Social media has been a great tool over the years to spread the word.
We’ve all become very savvy at typing a post, creating an image or video, generating a hashtag or two, and scheduling or publishing posts that share content out to whatever audience is relevant to us.
For a while, that process seemed difficult. Now many people are very skilled at creating outbound content, and businesses are either executing a social media strategy themselves or hiring someone to do it for them.
The problem arises when individuals, brands, or businesses assume that social media is a one-way hose used to distribute their content to other people. Their communication goes in one direction: outward. In fact, social media was never intended to be used only for outbound, and times are reminding us of that reality.
Enter the private messages.
We’ve seen social platforms begin to invest mightily in the ability for users to interact with each other privately.
Facebook recently made mighty steps and investments to develop Facebook Messenger, even going so far as to push Facebook users to a dedicated messenger app instead of using the feature within the standard mobile application. There’s even a dedicated website just for people to use Facebook Messenger to connect with each other.
Snapchat is now second place only to Facebook and is used primarily as a messaging app. Users are encouraged to connect one-on-one with each other through private snaps or messages.
WhatsApp is another messaging service that allows people to connect not just through text but also voice, video, and emojis.
These are just a few of the top competitors for the messaging space, and more features are constantly being rolled out to enhance user experience: encryption, creative tools for self-expression, and third-party discovery apps to help users find each other based on interests.
Why are private messages important to you?
Because they eradicate that notion of the one-way content:
Private messages are the intake conduit for your customers, your friends, and your fans to interact with you authentically.
They are opportunities for you to create relationships and generate rapport with the people who are vital to your livelihood.
Private messages are what connects us as human beings, one to another, and often removes or exposes higher agendas so that genuine relationships can be formed.
If the message (ha!) still isn’t getting through, let’s paint another picture:
Let’s pretend or assume you run your business or mission from a brick-and-mortar location. You’ve got great signage: a fabulous looking sign over your entry which can be seen from the highway; an attractive storefront; clear messaging to show visitors where to find what they need; even an overhead announcement system to alert customers of special deals!
If a customer walks up to you and asks you where to find the sunflower seeds, you do one of two things:
Let them finish their question, and then respond by telling them about your July 4th sale on garden shears… or
Ignore them completely as you continue snapping pictures to share on your brand’s Instagram account.
If you cringe at that visual, we’re on the same page. This is why private messages are vital: they’re equivalent to a customer approaching you to interact. You have an open door to win their loyalty, provide a resource, and create a relationship that lasts.
Or you could keep working on that next great outbound post.
A special message
For brands and businesses which have been primarily focused on outbound-only messages and have not yet focused on incoming private messages: STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
You’re missing the forest for the trees. You’re casting your line into a vast lake without realizing the fish are trying to jump into your boat. You’re spraying down everything around you with your one-way hose and completely missing the opportunities of people trying to reach back to you.
Do you get what this means? The opportunity is now for you to set yourself apart and be that presence which responds to each person with relationship as your intention. For your potential and existing customers and followers, relationship wins every time.
If you need help with how to set up your processes for responding to private messages and even public comments received through social media, let’s chat. I promise to answer your message. ??
Michael is an award-winning TV producer, writer, director, and on-camera guy with a focus on social media and great video content. Bring your questions and insights to Twitter this Wednesday at 3pm ET!
Learn the latest in social media in What’s Happening!
Every 2nd Tuesday at noon (MT), Really Social hosts the Laugh & Learn Livestream show focused on What’s Happening in Social Media.
As apps and tools update and alter almost daily, staying ahead of the trends is key to any marketing strategy’s success. You’ll come away from this show with a fresh understanding of what’s new and what’s changed in the social media tools we all use to engage with audiences.
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Sure, we’re halfway through the year 2016. Yet, considering how rapidly the social media landscape changes, taking a look at your plans for the rest of the year is always a wise idea.
Business vs. Personal Social Media
Before jumping into the gems below, you should ask yourself if you intend to use social media for business or personal goals. While the recommendations provided here will certainly benefit a business or brand, your personal approach to social media may be similar depending on what you want to accomplish.
