How to Use Facebook’s Messenger Kids

Do you talk to kids? Whether you’re a parent of a kid, or you just know kids in your life and want to stay connected, there’s a relatively new way to use our dear friend technology to chat with them.

Commence with the wringing of parental hands.

Click here to jump down to a resource link for how parents can protect kids online.

Big Bang theory breathing into bag
Being a parent is hard.

A Parental Preamble (or just skip to the how-to part)

As a mom, and especially one who uses technology on an almost minute-by-minute basis for work and play, I want my kids to appreciate its power as well as its pitfalls. My kids don’t have their own smartphones yet, but they do have their own laptops. They have their own email addresses, which I monitor closely. We allow them to watch YouTube videos, but we often will play them during common family times so we can ensure the content isn’t too mature for their increasingly aware minds.

My intent as a parent is to balance my support of the kids’ use of technology with a healthy dose of trembling awe. So it was with no small amount of hesitation that I finally ushered us into the realm of Messenger Kids by Facebook.

This post will be rife with my own tones of paranoia and hesitation, which I intentionally left in. The gravity of handing over a new part of the internet to our kids is not (in my humble yet strong opinion) meant to be taken lightly.

OK, here we go.

Go to Messenger Kids to create the account(s).

Facebook has (maybe too) conveniently put Messenger Kids in the Explore section on the left sidebar. You can also go to the Messenger Kids dashboard to get started: www.facebook.com/messenger_kids/dashboard/.

Once there, you’ll be asked to create an account for a child by entering their first and last name. Facebook, likely realizing this is a big step for parents who rightly realize the power of their data access and reach is causing anxiety, tells you up front that this action will not create a Facebook profile for the child.

Next is a screen which reassures you of the control you, as the account creator*, will have over the child’s contacts and content. It also tells you what information Facebook will store from use of this app.

*Notice I didn’t use the word “parent” here. There is no part along this process where the account creator is asked to verify if they are a parent, caregiver, or guardian of the child being added to Messenger Kids. There is only a message at the bottom of the image provided where Facebook indicates this should be a parent or guardian completing this process.

The final screen is a prompt for you to download the Messenger Kids app onto a mobile device. The kid being added must use Messenger Kids from a mobile device, which includes a Kindle reader.

Since my kids don’t have smartphones yet, the Kindle reader is their sole option to use Messenger Kids.

Your final step is to add approved contacts to your child’s Messenger Kids account. You will be able to add Family Members, Other Kids, Your Friends, and you can also invite others to use Messenger to connect with your kid(s). Once you add a contact, that person will receive a Facebook message that your kid is now available for chat.

Getting the Kids Started

Now that the kid’s account has been set up by a parent or guardian (hopefully), the app must be set up on the child’s device(s).

You can download the Messenger Kids app for iOS (Apple), Android, or Kindle (Amazon).

Once the app is installed on the mobile device or reader, you (the account creator) have one final step: you must authorize the use of the app by logging in using your Facebook username and password. This lets Facebook know the child hasn’t tried to set up an account without your permission.

Now you’re ready to hand the device to your kid! They’ll be prompted to take a photo of themselves for their profile image. (My child opted for one of her stuffed animals, which in light of the concerns I wallow in was just fine with me.)

Their home screen is a dashboard of contact tiles, each showing if the person is online and available for messages or even video chats. There are also prompts along the top for taking a picture or starting a group chat.

How Do You Message Kids Who Are On Messenger Kids?

(This was the part I couldn’t figure out until we got the kids full set up on their devices, so make sure you finish those steps first.)

If you’re an adult who has either created or been added to the child’s Messenger Kids account as an approved contact, you will be able to use standalone Messenger (the app or the web version) or Facebook chat to message the kid. You will only be able to do this if the account creator has added you as an approved contact; you will not be able to search for the child’s account to start messaging them. (Whew.)

Your chat with anyone using Messenger Kids appears alongside all of your other Messenger chats, so the interaction is fairly seamless.

You will not need to download the Messenger Kids app to chat with the child who has been set up on the service. That app is solely for the child to use to chat with their approved contacts on Messenger.

How to Manage Messenger Kids for Your Kids

If you created accounts for your children, you will always be able to go to the Dashboard to manage their contacts or delete their account if necessary.

Additionally, Messenger Kids will alert you via Messenger every time someone sends a message to your child’s account. This works the same as any other Messenger chat where you can manage your notifications. As a parent who sees each email my children receive, I like this level of oversight.

Other Messenger Kids Features

  • GIFs and frames for photos
  • Ability for your child or the account creator to report a chat
  • Ability for your child to block anyone they don’t want to chat with

More about the app, its capabilities, and any data information around it can be found on the Messenger Kids website: https://messengerkids.com


Also check out The Ultimate Parent Guide for Protecting Your Child on the Internet


Will you set up your child on Messenger Kids… or have you already? Let me know what you think about it!

How Can I Be Social in a Political Powder Keg?

We’re navigating dicey waters nowadays. With politics assuming as large a role in our feeds as quizzes and recommendation posts, engaging online continues to call into question what each of us believes and how (or if) we should express it via wifi.

There are all sorts of arguments for or against verbalizing political opinions online:

“I do business with my connections and don’t want to alienate a customer.”

“I can’t separate my politics from the rest of my posts.”

“Today it’s more important to stand for something than to stand for nothing.”

“It doesn’t change anyone’s minds anyway.”

It’s a hot mess out there.

The time for you to decide how you’ll navigate the social-political waters out there is now, if not already long past. But if you’re just now reaching the point where you need to plot your path forward, here are a few crucial considerations for you:

1. Decide what you’re willing to risk. Speak out or stay silent: either way, you stand to lose or gain something.

You may be thinking, “If I simply avoid sharing or engaging in political topics, they’ll never come up again.” That’s a fairly naive stance to think that your political sway is never going to impact your customer or your relationship with them.

Also, we aren’t just talking about business risks. Your moral compass, and whatever direction it points to, plays a huge role in shaping your motivations, your goals, and your results. If you decide to force your business endeavors in a different direction than your compass, that’s also a mighty risk to take.

2. Drop your assumptions. This one is tough, because we humans love to assume!

Whether or not you decide to allow your digital persona to wade into political waters online, you’re naturally prone to putting other online users into a box based on what you know about them—which is usually just a drop in a very large bucket.

Stop assuming things about others and using those assumptions when you interact. How awkward is it to find yourself typing and publishing a pat statement about why another person is wrong, only to have them come back with how you were wrong first

Instead, ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. By putting a ? at the end of your post, you instantly assume the role of listener, of one who wishes to understand instead of to attack, and of a learner who can be taught. (Also a very human trait.)

3. Own and stick to your beliefs. Once you know what you stand for, grab the wheel  with both hands and hold on for the ride.

In this uncertain landscape, one thing is the gospel truth: you will always encounter someone who passionately disagrees with you. The very definition of belief is “trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.” Talk about a huge foundation on which someone stands! So if yours is threatened or you threaten someone else’s foothold, things are bound to get tense.

This is where research and true facts (as opposed to alternative ones) come in. Have credited research and statistics to back up your beliefs (to make your footing more obviously solid to others). If you can’t find the stats… well, perhaps you have another quest ahead of you.

4. Don’t be ignorant, don’t be an asshole, and above all don’t be an ignorant asshole. Yeah, this just went PG-13, but I’m willing to stand behind that statement.

You will win over exactly no one good if you are a jerk about it. I know, it’s very tempting to go for the zinger where you mentally (and ‘fess up, even literally) fist-bump yourself for your drop-the-mic comment.

But if your victory comes at the cost of unnecessarily embarrassing someone or, worse, ejecting them from a discussion when everyone could actually have learned something… what exactly did you win here? A momentary feeling of superiority?

