Private Messaging | When & Where to Use Social Media

Private Messaging has also been called Dark Social and Private Media, but the results for businesses from private communications over digital are blinding:

Over 2.5 billion people have at least one messaging app installed, and that’s projected to reach 3.6 billion within the next five years (over half of the human race).

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Private Messaging

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Why Private Messages Should Be Your #1 Goal

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.

Image - private messages in Snapchat
Private Snaps or messages in Snapchat are the ultimate relationship goal.

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.

Jon Stewart's head explosion animated GIF
89% of social media messages to brands go ignored…

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.

Recent statistics indicate 89% of brands on social media never respond to incoming comments questions or complaints.

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. ??

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Use Snapchat in Surprising Ways (For All Ages)

Roll your eyes now, believe me later.You’re not too late or too old to use Snapchat.

Wait. Before you click away to another site – any other site – that isn’t talking about Snapchat, ponder for a moment how you can use Snapchat. For real. Because you can use Snapchat effectively.

Use Snapchat for visual messages.

First of all, let’s look where we’ve come as far as sending messages to others. Long ago are the days of the Pony Express when handwritten letters would take weeks to reach a loved one or friend. Phone communications have advanced from rotary dial phones to today’s one-touch or voice dialing to a favorite contact. And, finally, sending a video message or talking to someone on a live video has become the norm.

Vastly better than written or typed words which barely carry tone, and greatly improved over voice calls which leave out body language, video messages are really the best way today to effectively and truly communicate. That’s really how you can use Snapchat: create a video message for a friend to really get what you’re trying to say.

Snapchat is a communication app. It is a social media app in that it allows you to create media and share it socially.

However, Snapchat is different from other social media tools (Twitter, Facebook) because it focuses on real connection – quite possibly, the most real connection we’ve seen for a while from social media.

Use Snapchat for making new friends and connecting with older ones.

Here’s where so many of you might be missing the forest for the yellow, ghost-shaped trees – and that’s OK. It’s not like you aren’t always being told “you have to get on the XYZ app! Right now!”

Snapchat isn’t solely about adding the friend who sits behind you in Trigonometry (though that certainly is what it’s about for students). You’ve got a ton of friends just waiting at your snappy fingertips:

  • That couple you met at the cruise dinner table;
  • A fellow musician from Europe who likes the same albums as you;
  • Your daughter who is raising your very first grandchild;
  • An insightful business coach who always has a great nugget of daily wisdom;
  • Your elderly aunt who is homebound due to physical restrictions;
  • That company or brand where you’ve always wanted to work;
  • A former flame with whom you lost touch years ago;
  • A new romantic interest who shares your humor and life experiences…

You get the idea. I should emphasize that Snapchat is not just for teens and millennials – not any more. See the next point if you still don’t buy it…

Use Snapchat to let people know they’re important to you.

One problem with today’s technology and all of these apps is loss of attention. You can’t go out to eat anymore without seeing friends, lovers, and even waitstaff glued to their devices instead of looking directly into eyeballs around them.

This is where Snapchat shines as a communication tool. You have to pay attention, and you can’t wait too long to do it. The reason is this: each Snap (image or video) has the lifespan of 24 hours. That’s it. Whether you have a private Snap (message) from a friend or you want to watch a full day’s Story by another friend, if you don’t get to it within 24 hours of its creation, you miss out.


Let’s wrap this up in a nice yellow, Snapchatty bow: for all the reasons other platforms and apps may have brought the onset of “social media fatigue,” Snapchat is one of the most truly social apps we can use for real, relational communication. In fact, it just might bring us full circle to when reaching out really meant something.

#BizapaloozaChat: Snap Into It with Guest Rachel Moore

#BizapaloozaChat: How to Use Snapchat Like a Boss

Join us on Twitter as Rachel Moore is the guest of #BizapaloozaChat to share how anyone can be a boss at Snapchat!

If you’ve already tried (and hated) Snapchat, or if you haven’t yet taken it for a test drive, Rachel will share why it’s worth your time and how users of all ages are discovering a great platform for true connections.

Let’s keep it interesting and Blab about it, too!

What’s Your Lens Flare? Create Consistency on Snapchat

JJ Abrams is known for many things, but one legacy follows him into each new project: the lens flare.

WAIT, before you go watch The Force Awakens for the 14th time, let’s examine why JJ’s lens flare is important here.

Create Your Consistency on Snapchat

While I certainly do not suggest incorporating lens flares into your video and image efforts (unless they would really add to the overall result), JJ’s use of them has a valuable takeaway for all of us.

