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5 Ways to Use Social Media to Make a Huge Impact in Real Life


As ubiquitous as social media in this day and age, more people are turning an apathetic ear to what brands have to say rather than hanging on their every word on these channels.

That shouldn’t come as a shock to you, though.

After all, like direct mail, email, print and broadcast, social media channels are far from immune to audience fatigue. Regardless of the medium, customers and prospects grow tired of a barrage of the same old marketing messages. They become skeptical, jaded and impatient over time. They turn off and tune out.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to reinvent the wheel and take your social media program to the next level. Contests. Paid advertising. Bigger staffs. Better strategies. Those are just a few quick ideas.

But what about taking your online activities offline? What about connecting the dots between the inanimate computing device and real life? What about engaging people wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, in the physical, not the virtual, world.

Here are five ways to bridge the social media communication gap between online and off, tactics that promise to go a long way toward establishing a mutually beneficial dialogue between you and your constituency.

1. Hold a Scavenger Hunt.

If you have something to give away, make a game out of it and use social media to point people in the right direction – on land, not the Web. That’s what @BostonTweet does on Twitter. Every once in a while, he tells his 100,000+ followers he has tickets to some such event, and takes a pic – including identifiable clues – of where he’s hidden the free prize. First come, first served. A scavenger hunt is a great way to not only engage and reward the most loyal members of your audience, it may attract new connections as well.

Example: Boston Tweet

2. Have your Own Orange Room.

Do you watch NBC’s TODAY show in the morning? Then you’ve probably seen the Orange Room, where the likes of Carson Daly, Tamron Hall and Dylan Dreyer take a few minutes to address the latest trending stories on social media. Not only do they give members of their traditional TV audience this unique online perspective, but they also give occasional shout-outs to followers, fans and, of course, celebrities who have weighed in on social media on a particular hot topic.

Example: TODAY Show

3. Set Up a Selfie Station.

2013’s word of the year was all the rage in 2014. And that’s putting it mildly. From Ellen’s (@TheEllenShow) epic group selfie at the Oscars to the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz’s with none other than President Obama, almost everybody was getting into the act. So don’t worry about hiring a professional photographer. Set up a selfie station at your next special event. You’ll give your guests the opportunity to make fun memories for themselves. They’ll give you props on social media in return.

Example: Screen Actors Guild

Congratulations @sofiavergara! #sagawards #sagawardsselfie

A photo posted by SAG Awards (@sagawards) on

4. Build a Social Media Wall.

There are many reasons to display a steady stream of content on a big screen. If we’re talking about a conference, concert or sporting event, it’s a convenient way for those in attendance to stay informed and entertained. It’s also a nice way to give contributors a few seconds of fame. A wall of tweets, posts and pics calls attention to the so-called “backchannel,” the online chatter among spectators during the event itself. It’s a unique feedback loop, a very cool meta experience for members of the audience. More people than not will be inspired to socialize the moment if they know their words and pictures are going to be up in lights.

Example: Postano


5. Use a Vending Machine.

If you want to be a huge hit, do what the Boston Red Sox did recently and trot out a vending machine to engage your fans. To help promote ticket sales for the 2015 season, they installed one at both The Shops in Prudential Center and Faneuil Hall Marketplace, enabled by Twitter and Instagram, respectively. People waited in line to find out what they won from the team thanks to their posts tagged #TheGiftOfSox. Bobble head dolls, autographed souvenirs and tickets were just a few of the prizes given away.

Example: Boston Red Sox

Note: This post, “5 Ways to Use Social Media to Make a Huge Impact in Real Life,” was originally published on ClickZ on January 6, 2015. To read the post there, click here.

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