Last week, I celebrated the birth of my new son. In Jewish tradition, a boy has a bris at day 8. A bris is a short ceremony where he is welcomed into the community and has his name announced to world (amongst other things 😳).
My wife and I live in Madison, WI. Madison is our chosen home — neither of us have families in town. My parents and her mom were able to join us in person. But that still left a lot of loved ones who couldn’t make it in for the occasion.
In the days leading up, my brother asked if I could Skype him in for the event. I said sure. Then one of my cousins made the same request and I realized that Skype was not going to work.
I wanted to stream the celebration for my family, but I didn’t want it to be open to the general public.
So here’s what I did: I created a private Facebook event and invited in those we wanted to join us remotely. This included family and friends in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Washington, California and even Germany. It included two grandmothers in their 80s/90s who were both thrilled about becoming great-grandmothers!
Once RSVPing that they would attend, I instructed the invitees to head over to the event page at the appropriate time. I then used Facebook Live to stream the entire ceremony directly into the private group.
They could all access it, and I didn’t have to worry about anyone else joining in, or someone sharing it to their networks and it becoming a public affair (I set the privacy settings to only stream to those “attending” the event).
The stream was one-way, but not the conversation.
I set up the phone on a tripod near our in-home guests. When everything was over, I went back and looked at the video. There were about 15 cyber-guests, but they had left a combined total of 99 comments! So after everyone had gone home and the kitchen was cleaned, we got to re-live the event through their comments.
One of my cousins even let me know that she wasn’t able to make it to the event in real time, but that she was able to watch it later that day on her own time.
As can I and any of the other invitees!
What’s The Point?
If you read my blog regularly, you probably realize that this isn’t a typical post for me. It’s a bit more personal than I normally delve. That said, the point of this post isn’t really to tell you about my intimate family affair. The real point of this post is the importance of understanding the tools in your digital toolkit.
My brother and cousin wanted me to Skype them in. Which would have worked for one or two people… but not a dozen!
Facebook Live would have been great for those we wanted to join us, but it would have been hard to keep it intimate and private.
A private Facebook event was a perfect solution to bring in the family, without having to broadcast it to the world.
Everyone who attended raved about how “fun” it was and how great it was that they got to be there. Never mind the fact that they were all thousands of miles away. They all had a front row seat, right alongside our parents and our local guests. And not only that, they could chat with each other throughout, without worrying about disturbing the ceremony.
In the words of one of my aunts: “This is all so cool that we can be so connected!”
While this story is about how I brought my family together, ask yourself when such tools might be helpful for bringing together your audience or community. Maybe you have an upcoming meeting you want to share with top volunteers. Or you want to announce a new product line to your VIP customers. Perhaps you want to give access to some of your fans, without opening up your conversation to the world. Our smartphones and social media platforms are full of amazing tools. Understanding them might just be the difference between bringing your community together… or not.
Want to start using Facebook Live, but not sure how to get started. Check out my free Facebook Live Checklist.
Not sure which digital tool might be right for your upcoming event. Be in touch and let’s figure it out together!
Did you know that Facebook lets you save things you want to come back to later?
Ever see an ad you were interested in, but didn’t have time to dig in? Maybe it was a post from your favorite digital storyteller and strategist, walking you through some awesome Facebook feature you definitely want to learn about, just not at this moment 😉. Perhaps it’s a picture of your baby nephew, who’s just too cute for words and you don’t want to lose track of all those awesome pictures of him in his adorable little onesies.
Facebook has you covered.
Anytime you see anything on Facebook — ANYTHING! — you can “save” it, offering you easy access to it whenever you want to go back to it in the future.
Go to any post on Facebook and click the three dotes in the top right hand corner.
You’ll get a dropdown menu. The very first option will offer you what looks like a ribbon icon and the option to “Save post."
Click it and that post/video/ad will immediately be added to your Saved Folder
How Do I Find My Saved Folder?
This too is extremely easy. Go to your homepage and look at the tabs on the lefthand side of the screen. Under “Explore,” you’ll find your “Saved” folder.
You’ll also find a bunch of other cool things.
