How to Customize Your Social Media Inbox on Your Smartphone
Worried you’re missing important comments or posts?
By combining social media apps on your smartphone, you can create a notifications system tailored to your unique needs.
In this article you’ll discover how to use your smartphone as the ultimate social media inbox.
There are tips and screenshots from iOS, Android, and Windows devices throughout this article.
#1: Download the Official Apps for Your Social Networks
First, you need to download the official apps for all of the social networks you use and sign in with your main accounts. For networks that have several apps (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+), start with the main official app first.
iPhone and Android users will find that Facebook has the most apps to offer. These include the main Facebook app, Messenger, Pages Manager, Groups, Mentions, Ads Manager, Facebook at Work, and Work Chat.
Whether you need all of these apps depends on what you need to do on Facebook from your mobile phone. For example, you’ll get notifications about your Facebook page through the main app, but you won’t be able to respond to all of them without the Pages Manager app. Also, you can participate in Facebook groups and get notifications about posts through the main app, but the Groups app organizes your groups a little better.
LinkedIn is another network that offers multiple apps for both iPhone and Android users. These include the main LinkedIn app, Groups (for iPhone users only), Recruiter, Sales Navigator, Pulse, and Job Search. They also include SlideShare, but that’s technically a separate network owned by LinkedIn for users who upload presentations.
Google+ has several apps for iPhone and Android too, thanks to their splitting up of services. Depending on what features you use, you may need the main Google+ app, Hangouts, Photos, and Google My Business. They’ll be mixed in with all of the other apps from Google when you search for apps by the same developer.
The main Google+ app allows you to post updates from and to your profile and pages in the stream, communities, and collections. But you need the Google My Business app if you want to manage your page information, insights, and reviews from your mobile phone. If you want to do private messaging on Google+ from your profile, you need Hangouts.
From there, most social networks have only one official app. iPhone and Android users can find official apps for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Medium, Snapchat, YouTube (choose the Creator Studio if you’re a YouTube channel owner), Tumblr, Quora, Skype, Slack, WhatsApp, Periscope, Meerkat, Vine, and Peach on the iTunes and Google Play networks respectively. If you use Blab, you’ll only find the app on iTunes.
Windows phone users will find a limited number of official social apps in the Microsoft Store including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Beta, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Skype, Slack Beta, and Vine.
#2: Set Up General App Notification Preferences
As an iPhone user, I prefer to get notifications from social network apps in the Notification Center and with the App Badge icons. You can go to your iPhone’s Settings > Notifications and configure each of your social network apps to notify you according to your preferences.
Using the above settings for all of your social network apps allows you to quickly see at a glance which networks have notifications that you need to review.
These settings will also give you more detailed messages in the Notification Center.
If you’re an Android user, you can go to your Settings > Sound & Notification > App Notifications to choose whether to block or prioritize notifications from each social network app.
Using this setting with all of your social network apps will produce the following notifications on your lock screen (depending on your lock screen settings) and when you pull down your notifications.
Android users can create an effect similar to the iPhone App Badge icon (depending on your device) using the Notifyer Unread Count app. The app suggests trying the free version first to ensure it works with your device before upgrading to the paid Notifyer+ version, which is $1.50.
It requires you to give Notifyer permission to access each social network’s notifications (one-time setting) and add each social network app to a Notifyer 1×1 widget on your home screen. Once you’ve done this, you can go to the Notifyer app and configure the settings for each social network’s notifications based on your preferences.
When you’re finished, you’ll get app badge notifications similar to what iPhone users receive.
Notification settings for Windows phone apps are set within the apps themselves, which I’ll discuss in the next section. Ultimately, they result in a variety of different types of notifications, based on your preferences and what each app offers.
#3: Configure Notifications Within Social Network Apps
Last but not least, you’ll want to go into each social network app to configure the specific notifications you want to receive. The options you can to choose from will depend on the social network and your device.
The following includes directions for iPhone, Android, and Windows users when official apps are available. I recommend you configure your notifications to alert you only to activity that you would want to take action on.
For example, on Twitter, you may or may not want to know each time you get a new follower. But you do want to know when you get a new mention or direct message so you can respond. On Facebook, you may or may not want to know each time you get a new like. But you do want to know when someone comments on a post on your page so you can check it for spam and respond.
The goal is to make your notifications as manageable and actionable as possible.
Twitter App Notifications for iPhone, Android, and Windows
In the iPhone Twitter app, tap on the Me icon at the bottom right to go to your Twitter profile, tap on the settings wheel to the right of your profile photo, and then tap on Settings. Tap on your Twitter account and then tap on Mobile Notifications. On the next screen, you should be able to edit the following settings.
If these options are grayed out, delete the app and reinstall it. That should solve the problem.
As an Android phone user, you’ll find similar settings when you tap on the three dots in the top right of the Twitter app screen, tap on Settings, tap on Notifications, and then tap on Mobile Notifications.