You have a myriad of choices in tools and platforms, so zeroing in on the ones which work best for your goals and strategy is very important. Let’s take a look at the best in social media:
Best Livestreaming (Social) Video: Facebook Live
The year 2016 has been the year of livestreaming video. While tools like Meerkat and Periscope led the way in 2015, newer tools have entered the scene to increase competition and reach more audiences.
If you’re wondering where to start with livestreaming or social video, Facebook Live is the best choice.
With few exceptions due to industry and audience, Facebook Live is an easy first choice to enter into livestreaming content.
Best Image Sharing: Pinterest
Visuals are a must-have in your social media posts today, and the two primary platforms for sharing images are Instagram and Pinterest. When considering which to use, Pinterest has more going for it than Intstagram from a marketing perspective.
The power of team “Pinning” via Group Boards brings collaboration and shared efforts to your strategy.
In light of Instagram’s new algorithm to show posts based on their engagement formula, as well as the cost to advertise and late rollout of native analytics, Pinterest is a safer bet for your visual marketing. That’s without even mentioning the ability to buy products directly from a Pin!
Best Engagement Marketing: Snapchat
Today consumers want to do business with fellow human beings, and social media which amplifies real people vs. an overall brand or logo wins the day. With that in mind, few can still argue against the growing power of Snapchat for authentic engagement marketing. That’s largely due to Snapchat being a messaging app, though today it is being used for much more.
Snapchat’s brief duration of video Snaps (up to 10 seconds) which only last for 24 hours on the app demands attentive engagement between Snapchat friends.
Friends who view your Snapchat stories can then chat to you privately for one-on-one questions, advice, and establishing a authentic relationship.
Even if you don’t create Snapchat stories or have an account, you can promote your event or brand using a very affordable Snapchat geo-filter which can be seen and used by Snapchatters.
Before You Start, Know Your Goals
You’d never jump into a body of water without knowing what’s in it or how deep it is, right? The same applies to your social media marketing strategy.
Each platform, or pool, is different, and therefore some platforms will help you swan dive into success. Others will cause you to flop painfully. The recommendations above may work great for many businesses and brands, but the beauty of social media means there is usually another alternative to try.
Which platforms do you think are the best for 2016? Respond below and share to keep the debate going!
May kicked off with a bang as Really Social interviewed Beth Johnston, a Colorado-based social media business woman and a fellow Colorado Woman in Social Media.
Watch the entire Laugh & Learn Blab episode below, or click here for our biggest takeaways as we learned what makes Beth and her business—Social Bridges—tick!
Rachel Moore (RM): Can you talk about the 2-3 things you do with social media through your business?
Beth Johnston (BJ): My core service is the “done for you” service: business owners are good at what they do and not necessarily good at marketing or social media. They give it to me and say, “Beth, please do this for me.”
What I’m finding, and what I’m really enjoying, is coaching and teaching! I’m an instructor at Colorado Free University and I’m really enjoying that. I didn’t think I would!
RM: What is your favorite platform and why?
BJ: Pinterest is probably my favorite platform so I must stay away from it. I have to set the timer for my phone and the alarm has to ring; if not, 2-4 hours will go by.
What I love about Pinterest is that it’s not so much a social platform, because the users that are there are creating things of what they want to be in the future: they’re planning their wedding, their house they want to build. Most other social media is about how fast someone can like a post.
RM: If a movie were being made about your life, who should play you and why?
BJ: For hotness factor, Jennifer Aniston. One of my favorite people to watch is Melissa McCarthy. She says things you wish you could say, and she does things you wish you could do. I think I want Melissa McCarthy to play me in my feature film… which is coming out in June. (laughs)
Beth was a pleasure to have as a Laugh & Learn Blab guest; watch the entire interview to learn more about her and Social Bridges!
Personify Leadership is like no other leadership development program you’ve ever seen or experienced.
On the brink of the ATD 2016 Conference held in Denver, Colorado, Personify Leadership founders Angela Sebaly and Michelle Cummings will chat with Rachel Moore of Really Social to discuss everything on the docket for this week’s leaders.
What #ATD2016 attendees can expect at the Personify Leadership booth;
Where to hear an entire training module at ATD2016 on Wednesday morning;
How listening is a key, yet often far under-utilized, skill for today’s leaders;
How Personify Leadership plans to make the world better one leader at a time.
You can join the discussion live on Blab or watch the live session or replay below. For more information about Persnoify Leadership, visit their website.