For example: You know those “On This Day” posts Facebook shows you, reminding you about that time you became friends with that person you don’t even know 8 years ago? Well sometimes there are days or people we might prefer not to remember (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind anyone?). Click “On This Day” and then go to “Preferences” in the top right corner. You can choose people or dates to be excluded from those otherwise fun and helpful Facebook reminders!
Okay, so back to your Facebook Saved Folder
Click where it says “Saved” and anything you saved will be there waiting for you.
You can even search within your saved items!
Once you’ve saved a few items, you can then build collections, to make it even easier to navigate your favorite material.
I have numerous email addresses containing dozens of folders I use to keep track of my emails. I have subfolders within folders to keep everything clean and easy to find. I really like to know where my emails are, should I ever need to find them in the future.
I've used many emails over the years. As a result, I regularly have emails from clients, colleagues or friends wind up in the “wrong” account. When that happens, I have a few options.
I can reply, asking them to update their records. This one is kind of annoying, right?
I can forward the email from the wrong account to the right. This one is super annoying!
Or I can take advantage of a helpful iPhone trick and simply move the email from one account to another with just a few clicks on the screen. Obviously this one is my favorite.
And it’s the subject of today’s post. Moving an email from one account to another within an iPhone or iPad is very simple.
If you hit reply all on the email after moving it, you'll notice that the original email (your "wrong" email) will be on the recipient list. The iPhone essentially treated this action as an email forward. But it vastly simplifies an otherwise cumbersome process.
That's it. You're done.
Check out some other iPhone tips and tricks.
Have any favorite secret iOS tips, tricks, tools or hacks that you love? Share them in the comments!
It’s always best practice to read through an article before sharing it via social media.
Sometimes a headline tells you most of what you need to know, and it’s okay to only skim the article, without reading every word. For example, if your local paper reports that a new baby panda was born at your zoo, you can pretty well trust you got the gist of the takeaway before even clicking on the link. It’s still a good idea to read through it, of course, just to be sure there are no critical takeaways/surprising angles towards the bottom of the page. But you are probably safe making assumptions about what you’ll find in the article.
While reading through articles before you share them with your networks them is important, if the article in question is about you, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribute named Senator Orrin Hatch “Utahn of the Year.” (Yep, apparently someone from Utah is a Utahn — good to know!)
On its face, this is a pretty big honor. A significant paper from the state’s capital city named Hatch their person of the year. I can see why he would be excited to get that out far and wide to his networks.
Unfortunately for him, the article didn’t exactly line up with the headline.
The very first line of the article should have been a clue to even the most casual of readers: “These things are often misunderstood.”
It then lays out what he has done to deserve such a title.
• Hatch’s part in the dramatic dismantling of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
• His role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in passing a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code.
• His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.
While the first two bullet points were clearly intended to be direct hits against Hatch, it is possible that he could wear both criticisms as points of pride. If he thinks it’s good to scale back national monuments and to raise working people’s taxes so that massive corporations can get a tax break, then he might have read the opening lines and been proud of his accomplishments.
But of course the opening line of the article made clear that the Salt Lake Tribune editorial staff is far from impressed with their senior senator.
And even if the intention of the first two bullet points confused him, that last one was pretty damn clear: “His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.”
The article goes on to call him a liar who has long overstayed his welcome in Utah. It also says that if he doesn’t retire now, the voters should toss him from office in 2018.
I read the article yesterday and thought — "Damn! This is brutal."
But of course that’s not the story here. The story here is that while I read the article and found it brutal, Senator Hatch (and/or one of his aides) saw the article as well, but never read past the title before proudly shared the scathing op-ed with his Twitter network this morning.
Oof. Oof. Oof.
Let this be a lesson to you. Read the article you are sharing. ESPECIALLY if you are the subject.
P.S. Do you know what the ratio is (in the context of Twitter)? It’s when you get waaay more responses to a tweet than likes or retweets. It’s typically a sign that people disagree with your message pretty vehemently, as supporters typically like or retweet, and comments tend to be criticisms of the message. Someone might say: dang, look at that ratio! So notice Hatch’s tweet has a 10:1 ratio.