Instead of going for the kill, think bigger picture and higher road and go for the change of heart. It may feel less satisfying, and the discussion may not even have a pat result for you, but you just planted a seed instead of decimating the growth which could be just ahead.

You can do this.

None of us is perfect at this. That darned human condition ensures we’ll always stumble and experience the awkward of interacting with other carbon units. But hopefully these general guidelines can help you put your best foot – or keystroke – forward with a fair share of confidence and, in the long run, who knows? Our world could become a better place for everyone.

How do you choose to interact online when it comes to politics?

Finding the Right Balance of Self-Promotion in Your Marketing

Find Your Balance

Are you trying to promote your business but don’t want to risk sounding too arrogant or pushy? It can be really tricky to find the perfect balance between growing your network and bragging about your expertise. Read our 4 step guide to Finding the Right Balance of Self-Promotion in Your Marketing:

Show how you are a valuable contributor

Rather than telling people about how skilled or talented you are in your given field, show potential customers how you can add value to their life. Naturally, people want to know what you can provide that they wouldn’t be able to either do themselves or find someone else to do for them. So it’s important that you show them why they need you rather than explaining all of your credentials.

Be consistent

By having a consistent presence on marketing platforms, you are able to build up your credentials. So when the time comes that you need to sell something, your followers will be more willing to respond. Nobody wants to be overly bombarded with sales pitches but if you have a presence outside of sales, people will enjoy and engage with your brand.

Set limits to avoid burning out

No entrepreneur is capable of marketing their business all of the time so it’s important to set boundaries to avoid over exertion. That also goes for your potential customers. You should not be constantly pushing out sales pitches on all of your marketing platforms because then you will not only burn yourself out but your potential customers as well. Marketing posts should be 80% educational, pragmatic, and entertaining; and only 20% sales pitches. This will keep your followers engaged while also promoting your value.

Build up your Network Without the Sole Intention of Increasing business

It is always useful to expand your network not only for the sake of increasing sales but also for the sake of potential partnerships down the line, so is useful to have different types of marketing from online techniques to the use of bulk water bottles to promote your brand. If you create valuable relationships, you will be more likely to have positive engagement down the line when you try to sell a big project. Your network will already trust you and will be more willing to recommend your business to their friends.

How Being an Influencer is Like Riding a Bike

Cyclists.

When you read that word, what’s your first reaction? You may be very “meh” about it but, if you’re from Colorado like I am, cyclists conjure up any number of varying responses from both sides.

“They’re so reckless on the roads!”

“Cars need to make room for us, too!”

“Why are they biking on the sidewalk???”

“Why are you running in my bike lane instead of on your sidewalk?”

“Ugh, can’t they bike somewhere else? I can barely pass them!”

“It’s called ‘sharing the road!'”

As a somewhat-regular cyclist myself, I get the polarizing effects of how bicycles mix with today’s walking and driving traffic.

Influencers.

How about this one? So many feelings arise at the casual or intentional use of this word, and it means a slew of things to many:

“Earning money for social media power.”

“Having hundreds of thousands of followers.”

“Speaking at XYZ conference every year!”

“Offering great insights about <insert topic here>.”

“Providing value over begging for acclaim.”

It occurred to me, in the odd way my brain often works, that cycling is a lot like being a social media influencer.

Did I lose you just then? Stick with me a bit and see if this starts to gel as I describe a few ways this makes perfect sense from spokes to social.

The good ones.

Being a good cyclist isn’t about wearing the right gear or having the slickest bike; it’s about moving in harmony with yourself, your bike, and your surroundings.

A good cyclist doesn’t just want to enjoy the ride and make it home in one piece (body and bike). They also want to respect the pedestrians, motorists, and venues along their way in an effort to generate respect in return. They get that riding recklessly or acting like they own the road or path doesn’t foster a good future experience for anyone.

A good influencer is like that harmonious cyclist: enjoying the momentum, but also recognizing the other forces and individuals which add to the experience. Good influencers acknowledge that they didn’t get to where they are by sheer force of their awesome talent, wit, or looks. They welcome sharing of the spotlight and know there’s more than enough road for everyone.

