How to Rock Social Media while Offline

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This ain’t your typical how-to advice post for growing your social media presence. Most how-to posts focus on what to do to grow your social media presence while engaging online. How about when you’re not on the computer? Which is hopefully the majority of the time. So here’s tip #1… tattoo your Twitter handle on your forehead. I joke. I kid. I mean, you’ll get attention but you’ll just look…

Seriously though, there are ways you can “do” social media while being off the grid. Companies/apps like Hashable have attempted to bridge social media and real life interaction, but there’s nothing like the real thing baby. Below are some tips on how to rock social media while you’re offline:

Wear It?

Be careful with self-promoting clothing because you can come off corny. I’ve noticed some “Follow Me” t-shirts pop up here and there and I’m cold on them. It just seems a bit narcissistic in my opinion. I hope the lady in the previous link was wearing that at a special event where everyone was wearing one as well (click the link to see see what I’m talking about).

If you’re a business-owner, social t-shirts are fair game. I’m a fan of Bomani Jones’s #BEATEMDOWN t-shirts. The clothing represents a brand — a business. I don’t think @Bomani_Jones shirts would go as well. Hashtags build communities. They are more social than their @ sign cousins which makes them perfect for placing on shirts. This is not a clothing example but Farmers Insurance famously placed a #Farmers5 hashtag on the back of Kasey Kahne’s #5 car. It was a very successful campaign too.

Out and About

People who aren’t public figures have no use for Facebook fan pages. If you happen to have a Facebook fan page, guarantee online likes by actually being likable. A genuinely good personality can certainly carry over into growth on social media. Who would want to give any kind of support to a rotten person? It takes effort for someone to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter based purely on a real world interaction. Don’t let anything ruin a chance to gain a new advocate for your personal brand. If you openly represent a branded entity, it’s even more important to be on your best behavior while in public. Don’t jeopardize your brand’s public sentiment by making an ass of yourself (especially in this world of the camera phone and YouTube). Lastly, it always helps if your online handles are easy to spell in case you have to tell someone who has to write it on paper.

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Poooower Tip: Want to get fancy? Head over to If This Then That and get your automation on. This site allows you to use “recipes” for creating triggers that will execute all types of social functions without you having to lift a finger. Look Ma no hands! Stanford Smith at Pushing Social wrote an excellent piece on the power of IFTTT.

Video Rules

Video is easy to connect to. You don’t have to do live video streams in order to make an impact. Capture special life moments while out and about and upload them to YouTube or Vimeo later. We all know how powerful video is for business. Take your time to edit your video and don’t make your clips too long if you plan on making the footage public. It’s best to keep clips below two minutes. If you’re looking to share video privately, make your YouTube video unlisted or password-protected. Path is an excellent social network for people who want to share life moments (including video) strictly with their small personal network. And aren’t flash mobs and lip dubs always fun?

Mix Old-School Print with Social

I’m a huge fan of placing Twitter handles on posters, flyers, and stickers. This is more of a business tip as most individuals don’t walk around with self-promoting printed materials (unless you’re an independent musician). Facebook page URLs can be too long for business cards (even the vanity ones), so why not associate it with a QR code on your printed materials? Try placing your social QR code and other online destinations on other standard business-related docs like bill statements and invoices.

Does Mobile Count?

Well it’s kind of cheating (but not really). Since we’re a mobile / smartphone carrying culture, it’s almost a given that we’re constantly connected. So it’s totally possible to be social in the real world and on the web at the same time (unless you’re on a date with your significant other). With a short series of taps you can check-in at a location on Foursquare and have it shared to Twitter and Facebook. Having a good smartphone expedites the process of carrying over real life interactions to social media. If you meet someone interesting in public, you can simultaneously fire up your Twitter apps and get connected.

Network Network Network

The original meaning of social actually meant leaving your house to interact with other human beings. Networking is key for the growth of your online presence. Get out and get connected. There’s no better way to be noticed and respected by your peers than to make a good impression in person. My friendship with Mark Schaefer, a blogger/author who I really respect, didn’t really take off until I met him in-person in Atlanta. Heck, I met my friend Shawn on AOL before college. We didn’t really become cool until he came to Atlanta from Cali to visit freshman year.

Attend social media conferences at your own risk. A lot of them are over priced and under deliver. I recently posted about my experience at Social Slam 2012. That conference was worth every dime and then some. You don’t have to wait for SXSW or any other big conference. There are plenty of local events tailored for people who wish to carry the conversation onto a digital medium (i.e. tweetups). A great place to start is by joining a local chapter of the Social Media Club.

Poooower Tip: Produce creative business cards that stand out. Jay Baer from Convice and Convert made business cards that double as beer bottle openers. Who could forget that? Make sure your Twitter handle is on your business card. I’m also a fan of non-gloss one-sided business cards because they’re easy for people to write on. Give people as much as help as possible in making sure they remember details about you.

Are you ready to win in social media while you’re off the grid? Have more tips? Let me know in the comments section.