“Dang, look at that ratio!”
I always say that the only constant in social media is change. I don’t write to tell you every time any little thing changes on a social channel — if I did you’d hear from me literally dozens of times per week. But not every update is worthy of a blog post or an email.
Recently though, a few exciting updates have rolled out that are worth sharing.
You can now “follow” a hashtag on Instagram, just like you would follow an account.
Once you follow a hashtag, Instagram will include top posts using it directly into your feed.
To follow a hashtag, simply search for it on Instagram.
Then click “follow.”
Then you will start seeing relevant content showing up in your feed.
I'm very excited about this update, although it’s a bit hard to follow Twitter’s logic. They recently doubled the character length for tweets from 140-280, thus making threads, and therefore this update, much less relevant. But they're not irrelevant, so it’s still an exciting update.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of threads, check out this blog post where I explain what they are and how they work (along with a bunch of other fun Twitter tricks and tips).
Before, when you created a tweet thread, you had to keep responding to previous tweets. Which is fine, but can be clunky. If you don't reply to the most recent tweet in your thread, they get out of order and your thread becomes hard to follow. It can take a few moments for your tweet to post, meaning you have to sit tight with your thoughts, waiting for it to catch up.
Now if you want to create a tweet thread, simply start typing your tweet. Below, next to the “tweet” button, you will see a plus. Click it and Twitter will open up another tweet for you. Keep going until you are finished and then you can send them all as a single unit.
BIG IMPROVEMENT, even if it's a little less relevant that it might have been a few months ago.
Facebook Stories aren’t new, but they have pretty much been getting ignored. Stories were Facebook’s response to Snapchat. They are small pieces of content — pictures, short videos or text — that disappear after 24 hours.
They have all the fun Snapchat-style filters built in, along with a lot of other fun tools. Spend a few minutes in there and you will find tons of fun toys. And they are updated regularly.
While Stories aren't new, what is new is that they are now available to Brand Pages. (Until recently, only personal pages could create Stories.)
To access Facebook Stories for a Brand Page, you can use the new Facebook Creator app. Or, open the Facebook app on your phone or tablet (currently, Stories only work via mobile), and go to your Brand Page. Underneath where you it lets you “write something,” click “create story.”
Once you have finished creating your tiny, disappearing masterpiece, add it to your Story.
Then anyone who likes your page will see it at the top of their Facebook page anytime they login for the next 24 hours. It’s a great way to get in front of your audience and to cut through the clutter of the newsfeed.
Quick note: you can also use Stories for Groups, and Events for which you have said you are attending. The Event feature in particular has the potential to be huge, in my opinion. Once people start using them, it will give everyone at a party, a concert, an event, etc. a way to create content and see what everyone around them is doing in real time. The engagement possibilities for that one are HUGE!
Those are the three social media updates I’m most excited about at the moment. Your turn — any to add?
Social media moves fast. You need a good strategy, but also countless cute/clever/funny/helpful/interesting pieces of content day in and day out to make it work. If you are doing it regularly, you are going to occasionally make mistakes.
The majority of the time, you will notice your error before anyone else does and you can delete your tweet or edit your post. Sometimes though, the only option is a response.
In preparation for Black Friday, McDonald’s sent the following tweet into the world:
This wasn’t a typo or someone hitting send too fast. This was someone copy and pasting a note from an internal document, throwing it into Twitter or a third party scheduler, and letting it fly.
They didn’t even wait until Black Friday to send it — the tweet went live on Thanksgiving.
Now if you run a small business or manage your band or nonprofit’s social media account, you could simply delete this tweet. If you’re a behemoth like McDonald’s, not so much.
You do have a few options though. You can:
McDonald’s went with option four, tweeting this the following morning:
While the follow up tweet didn’t get nearly as many retweets or likes as the original tweet, it did appease the internet, which is always hungry for a social media scandal.
You need look no further than the responses to see that the follow up fully appeased the Twitterverse. This time.
But user beware: if you or your team require coffee to start the day, then by all means, have it on hand! If you are McDonald’s that really shouldn’t be a problem. 🙄 🙄 🙄
When Facebook Live first came out, I’ll admit it — I was daunted.
I’m supposed to go to stream live to the world without the opportunity for a second take? Ummm, no thanks!
I had to worry about sound, lighting, my "script," distractions in the background... It was daunting.
But here’s the thing — Facebook Live is a hugely important tool in your digital toolkit. I regularly work with clients who go Live on Facebook for the first time and find that their videos reach more people that like their page! (300% reach — yes please!!!)
We know that people watch Live videos 3x longer than videos that aren’t live. And that they engage with them 10x more than regular videos!
So yeah, apprehension aside — Facebook Live videos get people watching and engaging.
Before I ever went Live on Facebook for the world to see, I came up with a hack that allowed me to ease my way into the otherwise scary world of live streaming.
And here’s the thing: It’s so simple, you’re going to laugh.
Before going Live for an audience via my brand page, I went Live via my personal page with my privacy settings adjusted to “Only me.”
This meant I could practice being on camera, see how the video looked on my computer, hear the sound, play with the awesome built-in filters, and a whole lot else, knowing that I’d be the only to see my first take.
So here’s the step-by-step breakdown.
Open up Facebook on your smartphone. Where you would say "What's on your mind, choose "Live."
If that option isn't there, then just click into the post and then click on the camera icon below.
You will then get a list of options. Choose "Live Video."
Once you have done that, directly underneath your name, you will see a dropdown menu that has likely defaulted to either “Public” or Friends.”
Click on it and you will get a list of privacy setting options.
Select "Only me."
Now when you go live, the only person who can see your video is you.
When you are finished going live, instead of publishing it to your page, just delete it. Or publish it to your page (if you want to play around with any of the settings) and you can delete it later, comfortable with the knowledge that your video only had an audience of one (you!).
I hope this hack helps you get over the initial hurdle of going Live. It really is a powerful tool and I highly recommend you experiment with it as you are telling your digital story.
Want more tips on getting started with Facebook Live. I wrote up a helpful checklist, full of things to consider before, during and after your broadcast.
I use my iPhone for so many things. It's my calendar, address book, camera, alarm clock, GPS, calculator, radio... The list goes on and on.
It's just so convenient. It's always with me, so why not take advantage of all of its massive capabilities.
One way that I use my iPhone is as a notepad. I used to be a paper guy (and in some ways, I still am). But I don't always have a notebook around. And I ALWAYS have my phone handy.
Needless to say, I use iPhone Notes for all kinds of things: shopping lists, to-do lists, idea trackers, movie/book/music suggestions... If I need to remember something, that's most likely where's its going.
One day, I was trying to copy and paste something from my notepad. I accidentally selected and deleted the entire note. Month's worths of reminders, ideas and lists were suddenly gone. It wasn't until that panic-stricken moment that I suddenly realized -- iPhones don't have undo buttons. 😱
But fret not -- while there is no undo button on an iPhone, there IS a way to access this important feature.
The simple (hilarious?) solution: shake your phone.
That's right, make Taylor Swift (or is it André 3000) proud and give your phone a little shake.
When you do, a box will pop-up asking if you'd like to "Undo Typing."
Click "undo," and just like CTRL+Z on your computer, your most recent activity will be undone.
Undo something prematurely or by accident? Fret not, just shake your phone again and it will give you the option to "Redo Typing."
It works with text in every application (that I've tested to date). It also will recover pictures/files/emails in some applications. Though not all. So delete and edit carefully.
Let me know if you find any other great uses for your iPhone's hidden undo feature.
Have any fun iPhone tips to share? I'm always on the lookout for additional functionality for the powerful little computer that's always in my pocket (if it's not in my hand!).
Share your tips in the comments or tag me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
You can see other such iPhone tips via my blog category "iPhone functionality."
Sometimes you want to read every word on a webpage. But sometimes you're just looking for something in particular. But finding it isn't always so straight-forward.
On your computer, the solution is easy: type in "Control+F" on a PC or "Command+F" on a Mac and search the page for what you need.
