Are Push Notifications Pushing You Away?

FSP Push Notifications

Ding, ding, ding went the bell…but it’s more likely your smartphone. Judy Garland was talking about your heart in the Trolley Song, but today’s phones are clanging, dinging and zinging and nobody’s actually talking. So what’s all the noise about? Push notifications.


I wanted to talk about the pros and cons of push notifications as it relates to financial service professionals. Should I have them turned on? Should I have them go away? And a few things in between. Let’s first start with…

What is a Push Notification?

Those are the little messages you receive from your smartphone applications. The apps are monitoring incoming data and when it arrives, the provider sends you a push notification to make you aware of something you should see.

That doesn’t sound too bad, right? I mean,  you download applications so you can work more efficiently, but what happens when a good thing is overused and abused? I also know peanut butter is a healthy fat, but if I eat a jar of it, it’s not really great for me anymore.

The Pros of Push Notifications

The obvious answer is you learn about something more immediately. The application is doing the work for you to tap you on the arm and say, “Hey, pay attention to this!” My personal examples include:

  • I want to know about a text message coming through.
  • I want to know when my best clients are emailing me.
  • I want to know if my bank account was accessed.

These push notifications help me work efficiently throughout the day. I can put my energy and brain power into things which are important and matter. I can then react on items of importance. This is a good form of disruption.

The Cons of Push Notifications

I know this is going to sound completely crazy as a social media strategist, but I took a one-month hiatus from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest push notifications. Yep, I went to my phone and turned all my push notifications off for these platforms (as well as all other ancillary applications I have such as games, note taking, etc.) All of those notifications were no longer clanging, dinging and zinging at me throughout the days. Guess what I learned?

  • I turned LinkedIn back on immediately – I needed those notifications.
  • I’ve left all the other social media notifications turned off permanently.
  • I reclaimed my day without chronic disruption of the notifications.

There was no need for 98% of my phone applications to interrupt my day and rob me of valuable focus time. I understand developers are trying to use these notifications for marketing too, but it was a real pain in the ass to keep my attention focused on a money-making activity.

There is a myriad of other ways push notifications can really suck too. I’ve seen every one of these examples below. When developers of the applications do not take into account:

  • Is the information being shared an ad, irrelevant, trivial or downright spam?
  • Is the push coming at an inappropriate time of day (or night – I hate those!)?
  • Is the messaging appropriate to the audience?

For these reasons alone, I’ve become a huge believer now in turning all your notifications off, except for the ones which make/break your business, of course.

How have push notifications helped or hindered you? Inquiring minds would like to know! Any tricks you’ve found to help tame the notification beast? Let’s hear about them!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite


C’mon and gimme a K.I.S.S. (H/T to @jchaltiwanger with @EliteDaily)

kiss faceDo you suffer from Decision Fatigue?  Forget it – I don’t want you to make a decision about it or not.  Just let me explain.

When I read John Haltiwanger’s article on Elite Daily about The Science of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear The Same Thing Every Day – I swear someone hit me with a big ol’ hammer engraved with Keep It Simple, Stupid (K.I.S.S). It was then that I finally figured out why I’m not sleeping well at night and fretting over the dumbest crap ever.

Although the article specifically spoke about clothing choices of people like:

Steve Jobs: Always in a black shirt

Steve Jobs always wears a black shirt.


Mark Zuckerberg always wears a gray shirt and black hoodie.


President Obama always wears a gray or navy suit.

The whole thing really hit home that I’m spending too much time making decisions about things that absolutely do not matter…and I bet you’re doing the same thing too:

  • How many emails do you delete from companies that you don’t want their stuff?  Unsubscribe from them!  There is an awesome service called Unroll.Me that will help you get this done quickly.
  • How many magazines and mailed advertisements do you throw out from companies that you don’t want their stuff?  Ask them to stop!  You can go to the Federal Trade Commission’s page here and stop the unsolicited mail, phone calls and other emails.
  • How many outfits do you pass over in the closet because you think, “One day I’ll fit into this”? Donate them!  Unique places like Dress for Success and Blue Jacket are looking for your business clothing items.  Put them to good use!
  • How many notifications are you getting on your phone from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?  Turn them off!  Facebook has instructions for all mobile devices found here.  Twitter has instructions for managing their alerts found here.  LinkedIn can be found here.  Before you think I’ve lost my marbles in telling you how to turn off your social media notifications, I want you to free your mind from mindless notifications – and most of the emails and push notifications you are getting are likely not helping but hindering your social media performance.  Keep the emails that show you received messages (interaction!) from your friends | followers | connections.  Those are important.  But do you really need to get the email from Twitter showing a cool tweet sent out that day by someone you don’t know?  Absolutely not!  I’ve applied this same advice to myself and it’s been a fabulous reprieve and I’m coming out of Decision Fatigue very quickly!

Try one or all of these suggestions.  You’re gonna want to gimme a big K.I.S.S. after you’ve recovered from decision fatigue yourself!

Make your day bigger, better and more BIONIC!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

“I get all of these social media notifications. What am I supposed to do with them?”

All these notifications - what now?Are you in data overload?  I hope it’s comforting to know we all are!  For every platform you are in,there is some form of notification (push, email, etc.) that tells you about an upcoming birthday, a job change, a work anniversary, a check-in.  You get all of these social media notifications and start thinking, “What am I supposed to do with them?”

There are a lot of notifications that are actually relevant to financial service practices and will help develop relationships with your clients.

Some examples:

  • LinkedIn sends you a daily notification of birthdays, work changes and work anniversaries: use them!  Make sure you’re updating your CRM system to keep track of these important dates.
  • Facebook pushes birthday reminders too, but also allows you to see your clients’ ‘talk’ about their kids’ birthdays, champion soccer games and the loss of a dear friend or loved one.
  • Twitter updates you to say who’s following you.  You can then make sure you’re following your clients back and read what they’re talking about with others.
  • Pinterest tells you who repinned your stuff.  Are these possible clients you could meet and the bonus is they share a similar interest as you?
  • Swarm tells you where your friends checked-in for dinner, shopping, etc. and could give you great insight to fabulous gift card ideas or appreciation dinner options.

The list could go on and on, but the point of this is to remind there is valuable data in much of these notifications.  The notifications are there to help you become a more connected advisor to your clients and their specific experience, needs and objectives.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite