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. ??

5 Tips to Teach Children How to Use Social Media

Admirable attempts by fellow adults have been made to teach developing minds about the dangerous side of social media. For our kids, who daily seek approval and attention from anyone, social media is all too tempting of an outlet. And if your child has a smartphone, they’re on social media.

If you have or know a child, start teaching them how to use social media:

  1. Show kids how and what you share on social. We’re staring and jabbing at our smartphones each day… Yes, our children are watching and know it must surely be an amazing gadget. Use that rapt attention to let them lean in and watch you compose a post or share a photo on Facebook. Let them make suggestions and guide their choices.
  2. Strangers are online just as they are in real life. Show your child that the person who just liked your photo on Instagram is someone you’ve never met before. Stranger-danger is just as risky online as in real-life; perhaps more so since kids often share too much information with strangers. If you are on social platforms where you often decline requests by strangers to connect, show your child where and explain why.
  3. Mean words hurt just as much. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a less-than-friendly comment, show it to your child. Talk about how it felt to read it. Explain that there is always a real person reacting to every word you post online. Let them watch you compose a comment on someone else’s profile and see how carefully you choose your words. Louis C.K. has a great commentary on why online messages can be so hurtful (not safe for children).
  4. Teach kids how easy it is to save and change content. Find one of your posts and screenshot it. Use a free photo editing tool (most smartphones have one built-in to their camera tool) to crop or adjust the image. Get creative with your manipulation: your goal is to show your kid how easily anyone can grab something on the internet, change it, and re-use it for their own purposes.
  5. If they’re on social media, install the same apps and follow them. Just as you would check their homework or their clothing choices for a social event with friends, check how your child uses social media. Also, you’re entitled and advised to do unannounced checks of their smartphones (especially if your name is on the bill!). If they’re using a new app, download it and get familiar.

*If you don’t know how to do these things, try them out now. Your child, growing up as a digital native, will most certainly learn if you don’t teach them. Be their first and primary source for best practices.

“Use social media. Don’t be used by it.”

Do what you do best for your child: parent them. Show them how to treat others in real life: how to say “please” and “thank you,” how to hold back their honest opinions about someone’s appearance, and how to treat others as they want to be treated. If you’ve done and are doing that well, showing them the capabilities of social media will provide them with a new tool to be a good person rather than a weapon to be a bad one.

What have you tried and learned as a parental user of social media? Share your own tips below; we can help each other help our kids.

Need more help than these 5 tips? Request a training or presentation for your group by Rachel, Really.

Want to grow your account visit themarketingheaven.com.