It takes more than tights to be a social media hero.

Social Media Super Hero Blog Title by Bridget Willard based on S is for Supersexy Superhero by karla_k, on Flickr" Creative Commons License

Social Media Super Hero Blog Title by Bridget Willard based on “S is for Supersexy Superhero by karla_k, on Flickr” Creative Commons License

Chatting with a friend recently, I said, “Well, it takes more than tights to be a super hero.”

We both realized, I needed to make this a blog.

You can’t just install Twitter on your iPhone and think you’re an expert. Expertise comes from a whole world of experience. Experience takes time. I realized this after meeting a lot of people whose pay grade is much higher than mine. A WordPress Nerd is not a SEO Nerd is not a Twitter Nerd. I am a Twitter Nerd. But I digress.

What does a superhero need besides a pair of tights?

Superheroes have a mission, a recognizable costume, a song or motto, a sidekick, and superpowers or gadgets.

You need a mission.

What is the point of being online? Are you here for revenge or to save lives? Batman or Superman? Your overall mission on social media will determine your tactics.

Though I don’t necessarily believe you need to write down everything you do and measure it to death, you should have an overall goal. Is it recognition or building a community? Is the end game selling widgets? Do you want to meet people and build friendships?

You need a costume.

I once joked that I was wearing so much spandex under a dress, I should be a superhero. Essentially, the superhero’s costume is his persona. It’s his branding.

The “bat signal” was “just an outline” used on a spotlight. Boy was that ever branding. And the police force in Gotham were thankful for his help. We need a recognizable logo or image. No matter where they saw Superman in the sky, they recognized him. Superman was never mistaken for Ronald McDonald. Continue reading

Social Media And Chicken Nuggets

IMG_9109.JPGI used to love McDonald’s chicken nuggets. Then Burger King held my heart for a while until Wendy’s came out with theirs.

Surprising even myself, my favorite nuggets are now from Jack in the Box. Boy, have they changed their game!

Now, it’s Jack or Wendy’s. I never eat them at McDonald’s.

(Why are all of my analogies food-related? That’s another post.)

It got me thinking.

One thing you can count on in the digital world is change.

The only way to keep up is to continue to innovate.

I used to adore Firefox and hate Safari. Then Chrome came out and I was in love. Safari got with the program. I don’t even have Firefox anymore.

Tools, browsers, software — it comes and goes. They either evolve or die.

Accepted behavior on platforms, much like any culture, evolves. I mean, people keep using hashtags in their “friends-only” Facebook posts. The purists and I are like the grammar people arguing over the Oxford comma. Continue reading

What Layla Teaches Content Marketers About Repurposing

As a child of the 70’s, “classic rock,” as we now call it, was always on the radio and turntable. You become familiar with the music, if not the lyrics.

Fast forward twenty years and, as a married woman, The Mr. and I are watching MTV Unplugged. Much to our surprise, and to a few in the audience, Eric Clapton had rearranged his own song, beloved “Layla” from his Derek and the Dominos Days. Pure Brilliance!

Derek & The Dominos

Eric Clapton MTV Unplugged

The angst and anguish of the lyrics are matched in the first version by the rock anthem followed by it’s classic instrumental, causing one to reflect. The heartache and soul sorrow of the lyrics was highlighted in the blues version on MTV. Their moods are totally different. Their pace are different. The message is the same:

“Layla, you got me on my knees!” Continue reading

A Tale of Two Kingdoms (or: Why Content Creators Shouldn’t Ignore Google Plus)

a view from the ground by darwin Bell, on Flickr

a view from the ground by darwin Bell, on Flickr

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Just kidding!

In the competing kingdoms in the world of the internet, social media platforms are springing up like mushrooms in a dark and damp forest. Who will save ye fair maiden? Who will slay the dreaded dragon?

Seriously, the resentment toward the Biggest of the Land from its serfs is directed toward Lord Facebook. We love it for convenience (friends and family, looking at photos, secret groups, login key) but we hate its grandiosity, its advertising, and its intelligence. Like a Lord in the age of Robin Hood, we are served by the Master but we are not free.

There is another kingdom that we’ve all scoffed at and, since the wave debacle, we have lost our faith in. He is one of the most lovable and noble big brothers of them all — Google.

Wait. I may have taken this analogy too far.

But seriously, folks.

Those of us who create content (for a business or for our own pleasure) want to make sure it’s read, watched, or listened to. We also want people to find it. Being found on Google depends a lot on our social activity and, especially, Google Plus. Continue reading

The Best App to Bond is Your Face

IMG_8695Today’s #BufferChat talked about company culture, which is a timely topic these days. How do you create, cultivate, and curate that culture? What if you’re remote workers or a solopreneur?

Buffer asked:

We like apps to do stuff for us. Hey, I’m not against a coffee pot going off on its own at 5:15 a.m., ready for me when I finally surrender to the snooze, but some things just cannot be done with technology alone.