The bad ones.

Ah, even I can venture into hating on my cyclist tribe when I spot these pedal-pushers. Their behavior always gives them away: dodging in front of cars and pedestrians and often causing them to brake hard or fast to avoid a collision; riding two or more across a narrow bike line on a roadway; gesturing obscenely at cars who, while obeying the traffic laws, expect mutual obedience from the rider.

A bad cyclist makes all of us look bad. When new rules or pathways are put into effect to make cycling easier, their behavior causes everyone else to moan about the latest concession. Their brazenness at forgetting car-beats-bike-every-time while daring others on the road to challenge their way forward is ridiculous. Their ignorance of speed limits through pedestrian-heavy areas is enough to make me want to swear in their general direction.

A bad influencer awakens the same response. They think every opportunity should be about them and for them, and sharing credit or spotlight is out of the question. They only befriend other names with large followings, forgetting they weren’t always so popular and had help to climb the recognition ladder. They treat the three steps onto a stage as a chasm which now separates them from the lowly unwashed audience they once sat in.

The dumb ones.

These are the special set of cyclists which don’t just inspire anger—they cause harm through their ignorance. By ignoring the proper safety gear or function of their bike, each ride is taking many lives onto their dubious handlebars and hoping for the best. (We all know how well that works.) They can’t be bothered to be careful as long as they feel cool and are seen coasting through life along with the other trendsetters.

And yes, there are dumb influencers. Void of much original thought, they rely on retweeting or borrowing platitudes pushed out by their peers so they can show a timeline with content. They don’t do the hard work of learning the rules or practicing the basics which lead to greater growth; instead, they tout their Klout score as evidence they should be recognized (which instead may just mean they need something other than tweeting to fill the hours). Worse, they find clients to pay them for professional work, but their lack of real-life knowledge and execution turns yet another customer into a non-believer of social media. (No, really, thanks so much for leaving this trail of carnage behind you.)

By spoke or social, we need to do better.

Look. I’m a huge believer in cycling. If you had asked me five years ago if I saw myself turning to two wheels to be my main source of recreation and exercise, I’d have laughed myself silly and gone back to eating chocolate chips by the handful (it’s a personal problem). Who would have guessed the bike paths and Colorado scenery would so strongly beckon and prompt me to keep pedaling into a better existence? Yet I know that venturing forth requires my preparation and diligence with each outing.

I’m also a true addict of social media and believe it can do far more good than harm. But that relies on each of us wielding it well and being good influencers. Whether you have 25 or 25,000 Twitter followers, you influence. Someone out there is reading what you publish; feel the weight of that responsibility. We’re in a time when anyone can become a publisher with global access; misusing that power thanks to ego or ignorance is downright dangerous for the entire industry and its dedicated tribe.

The thing is, it’s not hard to be good. All it really requires is taking that moment to feel beyond your own selfish drive and acknowledge that you share this planet with other beings. That’s really it. Once you remember the road ahead isn’t paved just for you, being a good cyclist or influencer makes the way forward clear.

If it doesn’t, well… please just promise to steer far away from me geographically and socially. If you’re a bad or dumb cyclist, you threaten my ability to make it home alive to my family. If you’re a bad or dumb influencer, you threaten the people I call my family who happen to exist for me on the internet.

Want to cycle with me in Denver or check in about the type of influencer you want to be?

Comment below or tweet at me.

3 Types of Content You Need From Now On

Remember right about this time last year and the types of content you worried about?

Think back to a simpler time when all you really worried about as far as your content was your monthly blog, a newsletter, some links getting shared out by your profiles, and maybe an infographic every so often.

Those were the days, weren’t they? Livestreaming was mostly for people who attended conferences or worked for celebrities and political campaigns. Your SEO, paid social campaigns, and Google AdWords took care of your online traffic. Organic (unpaid) social media was really just window dressing.

Those were the days. | Really Social Blog

Times have changed.