For the longest time, I couldn't find a similar functionality on my iPhone. I Googled around. I searched the app store. I even asked a genius at the Mac Store. They sheepishly told me it wasn't possible.
Then one day, I noticed something interesting. I had accidentally discovered the iPhone's elusive Control+F! So of course I want to share it with you.
Open up your iPhone's web browser and head to a relevant webpage.
Then go up to the search/url bar at the top. Type in whatever you want to search for, just like you would following CTRL+F. But here's the important part -- DO NOT CLICK ENTER!
Rather, scroll to the bottom of the default search options. The very last thing you will see is a heading titled "On This Page," followed in parenthesis by how many matches you received.
Click on that and you can jump through every mention of your keyword or phrase listen on the page.
That's it! Pretty simple, right?
Have any fun iPhone tips to share? I'm always on the lookout for additional functionality for the powerful little computer that's always in my pocket (if it's not in my hand!).
Share your tips in the comments or tag me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
You can see other such iPhone tips via my blog category "iPhone functionality."
Since writing this post, Twitter has expanded the length of tweets from 140-280. While you might need NEED these hacks as often, every one of them is still worth understanding and will offer you a more complete toolkit when using Twitter.
Twitter has also updated the way that you can create tweet threads. I wrote a blog post about the update. You can find it here.
A while back, Jack and his Twitter crew talked about massively expanding Twitter’s iconic 140 character limit to 10,000! Predictably, the Twitterverse went crazy. So Jack relented. Sort of.
While an individual tweet is still limited to 140 characters, Twitter has redefined what counts as a character. So while everything might still look/feel the same, you actually have quite a bit more room to get your thoughts out in a tweet these days than in the Twitter of old.
Many of these changes happened below the radar of the non-avid Twitter user. So I thought it would be a good time for a round-up.
Twitter is changing all the time. If I missed any new functionalities, let me know. I’d love to add them to my list.
A GIF, or a Graphics Interchange Format, is a short clip of a video or an animation set to repeat itself on an endless loop.
Twitter now has a built in GIF library. If you haven’t played with yours yet, you are missing out on some serious storytelling fun! Why type “Sad!” when you can demonstrate it in a fun video format.
To access the library, open up Twitter and start composing a new tweet. Then simply click on the GIF icon.
This will work on your computer, your tablet or your smartphone.
Twitter will automatically populate a wide-array of GIF emotions to search through.
Click on the appropriate emotion and scroll through the many, many options. Or, search for the emotion/concept of your choice.
Once you have the perfect GIF, select it and it will be added as media to your tweet.
And per the theme of this post — it will not count against your character count!
Please note though, you cannot add a GIF to a tweet containing any other media, or as part of a Quote Tweet (more on Quote Tweets below).
Another fun option, built write into your tweet, is the ability to conduct a poll.
Once you have selected the option, you can input a series of “answers” to whatever question you choose to pose in your tweet.
The default (and minimum option) is two “choices,” but click "+ Add a choice" and you can tack on a third or even a fourth.
When this fun tool was first rolled out, the only setting was for your poll to last for one day. But now, you can set your own length, ranging from 5 minutes to 7 days. To do that, just click on the poll length’s default “1 day” and set your desired length.
Obviously, since it’s on this list, a poll doesn’t count against your Tweet’s character count.
If someone takes your poll, they will see the breakdown of votes by percentage. Voting is anonymous. You won’t know who took your poll, nor will anyone else. But it is a fun way to engage your audience and let them tell you directly what they think about any given question.
Quick note: each “choice” is limited to 25 characters. Prepare accordingly. Also, like GIFs, you can’t insert a poll into a Quote Tweet or a tweet with media.
Once upon a time, every character in a link counted towards your character count. Obviously, this was extremely problematic — some links themselves are more than 140 characters!
The original solution to this problem was the link shortener. bit.ly is the most famous, but there are others.
Twitter eventually realized how untenable it was to have a platform that had become synonymous with news, forcing users to employ workarounds in order to share most news articles. So while you weren’t looking, they changed the way they count link characters.