Social Networks

I recently wrote about how a continual conversation around a hashtag can keep the conversation going and give you opportunities to deepen your relationship but there’s nothing like face-to-face meetings. Continue reading

The Hashtag Keeps Us Together

The hashtag keeps us together.Meetups. They’re fun, we all agree, right?

But schedules don’t always match up, so what’s a girl to do?

Follow the hashtag.

And now, boys and girls, I’ll tell you a story.

In my early days of Twitter, especially with the business account I started in 2009, I really wanted to connect with people in Orange County. While following and listing people for that purpose, I also found a meetup called Social Media Mastermind, Orange County.

For years, I followed the people, loosely followed the hashtag, and finally started attending this year. It was cool because I felt like I knew some of the people before I actually became part of the group. (That really helps with the anxiety of meeting new people, by the way.)

One of the long-time #SMMOC members, Dennis Carpenter, recently moved out of state. A business trip brought him back to Orange County and he made time to attend the meetup. (Also, it was nice to see how lovingly greeted he was  — what a group this is. But I digress.)

“I’m so glad to finally meet you,” I said.

“But I’ve known you for years!” he said.

Dennis was convinced that we had met in person before. I had to remind him I started coming to this meetup in January of 2014. Continue reading

Keys To Being Social: Respond

yeah, i feel ya there, buddy by garann, on Flickr

yeah, i feel ya there, buddy by garann, on Flickr


This post may be a bit controversial. If you do decide to burn my effigy, do it responsibly with a Fire Department truck on standby like Mythbusters.

Part of being a social person on social media is responding. [Crowd gasps, gathers stones.]

I know. This is crazy talk. Allow me to digress.

But first, let’s talk about manners.

I believe in responding with my whole heart. It ties into the Golden Rule (aka: basic manners).

When I’m teaching this, I usually ask,

“Would you do [insert online behavior here] in real life?”

Maybe you would.

If you fall under that category, then a refresher in universally accepted manners is in store for you.

Good manners are not about doing everything perfectly right, they are about being thoughtful and using common sense, about choosing civility over rudeness.” Jill Evans Kryston

Manners are Respect

We often say social media is about building relationships. How is that done?

It’s certainly not Sea Monkeys and it doesn’t mean that you have to go on vacation with your newest follower either. People seem to respond to me with extremes, so I wanted to clear that up.

But we can break it down to a demonstration of mutual respect. Ignoring someone does not show respect.

Manners take Time

“You had to spend time with [brands] to get to know them as people.” @TedRubin with @BryanKramer  

People often say, “That’s not scalable.” I think this is an excuse. When I see responses from Ted Rubin or Gary Vaynerchuk (though rarely, but it does happen), then you have time. Do you have 250,000 followers or over a million? Most likely, the people in my audience have under 5,000. You have time. Seriously.

Exhibit A:

Continue reading

What is real friendship?

realfriendshipI started thinking about friendship the other day. People often tease me about my “internet” friends or “digital” friends.

Are they less than?

To explore this topic, let’s go to the beginning.

Childhood Friendships

In early childhood, you may have friends because your moms hang out. You may be in the same class. You may live on the same street.

Proximity and convenience are the the kick starters to most, if not all, childhood friendships. Whether or not they continue throughout life has more to do with how each person values themselves, their time invested in the friendship, and the time it would take to continue. We grow up, move away, and move on.

Fortunately, Facebook has allowed many of these childhood friendships to reignite or die of malnutrition.

Digital Age

Let’s come back.

Early Adult Friendships

Early adult friendships begin because you’re college roommates, co-workers, or you know a friend-of-a-friend. Maybe a group all went to a music festival, camping trip, or toured Europe together. Those friendships usually continue until some or all get married.  Continue reading

100 Things about Me

100I apologize for my absence here. I’ve not been blogging as often as I should here as I’ve been experimenting with posts on LinkedIn and Medium. But I saw a tweet from and read Oscar Gonzalez’ 100 Things post and thought I’d give it a go.

1. I started this blog in May of 2011. It was prompted by a joke on the ‘guru’ name but people wanted a secular/professional version of me.

2. If you ask me a social media question, it may end up being answered in a blog. If I’m going to do it once, I’ll do it for the whole world.

3. I started my first Twitter account (@gidgey) in 2007 after hearing about Twitter from Leo Laporte on MacBreak Weekly. I haven’t listened to that podcast in years.

4. My favorite luxuries are Starbucks and Diet Coke.

5. I’m not super girly but being in construction has made me want to be.

6. My student loan is for my education and certification to be a teacher. After one year of teaching Jr High and High School Math, I decided parents were the worst bosses ever. I went back to my “back up” career: secretarial work.

