How to Respond to Hateful Comments

Social media can be one of the best platforms for bringing people together. It unites people who share the same interests. It connects long-lost friends and acquaintances. It can create unexpected relationships.

But unfortunately, not all users see social media as an opportunity for growth. Some seem to only use it to spread hate. This negativity typically appears in the form of comments on posts or videos, but it isn’t only limited to comments.

Responding to this negativity can be a challenge for digital influencers, but at some point it may be necessary.

No Response

As I mentioned before, sometimes on social media, it seems like accounts only exist to spread negativity. If users leave repeated derogatory comments on your posts, this is one indication that they have nothing better to do and they only use their account to make others feel bad.

Insignificant comments like these really do not require any attention. In this case, it is usually best to simply delete the comment and provide no response. Giving any kind of attention will probably incite the user more.

Private Response

In other cases, hateful comments may be tailored to the content of the post. This typically makes them more hurtful since they feel personal and specific.

Sadly, I see this on occasion with the fashion bloggers I follow. When influencers post content every day, it is more likely for them to make a mistake in the caption or in editing the photo, simply because of the amount of content they post. I’ve seen Instagram users point this out in insensitive ways.

If this ever happens, and the comment truly hurts, consider sending a private message to the user. Not everyone who reads your post needs to see this discussion, which is why it might be handled best as a direct message.

Public Response

If a hateful comment is left on one of your post’s in response to another user’s comment, this is once scenario when it may be best to address the issue publicly. The user who was targeted will want to feel loyalty from you as an influencer, and no one wants to deal with that kind of humiliation. As an influencer, you can reassure your follower that you don’t condone or tolerate that kind of feedback.

Another situation in which public response may be appropriate is if a user gets the attention of a large number of your followers with their hateful response. If many of your own followers noticed a negative response and pointed it out to you, addressing it all at once could help abate the situation.

Of course, all of this always depend on context and it can drastically vary between comments. The suggestions above will not always apply to these kinds of situations. And if a user takes this hate to an extreme, it is best to report the comment and the user so the social media outlet can address it themselves.

What are your strategies for responding to negativity on social media? Tell me in the comments.

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Expanding Influence: Make Content Accessible

As a digital influencer, your social media posts will reach a wide range of people. Most likely, these people will be interested in your content in one way or another. Maybe your posts appear in their recommendations because their friends interact with you. Maybe your content is similar to posts they have engaged with before, so it is presented as posts they might be interested in.

Regardless, the users who see your posts will come from many different backgrounds. They vary in age, gender and many other demographics. These users also have different abilities.

According to an article from shondaland.com, more than 285 million people in the world have visual disabilities. And according to the World Health organization, more than 466 million people have hearing impairments.

These users engage differently on social media than those without these kinds of impairments. Someone who cannot see an image on a screen might expect the image to have alternative text which describes its content. A user who cannot hear the audio of a podcast might look for a transcript so they can still understand the content.

In recent years, I have noticed content creators have paid more attention to these needs when it comes to online learning. Online classes can be built entirely around these concepts.

But many digital influencers do not consider the need to make their content accessible. Thankfully, there are several practical solutions when it comes to addressing these issues. Following these guidelines is an essential part of becoming an effective digital influencer.

Instagram

In November of 2018, Instagram introduced several new features in an effort to make their app more accessible. However, many influencers still don’t know about these features or still don’t use them in their regular posts.

One of these features is the option to add custom alternative text to photos. When creating a new post, this feature appears in the “Advanced Settings” section at the bottom of the screen.

What should alternative text include? Alternative text will be read aloud to people who use screen readers. For this reason, alternative text should accurately describe the content of the photograph(s). According to hubspot.com, the most important rule of alternative text is to “Be descriptive and specific.”

Keep in mind the specifics of your photograph which might seem obvious to you. If the photo captures another person, including their name can help enhance the alternative description.

Hubspot also recommends keeping alternative text to less than 125 characters. And never waste those characters by starting your description with “Image of…” or “Photo of…,” since this is already obvious.

Adding captions to your videos is one way to make your content accessible for those with hearing impairments. Third-party applications exist to ease this process, since there are currently no options for it built into Instagram.

Twitter

Twitter also provides the option to include alternative text with photos. By turning on the setting called “Compose Image Descriptions,” you will then have this option when posting photos.

The way you format hashtags on Twitter is also important. By capitalizing each new word in a hashtag, screen readers will separate the words and read them like they would in a normal sentence. For example, the hashtag #SunnyDay will be read more clearly than #sunnyday.

These guidelines all apply to those with visual impairments, but hearing impairments should also be considered when creating content. Remember to create transcripts of audio if you create videos. These can be stored on your website and included as a link in the same Tweet as your videos. Third-party apps also exist to create closed-captions for Twitter videos.

Do you use any other social media outlets which provide accessibility features? Inform me in the comments.

 

Interact: The Third Step in Becoming a Digital Influencer

By this point in the series, we have explored two other aspects of what it takes to become a digital influencer. Although these topics have appeared in a specific order, that does not mean one is more important than the other. All three, including this last topic, are necessary for creating a successful online presence.  