Whether it’s 12 characters or 1200 (eek — that would be quite a long url), all links now count as 23 characters. So keep bit.ly bookmarked for some of its other fun features. But never again waste time shortening a link just to save space. Twitter has got you covered.
Just like GIFs and polls don’t count against your character limit, pictures and videos are likewise exempted from your count. You can add up to four pictures to any tweet that isn’t a Quote Tweet.
Use your pictures to help tell you story.
But don’t just tweet pictures. Be sure to always tell your audience why you are tweeting them. It should be easy when you still have ALL of your precious 140 of your characters to play with!
4b) Tagging People
Most regular Twitter users know that they can add pictures to a tweet (although I’m not sure how many realize their picture(s) aren't counting against their character count).
This is a tool however that I’ve found few people are aware of. And if they are, I find many don't truly appreciate its power.
When you add a picture (or 2, 3 or 4), you can “tag” people who are in the picture. I put tag in quotes because they don’t actually have to be in the photo for you to tag them.
To do so is simple: after you add your picture, click “Who’s in this photo?”
You can then search for any Twitter user by name or handle and tag them in your photo. It’s important to note that you can’t differentiate which picture a particular user is in — you can just tag them in your pictures, generally. But the coolest part about this: you can add up to ten users to any tweet! That should help you save you a whole lot of space since now you don’t have to write out all those handles within your tweet in order to tag them.
Quick note: some users have privacy settings that won’t allow them to be tagged in pictures. You can still tag them in your tweet, you just can’t tag them in your picture.
5) Quote Tweets
I mentioned this concept earlier, with the promise to cover it shortly. This is a fun one.
Once upon a time, if you wanted to retweet something, you had to do it sort of manually. You would take the tweet's content, add an RT before it and then send it to your users. This was problematic for numerous reasons, the biggest being tweet length. If a tweet was already 140 characters you couldn’t add an RT. And even if there were three characters to spare, you might not be able to add in the original sender’s handle. That led to awkward MTs, or modified tweets (if you don’t know this acronym, here's a bunch more you also might not yet know), where you retweeted an edited version of what someone else had already said. You could modify for length, content or accuracy, but whatever your reason, it certainly complicated the heart of the RT.
So Twitter adapted. They changed the way RTs work. You still occasionally see old school RTs, but it’s rare.
Then Twitter added the Quote Tweet.
When you go to retweet on your tablet or your smartphone, you’ll see be asked if you want to Retweet or Quote Tweet. Or your computer, you’ll have the option to Retweet, or to “Add a comment…”
You can add a full 140 characters to your Quote Tweet. This can be a great tool to save space. If someone tweeted something and you want to expand on it, you don’t need to start with an explanation. You can even Quote Tweet one of your own tweets, in order to continue a thought. Quote Tweets are a great tool for building out longer thoughts. Take advantage of them!
Similar to Quote Tweets, Twitter changed the way that replies work. It used to be that when you hit reply, Twitter automatically added the handle of the person who sent the original tweet, as well as any other handle tagged within.
But Twitter realized that people were struggling with what came to be known as “tipping canoes:” Twitter conversations that were so full of handles that there was no place left to actually add your thoughts.
So now when you hit reply, the original sender and all tagged handles will still automatically be tagged in your response, but they will be tagged outside of your actual tweet. Meaning you can respond to one handle, or a big group, without worrying about tipping that Twitter canoe.
So let’s say that instead of Quote Tweeting a response to @BarackObama, I replied to him.
I still have all 140 characters for my response.
Likewise, if I reply to @JimmyKimmel while he is thanking @SenatorCollins for doing the right thing on healthcare, they will both be tagged without taking away from my character count.
If you want to remove someone from your tags, just clicks on the list of names and you can deselect as you desire.
But note, you can’t deselect the original sender’s handle. You are stuck with them. Don’t want to mention them? Then maybe don't reply to their tweet!
Bonus) Thread Tweets
Okay, that is six ways that Twitter now offers for us to get more of each and every tweet.
But the Twitterverse still wasn’t satisfied and they are notorious for finding clever workarounds to problems that bother them.
