Differentiate your marketing strategies by sending cake. Stand out.All right, folks. We know that social media is the big “to do” currently, but while we’re spending all of our time doing that, what have we been missing out on? (Maybe a bit of personal, thoughtful interaction?) Here are five marketing strategies that you should be using (that don’t require likes, friends, followers or connections).

1. Get coffee. (Network)

Go on! Get out there! Meet people face-to-face! Start with people you know to get used to the idea of getting out from behind your computer. Just ask them out for a cup of coffee. Talk to them about what’s going on in their world. Identify ways you might be able to help them. Have a thoughtful conversation about projects you’re working on. Share business ideas. Make sure to exchange business cards and always offer your assistance if they are ever in need of anything. You never know what the future might bring.

2. Share knowledge. (Teach)

You do what you do at your company because you’re the best at it. You are an expert in your field. Share your knowledge! Check out speaking opportunities in your industry or hold training sessions for professional peers or students. Whenever you are in front of people, you have an opportunity to tell your story and your company’s story. Sharing your knowledge is an easy way to engage potential customers who are curious to learn more about what you have offer.

3. Create a group. (Share)

You are not alone. There are other professionals out there that share your same passion and drive. Go find them! Talk to your friends, family, and business connections and identify people with your same interests. Set up a monthly breakfast meeting with these folks. Get together and share ideas, challenges, and best practices. Groups are a great way to build lasting relationships that could potentially lead to future business opportunities.

4. Empower employees. (Refer)

Your team is your greatest asset. Empower your employees by giving them a great story to tell. Let them know that they matter to the success of your business. Build a company culture where your employees want to tell their friends about their job because they’re proud to work for you. If you do it right, all of your employees—current and former—will continue to tell your story for years to come.

5. Send cake. (Differentiate)

Direct mail really isn’t wildly effective—unless, of course, the item being mailed is cake. My all-time favorite direct mail “piece” was from a new bank in town that partnered with a local bakery to deliver the best, most beautiful key lime cake that I had ever seen. The card with the cake contained no sales message; it was just a note letting us know that they were new in town. I will always remember that bank because they did something different that made me look. What are you doing to be different? Are you making people look?

Building a successful business brand takes a combination of multiple marketing strategies. Make sure to balance how you’re using social media with what you’re doing in real life, because it’s always nice to put a face with a Twitter handle.

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