I contend that interacting with followers is another integral part of digital influence. I’ve been a social media user for almost a decade now. Even from my earliest interactions with others online, it has always made me feel somewhat special when a “famous” person interacts with my comments or posts.  

I remember a couple of years ago when I started following an influencer who focused on health and nutrition. I tried one of the products she recommended and I wrote to her about it in a comment. When she responded and liked the comment, it reminded me that her online presence wasn’t just a job to her – she actually cared about the people she was influencing.  

How many times have your friends excitedly messaged you after a well-known influencer interacts with them on social media? This has happened to me plenty of times, and it just goes to show how much of a positive impact these interactions create.  

Not only does this build trust with the people who are already following you, it may also introduce your profile to the friend of one of your followers, if they partake in the behavior I mentioned above. This may be enough to convince new users to follow your presence online.  

The Wrong Kind of Interaction 

A recent trend in social media is the use of automated bots to control post interactions. A bot is a program which can interact with users and respond or behave in a desired manner. For example, a bot might be designed to like the comment of every user who responds to a specific post.  

Influencers who use bots may argue that they can speed up the process of interacting with followers. They might also argue that bots can help gain attention from users through interaction.  

However, these interactions are formulaic and artificial. They do not cause the same kind of effect as individualized responses. One reason for this is because users will likely catch on to when an influencer is utilizing a bot. If every single comment on a video is liked within seconds of posting it, most people will recognize that this indicates bot activity.  

If you have thousands of followers, I understand that it would certainly not be practical to interact with every single user who engages with you. If you know how many people typically interact with your content, set yourself a goal for how many of those people you can respond to. This way you won’t get overwhelmed by trying to respond to each person, and you will get to respond to a variety of users.  

Taking this simple step will leave a lasting impact on your followers and on your digital presence.  

What is your favorite way to interact with your followers? Reach out and let me know.  

Create Content Consistently: The Second Step in Gaining Digital Influence

As I shared in my blog last week, defining your focus is the first step in creating an influential digital presence. This week, I’ll continue the theme of digital influence with the second step: creating content consistently.  

The successful accounts which I follow on social media inspired the reasoning behind this post. I’ve discovered that influencers have a more loyal platform of followers when their followers can depend on their posts. This is embodied by creating content which revolves around one topic and posting it regularly.  

This aspect of digital influence helps users decide if an account is worth following or unfollowing. The practical steps listed below were cultivated to help generate more interest and maintain followers and interactions. 

Breaking News 

According to Business Insider, 64% of millennials get their news from digital outlets. These outlets include social media and online news publications.  

If an important event occurs within the topic which you focus on as an influencer, your followers may expect to hear the news from you first, especially if this news affects you personally. For example, if your focus is sustainability and a new zero-waste product is released, you should post about it as soon as possible.  

If your followers can count on you for this accurate and relevant information, they will begin to build their trust in you. Accuracy and relevancy are also important here – the news you share should be researched and true. An easy way to lose the trust you have built is by sharing news which isn’t supported by evidence.  

The relevancy of your posts relates back to your overall focus. Your followers will not be interested in unrelated content. But, it can be beneficial to branch out at times and include new elements in your focus as long as they relate.  

Scheduled Content 

Breaking news posts will interrupt your normal posting routine. If the guidelines above are applied, there is nothing wrong with straying from your schedule. As long as you have a schedule to begin with.  

Depending on the type of content you create, your followers probably already have expectations for how often you post. Most people know that producing a YouTube video takes more time than writing an Instagram caption.  

If YouTube is your preferred social media outlet, your schedule will differ from an Instagram influencer’s. Posting a video once a week is much more practical than posting every day. But if Instagram is the media you use the most, once a day might actually work well. 

Again, all of this is relative to your focus and your audience. But as users begin to see a pattern in your posts, they will expect this pattern to continue. A schedule lets them know they can depend on your posts.  

By following these suggestions in creating content, users who share your interests will want to stick around longer to hear what you have to say.  

Do you follow any social media accounts which post content on a tight schedule? Tell me in the comments below.  

Define Your Focus: The First Step in Creating an Influential Digital Presence

Define your focus, create content consistently, and interact. Last week on the blog, I discussed how important these steps are for becoming a digital influencer.

These elements are essential for gaining an influential presence online. Whether on social media or any other part of the internet, it is necessary to keep these three things in mind.

This week, I will go further in depth about how important it is to define your focus. Without a centralizing element to hold your online presence together, it will fall apart.

What are you passionate about?

My experience online comes from operating my various social media profiles and maintaining my personal blog. When creating content for these outlets, I have discovered that it is incredibly easy for me to talk about the things I love.

Music, art, fashion, friends – these all come naturally when it comes to creating content for me, because these are my passions. I don’t like to waste my time (or my followers’ time, for that matter) posting content which bores me or which doesn’t apply to my audience.

