How do you feel when people comment on your social media posts? Awesome, right?
A comment or some form of engagement is usually a sign that people love your social media content. And it’s important to reciprocate and respond to these interactions.
But at the same time, engaging with your followers can be time-consuming. If you are a solo social media manager or a small business owner, you know you don’t have the whole day to engage with your followers.
So how can you minimize the time it takes to engage with your followers and still be authentic at the same time?
In this post, we’ll share the tactics and tools we use at Buffer to engage with our amazing social media followers quickly and authentically.
5 creative types of replies you can use
If you have been replying to comments and mentions with a thank you, that’s a great first step. But it can be easy to fall into the habit of using a few standard replies. I’m definitely guilty of that!
There are many ways you can spice up your replies, show your brand’s personality and delight your followers. Here are some that I like:
That’s awesome! Any top books in your program? – Bonnie
— Buffer (@buffer) September 11, 2017
Instead of a simple “Thank you,” I love to engage with the person further and continue the discussion. A great method is to ask for her or his opinions on the topic.
For example, if someone commented on your social media post that links to a blog post, you could ask the following questions:
- What is your favorite part of the blog post?
- What’s your main takeaway from the blog post?
- Do you agree with the idea mentioned in the blog post?
- How has your experience with (a strategy or tool) been like?
- Have you tried any of the tips in the blog post before? If yes, how did it go?
If they reply to your questions, that’s awesome! You can continue the conversation and build a good relationship with them.
The easiest way to make your replies a little more fun is to include emoji.
As emoji become part of the social media language, most people are used to seeing and using emoji in their social media posts and comments.
It is also an efficient way to convey your tone and emotions in your replies. Unlike talking face-to-face or on the phone, it’s not easy for your followers to pick up your tone and emotions in a text reply. But with a happy emoji, your followers would know instantly that you’re smiling while replying.
Both Mac and Windows have a shortcut for adding emoji. If you’re on a Mac, an emoji app that I would recommend is Rocket. It allows you to quickly type emojis by starting with a colon (:). Here’s a demo from the website:
You can also schedule posts for custom days and times by clicking on the small arrow next to “Add to Queue” -Kelly pic.twitter.com/m3Jxfd8icy
— Buffer (@buffer) August 31, 2017
Sometimes, the fastest and easiest way to show or explain something on social media is to use an image — especially on Twitter where you have only 140 characters.
We found that images are generally best for answering support questions where we have to show or point to something.
Tools like CloudApp, Nimbus and Droplr (which we’ll discuss below) allow you to add annotations to your images, making your explanation clearer.
Woohoo!! ? ? :cue the happy music: We’re thrilled to have you with us on Awesome, Tobias! Shout if any questions come up ? -Kelly pic.twitter.com/uo3UvjZZKb
— Buffer (@buffer) August 25, 2017
Using GIFs is our favorite way of thanking people who shared our content, gave us a shout out and more.
With the new GIF button on Twitter and Facebook, you can easily find and add a GIF to your replies.
If you would like to create your own GIFs, here’s our guide on how to create your own GIFs in minutes.
— Medium (@Medium) February 10, 2015
In 2015, the User Happiness team at Medium did a #AskMedium campaign where they answered questions with video replies. And their followers loved it!
In a blog post about Twitter’s video feature, Gary Vaynerchuck explained why video replies are great for engagement:
It’s easy to Like a comment or reply with “Thank you!” Recording a video reply — even a short one — takes a little more effort, which shows your followers how much you care about them.
6 ways to save time while engaging with your followers
Here are six strategies to help you save time while you engage with your followers.
1. Craft your replies to common comments in advance.
Thanks for sharing this informative video!
How do you work as a social media team of one?
Do you have any tips for growing an Instagram account?
These are some of the common comments we get, and you likely have yours.
Preparing the answers to these common comments and questions can help you reply faster as you don’t have to think on your feet.
I would recommend coming up with a few variations so that you aren’t always replying with the same phrases. For example, instead of saying “Thanks for reading our blog post,” you could also say the following:
- Yay! Thanks for reading this! (GIF)
- You rock for reading our blog post!
- Thank you for checking it out! Will you be trying any of the tips mentioned?
- Thanks! Have you tried any of the tactics before? It’ll be great to hear how it went for you!
2. Have a handy list of GIFs, emojis and more
Besides searching for GIFs on Twitter and Facebook, I have a folder of my favorite GIFs for various types of replies. This way, I can grab and use them quickly without having to search. (There have been times when I was looking for a particular GIF and just couldn’t find it through search).
Here are some of my favorites:
Aww, thank you:
You could download your favorite GIFs into an easily-accessible folder so that you can grab one quickly whenever you are replying to comments on your social media posts.
To download a GIF from GIPHY, click on “Download” on the right of the GIF and select the file type you want.
You could do the same for commonly-used screenshots and videos and also create a list of your favorite emoji in an Evernote note (or your preferred note-taking app) for quick access.
3. Use productivity tools
Using tools is another great way to help you reply your followers faster. Here are a few tools that we use:
Text Expander: Instantly insert snippets of text
With Text Expander, you can quickly type commonly-used phrases with just a few characters. For example, instead of typing “Thank you for sharing this post,” you could type “tks1” and Text Expander would automatically expand it.
If you have come up with a list of replies according to tip 1 above, you could add them to this app. You can customize the abbreviation for each of your snippets.
CloudApp: Quickly create & share GIFs, annotated screenshots and more
With CloudApp, you can capture anything on your screen as an image, GIF or video in just seconds. You can even record a video of yourself — which is great for creating video replies!
CloudApp will automatically add a link to your file to your clipboard. You can then paste it into your reply or download the file and add it to your reply.
What I love about CloudApp is that I can access its features by just hitting a few keys on my keyboard.
- Cmd/Alt + Shift + 5: Take a screenshot
- Cmd/Alt + Shift + a: Take a screenshot and add annotations
- Cmd/Alt + Shift + 6: Take a screen recording (as a GIF or HD video)
- Cmd/Alt + Shift + 8: Record a video with your computer’s camera
4. Use a social media engagement tool
Our top tip for engaging with social media followers quickly is to use a tool that’s built specifically for social media engagement.
Instead of having to log in to each social media platform and open each notification in a new tab, you can efficiently reply to comments and mentions from a single place.
Our favorite social media engagement tool is Buffer Reply.
With Buffer Reply, you can have all your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram conversations in a single inbox. It works even better if you are in a team as you can respond to conversations together.
5. Use automation to assist you
This is where a social media engagement tool can be super helpful. For example, we set up automation rules with Buffer Reply, such as the following, so that we can respond to social media conversations as quickly as possible.
- Filter out spam and automated tweets and automatically close those conversations — so that we can focus on those that require a reply
- Move Facebook and Instagram comments into a separate folder — so that Brian Peters, who manages our Facebook Page and Instagram account, can focus on them
- Move tweets with our support hashtag, #BufferSupport, into a separate folder — so that our Customer Advocates can reply to them as soon as possible
Automation tools like Zapier and IFTTT can also be useful here. The way they work is that an activity in an app will trigger another activity in another app. For example, if you want to reply as soon as someone mentions your brand on Twitter, you could use Zapier to send any Twitter mentions into your Slack.
Here are more social media engagement and monitoring automation by Zapier.
6. Schedule time to engage
It’s great to jump onto any comments immediately and give a prompt reply. If it doesn’t disrupt to your workflow, you should probably keep it up!
But for many of us who wear multiple hats, constantly stopping our work to reply to a comment can affect our productivity (unless your main role is to reply and help customers on social media).
One thing that Brian, who manages our social media profiles, do is this: he schedules two 30-minutes time blocks every day to respond and engage with our community. Here’s how engaging with our community fits into his morning schedule:
How do you engage with your followers?
Engaging with your followers is a great way to build your brand. While the process can sometimes be time-consuming, there are tactics and tools that can help to minimize the time it takes for you to engage with your followers while staying authentic:
- Craft your replies to common comments in advance
- Have a handy list of GIFs, emojis, and more
- Use productivity tools like TextExpander
- Use a social media engagement tool
- Use automation to assist you
- Schedule time to engage
This story originally appeared on Buffer
Unilever Turns Up the Heat on Facebook & Google Over Tech’s ‘Unintended Consequences’
Unilever has issued a stern warning to digital platforms including Facebook, Google, and YouTube: do more to improve transparency and clean up the “swamp” of fake news, exploitative, and socially divisive content, or be cut off from its multi-billion dollar digital advertising budget.
CMO Keith Weed recently spoke at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting held in Palm Desert, Calif. CNBC quotes him as saying, “We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing.”
Two of the most important consequences being referred to include the threatening of safety of users, especially young children, and loss of trust by consumers and companies at large.
While it’s unlikely that Unilever will turn its back on the two largest digital platforms, Weed’s words matter because of the sheer amount of ad budget Unilever holds across its portfolio brands. MediaPost reports that in 2017, the company spent approximately $9.8 billion on marketing and advertising, a quarter of which went to digital.
Beyond the public denouncements, Unilever is also working with IBM to develop a blockchain with which the company can more effectively reduce ad fraud via a record of what media is purchased and how it is delivered.
A separate MediaPost article shares YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s response to Weeds comments on Monday. In her own statement at Recode’s Code Media conference, she assured,
“We want to do the right set of things to build [Unilever’s] trust. They are building brands on YouTube, and we want to be sure that our brand is the right place to build their brand.”
Recent efforts we’ve seen in support of this include significant updates to its Creator Program policy. Further, in light of the recent Logan Paul controversy involving a video in which a suicide victim was filmed inside a Japanese forest, the company has suspended running ads on his channel, per Ad Age.
While brand safety is a concern on the minds of many marketers, Unilever’s public comments this week indicate that brands are viewing the issue with a much broader lens, and seriously questioning the role these platforms play in people’s everyday lives, beyond the world of advertising. In this important cultural moment, people are looking to brands and platforms to assume responsibility and be proactive to keep their spaces safe, trustworthy, and suitable for communities.
To further explore the overarching question of how technology, including digital platform giants, can be used to bring us closer together versus further apart, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register today and save 20%.
Facebook’s Next Step in Building Community: $10M in Grants
Facebook has made several important announcements as of late the support its mission to create more “meaningful communities.” The latest? Investment in a newly announced Community Leadership program designed to support its community-building leaders through a variety of residency and fellowship opportunities that offer training, support, and funding.
Here’s how it will work: Facebook will name five “community leaders in residence” and provide up to $1 million each to fund their proposals, in addition to providing them with the opportunity to attend a customized leadership development training session.
Moreover, Facebook will select 100 individuals to join its fellowship program and receive up to $50,000 each for a “specific community initiative.” They’ll also participate in four in-person gatherings during which they will have the chance to meet and collaborate with other fellows.
Another key initiative in the works? Expanding Facebook’s “engineering team for community safety,” which is headquartered in London. In particular, the company hopes to double the number of employees focused on such efforts including detecting and stopping fake accounts, protecting people from harm (e.g harassment and scams), and making it easier to report content, by the end of 2018.
Further, Facebook outlined new tools for group admins, including page personalization options (e.g. color and the ability to pin announcements to the top of the page), the ability to create and share group rules; and more features to monitor Group Insights.
Outside of its Communities Summit, but along the theme of ensuring time on the platform is time well spent, the company also confirmed last week it was testing a downvote button that would allow users to provide feedback on comments in particular. The downvote button is being tested within a limited group of U.S. users for the time being.
This is not to be confused with a “dislike” button, but rather a more “lightweight way for people to provide a signal to Facebook that a comment is inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading”—this according to a Facebook spokesperson quoted in TechCrunch.
Here is what the button looks like in action:
As the screenshot depicts, the user will have the ability to select whether the post was found to be “offensive,” “misleading,” or “off topic,” the choices aimed to help guide Facebook’s course of action with respect to the particular piece of feedback.
Forbes adds that, the downvote option in its test mode only applies to public posts as opposed to Group posts or the Pages of public figures. It also doesn’t affect the ranking of the post and the number of downvotes a post gets won’t be publicly shared.
These initiatives by Facebook to reverse some of the negative perceptions of its role in society come at a critical time as brands and citizens alike are putting more and more pressure on the world’s leading tech platforms to course-correct their products for the safety of their users. Just this week, Unilever threatened to yank ad dollars from Facebook and Google due to the company’s growing dissatisfaction with their overall impact on society.
“We cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online,” stated Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, to the BBC.
Learn about Facebook’s increasingly complex role in society by joining SMWNYC April 24-27. The conference will offer multiple sessions designed to explore where brands and platforms fit into tech’s future in our world. Register today to secure your pass.
5 Ways Cryptocurrency Can Help Entrepreneurs in 2018
Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the way we transact value, invest our savings and raise capital with its decentralised digital cash system. Blockchain technology is a once-in-a-lifetime invention; never before in history have we been presented with such a breakthrough in financial technology. In 2018, entrepreneurs are well positioned to become early adopters of blockchain technology.
1. Raising capital
Cryptocurrency has disrupted the way early stage companies raise capital. With initial coin offerings, startups around the world can raise money quickly and cheaply from a wide pool of global investors. The valuation of a company is almost immediately reflected by the market, a process that has traditionally been challenging for early stage businesses. Shares are issued as tokens and tradable almost immediately, bringing large amounts of liquidity to the company.
This new approach to raising capital has changed the world and enabled the best technical talent to build their companies at high speed. In 2014, a teenager from Canada called Vitalik Buterin raised money for his startup, Ethereum, through an initial coin offering. He wanted to improve on Bitcoin’s blockchain and create a platform for people to build unstoppable applications. With just a whitepaper and a vision, he was able to successfully raise $18 million for his new blockchain, which was valued at over $100 billion as of January 2018.
2. Transacting value
Cryptocurrency enables us to transact value between peers without a centralized authority. It provides a cheaper, faster and more efficient alternative to traditional payment networks. As a company, accepting cryptocurrency payments is becoming increasingly efficient, saving on fees and bringing faster settlement. Soon, startups will no longer need to go through the long process of setting up a business bank account to receive and distribute funds. In 2014, Overstock.com became the first retailer to accept bitcoin, receiving over 800 orders worth $126,000 in bitcoin in the first 22 hours. It has since amassed a $403,000 portfolio of cryptocurrency.
3. Investing for the future
For entrepreneurs, cryptocurrency may be the investment opportunity of a lifetime. Never before in history have retail investors had investment access to high growth early stage companies. Traditionally, venture capital funds and private angel investors have held monopolies on access to investment in the world’s best technical talent. Cryptocurrency provides a gateway for anyone in the world to invest in the world’s most exciting technology, allowing retail investors to own a basket of high growth companies. For example, through the decentralized method of blockchain investment, teenager Erik Finnman was able to invest in Bitcoin in 2011, becoming a Bitcoin millionaire at age 18. These types of investment stories would not be possible with traditional private venture capital fundraising.
4. Developing on the blockchain
The blockchain offers powerful infrastructure for companies to run their technology and create entirely new business models in a trusted way without a centralized authority. Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the way startups create value. The Ethereum platform allows companies to build unstoppable blockchain applications quickly and for free. One example of a company leveraging the Ethereum blockchain is OmiseGO, a payments company that is using blockchain to provide banking services for the world’s 2 billion unbanked population. Blockchain technology is a cost-efficient way of building decentralized applications that can scale to a global population.
5. Joining the blockchain community
The blockchain community offers access to some of the world’s best entrepreneurs, who are actively investing, advising and building upon the blockchain. Telegram, Facebook, WeChat, Slack and WhatsApp groups have proved popular in building communities of decentralized blockchain investors who can communicate with each other on a daily basis. Many large investments in early stage technology companies can be coordinated within minutes, a process that would traditionally take months in traditional venture capital. For example, in 2017, Brave’s Basic Attention Token sale sold out of its $35 million offering within 30 seconds. The blockchain community offers a strong sense of purpose with all members committed to a common goal of advancing blockchain technology to global adoption.
Cryptocurrency provides a platform for entrepreneurs to raise capital quickly, cheaply and efficiently. Entrepreneurs can transact value through the blockchain at high speed with limited setup costs and invest in high growth technology companies at an early stage. Platforms like Ethereum allow entrepreneurs to build decentralized applications to a global audience for free. The blockchain community offers access to some of the top entrepreneurs, engineers and investors in the world and in 2018, cryptocurrency will continue to provide a viable means for entrepreneurs to create value in the world.
7 Ways to Get Recruiters and Job Offers to Come to You
“You are your own brand, and you need to build that brand and promote it as much as possible. It is important that you start building your brand online, because this is where employers are going to be looking for potential employees,” suggests Dima Midon, an expert from TrafficBox. Use all of the online tools at your disposal, particularly LinkedIn, which is a professional network that allows you to really promote yourself as a professional, and someone who is an expert in your field. This is a great tool for job seekers. Make sure that you keep your profile up to date, especially when it comes to contact information, so when an employer searches you, they will be able to contact you if they are interested in learning more.
Facebook’s Controversial ‘Messenger Kids’ App Arrives On Android
'Stargate Origins' Brings Classic Sci-Fi Back Tonight
Pinterest Introduces New Tools for Keeping Pins and Projects Organized
Kepler Space Telescope Discovers 95 More Alien Planets
Mars Meteorite Will Return to the Red Planet with NASA Rover
GoPro, Food52, And Crowdtap Added To SMWLA Lineup
Why Just Having a Website Isn’t Enough Anymore
Super Bowl Ads 2018: What Worked and What Didn't
7 Tips to Be More Effective in 2018
How to Stop Waiting for Lightning to Strike and Instead Start Replicating Success
- Conference2 weeks ago
GoPro, Food52, And Crowdtap Added To SMWLA Lineup
- Business2 weeks ago
Super Bowl Ads 2018: What Worked and What Didn't
- Culture2 weeks ago
Digital Stars of the Past Where Are They Now? Part 1
- Business2 weeks ago
Can Social Media Persuade You to Spend More Money?
- Business2 weeks ago
Mobile Continues to Dominate Marketing Opportunities, But Brands Should Consider What's Next
- Space2 weeks ago
Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster Is Headed to the Asteroid Belt
- Business2 weeks ago
Step-by-Step, This How You Create a Facebook Ad That Sells
- Space2 weeks ago
So Long, Starman! Skywatchers Spot Falcon Heavy Leaving Earth's Orbit