7. I used to be able to type 75wpm; I think that’s gone down since my job changed to less typing and more accounting.

8. I taught my sister to read using The Real Mother Goose (Illustrated).

Continue reading

Keys To Being Social: Loyalty

Tropical Blossoms Store Painted in Waterlogue by Bridget Willard

Tropical Blossoms Store Painted in Waterlogue by Bridget Willard

What is it in us that drives us to value relationships?

Sitting on my balcony with my sun-bathing dogs this morning, I pondered why there is such a difference in philosophy with those who embrace social media. It comes down to the idea of whether social media is a tool for broadcasting or relationships.

Many embrace social media as a quick way to build up or buy social proof. Their driving motivation seems to be celebrity, popularity, and fame. Do they long to be adored? Maybe? But to be honest, we all desire to be loved and accepted.

But is popular always better?

I think about the Deli I loved that recently moved to Portland. Valuing social media, I found them because of Twitter. Though I found them on Twitter, we formed the relationship afterward based on quality product and customer experience.

The loyalty between us both came about from mutual respect and now I consider them friends.

It was the best turkey sandwich I ever had. We’re they uber popular? No. It was popular enough to be sold and for my new friends to find culinary adventure elsewhere. And I told all of my Portland friends to like their new Facebook Page.

Can I eat at Subway? Of course. But will the person over the counter building my sandwich ask about my health or how The Mr. is doing? It’s not likely. They aren’t paid to care.

Continue reading

The Driver Has to Make Repairs? Why a Social Media Manager is Not a Jack-of-All-Trades

MG TA 1936 - Behind the wheel

MG TA 1936 – Behind the wheel

It drives me nutty when people expect a social media manager to also be an expert in SEO, have a communications or journalism degree, be the PR person, create infographics, and design and update the website.

Small businesses often want a one-size-fits-all solution. I would, too. However, the technical depth required for design and SEO may not even exist in the same human being. Many of us social media managers have varying degrees of expertise in these fields, but should they be required? I say no.

The person at the wheel of social media shouldn’t be in charge of the entire marketing car.

A race car driver isn’t in charge of the funding or building of his car. He isn’t even in charge of the maintenance nor is he responsible for pit stop tire changes. Certainly, he doesn’t have to book the race. He has a team for that. He has to arrive, make appearances, connect with the crowd, make fans, drive the car, and win.

Social media management is just part of that winning team.

It’s always nice if a manager understands the parallel fields because they work better together. Having a conceptual understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) allows a writer to include key phrases in the blog posts. Understanding Google Plus and how it helps you rank higher in search motivates us to use it more frequently. Understanding the importance of visual elements relating to our social posts to reinforce the overall message matters.

So, if we now agree on what shouldn’t be required for a Social Media Manager, then what skills are important? Continue reading

Keys To Being Social: Be Present

IMG_7239.JPGAre we in a race to be noticed?

Do we take time to really enjoy the moment we’re in?

Recently, during a Women In Business Today interview, Kittie Walker of Avidmode brought up an interesting point.

“Networking events aren’t speed dating.” Kittie Walker (24:22)

She makes an excellent point about having deep, meaningful conversations.

Of course, I had to apply that to social media.

I noticed a feeling that I’ve been behind on Facebook. I feel pressure to like and comment and I find myself scrolling – looking for things to like. So I like, and like, and like. Whew. I’m caught up.

What have I really accomplished? Continue reading

Do I want Facebook or Twitter for my Business?

Project 365 #74: 150313 Showing The Ropes

Project 365 #74: 150313 Showing The Ropes by Pete, on Flickr”

It’s a tug of war of sorts.

Facebook copies Twitter. Twitter copies Facebook. This goes on and on. Call it competition, tug of war, or innovation. Regardless, it’s good for the consumer.

Who has the bigger audience? Who has the most spam? Who’s trying to pry into your personal details?

So, I’m a business, which should I use?

I’m always amazed at this question. Why not both?

But if you really have to choose, ask yourself this:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Who do you want to reach?
  • Do you want to build up one and then the other?
  • Can you devote the time to doing them both simultaneously?
*Disclaimer 1: Twitter and Facebook could change any of what I’m about to point out at any time. This post was written on August 19, 2014.
*Disclaimer 2: It’s hard for me to be objective. Everyone who knows me knows I favor Twitter and my own numbers support that. This is my best effort to present objective pros and cons.

Below I compare Twitter and Facebook by feature. I apologize for the length, but every business has different needs, people who will be using the platform, and how (mobile or desktop) they will use it. You’ll need to consider them all to choose.

First Things First

Facebook and Twitter have entirely different cultures and different rules, protocols, or expectations.

Respect each platform for its own benefits, audience, and culture. I beg you not to connect the two so that you Tweet to Facebook or Tweet from Facebook. Just because something is easy, doesn’t mean it’s good.