When you are consistent in any medium, you generate a few valuable characteristics for your audience:

  • Credibility. Your audience will see you as an authority on whatever topic you wish to share because you share it every day (or at least very regularly).
  • Reliability. Whatever else happens in the world, your “lens flare” – wherever you share it – forms a foundation for your audience. That may seem sappy, but it’s amazingly true.
  • Relevance. Sure, you could just share content that’s completely off the cuff, and that often works great for organic reaction. But by putting in effort to provide a consistent presence or element to your audience, you show them they are important enough for your time & creativity.

Examples of Lens Flare on Snapchat

The best Snapchat Stories, in my opinion, create an expectation of content. I’ll give you a few examples which keep me coming back for more (scan their codes to see what I mean!):

Each day, CammySutra takes us on a walk through the streets of Glasgow, Scotland on his quest to find street musicians.

Snapcode for Cammy Sutra: cammysutra6 | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: cammysutra6

Sandra Centorino creates a new challenge for her Snap friends each week called #PSS: Pay-It-Say-It-Forward.

Snapcode for Sandra Centorino: sayitforward | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: sayitforward

The first Snap for Rachel’s Itsasnaptv each morning is seeing her handwrite the date on her writing pad.

Snapcode for Rachel: itsasnaptv | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: itsasnaptv

Joel Comm has added his #10FastSnaps segment to each day where one-second Snaps guide you through a specific place.

Snapcode for Joel Comm: joelcomm |Really Social Blog
Snapcode: joelcomm

And possibly my favorite is JoeWilsonTV ushering each day with a song accompanying his cat, Mike, with the fast-forward filter applied.

Snapcode for JoeWilsonTV: joewilsontv | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: joewilsontv

How do you find your lens flare?

This might be a very organic or a very planned undertaking, but I’d start with your regular day.

  • Is there something you do just about every day anyway?
  • When are you most thoughtful or creative? Can you translate that into content?
  • What is a moment or phase of the day which truly reflects your personality?

Once you think you’ve struck upon an idea, your next question is: how can I use the app (e.g. Snapchat) to present this to my audience regularly? You may or may not want to add a hashtag title to your new segment, though presenting it consistently may allow it to stand on its own.

If you have more insights about how you arrived at our own lens flare, please share it below! Let’s help everyone find what works to keep their audiences engaged.

OK, now you can go watch The Force Awakens. Enjoy the lens flares! OH, and don’t forget to follow me on Snapchat:

Really Social & Rachel Moore on Snapchat (Snapcode)
Snapcode: rachelreallysoc

Snapchat Snaps Up SXSW

I came across a tweet earlier this week which prompted a double-take. Want to experience your own jaw-drop? Here you go:

I beg to Snap.

While I respectfully posted a comment expressing my disagreement with the writer, I couldn’t stop there. Nay, I shan’t stop there. I need to speak out for the truth and Snapchatters everywhere who are wondering where in the world Forbes was this past week. Let us begin.

8B (that’s billion) per day.

Before SXSW even got under way, Snapchat reported 8 billion videos being watched on its app per day. (That’s more than Facebook reported.) Even with Facebook’s larger number of users, Snapchat can tout 100 million daily users generating that much content.

If you’re wondering how many users are on Foursquare, TechCrunch reports them at around 55 million accounts (that was before allowed visitors to use the platform without signing up).

Snapping up sessions.

SnapXSW Session of Influencers | Really Social Blog
(Left to Right): Frank Danna, Robert Scoble, Sunny Lenarduzzi, Virginia Salas Kastilio, Brian Fanzo

When you search “Foursquare” on, you come up with one result. That session isn’t even about Foursquare, but rather points to a record being set via 4sq back in 2012.

Conversely, a search for “Snapchat” on the same site generates 23 results… and those are just the sessions which were officially listed. I had the opportunity to attend an impromptu, unofficial session which was packed with SXers ravenous for insights about using Snapchat.

Sidewalk Snaps

::Anecdotal Warning:: If you weren’t already aware, attending SXSW means a fair amount of walking between venues to get to sessions, parties, eateries, and so on. I did my fair share of pounding the pavement (roughly 12K steps per day per my Fitbit) and couldn’t get from one place to the other without hearing “Snapchat” being uttered somewhere around me. It was everywhere. Even sessions which weren’t necessarily about Snapchat wound up including it in the discussions on influencers, new content marketing, and narrative trends.

Snapchat Wins.

Here’s the thing: everyone is entitled to their opinion. In mine, I actually dig Foursquare + Swarm; before SXSW, I absolutely used that combo more than I ever touched Snapchat. I still intend to.

But, in my opinion, the clear winner of SXSW 2016 – in the sense of complete smackdown – is Snapchat.

What’s Happening in Social Media?

You don’t have time to stay updated on how social media changes each day?

No problem. We’ve got you covered.

Watch the Blab live or the replay below, or—better yet—click here to join us live. We crowdsource the knowledge so everyone walks away with the latest updates, trends, and tactics.

What would you like us to cover in this episode? Comment below.