social media how toDo you know how your social media activities are driving offline sales? How many customers came into your store or called for more information after viewing your social media profiles?

Here’s one of the biggest questions for businesses: Will the time they spend interacting on Facebook and Twitter affect their sales? Though they spend the considerable effort necessary to create thriving social media communities, small business owners and marketers often fail to drive floor traffic, inbound calls, store sales, and other offline business success metrics.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Savvy marketers will begin to tie the development of communities on social media networks to increased revenue if they implement a few of these simple steps that make sense for their specific business.

#1: Place Your Phone Number on All Social Media Accounts

Google Voice

Use Google Voice to track incoming calls from your social media profiles.

If your business has a more consultative sales process, starting conversations on your blog or social networks is a great way to generate leads.  A natural extension is to place your contact phone number on all of your social media presences and on each blog post for the customers who find you via search.  Using a separate Google Voice number that forwards to your main account lets you track the number of inbound calls you receive from your social media activities.  Though Google Voice is currently invite-only, invitations are available for $1 and less on eBay.

#2: Promote Offline Events on Social Media

Facebook has an especially robust function for creating events and promoting them.  Facebook events allow you to post pictures and event location information, while also inviting your fan base to participate.  You also can message all attendees to remind them about the event or give special instructions.  Creating a Facebook event page then gives you a landing page that will direct visitors to your blog and Twitter followers too.


Here's an example of using Facebook to promote a large social media event.

#3: Offer Coupons Exclusive to Social Media Channels

This is my personal favorite.  Make specific offers through each social media channel you use, like 10% off a purchase if you print a coupon from Facebook, or “buy one get one free” if you use a code sent out in a Tweet.  Keep a spreadsheet of the different offers and the response rate, and you’ll begin to generate really useful data about the best way to optimize your marketing campaigns for each channel.  Incentives are a great way to build the size of your social media communities. Also, giving fans and followers an incentive to follow you shows the importance you place on social media outreach.

Kohl's Coupon

Kohl's example of an exclusive offer delivered to social media community members. They also encourage users to share the offer with friends, increasing its reach.

#4: Host a TweetUp


Here's a sample invitation to a TweetUp. Charity events and cocktail hours work especially well for drawing attendees to TweetUps. Photo credit.

The best way to cement interactions online is to meet your contacts face to face, and there is no better way to do this than to host a TweetUp.  While you probably won’t bring more than 1,000 members to your event like Ford did in the largest TweetUp ever, TweetUps let you form more personal relationships with your local followers. Here’s a great in-depth resource on how to host a successful TweetUp.

#5: Connect Social Media and Email Campaigns

Many businesses have established email lists they use to stay in touch with customers.  Drive visitors on your social media accounts to sign up for your email list to receive more information about your business.  Getting social media visitors on your email list can connect you with people you might not otherwise reach with social media.  Bolstering your email list gives you an additional way to inform people about offline events and specials, in case they don’t see a specific offer you make on a social media channel.

The best way to close the loop between social media and offline action is to promote your social media channels offline as well—adding another way for you to stay in touch with your customers in between purchases.  I hope these suggestions help you start thinking about ways to convert your social media fans and followers into loyal customers. I’m sure you have many other great suggestions on how to drive offline action with social media outreach.

Have you tried any of these? Which ways did I leave off my list? Please comment in the box below.

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  • All great ideas. The main thing here to take away is to integrate online and offline marketing efforts. That’s where people seem to have the most trouble re: social media. It seems to almost replace traditional business practices by some people and businesses, but it should just be another tool in your toolbelt. Having a Twitter account in and of itself isn’t enough to stand on its own, same as having a billboard isn’t enough.

  • Thanks for sharing this. I’m meeting with a potential client who his a restaurant in a few days and all the ideas you’ve shared here will definitely influence my recommendations for them.

  • This is very interesting site for knowledge
    Best Regard

  • Great article, Peter. I’m a big believer in moving social media friends to an email list with different offers. In the end, email promotions still out pull social media, but they get on the list through social networks.

  • This is a great list! Another thing you could add, which is only for Facebook, is to add a Facebook Tab with an online store.

  • FYI – I have 3 Google Voice invites so if anyone wants one, send me a private msg on Facebook with your email address: or DM me on Twitter:

  • peterwylie

    Glad you found them useful. Thanks for reading!