Not only has livestreaming advanced at a breakneck pace in the last 12 months alone, but messaging apps like Snapchat (I mean, really like Snapchat) have completely blown up. New ways to connect with your customers have placed themselves in the landscape of social media, and now your brand must keep up to compete.

Going forward and for the foreseeable future, these are the three types of content your business needs to plan in your marketing and sales strategy.

Scheduled Content

Many types of content fall in the realm of what you can add to your social posting schedule.

First, there’s the home-grown content you create and publish yourself. Your business blog, newsletters, white papers, how-to videos, testimonial features, case studies, etc. These items may be time-sensitive or evergreen, but they live on your digital property and can be shared out to your audiences to entice them back to your website to complete valuable interactions.

Second, you have curated content to share. These are the articles, videos, infographics, and other news-like content created by other entities which you can also schedule and share. The key is to ensure the content meets three criteria:

  • It doesn’t sell a competitor’s product or service;
  • it does reinforce for your customers why your product or service is valuable to them;
  • it’s timely and credible.
Buffer queue (image) | Really Social Blog
Snapshot of Buffer queue of scheduled posts.

OK, that’s actually four criteria… glad you were paying attention! So will your audience when you routinely provide them with resource articles and knowledge that ultimately reminds them, “Hey, this article about X was shared out by Company Y. It’s about time I ask them about helping me with X, since that’s what they do.”

One last thing about scheduled content: it’s OK to post content if you’re not on that social platform right at that second. Just like sending out your newsletter at 9:30am every 1st Tuesday is OK even though you might not be sitting and looking at your Gmail tab right that second. Scheduling and a degree of automation is perfectly fine–IF your goal is to engage authentically with the results of that scheduled or automated content.

Which leads us to the next type of content…

Active Content

This is the part where you should be what you were born to be: human.

Social media is a long game of marketing. Trust and credibility build as you show your humanity in real-time on social media because, in the long run, it’s all about relationship.

Social really is like dating. If you seek a lifelong commitment and partnership with another being, your best bet is not to create ties after a hasty date when all the other person did was hand you a flyer describing why they’ll be valuable to you. There’s no proof in that pudding; instead, you’re taking it all on assumption and a heartless pitch.

Tom Hanks You've Got Mail GIF | Really Social Blog
With or without the dramatic preparation, you can BE on social.

However, if you take your time and learn about the other person through familiarity, faithfulness, and authenticity, ultimately you’re ready to commit because you’ve seen evidence of a great relationship on the horizon. Yet none of that walking-into-the-sunset can happen if you never really get a taste of how the other interacts in real-life.

And we’re back to how you need to be on social: BE on social. Read other people’s posts and like them. Share them if they’re relevant. Comment to get a dialogue going. Tag others to draw them into the chat. Discover a new article and share it while describing why it struck a chord.

You can’t schedule this type of content. You have to be present and actually live a bit on the platforms you’re using to draw attention to your business.

Did we say “live?” Well, since we’re on a roll, let’s tackle the last and newest type of content you need to use…

Live Video Content

Surely you saw this coming, right? Livestreaming, social video, live video marketing… it’s being whispered (and sometimes not so whispered) about everywhere as more brands take to their video apps each day.

And there’s no wondering why. Back in 2011, the average U.S. adult spent 21 minutes watching digital video. This year, that’s going up to one hour and 16 minutes of watching video on digital devices. Your customers’ eyeballs are lingering longer on video content, and each platform places live video at the top of their algorithms (a.k.a. formula for your feed).

Livestream video can’t live in the scheduled part of your content (aside from letting people know when you’ll go live) simply because pushing “Go” requires at least one person to be there and ready to host the livestream. It also needs its own category aside from the active content we mentioned earlier because it really is in its own ecosystem of content and engagement.

  • Live video is fully interactive, inviting real-time questions and comments by viewers.
  • Live video goes farther than typing or swiping words to another user through active social; your face, voice, and environment are transparently evident to all who watch it.
  • Live video is unproduced and uneditable; what you say is what they get. It’s the most real side of your business you can present, other than welcoming customers into your store.

