I’ve learned a lot over the years. Being offline is the single thing startup companies overlook, because they’re too centered in on social media as the way to grow their online company.
My two online startups actually saw the most benefit from creating offline connections, and one-to-one word of mouth rather than ‘going viral’. My blog doesn’t get tons of comments, my youtube channel (12,000 subscribers) isn’t a runaway hit. I don’t have millions of followers. But I market to people who matter to me, and I work hard to find them.
What I have is a small army. Followers are flaky, but an army will fight for you. The way to build your company is to build an army, and that army is made through strong connections.
The videos that generate millions of views are actually promoted by the watercooler conversations on lunch break, the hallways in schools, and one-to-one word of mouth marketing.
One story comes to mind:
When my friend Rachel Mercer told me that she recently had to promote an event she’s doing, she discovered that paper flyering around her city was more effective than her $3-a-day targeted demographics Facebook Ad campaign. Listing views went up digitally, but more people actually responded to flyers.
She was promoting Roflcon, her own startup expo, and she actually saw better results promoting an Internet Expo offline, rather than promoting it online.
Walt loves the Orchestra. A successful online music instructor for Revision3 and UstreamTV, he started ForOrchestra.com where he arranges popular songs ‘For Orchestra’, which has been featured on Comedy Central, Perez Hilton, and even performed by The Boston Pops Orchestra. His videos have over 1,000,000 views, and he was DonorsChoose.org music blogger in 2008 to raise money for schools.