  • peterwylie

    Couldn’t agree more Matthew. Solutions in social media have to be comprehensive.

    Thanks for reading,


  • peterwylie

    Great idea Cassie, thanks for the suggestion,


  • peterwylie

    Great insight. I’m glad you’ve found that strategy useful, too,

    Thanks for commenting,


  • Great article! My addition is to use Foursquare and Yelp for check-ins and to promote your services and offers locally.

  • Great tips. Never thought of putting our phone number on blog posts!

    I’d like to see some creative uses of Facebook Events, like contests. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head. I know Facebook has limits on what you can and can’t do on their platform re: contests, though — with threats of shutting down your account if you break those rules. Here’s an article on the rules:

    Any thoughts?

    Michelle Quillin for New England Multimedia & Q Web Consulting

  • I agree with this!! Social media plans have to be integrated in one’s overall marketing approach. Some social media tools replace offline tools, but definitely not all of them, especially direct-marketing campaigns.

  • Good idea: I just started posting my phone number last week.

    No results yet, but I’m not really expecting anything for a month or so. These things always do nothing then blow up.

  • WE have been holding tweetups in NW Indiana for over a year and have one of most successful in the state of Indiana and we have been told that we are better than any bni or tip club out there. We work with each other and collaboration is the key.

  • Der, I feel so stupid, you have our poster in your article for NWItweetup.

  • For some reason I decided to check out this post and as I scrolled down I see the flyer that I made for a tweetup that I was a main organizer for. I am happy to see my work on a site. pretty cool stuff.

  • All the comments are really good and helpful. Have your phone number available and promoting an external event are very valuable tools.

  • herblawrence

    Great post. As Center director for the Arkansas State University Small Business & Technology Development Center in Northeast Arkansas we are working with a lot of small businesses interested in getting involved in social media marketing. One of the main things we keep emphasizing is the need to get their fans/followers, etc. to actually act. Will be sharing with them and since we use social media to market our center and programs will be integrating this into our marketing as well. Thanks

  • I’m curious where you found that tweetup flyer. My buddy Rahsaan made that.

  • I agree that your social media should be widespread and comprehensive, based on more and more networks. If used for SMM purposes, getting as many people to see it as possible is vital.

  • peterwylie


    Thought you guys did great work promoting the TweetUp and wanted to show it to the readers. Glad you found it and thanks for reading,


  • peterwylie


    No problem. Your group is a great example for people looking to use Twitter to build community. Thanks for commenting,


  • peterwylie


    Great additional tips. Thanks for commenting,


  • peterwylie


    I was doing research on successful TweetUps and came across the flyer. It was one of the most compelling and engaging that I found and wanted to highlight it. Thanks for commenting,


  • peterwylie


    Glad you found it useful. Let me know how using the techniques goes,


  • peterwylie


    Contests are a good way to drive engagement, but you really have to be careful, for the reasons described in your article. Also, I’ve seen some contests produce a strong initial response, but yield followers/fans that were not as engaged as those that joined based on the strength and originality of custom content. I’d be happy to discuss my thoughts in more detail, so feel free to reach out and we can connect for a chat.

    Thanks for commenting and reading,


  • The article is very good, and so are the tips shared for a better use of the social media sites, especially when it comes to doing business.
    I agree with you @peterwylie when you say that users have to be careful, for the reasons described above, in the article. Even when the positive features and the benefits are clearly more than those flaws or disadvantages when it comes to using social media, the user has to protect him/herself in order to avoid eventual problems and eventual data theft.

  • mmccomber

    unless you’re hanging from your billboard, then you get lots of attention. Wink

  • Novel ideas, some I haven’t heard of, thank you.
    I can see why you hold the post that you do!

  • Phurley

    A few folks have mentioned contests conducted on SM channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and while I’ve run across numerous references to social media contest rules, I have not yet located a comprehensive list of guidelines – can anyone recommend a source for this type of information?

  • Phil

    Great article, I ‘m a big believer in moving social media friends to an email list with different offers. In the end, email promotions still out pull social media, but they get on the list through social networks.

  • Gbenga Daniel

    Thanks Cassie, this is very innovative

  • Brad

    Many businesses have established email lists they use to stay in touch with customers. Drive visitors on your social media accounts to sign up for your email list to receive more information about your business.

  • David

    Do you know how your social media activities are driving offline sales? How many customers came into your store or called for more.After reading this article you will get your all answer.