As a Windows phone user, you’ll find different options when you tap on the three dots at the bottom right of the Twitter app screen, tap on Settings, and then tap on your username.
Facebook App Notifications for iPhone, Android, and Windows
If you want to tone down the number of notifications you receive on the Facebook mobile app on any device, start by editing some notification settings on your desktop browser. If you belong to a lot of groups, start by visiting your Groups page and leave any groups you either don’t recognize or no longer participate in.
While you can edit your notification settings for groups here, don’t. It’s faster to go to your general Notification Settings and click on the Edit link next to On Facebook.
Then click the Edit button next to Group Activity. This allows you to go through the rest of your groups and quickly decide if you want to receive notifications from each group.
While you’re there, if you don’t want to see group posts in your news feed, hover over the group name and uncheck the Following button to remove the group posts from your news feed.
When you’re done with your group notifications, you should check the rest of your Notification Settings on Facebook.
You can edit your Follower Settings to fine-tune whether you’re notified each time you get a new follower, based on your preference.
You can also edit your Security Settings to alert you to logins and other activity with your account.
Next, go to your Pages list, click on each page, go to each page’s settings, and determine what notifications you need from that page.
From here, it’s important to know when to turn off notifications about posts you’ve commented on and followed. On the desktop, you can do this by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to the post notification.
As an iPhone user, swipe left on the mobile notification in the Facebook app and tap on More to get the option to turn off notifications.
As an Android phone user, tap and hold on the mobile notification to get the option to turn off future notifications.
As a Windows phone user, you can’t turn off notifications the way iPhone and Android users can. However, you do have options that you can access by tapping on the three lines near the top right of the Facebook app screen and scrolling down to Settings. When you tap on Notifications, you can configure the following settings.
LinkedIn App Notifications for iPhone, Android, and Windows
In the LinkedIn iPhone app, tap on the Me icon at the bottom, tap on the Settings wheel at the top right, and then tap on the Communications tab to access Push Notifications. There, you can customize the following settings.
Further down, I suggest that you turn on notifications when someone sends you a message.
As an Android phone user, you have the same settings. Your Me icon is at the top instead of the bottom, however, and the Settings wheel pops up to the right of your name.
As a Windows phone user, you’ll find different options when you tap on the three dots at the bottom right of the LinkedIn app screen and then tap on Settings.
Instagram App Notifications for iPhone, Android, and Windows
As an iPhone user, tap on the profile icon at the bottom right of the screen and then tap on the Settings wheel at the top right to find the Push Notification Settings. There, you can customize the following settings.
Further down the screen, I also suggest turning on notifications for Instagram Direct and Photos of You.
As an Android phone user, you have the same settings. To access the Settings wheel icon, tap on the profile icon at the bottom right and then tap on the three dots.
If you’re a Windows phone user, you can configure notifications for similar events. To access your settings, tap on the three dots at the bottom right of the Instagram Beta app, tap on Settings, tap on the Preferences tab, and then tap on Push Notification Settings and check Live Tile Notifications.
Pinterest App Notifications for iPhone and Android
As an iPhone user, tap on the profile icon at the bottom right of the screen and then tap on the Settings wheel at the top right to find your Settings. Scroll down to find Push Notifications. There, you can customize the following settings.
As an Android phone user, you have the same settings. Your profile icon, however, is at the top right of the screen, and the Settings wheel is represented by three dots.
Google+ App Notifications for iPhone and Android
You can configure the notifications you receive in the Google+ mobile app on your desktop browser. Log into your Google+ profile and click on Settings in the left sidebar menu.
If you manage one or more Google+ pages, you’ll need to switch to those pages using the selector at the top right of your browser.
Then click on Settings again to adjust the settings for your pages in the Google+ mobile app. Make sure the profile icon at the top right matches your page to ensure you’re changing the right settings.
As an iPhone user, you’ll need to go to the main Google+ app, tap on the three lines at the top left, tap on the drop-down arrow next to your name and email, and then tap on Manage Accounts.
There, you can toggle the Google+ pages you want to manage with the Google+ app.
Now, you should be able to switch from your profile to your pages in the Google+ app.
As an Android phone user, you’ll have a similar experience when adding a Google+ page to your Google+ app. After you tap the drop-down arrow next to your name and email, however, you’ll tap to select a Google+ page instead.
YouTube Creator Studio App Notifications for iPhone and Android
As an iPhone or Android phone user of the YouTube Creator Studio app, tap on the three lines at the top left of the screen to find your Settings. You can then enable notifications for comments on videos you upload to your channel.
From here, continue to look into your social network apps’ settings to find push notification or mobile settings that will allow you to customize the notifications you get on your smartphone. The notifications you choose will impact the effectiveness of using your smartphone as a social inbox.
Also, be on the lookout for more official social network apps for your smartphone that will notify you of important social activity you need to respond to as soon as possible.
What do you think? Do you use your smartphone as a social inbox? What other tips do you have for notification settings? Be sure to share your advice in the comments!