Guest Posts, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Tools

Social Media Lessons From the Offline Real World

An interesting report released from Pew Internet Research about the use of location-based services among adults found that only 28% of American adult cell phone owners use services such as maps or recommendations based on their location. In addition, 4% of all American adults use check-in apps such as Foursquare and Gowalla.

Conversely, in the social media community, checking-in is a frequent behavior, and legions of blog posts are written about location-based services.

Is this disproportionate enthusiasm among the cognoscenti? Are we so entrenched in this bubble that we’re forgetting what the “norm” really is?

I have recently become fascinated by the way that people who don’t work in social media use social. Previously, I spent a great deal of time trying to meet everyone in the world’s of social media and PR. I’ve discovered that world and the real world don’t always intersect.

Here are three ways I’ve started listening to and learning from those outside the social media bubble:

Facebook Stalking

Facebook is primarily a network of your friends, and in most cases not all of your friends have jobs in social media. Our friends come from different industries, locations, and have different interests. If you go look at your Twitter stream, the majority of the people you follow are most likely talking about the same types of issues. Facebook on the other hand offers more demographic and topical variety.

By studying and listening to what your friends post, you are able to look into the pulse of the public’s use of social media. What apps are they sharing to Facebook? What stories compel them to share with their networks? What Facebook campaigns are they responding to? What pages do they post on?

Find Some Storytellers

I don’t mean read your RSS feed or scour your Twitter stream. I mean reading blogs that individual people set up to tell their stories. This is a great way to see how people outside the professional social media world communicate, and why they take the time to blog. Reading non-industry blogs has broadened my understanding of why people use the Internet, what speaks to them, and what content they actually care about.

Want a great example of story telling from someone who has never been into the social media game? Check out my best friend’s blog about his cross-country bike tour this summer.

Listen Offline

I think this is something we always have in mind, but don’t necessarily remember to do. I’m always curious why a particular business is actually using social media. Why are they using their budget and resources on social media? Does it have a return? Has anyone scanned that QR code? Are people actually checking-in?

These are all interesting questions that we don’t ask enough in three dimensions. The best way to find out these answers is to ask real people. Ask the owner of your favorite bar how their social media specials are going. Ask your dentist if their Facebook page is worth the effort. Ask your dog groomer if they look at their Yelp reviews.

Sometimes in social media we become so enamored with the speed and power of online relationships and information that we may be forgetting that all of this ultimately has to have an offline impact too if it’s to be truly successful.

Are you keeping an eye on social media outside the realm of social media?

Guest post by Harrison Kratz, the Community Manager for MBA@UNC, an MBA degree online program from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, @KratzPR

Facebook Comments


  1. hospitalityfan says

    Interesting @KratzPr!…This is the first time that I have read a post from someone within the world of social media that seems to acknowledge how the rest of the world is not involved in Social Media full time. Have felt in some ways that I was the last of the dinosaurs to hop on to more consistently engage in social media. To my surprise there are more young people that I keep comin across in my work that are not either engaged and/or utilizing it is a frequently as I projected. Enjoyed reading your suggested tactics to understanding how the mainstream is utilizing social media.

    • HarrisonKratz says

      @hospitalityfan Thank you for your kind words! I totally agree with younger professionals not utilizing these tools to their advantage. Its a shame, but I guess it gives those who are willing to adapt that much more of an advantage :)

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. BrandBoost says

    Social media is a huge phenomenon and it’s here to stay, to grow and evolve. Even so, there will be people and businesses that will take time to become drawn into it. Let’s not to forget that social media is still a relatively new development and for people still getting to grips with DVD players it’s still someway in the future.

  3. hillaryboucher says

    A fresh perspective and something I have been thinking about lately. I’ve noticed the exponential divide between my online social media peers and the average Jane who uses email, Facebook and can’t wrap their head around twitter. I need to keep up with the online world but strategically it’s necessary to understand how other folks are using/understanding sm in relation to their lives. Social media is here to stay but the adoption curve is worth noting.

  4. says

    Thank you, Harrison, for injecting some common sense into things! The percentage of “real people” using social media in any meaningful way is much smaller than you would assume by listening to all the social media hype. Too many of my clients get caught up in thinking that if they’re not using social media “No one will ever hear us!!”. Let’s not forget that the majority of clients (and potential clients) for most businesses can still be reached the “old fashioned” way, without any investment in social media. That’s not to say that companies shouldn’t use social media – just that they should do so with a clear goal in mind, a realistic budget, knowledge of the available (and helpful) tools, and a thorough understanding of their audience.

    • HarrisonKratz says

      @Monica Hemingway Thank you for the kind words and I completely agree! Social Media should be a component to an overall strategy and should be tailored to fit the business and their consumer base. Spending time on networks that have no value can be a major waste of time and resources.

  5. says

    I love this discussion. My biz partner keeps me grounded with what I joke is an “alternative” marketing strategy; he’s been in sales for different sectors over the years and he still swears by “belly button-to-belly button” marketing. (And he’s very effective because that’s just who he is.) It’s truly fun to talk with people about online marketing, sharing, and communication. A neighbor recently thought was crazy for mentioning something the local BBQ joint tweeted the other day. There’s a whole world out there where the sun is shining on different perspectives!

