Any day on your commute, look around and notice how many people have their faces glued to their phones. In lectures, you’ll see students tweeting while their professors try to teach. When your friends go out to the bar on the weekend, they bring Snapchat with them. Real moments become hard to enjoy when every action is gauged by its shareability on Instagram.
With this in mind, I recently wondered how I could engage my social network “in real life” (IRL). I wanted people to put down their phones and talk again. Here are a few things I came up with. Feel free to use these suggestions to reconnect with your tribe as well.
1. Host a Meetup
When I first noticed how cell phones were controlling us, ironically, I decided to take to Twitter. I voiced my dismay with how people weren’t engaging with each other in real life. So, I proposed to my followers that we should have a creative meetup. The event would be for anyone who’d want to take cool photographs or get photographed at a park in New York City. I wanted to bring everyone on my timeline to one place for one reason—to engage with each other in real life. Before I knew it, hundreds of people were showing interest in the meetup. They too had become jaded with how the Internet had taken hold of our lives. To my surprise, about 50 people showed up.
Everyone who attended the meetup posted about it on social media. My follower numbers jumped and profile views were in the tens of thousands after just a few days. This is a great example of IRL marketing. Bring your followers to a given location with a specific purpose in mind. You’d be surprised how many people will come together for a cause.
2. Start a Club
A few weeks after my meetup, I received a direct message from a friend. He decided to start a book club with some of his social followers. The club would meet once a week at a park in the city. As a professional social media practitioner, I recognized this as a real opportunity. Building a club with your followers is a great way to get to know them in person. It’s organic and you don’t have to hide behind a keyboard to showcase your brand or who you are.
3. Stream Live Q&As
Going on Instagram Live or Facebook Live isn’t necessarily engaging with your followers in real life, but it is engaging with them in real-time. Ask your followers to prepare questions for you. This is a great way for them to get to know you. Don’t have enough followers to get questions from? Try looking up “Personal questions” on Google. In my experience, answering deep questions on live video has been a great way to build relationships both online and offline.
I’ve made it my mission to bridge the gap between social media and the real world. If you have any supporting ideas on how to engage with your followers in real life, please comment below.