This is an important facet of defining your focus. If your dream is to become a fashion blogger, but you realize you hate shopping for shoes, maybe you should shift your focus.

The trick is finding what you enjoy and later finding others who are interested in the same topic.

What are your skills?

Combining this passion with your skills is a sure way to grow your presence online.

For example, if you are skilled at creating and editing videos, video content would be a great way to showcase your passions. If you are a talented writer, post more text-based content and participate in text-driven social media outlets.

Social media can be an excellent way to unite your interests and your talents if it is used correctly. Those who are more knowledgeable about creating video content tend to be more successful on YouTube. People who enjoy professional networking may find more success on sites like Linkedin.

These are just a few of the options you have for creating content as an influencer. But passion and skills are not the only elements of defining your focus. Another essential piece is staying on track.

How can you stay on track?

Defining your focus should help lead to the creation of your personal brand. Your brand will be the backbone of your digital influence and how it affects others.

But between these two steps, it can be easy to lose track of what your focus is. Perhaps a company reaches out to you in the hopes that you will advertise their product in exchange for compensation. But if this product doesn’t align with the focus you want to promote, you shouldn’t immediately agree.

Marinating authenticity and integrity is important to social media users. They want to follow influencers they trust and count on. It is difficult to establish this trust if you regularly stray from your focus.

 

How do you keep your personal brand on track? Let me know in the comment section.

How to Become a Digital Influencer

Scroll, like, retweet, scroll, like. Are you bored of this pattern?

Many social media users are beginning to question if they can take their profiles to the next level and use their profiles for something more. With so many interests and cultures represented on social media, each person has the opportunity to make an impact and share their content with a diverse audience.

Those who do this successfully are typically known as digital influencers.

According to Hotmart, a digital influencer is a content producer who uses their channels to influence behavior both online and offline. Influencers are increasing significantly with the popularity of social media outlets like YouTube and Instagram.

This significant increase creates a demand for influencers who will meet the wants of their followers. In order to achieve these desires, and become a successful influencer, content producers must complete three steps: define their focus, create content consistently, and interact.

Define your Focus

Interactions on social media typically revolve around interests. Users follow cooking accounts because they’re interested in easy recipes, or they follow fitness accounts to learn how to do new exercises.

They already know what kind of content they want to see. This is why it’s so important to pick a focus and stick with it. It will eventually turn into the actual branding of an influencer if it generates enough attention.

If a cooking account suddenly started posting fitness videos, users would likely unfollow it and stop interacting with its content. But when users find profiles which contain the specific content they’re looking for, they are more likely to continue following and interacting with it.

Create Content Consistently

Once a user has discovered an account they want to follow, they start expecting to see posts from that account in their feeds. Especially if any breaking news occurs within the account’s focus, they may expect to hear it from one specific account first.

This is why consistent posting is such an important part of being a digital influencer. Some influencers post as often as once or twice a day. This may be fitting for some focuses and maybe not for others.

Regardless of your focus, create a posting schedule and stick to it. Users may expect to see a new video from an influencer each weekend or perhaps an email newsletter sent to them one day a week.

Posting regularly will make your followers excited to see your next post.

Interact

Connecting with others is the purpose behind social media. Most social channels were created to bring people together digitally. If users agree with this, they will often expect influencers to interact with them.

If a user asks a question on your post, respond to them! If many of your followers are asking the same question or giving you the same response, consider addressing it in a new post. These are just a few simple ways to digitally connect with followers. But even a simple interaction like this can help influence a user’s opinion.

Another important side of interaction is reaching out to other content producers or businesses. If you are interested in a product, reach out to its creator and have a conversation. This can lead to potential partnerships, and more exposure of your account to people with similar interests.

Taking your social media accounts to influencer-level may sound daunting, but it can be accomplished by starting with the basics and sticking to what you believe in.

 

Have you made any drastic changes to your social media in order to become a digital influencer? Let me know in the comments.

MP3 vs Live: Kacey Musgraves

When it first comes on the overhead speakers in your favorite department store, you’ll listen for a few seconds and then probably ask yourself, “wait a second, is this country? Am I allowed to like this?” Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour is inviting in this way, it gently asks you to listen a little closer, to sit and stay for a while. It will make you feel at ease while you’re perusing through the latest summer shoe releases. Is she a kids’ singer? Is this Kidz Bop? I don’t even care actually. Through MP3 the singer’s voice is tangy and smooth, the instruments playing behind her almost eerily quiet. Soft to the touch, feels like love, knew it as soon as I felt it. This is the one lyric that will stick in your head as you walk to the next store, oozing out like honey just when you think you’ve forgotten it.

At the average indie-pop-punk-alternative music festival, Musgraves is likely the only artist in the lineup classified as country. Yet, her crowd will still be bustling and bopping. Projected from the stage, her voice almost sounds as if it’s holding back a little bit, hovering right below the surface of awing the crowd. But it won’t waver – she’ll remain mellow and silky and smooth for the entire 32 minutes and 20 seconds she’s allowed to perform before the next act takes the spotlight.