3 Ways to Use Names to Engage Your Social Media Fans

Use names when addressing fans, followers, clients?  It might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many people neglect to do it – possibly missing out on the opportunity to “engage” with them while they do so.

Using Names to Encourage Engagement
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Hello? Is it me you are looking for? Use my name and I will notice you!

Here are 3 ways to use names to encourage engagement. Think of it as a Netiquette reminder…


Engaging on Twitter is what Tweeting is all about.  Here are some quick tips for using names to engage better with your followers:

  • every day check your RTs and @Mentions as well as Direct Messages
  • Respond to each using the person's Twitter Handle (ie @sociallysorted) in a message to say thanks for any Retweets (RTs) or Follows or Mentions.
  • Go the extra mile before responding and check their profile to see if they have a “real” name listed. Some companies may not list a person's name, but there are many Twitter Users that will list their name as well as their business name (or public Twitter Handle).  For example, I am @sociallysorted, but my name appears as Donna Moritz.
  • Add the person's “real name” in the Tweet if you have it.  By using their first name as well as the Twitter Handle (ie @xyz) you can achieve two things:  (1) it shows the person that you are not sending an automated tweet and (2) it shows them that you are wanting to engage – the conversation may well continue.  I don't know about you, but I take notice when someone uses my first name.
Use their name
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Find the person's first name (if they list it) and use it in your Tweet!


Use the first name of the person in tags on Facebook
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When tagging on Facebook, take a moment to highlight the person using the @tag function, then carefully delete their surname, leaving their first name as the link! It's personal AND it gets their attention

I have said it before and I will say it again – always, always send a personal message when you send a friend request, especially if you have not met the person “face to face” before.  In that message, use their name, and add a little info about why you want to connect with them – maybe it is because you have similar business or personal interests, or maybe you have been cyber-introduced by someone else.  Whatever the reason, leave a little note.  Personally, I don't respond very quickly to random friend requests and if that person does send a note with it, it might make me more inclined to respond.  Again, use the following scenari0 to get a “real world” verdict:  would you walk up to someone, hand them your business card with a note on it saying “Will you be my friend” and then walk away?  No, I didn't think so. Well, at least I hope not. (I wrote about more of these “real life” netiquette scenarios here).

PS Some of you may ask about what to do now that we can't send a message WITH the friend request on Facebook.  I would suggest sending a direct message at the same time or immediately after you send the friend request (and yes, I agree, it was a better way when we could do it all at once). If the person does not have message facilities allowed on their page, then you can't really do either, but then again, if they have disabled it, they may not care too much. 

Oh, and on Facebook, when tagging someone using the @tag method, I like to tag the person's name, and then take a couple of seconds longer and highlight their surname and delete it – leaving only the first name.  I find first names a little more personal and friendly (not so formal).


Before I start, a “BlogBlast” is when you send out a weekly (or regular) email to your subscribers with a summary of the blog posts for the week (or just an email with the latest blog post on it).  Now, this is a personal preference, but when I receive an email I “warm” to it better when my first name is used (not my whole name – being called Donna Moritz feels a bit like I am getting told off).  But seeing my first name seems to add a personal touch.  And so, I say to you (and you can take it or leave it) that I think the additional of a “first name” field in your email opt in, is a good idea. Some social media and marketing experts recommend just having an email field to reduce the effort required for someone to subscribe to your List. But I like to have the option of calling the person by name (just as I like to have my name used).  It is up to you – you make the decision re how many fields you want people to fill in – Name and Email or just Email.  Worth considering?

Feel free to call me “Donna” – no need to call me Donna Moritz. But whatever you do, call me by my name.  Do you use first names where you can on Social Media?  Do you like it when you are addressed by your name?  

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.

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