If you’re stuck on how to get started with livestreaming content, check out our other blog post for some ideas. Here are just a few:

  • Introduce your team who works behind the scenes.
  • Demonstrate how to locate your place of business (like Google Maps with a tour guide).
  • Make important announcements with the added bonus of Q&A from the audience.

The anomaly of the bunch is…

Stories. These are the apps and features which have swept through Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Facebook itself, and even other apps like WhatsApp and Tango.

Stories (or, in Messenger’s case, Days) are a type of hybrid content between Active and Live Video. They are active in that you can’t schedule them to post or upload in the future; they have to be created in the moment. They are live video in that Instagram Stories has a live option, and you can actually get on a live video chat through private Snaps and Facebook Messenger. That, plus we’re all predicting it’s only a matter of time until each of these Stories-friendly apps adds livestreaming to their capabilities.

So that’s yet another type of content you need to consider, since your customers have them all in their hot little hands to use and watch during their average one-hour-16-minutes of digital video per day.

It’s all going to be OK.

This may sound incredibly daunting to a business leader or marketer for a brand who is wondering right now, “HOW in the world will I possibly get all of this content done?”

Chances are some changes need to be made. These digital types of content and ways to engage with your customers are incredibly effective. Even better, they are cost-efficient, time-saving, and humanizing for your brand. Whatever you’re doing now, there are likely ways we can build a new way forward as you bring these types of content to your customers.

4 Ways to Avoid Political Social Media Snafus

Social media is a mighty tool for sharing ideas. Gone are the boundaries which used to keep our political beliefs in a safe little bubble. Now, thanks to technology, we can pop the bubble and unleash our opinions into the air to join a far larger conversation.

Every single human being who can access the internet for the purpose of sharing opinions also opens themselves up to the consequences of sharing those opinions. It’s called your digital footprint, and anyone who can access the internet can also find what a specific person is posting about.

You must navigate the social space wisely. Here are four ways to engage online about hotter political topics without setting yourself up for failure.

Use Audience Options

Sharing on social media is about connecting with other people. Knowing who will see your posts is therefore key to whatever your strategy is, even if you’re a standard user hopping casually into a feed and sharing a link. Let’s run through your options with the major social apps:

  • Facebook Profile. Facebook currently lets you set the audience for each post as you share it. Your options are PUBLIC, FRIENDS, ONLY ME, or a custom FRIENDS LIST which you can set up or which Facebook can automatically put together based on your friends’ common details. Public posts can be seen by anyone with internet access; posts to Friends can be seen by those individuals only.
  • Facebook Page. Every post shared from a Page is public, to your Page’s followers as well as anyone with internet access. While you can set your Page to allow posts to target the feeds of specific audiences, each post can still be seen by the general public.

  • Facebook Group. If your group is an OPEN group, every post can be seen by group members as well as anyone who searches for and finds the group. If your group is a CLOSED and SECRET group, every post can be seen by the group members only.
  • Twitter Profile. Every Tweet is fully public. Regardless of who follows your Twitter handle, every Tweet you post can be seen by anyone on the internet.
  • LinkedIn Profile. Your LinkedIn posts can be set to PUBLIC, CONNECTIONS, or PUBLIC + TWITTER. Public posts can be seen by anyone with internet access; posts to your Connections will only appear in the LinkedIn feed of your connections on LinkedIn.com.
LinkedIn Page post targeting screenshot | Really Social
Use targeting for your LinkedIn Page posts.
  • LinkedIn Page. Every post shared from a LinkedIn Page is PUBLIC. However, you can set posts to target specific LinkedIn users based on Industry, Company Size, Function, Seniority, and Geography.
  • YouTube Channel. You can set visibility of your uploaded videos to PUBLIC, UNLISTED, OR PRIVATE. Unlisted means the video is generally available provided a person knows the link for the video; Private means the video is only viewable through a direct invitation to specific individuals.
YouTube visibility settings screenshot | Really Social
Set visibility on each of your YouTube videos.

