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Social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, etc.) is your link to millions of people in an instant. Whether you are marketing content on your site or your company's latest product social media gives you the power to reach people, which is what marketing is all about, right?

But you need to take that interaction one step further. Simply reaching customers online is only half the battle. Today, marketing is as much about reaching customers as it is about making sure people know what and who your company is.

What social media can really do for you is help you create a face, a persona for your business. But you have to use social media in order to get your brand out there where customers and consumers get to see that face and persona. You have to step out of the comfort of your business and its walls, and step into the world where your customers are.

We're going to examine techniques you can use on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare simultaneously to pull you and your customers to a specified location where you can then sell products, develop relationships, and build a culture for your company outside the walls of your business.

We'll say, for the purposes of this article, you own a boutique flower shop and you've got a new type of bouquet you're plugging in your store and on your website. There is also a fair (state, local, or national) that you have set up a booth at.

Facebook

The key to social media is to be clear and concise. The last thing you want is to set up an event through Facebook and have people question where they are going, what the event actually is, or what time they are supposed to be at the event. Fortunately Facebook makes it pretty easy. Just like Facebook users create events for parties, you can do the same for your day out at the fair. Set up the event and call it Flower Shops Day at the Fair or something like that. This is a good opportunity to be creative and start to show the personality of your brand.

And remember, when you set up your event be sure to let your followers know that the specials going on at the fair will be for them only. This can be done a number of ways. You can create a coupon that is accessible only on your social media pages (this is a great way to get Facebook users over to your Twitter or Foursquare pages, as well). You could also let them know that they can get the specials if they mention that they were directed to your booth via social media. You can also set up a link to the event on Foursquare where when they check in they get the special (more on this later). We'll assume now, though, that you are going to direct traffic back to your Foursquare page where the coupon is accessible after check-in.

Now you'll just need to create those specials (think 25 percent off purchase, $5 off of new bouquet, or buy one get one free).

Twitter

If you're looking for viral marketing opportunities, you've got it with Twitter. Twitter has changed the way marketing campaigns are handled, without a doubt. The reach of this particular platform is limitless, and done right it can increase your sales or views beyond what you thought possible. Your message goes out to all your followers, and then your followers retweet it or respond to it which then makes it viewable to all their followers and it continues to spread around the world. It's like that game of Telephone you played as a kid — except this message can't get skewed.

So, after you get the event set up through Facebook, you're going to tweet the event details (with a link to the Facebook event page) and remind your followers that this deal is only for them. Tweet the details at least four times per day every day leading up to the event (in addition to your normal tweet schedule).

FourSquare

For the full effect, you'll create a new venue on Foursquare at the fair. Call it something like Flower Shop Booth and then set up a check-in special. Foursquare allows businesses to set up specials with either one check-in or a series of check-ins. You'll want to set this up as a single check-in special, as this will be the most logical way to get customers to your booth.

Foursquare offers built-in analytics for businesses. For example, in your Foursquare dashboard you can view an age breakdown of people that checked in, a gender breakdown, how many people checked in, what percentage of those people sent their check-in to Facebook and Twitter, and what times they checked in.

This is immensely helpful when it comes to your overall marketing strategy as well. These types of analytics can really help you narrow down who is interested in your product, giving you a good idea of which 20 percent of your customers are going to make 80 percent of the purchases.

Conclusion

When its all said and done, all you need is to be prepared with your booth adequately labeled so people know where they are going.

Have you used social media to makes deals in the "real world"?

Haylen Bradley

Haylen Bradley is a contributor at TipsOnHowToSaveMoney.com. She also consults for small businesses in the Houston area and pursues her MBA at night.

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