Sometimes what you have to say won’t fit into 140 characters, no matter how many other tools you have at your disposal. At that point, you can thread together your tweets to tell a longer story.
Anytime you reply to a tweet, from anyone including yourself, Twitter will connect those two tweets with a blue line.
So if you have a longer story to tell, break it up into tweetable chunks and then share it, one piece at a time. But be careful — they have to be in the right order, or they will be impossible to follow.
To do this is simple: send your first tweet. Then reply to it. Then reply to that one. Then that one. And so on.
FYI — Threading tweets like this is sometimes referred to as a Tweet Storm.
There are many different ways people choose to differentiate a tweet from a threaded tweet. After all, your followers won’t know there’s more to come if you don’t tell them.
The most common approaches are as follows:
So that’s six new(ish) ways to get more of your tweets and a bonus user hack you should know about.
Do you have any additional tips or tricks you've found to get more out of Twitter? Respond in the comments and/or share them with me on Twitter. I want to hear from you!
Want to learn more about any of the above concepts, or anything else about this often-perplexing platform? Book a class today to become a Super Twitterer.
On Friday night, I went to see a Grammy winning bluegrass legend wow his crowd with songs spanning his 40+ year career.
Because I’m both a bluegrass nerd and a social media nerd, I streamed one of his songs via Facebook Live.
It was late on a weekend night and it didn’t get a lot of views in real time. But over the next 36 hours or so, it was watched a few dozen times. (And now I can go back and rewatch the band anytime I want on my personal Facebook page!) But truth be told, by Sunday night, I wasn’t thinking about the video anymore than I was about the drive to and from the show.
But then Monday morning, something interesting happened — my video was “liked” by the bluegrass legend it featured.
Now let’s be clear: I don’t think that this artist liked the post himself (although he might have). More likely it was a member of his marketing or management team.
But the notification that he had liked my video popped up, and I have to be honest — I got excited. Like, more excited than I probably should have.
I work in social media for a living. I know how this works. I know he probably has some marketing agency liking positive mentions of him online. But you know what: it still got its intended effect out of me!
Having him like my video felt like getting a high five or a quick hello from a bluegrass legend.
Does that handshake mean that we are suddenly best friends? Of course not.
Does it mean I can suddenly shred on the mandolin like he can? I wish!
Am I still excited enough that I immediately want to tell all my friends about it? Yup.
Liking that post cost him literally nothing (save for whatever he’s paying his agency to manage his social media—but that’s a story for another post). Yet it added to my excitement about the show.
Social media serves many roles, not least of which is customer service and community relations.
Think about yourself as a movie star. When you walk down the street, people recognize you. You can't stop and have lunch with every fan. You can’t even stop and take a picture with them all or you’d never get anywhere. But you can nod and smile to everyone who waves at you.
That’s what a "like" or a "favorite" is on social media — it’s a head nod from a celebrity. It doesn’t suddenly make you best friends or ensure that they will buy your product/go see your next movie/buy your upcoming album. But it shows the fans that you are real, and that you respect them as people, not just as consumers. And it only takes as much time to create that connection as you need to give a single click of your mouse or tap on your phone.
If you see a celebrity on the street, and you wave at them, you are going to tell your friends one of two stories:
“Oh my goodness, I just say this famous person on State Street. It was so cool!”
*** OR ***
“I just saw this famous person on State Street. He was kind of a jerk.”
You’re the celebrity. Which would you prefer?
We live in strange times. One person with a little ingenuity and a Twitter account or a YouTube channel can have greater reach than their local paper, and greater influence than even some in the national media.
But for most of us, we log-on to social media to connect with our friends and family, to see what’s happening in the world and to share our opinions. We aren’t trying to build massive audiences—we just want to learn, to socialize and to share our opinions on the story of the day.
And so often today, that story is about politics.
We live in a social media age: never before have American politics moved so fast or felt so destructive. It feels like we are in an endless state of breaking news; CNN’s chyron writers can hardly keep up with the stories as they come rolling in.
So let’s say you want to go online and get involved in the conversation, but you aren’t sure where to start. Then these ten tips might be for you. This list could apply to professional politicos and full-time activists, but I didn’t write it for them. Rather it’s intended for people with jobs, families, social lives and a million other things going on, but who still have a passion to change their community, if not the world.
Tip 1 — If it didn’t happen on social media, it didn’t happen
This is the first rule of any campaign I’ve ever worked on, and it needn't be limited to traditional political campaigns. If you go to an event, no matter how well attended, consider all of those who didn’t attend. Some didn’t know about it, some couldn’t get off work, some live in other places. Talking about the events and meetings you attend both bring in new audiences in real time, and give more people a reason to attend such events in the future.
Share your story via the social media platforms of your choice throughout the event. Quote speakers, share videos of exciting moments, talk about why you are there, what you are learning and how great a time you are having.
Or else, it never really happened 😉
Tip 2 — Your story is your best asseT
All the facts and statistics in the world can’t compete with a personal story from someone in your community. Hearing that 23 million people will lose healthcare is powerful; hearing that YOU or YOUR BROTHER won’t be able to keep their healthcare, far more so.
Your story doesn’t have to be tragic to be powerful. What got you active in the movement? Why do you care? What are the moments that shaped you? They are all part of your story.
You don’t have to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets to put a personal spin on the story of the day.
Activists are, first and foremost, organizers. Sometimes, their goal is to use the internet as a tool to bring people together in real life. If that’s your goal, optimize your efforts.
Facebook events are extremely powerful, but ONLY if used correctly. Don’t build a Facebook Event two days before an event. At that point, you have missed your window. If you can’t build it at least 4-6 weeks prior, you are not really taking advantage of this awesome tool. (Bear in mind, this is NOT applicable for birthday parties, community concerts, etc., where you can pretty much do whatever you want. This is for public events that you want to promote to a public audience.)
Once your Event is built, invite people you think will want to attend and share it with your networks. Post about it on your wall, email it to your friends, tell people about it in real life and let them know they should join.
Once you have a group of people who have said they are “interested” or “going” to your event, now it’s time to engage them.
Every time you post an update in the event, everyone “interested” or “going” will get a notification. So it’s important not to annoy them (they can remove themselves from the event outright or simply from receiving notifications). My recommendation: post about once a week until the final two weeks prior to the actual event. Then ramp up as you get closer. But just about EVERY notification should not solicit, but rather excite.
Tip 3 — Online organizing starts offlinE
You will not sign up for a Twitter account today, and amass 100k followers over the next few weeks (if you do, contact me and let’s tell that story!). But connect with the people you already know in real life and let them know how to find you online. This can be at events and meetings, in your email signature, within Facebook Groups in which you are active, etc.
The people who already know (and love) you will be much more receptive to your message than a group of strangers. And if your goal is to make a difference, it helps to have a receptive audience.
Tip 4 — Support each otheR
If you see someone getting attacked for speaking out, it’s okay to step up for them, just like you would in real life.
If you aren’t comfortable getting involved publicly in an online debate (some can’t because of their jobs, others just aren’t comfortable with it), consider dropping a private note to the person under siege. Let them know you appreciate that they are fighting the good fight.
If we cede the conversation to the bullies, we lose. We can’t all be outspoken activists, but we must support each other so that those who are in a position to engage won’t get shut down and pushed out of the conversation altogether.
Tip 5 — Use Twitter lists as a listening tooL
I know a lot of people who don’t like Twitter because they find it too confusing. And I get that. At first glance, Twitter is chaos. But Twitter lists help bring order to the chaos.
Utilizing them is free and easy, and you don’t even have to build your own — you can subscribe to someone else’s.
Lists can be public or private:
Build lists of journalists, people who inspire you, friends, colleagues, etc.. And then get a free account with HootSuite or Tweetdeck and easily monitor them, on a timeframe that works for you.
Lists only show content shared by those in your list. So if it’s a list of journalists, whenever you login, you can see all of their tweets in a manageable stream, and nothing else. Literally: order out of the chaos.
This will help you stay informed and connected to many different groups of people in a way that won’t feel overwhelming.
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