideas off of my fellow community team members,” explained Megan Singley of Moz. “We make great stuff happen when we put our heads together.” It’s also important to go beyond your local team and talk to and learn from other community managers and marketers. Conferences and offline events like Social Media Day meetups create perfect opportunities to do just that.
Social media is constantly evolving and so are the demands of your customers. If you don’t set limits for yourself, your job can leave you feeling drained, overworked, and frustrated. When you’re off your game, your community notices — and sometimes even before you do. Stepping away from your keyboard, whether that means getting away from the office for lunch or taking a longer vacation, helps you relax, de-stress, and get your brain ready to get back on the job when you clock back in.
Create an Experience
When you’re not taking time out offline for yourself, consider creating an exciting experience for your fans and customers. This can consist of adding a digital layer to non-social activities — brands have successfully built social campaigns around live events like the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and the Oscars — or optimizing content for mobile devices so consumers can interact with you on-the-go.
Additionally, you’ve built an awesome community around your brand online, so why not elevate those relationships beyond status updates and character limits? There are dozens of inspiring examples of brands engaging with customers that you can learn from. For example, last year WestJet surprised travelers with Christmas presents in this festive offline campaign.
Musicians like Justin Timberlake and sports teams like the St. Louis Cardinals have used social media to launch successful offline scavenger hunts. Following its 2011 World Series win, the St. Louis Cardinals teamed up with sponsor Louisville Slugger to launch a city-wide scavenger hunt. The campaign was a huge success among fans, and Louisville Slugger saw a major increase in Twitter and Facebook followers as a result.
At the end of the day, it’s important that you have a happy team and happy customers. Whether you spend some time offline to reinvigorate yourself or give back to your community, it all comes down to your passion for the industry and enthusiasm to learn and test new strategies. Don’t be afraid to mix things up once in a while.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.