One important thing to keep in mind is that, regardless of where you share your posts, anything you publish online can be captured via screenshot and cached into memory. Even deleted posts run the risk of being grabbed, saved, and distributed beyond your selected audience. That’s why you should always “pause before you post,” because you will ultimately own whatever you share—for better or worse.

Find a Private Group for Sharing

We all know the moment well: when you have a very strong idea to share and, if a soapbox sprouted right out of the ground in front of you, you’d be tempted to step right up and start in.

That is the absolutely worst moment you could choose to share your opinion online. In the heat of the moment, you might push “publish” before truly assessing your audience, the ramifications of your opinion, and if your idea thought is based on fact instead of feeling.

Instead, seek out a community where you can safely float your thoughts with trusted participants. Will this prevent disaster? No, but it can provide you with a bit of a buffer for sharing your opinions without tossing a grenade into your feed.

A few places you can gather with your groupies:

  • Facebook Messenger;
  • Facebook Groups;
  • Slack channels; and
  • message boards*.

*If you’d like to create an anonymous profile, a message board may be your best option. As with any interactions online, use judgment when it comes to sharing personal information.

Quick note: I don’t share these suggestions to help you create your own echo chamber. My goal is always to educate and promote knowledge, and hearing or reading the same spectrum of opinions can’t compare with learning from those who disagree with you. When seeking or building a community, encourage diversity of perspectives. You may find your opinions being challenged by others yet, if anyone remembers taking debate in school, that’s the best way to learn to defend your beliefs with facts and logic. Additionally, you can learn how to engage thoughtfully rather than rabidly ram your opinions through without attempting to change minds.

Check Sources Before Sharing

Social media is notorious for bringing us updates in the moment; being the first to share an amazing link or meme is incredibly satisfying and brings all of the eyeballs to your feed.

The ability to reach so many with content which might sway minds is an immense privilege (I know when we’re talking hashtags and reaction faces, that may seem a bit lofty, but it’s still true). Before you click Share on a post, you can take action to ensure it is authentic:

  • determine the topic of the link and try Googling it for a second source;
  • check the link’s source and look around at other content to perceive agendas or leanings in a specific direction;
  • use Snopes.com to verify if a story is current or true; and
  • go the extra mile and seek a link which refutes the one you want to share.

What? This all takes too much time! You’re right, it takes time and effort… and critical thinking. You have a lovely brain and should use it to its fullest capacity. When you share an erroneous link, you’ll ultimately wish you had taken the time to double-check your source.

Monitor and Guide Your Staff

The more individuals you have on your time, the more you need to keep an eye on feeds. As much as you want to trust your team to always carry themselves well online, let’s remember that we’re each human and can make mistakes.

Empower yourself and your team with the following resources:

  • provide training to your team for using settings on their personal social feeds to share wisely;
  • write and implement a social media policy laying out guidelines for what and where your staff can share online;
  • adopt a clear system to remind, warn, and enforce social media best practices; and
  • set up monitoring of your brand online to be alerted when your company is mentioned.

Remember that your goal is to help your staff use social media to benefit the brand, not to penalize them for their personal use. Given the right tools, your team can be your mightiest asset in building your online reputation.

I’d love to help you get started with better brand and reputation management online, especially during critical seasons in our nation. Click below to connect with me for a complimentary Discovery session.

Let’s discover!

 

How to Use Instagram Analytics & Stories

Instagram isn’t just for foodies vying to get just the right angle on their plate while you wait with a hovering fork. While your friend ‘grams their way to fame, you can be checking your followers and sharing a story of frustration. Start today once you watch our latest episode of Laugh & Learn.

Instagram for Business:

Analytics and Stories

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to connect your Instagram Account to your Facebook Page (using Facebook Settings);
  • How to see and decipher your Instagram Analytics; and
  • How to view, engage with, and create Instagram Stories for your brand.

