Make Sure That You Get Notifications For What Matters Most
Ever have someone ask you if you saw their post on Facebook, only to have to admit you hadn’t? My Dad asks me that all the time. He doesn’t post that often, but every once in a while he’ll share something and during our weekly phone calls, he’ll ask me what I thought about it.
Nothing like a pop quiz from your old man, right?
For bloggers and businesses, it’s even more important to stay on top of the most important social posts. When partners and influencers share their latest insights, those are the posts you’re going to want to know about and see first. Potential clients, best friends… even competitors… there are plenty of opportunities for important posts, yet you know how easy it is for your busy social feed to push those posts down and out of sight.
That’s where notifications come in.
Most networks give us ways to create additional notifications so that we can know for sure when someone important to us posts. More than just comments or mentions, these are posts that we know we’re going to want to read and engage with.
Note that the kind of notification will depend on the social network and your preferences. We’ve covered before how to make sure that you aren’t getting too much spam notifications from networks, and those same settings can be used to refine whether you get notifications on desktop or mobile, emails or otherwise.
So, without further ado, let me show you how to turn on notifications for specific posts or profiles or pages on each network that allows it, and you can then use whichever instructions you need to make sure you see the posts that matter most.
On Facebook, you can get notifications for individuals, brand pages, events, groups and specific posts, giving you a great deal of control over what you get notified about.
To get a notification for when an individual posts to Facebook, click on or hover over the Friends button on their profile and click on Get Notifications.
Another way is to add them to your Close Friends list. Now, I know they might not be a close friend, but that’s OK. It’s just a list label. You can create as many lists within Facebook as you want, but unfortunately only the default Close Friends list has built-in notifications.
To add them to that list, go to their profile or mouse over their name in your news feed, and click the arrow next to the “Friends” button.
People can be in multiple lists if you wish, which you can also manage here in this same drop down.
To the right of the Friends button is the Following button, which you can also use to make sure that any posts from that person appear at the top of your news feed. Perhaps you don’t want to go so far as to get a notification each and every time they post, but you would like to make sure you at least see those posts while you’re already in Facebook. This is where you do that.
Just click on See First and those posts will always be among the first posts in your feed when you open Facebook (if there’s been something new).
You can remove people from your Close Friends list at any time, as well as add friends directly to the list. Click on Close Friends in the left sidebar Favorites grouping. The center column will be the latest posts from those friends, including posts from others that they’ve engaged with. In the right sidebar you’ll see a headshot grouping of all of the people in this list. That’s where you can add more or remove existing.
People you add or remove from your Facebook Lists do not get notifications for either action, so have no knowledge of the listing. Feel free to add or remove people to suit yourself.
Thanks Facebook! Adding Mari Smith is a great idea. 😉
Facebook Pages are, of course, a bit different. Here you simply turn on notifications for a specific brand page – no list needed – and you can also specify what kinds of content you wish to be notified for.
First, head over to that brand’s page. (While you can mouseover a brand page’s name on a post in your feed and adjust the notifications there, I find it easier from the page itself.)
We’ll use social branding expert Rebekah Radice as an example, as she has a great page for her personal brand.
As you can see, if you click on the Like button, the drop down menu reveals your priority settings for posts, as well as notification settings. You can simply turn “All On” if you want to make sure you see every new post. Or, click on the pencil icon to have more granular control and select from all posts, videos, photos, links, status updates (text) and/or events.
Select what you want to see and click Close to finish up.
Now you’re getting notifications for the brands that you really want to hear from!
(Incidentally, if you have a brand page of your own, why not share this with your followers so they can be sure to hear from you!)
Click the share button then change “Share on your own timeline” to “Share to a page you manage” and select your page.
If you’re on mobile, the same options are present, just arranged slightly differently. The Following button to the right of the Like button controls where posts from a page appear in your feed (default, first or none at all), and the More button reveals the Notifications settings.
When someone creates an Event on Facebook and invites you, you have the option of declining, saying you’re interested, or saying you’re going. If you choose Interested or Going, by default, you will get notifications any time the host posts to the event or makes a change, as well as any posts from friends.
To change that, open the event page… we’ll use a concert at The Crossing, my local church, as an example… and click the three-dot button next to the Invite button, like this:
Click on Notification settings and you can now adjust what you get notified for.
Choose All, Highlights, Host Only, or turn notifications completely off.
On mobile, tap the same buttons.
Notifications for Facebook Groups are particularly important, as it’s just as useful to know how to turn them off as it is to turn them on. Particularly when we’ve been invited into a Group that we weren’t a member previously, and it’s active.
Either way, adjusting notifications is a piece of cake.
- Open the Facebook Group you want to manage.
- Click on the Notifications in the lower right of the cover photo.
- Select All Posts, Highlights, Friends’ Posts or Off.
Highlights includes posts from your friends, as well as ‘suggested’ posts, which are posts Facebook’s algorithm believes you’ll be more interested in based on previous activity. Highlights is selected by default.
So if you want to make sure you don’t miss any posts into a Facebook Group, be sure to select All Posts.
On mobile, tap the Info button just under the cover photo, and then Notifications.
Finally, you can choose to be notified of activity on individual posts within Facebook. If you comment on a post, this will be turned on by default. But if you’d like to follow a discussion without commenting first, you can do that too.
- Click on the upside down carrot symbol ⌵ in the upper right corner of the post.
- Click on Turn on notifications for this post.
You can also turn those off if you’ve commented on a post and no longer wish to see additional comments and replies.
Here’s an example from fellow blogger Ian Anderson Gray, where he’s started a discussion that I was interested in, but didn’t necessarily have anything to add initially.
Within native Twitter, the only want to receive notifications is via mobile, though you can turn on notifications for specific users from desktop.
- Go to the user’s Twitter profile.
- Click on the gear icon near the Follow / Following button below and to the right of the cover photo.
- Click on Turn on mobile notifications
If you haven’t done this before, you’ll get a pop-up saying that you need to “Enable Tweet Notifications.” That refers you to a Twitter Support article that walks you through the various options from mobile. You will need to have enabled mobile notifications before you can turn no notifications for a profile.
On mobile, Twitter profile notifications are managed the same way.
Since Instagram is focused on a mobile experience, the mobile app is far more functional than the desktop version, and that applies here as well. You can only turn on and manage notifications from within the mobile app.
Fortunately, on mobile, it’s easy.
- Find a post or the profile of a person you want to get notifications for.
- Tap the three dot menu icon ••• in the upper right corner.
- Tap Turn on Post Notifications
Here you can see social media expert Peg Fitzpatrick’s profile and the icon to tap:
Once on, you’ll get notifications according to your Instagram notification settings. Note though that posts from people you follow do not appear in your ♥︎ notification tab, unfortunately. You’ll get an alert on your phone (i.e. banner) letting you know that they’ve posted, but you’ll still need to swipe through your feed or search for their profile to see the post.
We know that Instagram is testing and may be rolling out an algorithmic feed that strives to surface the posts most interesting to you to the top. If this improves or changes how we can make sure we see the posts we care about most, I’ll update this article accordingly.
If you want to streamline your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram notifications into a single app, and be able to respond to each network’s comments, mentions and activity faster, check out AgoraPulse.
Unfortunately, if you want to make sure that you never miss an update from a contact on LinkedIn, you’re out of luck. The platform offers no such capability, nor are they are any third-party solutions (like an IFTTT or Zapier recipe) we might use.
The only want to know if someone shares a normal status update (like a link) is to see it in your feed or go to their profile and Recent Activity directly.
Of course, if they publish a full article on LinkedIn as a Pulse Post, and you’re connected, you will receive a notification for that. (If you actually want to unsubscribe from notifications when an individual publishes a new post, you can do that by following these instructions.)
Similarly, individual posts do not offer notification options. If you comment on a post, you will automatically receive notifications of future comments and replies, so that’s the only way to ‘subscribe’ to a post’s activity.
And there’s no notification settings for Groups, either. The only option there is to adjust what emails are sent, whether it’s a Daily Digest or an email for each new activity within the Group. While I don’t suggest turning that on, if you really want to, you’ll find it within the individual group’s settings.
Peg Fitzpatrick points out though that if you Follow a profile or company page on LinkedIn, at least you’ll see whenever they post or are mentioned in your feed. It’s not as convenient as a notification of course, but it’s better than nothing, particularly if you’re trying to keep up with someone who isn’t a connection.
Google+, of course, is a bit different from the other networks. Instead of building in specific kinds of notifications and settings, Google provided a basic framework that allowed users the flexibility to do what they want.
In this case, what we want to do use a new Circle with custom settings to manage who we get notifications from. It’s a little involved to set up initially, but after this 2 minute series of steps, getting notifications from new contacts will take one click.
- Go to Google+, mouse over the Home button in the upper left and click on People.
- Click on Your Circles (or go to https://plus.google.com/u/0/circles)
- Click on the + button to add a new circle.
- Name it anything you wish (I use “Notify Me”) and click on Create empty circle (though you can lookup and add people now if you wish).
- Click on the Home button to return to your normal Google+ stream of posts.
- To the right of your Home button, across the top of your stream, you will see several of your circles listed. Click the one you just created, or click More if you don’t see it and select it from the drop down list.
- Normally you would see recent posts from circle members in this stream (but this circle is still empty) – to the right, there’s a box that says “In this circle” and to the right of that box, there’s a bell icon with a line through it, next to “Off” – click that to turn on notifications for this circle.
Now, any time you add someone to this circle, you will get a notification every time they post to Google+. If you click the gear icon next to the notification icon, you can adjust how much of their posts you see in your stream. (Adjusting this “volume” for your circles is what makes Google+ Circles so powerful. It puts you in control of your feed.)
You can now go directly to someone’s Google+ profile, or simply hover your mouse over their profile image any time you see them on Google+, and mouse over the +Add button. Select your new Notification circle and you’re all set.
Here’s an example of what that looks like, and a clever bloke on Google+ that you should circle, Martin Shervington:
Once you add someone to your notification circle, every time they post something new (to Public), you’ll get a notification in your notification pane, which you can tap and view the post right there, as well as +1, comment and share it.
Any time you want, you can uncheck that circle and put someone in a different circle if their posting frequency is too high or they’re off-topic in their posts.
On mobile, you create a new circle by tapping on People in the left menu and then scrolling down to the bottom where there’s a button to add a new circle. You then edit circle settings by going back to People, tapping on the circle, then the upper right menu that reveals a View circle members button. Tap the upper right menu button again and tap the Edit circle button that comes up. Toggle Get notified about new posts button here.
Add people to this new circle on mobile the same way – tap the +Add or Circled button and select this circle.
Like Instagram, Vine is focused on mobile users, and so there’s no way to subscribe to new posts for another Vine user from desktop.
On mobile, open the Vine app and go to the profile of the user you want notifications from.
Just to the left of the Following button is a star – tap that, and the app will notify you every time there’s a new post (as long as you have Push Notifications turned on for Vine).
Within YouTube, you can subscribe to whatever users (channels) you want, and then turn on notifications for that channel. Again, how you receive notifications depends on your overall YouTube settings.
Here’s Amy Schmittauer’s channel where you can see, next to the Subscribed button, there’s a gear icon that reveals a checkbox to turn on notifications.
If you’re watching an individual video from someone, you’ll see the same Subscribed button and gear icon just below the video next to their name.
If you want to monitor comments on an individual video, you have to leave a comment yourself. There’s no post notification option.
Unfortunately, like LinkedIn, Pinterest offers no option to subscribe to be notified any time a particular user pins something. The only IFTTT recipes will only email you when something’s pinned to one of your own boards. Not a designated user.
Similarly, you cannot turn on notifications for individual pins unless you comment on that pin.
Jeff Sieh of Manly Pinterest Tips mentioned that if you tap on News, you can see the most recent activity from the people and boards you’re following. The list isn’t prioritized, but it will show you their most recent pins.
The only exception is Group Boards, where you can click on Edit Board and toggle notifications for new pins to that board.
Within Periscope, you can toggle notifications on or off for individual users, thus letting you know anytime someone in particular goes live. Unfortunately, notifications are ON by default, which means that you actually need to turn them off for some of the people you follow if you only want to be notified when your most important connections broadcast.
To toggle notifications, open any individual’s profile within the Periscope app and tap the bell icon to the right of the following button, like this example from Mia Voss, live streamer extraordinaire:
Notifications cannot be managed from desktop profiles – only mobile.
Social Media Notification Uses
While it’s nice to make sure you see whenever your best friend or an important colleague posts to a particular social network, there are several other business uses I wanted to recommend you consider:
- Monitor your Brand Pages – it’s sometimes nice, and convenient, to get notifications on your personal account when your brand page has published something. From verifying posts to re-sharing branded content, notifications make that easy.
- Monitor your Competitor Pages – by the same token, there are instances where you might want to keep closer than usual tabs on what your competitors are doing. Particularly if they’re really rocking it on a platform and you want to learn from their activity. Turn on notifications!
- Curate Content – there may be brands or individuals who are always sharing excellent material to a particular network, so much so that you want to be able to easily find and share those posts.
- News – many brands and outlets use social media to share breaking news and important updates. Subscribing to their latest posts is a great way to ensure you don’t miss something timely!
And that’s it! You can now make sure that each social network gives you a heads-up anytime someone really important to you shares something you don’t want to miss.
Of course I’ll keep this reference updated as techniques may change over time. And if there’s a social network you think needs to be included, just let me know in the comments.
And remember, with apps like AgoraPulse, you can streamline your normal notifications and make sure you’re spending your time wisely.