Notifications, algorithms. What does all this really mean, and what does it mean for you and your organisation? We spoke to social media expert, Ryan Mobilia, about the importance of creating engaging, genuine content that will ensure your posts are seen by your target audience, and why notifications can actually make your life easier.
Social media notifications … they get a bad wrap. Yes, sometimes we are notified of something we probably would prefer not to be, but ultimately a social media notification is valuable information. Something has happened that we care about, and we’re being notified. Fantastic!
Notifications have been in the news lately. Instagram recently announced changes that will see the introduction of a Facebook-newsfeed style algorithm that has account owners and managers concerned that their hard-earned followers will not see all of their updates.
The internet outrage to the proposed change led to a wave of mainly business accounts, imploring their followers to ‘turn on notifications’, so that every time they posted an update, they would be notified, as a workaround to Instagram holding all of the power.
Make it engaging
What Facebook promised, and Instagram is now echoing, is that engaging content will be seen. So creating content that resonates with your followers should be the goal for content creators.
The unexpected benefit of the Instagram announcement was that it brought attention and awareness to the fact that all users have the ability to ‘Turn on Notifications’ for any account they follow.
There are many valuable reasons to use that function, however none of which include ‘the accounts I follow told me to’. But how about trying on some of these benefits for size? Getting notifications can help with researching, listening, covering breaking news, and saving time. Good stuff!
And it’s not just Instagram where the notifications option is available. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn all provide notifications of updates from accounts if you so choose.
I regularly encourage the athletes I work with to ‘turn on notifications’ because it’s a valuable way to keep on top of what is being said, by key accounts, as soon as it is said. This benefits athletes in a variety of ways, and can do the same for you.
For them, it generally starts with not wanting to miss any updates from their favourite accounts, the content they most enjoy consuming. It might be friends and family, media outlets, celebrities, or other athletes they look up to or find inspiration from.
They also don’t want to miss news and content shared from coaches and teammates, their schools, clubs, leagues and associations, and even key opposition and competitors.
Another reason athletes choose to receive notifications is when they are looking for opportunities to engage with and share posts from individuals and businesses they are affiliated with (or wish to be one day) such as brands that sponsor them, charities and causes they are ambassadors for. Enthusiasm for, and interactions with content go a long way to building authentic online connections.
Ultimately, athletes don’t want to miss the updates that are the most important to them at any given stage of their athletic journey, and you shouldn’t either.
So why might you turn on Instagram or another social media platforms ‘get notifications’ options for an account?
Here are five reasons:
1. Find content to engage with.
The search for interesting content to consume, share, learn from and provide comment on is central to communicators.
Always wanted to partner or work with, or for, a certain person or organisation? Being among the first to engage and interact with their content, comment, share, like, or retweet, builds awareness of your profile and what you might have to offer.
2. Stay on top of breaking news.
The immediacy of finding out about updates via notifications allows you to stay on top of breaking news in your world. That news might be a comment posted to Twitter by your CEO that you know the media will dissect, an Instagram video from a competitor, or a Facebook post from your industry’s leading journalist.
3. Monitor updates from key accounts.
During specific periods, events and campaigns, monitoring the accounts of key stake-holders is a great way to stay engaged and updated on their activity.
Not every post will require your attention, but those that do won’t be missed. Neither will the ones from accounts that rarely post. When they do, you won’t want to miss it. Now when your boss asks ‘What did you think of the update posted from X this weekend?’ You will have seen, and had time to form an opinion of it. You star!
4. Cut through the noise
If you’re thinking, ‘I’m already flooded with notifications, surely subscribing to more will just add to the noise?’ don’t despair. Turning on notifications for only the accounts you simply have to consume saves you from having to constantly dip in and out of platforms, and play catch-up trawling through feeds to find their latest posts. Often I will digest an entire 24 hours’ of notifications on my phone’s home-screen in one go, never even opening the platform in question to distract or overwhelm me. (This one is specifically relevant with Twitter.)
5. Save time
Who doesn’t love to save precious time? Notifications provide a quick snapshot of the most important accounts to you. It doesn’t mean they are the only updates or posts that you look at, but if you are in a hurry, check your notifications and what has been shared, and then take a deeper dive into the platforms when time allows.
Finally, so now you know the benefits ‘the why’ of receiving a notification whenever certain accounts post content, here’s ‘the where’ and ‘the how’ to turn them on for Instagram and Twitter (click to enlarge). Enjoy!
Ryan Mobilia is the author of ‘Social Media Scouting Report: Helping Athletes To Shine Online’. He works to educate athletes, sporting organisations and businesses on using social (media) communications to help them tell their story, build their profile and make a positive impact.