  6. says

    I had this very concept slap me the other day when I asked a customer for a LinkedIn recommendation and he said, “what’s LinkedIn?” He is a super-smart, active guy who spends a good amount of time online. That was a wake-up call bigtime. I like your ideas of where to go for “out of the bubble” insights, and I would add another: read some fiction. It’s a good source of creative flow and non-social media inspiration.

    • HarrisonKratz says

      @rosemaryoneill I like the recommendation about “Reading Fiction”! I’ll admit I don’t do that nearly enough, but have wanted to change that. Thanks for the tip :)Glad you enjoyed the post!

  7. JessKupferman says

    Hey Kratz! Not sure you remember me from last year’s PodCamp Philly. Well done on a great post! SO funny you posted about this because at a recent Social Media Club meeting we were discussing Google+ and all the social media peeps are on there, but all the “regular users” have no idea what they’d use it for. I often forget that I’m in a bubble of like-minded peeps. Thanks for the post!

    • HarrisonKratz says

      @JessKupferman Hi! Of course I remember :) Thank you so much for the kind words… Hell, I’m in the know and even I can’t find a full purpose for Google + haha

  8. says

    This post happens to mirror my experience today perfectly. I work with small biz owners who need to start/maintain blogs. Met with a couple today who sell Shaklee products and who want to start blogging to supplement the company’s website page they are given.

    When asked why they’re thinking of blogging now, one answered, it’s just been within the past year or so that he’s hearing about blogging more regularly now. The past year! They are both part of several networking groups so that is where many of their biz conversations take place. That really struck me as to how those outside the social media/online marketing industry relate to what many of us feel is almost as natural as breathing. They also asked great questions confirming some of what I figured they need to know, but added to my list as well. If you haven’t networked much in person lately with those outside “the bubble”, I’d be willing to bet it would be eye-opening to do so for most, if not all of us.

    • HarrisonKratz says

      @CherylPickett love your story! Its a strange world outside the bubble isn’t it? haha… I think every business can benefit from a blog, but its crazy how many are just figuring out why or what the purpose is.

  9. teriel says

    I’m probably unique among social media consultants in that I don’t use location based technology. I think the majority of Americans have common sense and Don’t want to broadcast their exact location to people who could potentially stalk or rob them. Certainly I advise my own clients against using such services to check in

  10. nsweeney says

    Social media has potential for real-world changes (and in many ways, already has proven itself in that regard. See: Egypt, Libya, Cheezburger-loving cats), but it’s still tricky for businesses. It does help, though, as you suggested, to actually see the ‘tools’ in action, in their native environments. Case in point: Last week, I went to visit a coupsmart

    client to see how our tools were helping his business. I got some great feedback (and kudos), but seeing for myself how our in-store QR code tool was being used, I made a quick sketch and showed the owner a better way to display the deal. A quick change, no less than a few minutes, and it changed the whole experience for their customers. Sitting behind my computer screen, I never would have known how people were actually using our system in their store. Theory and reality often are at odds, and 99% of people do not care about the latest social media buzzword/app/meme/cheezburger cat of the moment. I keep saying, “new” media isn’t all that “new”. It still comes down to: Know Thy Customer.

  11. VSDieguez says

    Great thoughts Harrison. It’s funny that I’ve felt this way a long time – my entire time in social media actually – and felt in some way like it was a fault of mine. Like maybe I needed a more techy peer group so my friends were on Twitter. But reality is they are two worlds. It’s funny how little my friends know about all these networks and we in the space talk about them like they are so mainstream. Recently my mom asked me “What’s a Twitter” – gotta love it.

    • HarrisonKratz says

      @VSDieguez Thanks! Having two worlds is a good thing, allows us to bridge the gap and have a better understanding… My mom has a Twitter (I taught her well) but its still funny to hear her questions and interest!

  12. says

    Great post, Harrison, and an idea that we try and keep in mind when we talk with clients. Yes, social is critical but it only represents the segment of your audience or consumers, who use social media to express their opinions or preferences about a brand or service and may have to be validated with other more traditional metrics. Of course, what a company’s social customer is saying about a brand may echo the sentiment of offline customers but it’s recognizing the need to correlate or append social with other data that can make for a broader market understanding.

    I know from a personal perspective that the more I read from different industries and authors, the better I understand the industry in which I work (at least, that’s my theory!)!

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to checking out your friend’s blog!


  13. AmberFox says


    Brother’s neighbor makes $69 hourly on the PC. She has been fired from work for 11 months but last month her paycheck was $6958 just working on the PC for a few hours. Read about it on this web site….

  14. edume62 says

    I have never ever come across such a wonderful piece of information. Today I am proud to say that I have finally gain knowledge on this topic and here on I shall also spread the same preaching ahead so that the world become a better place to live in.

    British Food

  15. edume62 says

    I have never ever come across such a wonderful piece of information. Today I am proud to say that I have finally gain knowledge on this topic and here on I shall also spread the same preaching ahead so that the world become a better place to live in.

    British Food

  16. edume62 says

    I have never ever come across such a wonderful piece of information. Today I am proud to say that I have finally gain knowledge on this topic and here on I shall also spread the same preaching ahead so that the world become a better place to live in.

    []British Food[/url]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *