Nathan W. Bingham
Connecting in a Hyper-Connected World

Social Media Best Practices — #1 Acknowledge

Social Media Best Practices | Acknowledge

I really wanted to call this series, “Social Media Secrets,” or “The Secrets to Social Media Success.” Why? Aside from that title having little more pizaz, it also says that what I’m going to share through this series are “secrets.” And that’s a helpful description of them. They’re not rocket science, but they do appear to be secrets as so few implement them.

Whether you’re an individual, a business, a church, or a ministry, these social media best practices—secrets—will help you to use social media well.


If you want to use social media well, don’t be a loudmouth. Instead, acknowledge people.

The Importance of Acknowledging People

A Success Story

AAMI is one of Australia’s major insurance companies, and they know the power of acknowledging people.

As a recent AAMI ad campaign said, “At AAMI, you’ll always speak to a real person.” This is AAMI’s signature feature that differentiates them from other corporations.

Their website makes this pledge:

“AAMI pledges to have a real person available 24/7 to answer your call, not some machine.”

If you ring AAMI, very quickly the phone is answered by a friendly customer service person, not a machine. When you ring AAMI, almost immediately you receive acknowledgement from another human. Your call is actually demonstrated to be important to them, and not just a platitude said via a recorded message while hold music plays in the background.

AAMI is an offline world example of a company that knows the importance of acknowledging a person.

A Fail

I was sitting across a table from someone recently. They asked me a question. It was a personal question about me and something I was doing. This was a very ordinary and relaxed situation. And then it happened. Not even two sentences into my response and this person begins to slowly turn their head away, staring off into the distance, eyes glazed over.

It’s worth noting that this didn’t happen because I had “lost” them by using geek-speak or theologian-talk. It was a very ordinary and common conversation.

I didn’t want to experience the humiliation of continuing to talk to someone who clearly wasn’t listening, so I stopped mid-sentence hoping the awkward and abrupt silence would snap them out of it and expose their rudeness. No, that only made it worse. They didn’t even notice I had stopped speaking. The initial pain was now worse.

You may have had a similar experience. It can be painful and humiliating. To fail to acknowledge someone is just plain rude.

My experience here is an offline world example of someone that doesn’t know the importance of acknowledging a person.

Do You Acknowledge People On Social Media?

Ask yourself: “Do you acknowledge people on social media?”

If your instinctive response to that question isn’t “Yes!”, consider this for a moment.

Why is it that you can see the importance of acknowledging a person when you consider AAMI’s success story or the rudeness of my recent social experience—yet, somehow it’s acceptable to not acknowledge people on social media?

Remember, even if you’re not saying anything at all on social media, to have an account and not acknowledge those who are speaking to you communicates a really poor message. A poorly managed social media presence is in many respects worse than no presence at all.

If you’re a Christian, consider that to listen is to love. And if you’re not acknowledging people, they’ll never know you’re listening. But more on listening later in the series.

How To Acknowledge People On Social Media

If you think you’re not acknowledging people enough on social media, don’t get too down on yourself. You’re most certainly not alone, and it’s something you can easily change.

But before you can acknowledge people, you need to make sure you’re hearing the people who are speaking directly to you.


Every Twitter app that is available allows you to have a column—usually called “mentions”—that will list every tweet, from anyone, that is publicly sent to you or mentions you in it.

Twitter’s homepage has a tab that will list all your menions. The tab is labelled with your Twitter name, and if you click it you can tick for it to only show “mentions.”

Twitter Mentions Tab

If you’re new to Twitter and the likelihood of being mentioned is less, you can opt to have Twitter email you when someone sends you a private message, or mentions you.

Twitter Email Notifications


Facebook Notifications Globe

Facebook allow you see your notifications using the “globe” icon. It lights up and displays the number of new notifications you have. However, like Twitter, you can also be emailed notifications if you turn this option on. This can be especially helpful if you’re an admin for several Facebook Pages.

Facebook Profile

For your personal account on Facebook, you can control any and all of your email notifications by visiting the Notifications page.

Facebook Page

Facebook Page Email Notifications

As you can be an admin for multiple Facebook Pages, it’s best to visit the Page you want to edit the settings for. Once there, click the “Edit Page” button on the top-right of the screen and then click “Your Settings” on the left. You now have the option to be emailed when people comment or post on your wall.

What Does Acknowledgement Look Like?

Acknowledgement is really very simple. Most of the time it will be answering a question you’ve been asked, or saying thank you to someone who shares something of yours online or makes mention of your cause.

And don’t forget: if you have a blog with comments enabled, reply and acknowledge comments when appropriate.

Concluding Thoughts

I want to leave you to ponder two poignant questions I heard this week:

1. “If your organisation’s phone rings, want do you do?”

2. “If someone sends your organisation a tweet on Twitter, what do you do?”

Next time I’ll encourage you to “Connect” in order to use social media well.