How are you using Instagram for Business? Let us know in the comments below… you may inspire someone in their own marketing strategy!

How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile (Video)

This video walks through a LinkedIn Profile, from top to bottom, to show you where you can make it better and how you can improve your credibility.

Click to watch and gain insights into how your profile can work harder for you. Even Rachel has to make some tweaks to her profile as you watch the video!

Get a free worksheet!

To take the improvements even further, you can download a free LinkedIn worksheet which gives you guidance on how to optimize your LinkedIn presence and build your strategy.

How to Find and Use Your Facebook Messenger Code

Social media platforms are going all-in for private messaging. With apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat seeing exponential growth in mere months, it should be no surprise that Facebook has stepped up its game for people to connect easily on Messenger.

Did you know Facebook Messenger has its own website?

Using your Messenger code takes a little bit of know-how, and we’ll walk you through how to find your code, share your code, and use a code to communicate through Messenger.

How to find your Facebook profile’s Messenger code

Want a visual guide? This video will walk you through how to find your Facebook Profile’s Messenger Code.

You must use your mobile device to find your Facebook Messenger code.

  • You will need to download and install the Facebook Messenger app on your mobile device. Facebook is pushing all Messenger users to use the app exclusively for direct communications.
  • Once you sign in, click on the upper right person icon. Facebook Messenger app navigation (image)
  • Your Facebook Messenger code for your personal profile will appear with your profile picture in the center. You will also be provided with a direct link to your Facebook Messenger.

Save, Share, or Scan a code:

Click on your Messenger code to see the following options:

  • Save/Share Your Code:
    • Tap the My Code tab.
    • Tap your Messenger code to see options to save or share your code.
  • Scan a Code:
    • Tap the Scan Code tab.
    • Your device will open a scan feature which allows you to capture another Profile or Page Messenger code to open a Facebook Message to that Profile or Page.

How to find your Page’s Messenger code

You can find your Facebook Page Messenger code via desktop or mobile.

Via Mobile:

  • Go into your device’s Facebook Pages Manager app.
  • Select the Page with the code you wish to find.
  • Facebook Pages Manager app | Messages navigationOnce you’re on the selected Page, click on the Messages icon along the top.
  • Now, along the top, you should see the Messenger icon (two nested circles of broken lines).
  • Click on the Messenger icon to view and share your Messenger code or Messenger link.

Via Desktop:

  • Go to your Facebook Page and click on the Messages tab along the top (only a Page Admin will be able to view this option).
  • Once you’re in the Messages tab, click on the small information icon along the bottom.
  • A pop-up window will open revealing your Facebook Messenger code for the Facebook Page.
  • Facebook Messenger Code for Really Social's Facebook PageClick the code symbol to download a PNG version of your Facebook Page’s Messenger code to embed onto your website or blog, add to your email signature, or share via social media.

Use Your Messenger Code

Remember when we said that social media platforms are going all-in for private messaging? That’s because the effectiveness and popularity of private media or dark social is impossible to ignore. With open rates of 98% and overall growth of the biggest four messaging apps exceeding the growth of the biggest four social media apps, private messaging should be part of your social media strategy.

Once you have your Messenger code, there are several ways to share it with your audiences and customers:

  • Add your code to your email signature.
  • Embed your code (hyperlinked with your Messenger link) on your blog or website.
  • Add your code to your business cards.
  • Use your code as your social media profile image.
  • Get a tattoo of your code! (OK, not really. Just checking to see if you’re still reading.)

Want to see how this all works? Try scanning the Really Social Messenger code above to get started!

Which social media should I use in 2016?

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:

Facebook Live is easy to use on the most popular social media platform worldwide.
Facebook Live is easy to use on the most popular social media platform worldwide.

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

Pinterest is an exceptional platform for ecommerce through visual sharing.
Pinterest is an exceptional platform for ecommerce through visual sharing.

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.

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

Snapchat Geo-Filters by Really Social
A Snapchat geo-filter can drive traffic, generate brand awareness, or celebrate an event.

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!