You will be judged for being lazy, disregarding either audience, and people will wonder if you’ll ever respond. (Ya, I said it.)

Read: “Social Media: Different Platform, Different Language” by Carol Stephen

Audience Size

According to Facebook, they have “829 million daily active users on average in June 2014.” That’ too large of an audience to ignore this platform. A lot of people have recently said it’s not worth posting on Facebook anymore. I disagree.

Twitter has 271 million active users.

They both have massive, growing audiences. This won’t change. They haven’t jumped the shark or lost out like Myspace. Continue reading

How to Setup a Facebook Page: The work is in the Preparation

You Too Can Be A Guru - How do I set up a Facebook Page?A friend messaged me the question this weekend:

“How do I set up a Facebook Page?”

I cannot believe I’ve never written about it.

Easy Answer:  Go here and follow their prompts.

Disclaimer: These kinds of things change often. This was written August 4, 2014. That is all.

“I have a Facebook account. Do I really need to be a Page?”

If you are a business, church, politician, service, organization, dog or anything resembling any of those, you will want to create a Page.

It’s a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service to use a “profile” as anything other than your true self. It protects the user’s privacy and that’s a good thing.

Start with the Prep Work:

There is more work to prepare than to actually set it up. Like most things in life that are overwhelming, the best approach is to break them into small, achievable tasks.

1. Who is going to manage the page?

Decide beforehand who is going to manage the page. At least two people should be admins (to back one another up). Like I told my friend this weekend, it’s work, make no mistake. Often our friends will ask for our help without fully realizing what this new project entails.

Who will respond to requests? Who will be on standby for answers? It is a big responsibility. The Pages Manager App makes this a bit easier but won’t let you interact with other Pages you like (as of right now).

Learn how to interact with other pages (using a desktop/laptop) on this screencast.

Continue reading

How do I post the “same” content across platforms? Mix It Up Like the Mandrells. #GuruMinute

If you’re old enough to remember the Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters show from 1980, you’ll know what I’m referring to. Otherwise, Google it.

Barbara and her two sisters would do musical numbers and their costumes for each set were similar enough to look coordinated but customized enough for the body type and personality of the wearer. Kudos to the costume designer.

Opening number shows my point exactly.

Barbara Mandrell & the Mandrell Sisters – 1981 – Charley Pride & Hoyt Axton

Take several photos from different angles, use them in collages, add text, embellish according to the platform.

This is how we should approach sharing similar (not the same) content on social media.

But I also refer you to this:

How to Master the 4 Big Social-Media Platforms”  by Gary Vaynerchuk on Inc Magazine

Here’s an example of how I posted on Instagram, Twitter, and our Facebook Page photos from a 1989 project.

They’re similar, but not the same.

See the rest of the Guru Minute videos here.

Everything I Know About Twitter Chats, I Learned At the Dog Park

Chloe at the dog park 1/1/10

Chloe at the dog park 1/1/10

Owning a dog can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you adopt. With a dog you need to pay for the adoption, vet, and license fees. But it’s worth it.

Dog ownership taught me to live for something beyond myself. I have step-children and grandchildren but they grow up. Dogs do not. Always looking for an analogy, I realized this is helpful in social media. Why? The most egregious crime of social is to be self-centered.

Many people start their Twitter accounts and build a small community, interacting as time allows, and that’s great. I’m a huge advocate for Twitter as you can tell by the quantity of posts I’ve written. Your Twitter use can exist without a chat, but the chat is more rewarding.

The next step in your “dog ownership” is to join a chat. It’s unnecessary but more advanced. In many ways that’s like going to a dog park.

Just like dog parks, Twitter chats are fun.

If you feel like you’ve plateaued maybe you have.

It’s great to run by yourself or find a few friends to chat with here and there but going to a Twitter chat is way more fun. It’s just like going to a dog park. It’s a great time to sniff around, smell the smells, explore, and run off leash.

It’s true that you can have small bursts of conversation on Twitter, if the parties happen to be online at the same time. However, during a Twitter chat, they’re all online, active, and present. And each chat revolves around a topic which makes the interaction both focused and engaging.

Twitter chats are exciting because they are live, sometimes the answers are even controversial. Continue reading

Twitter Followers: Ten Ways to Grow Your Following

"10" Boating Sign at Dana Point Harbor by Bridget Willard

“10” Boating Sign at Dana Point Harbor by Bridget Willard

A friend said, “I am having trouble getting followers for a new client.” Though she was general in her tweet topics (not just self-promotional, she was at a loss.

Here were my suggestions, generalized and tweaked as to not identify the asker.

  1. Make sure you have a completed profile, avatar (logo), header photo, and background. Your Twitter background shouldn’t be clouds. Most of us are choosy and won’t follow eggs. See: “Baby Steps to the Tweet.”
  2. Follow back. Unless they are spam, an egg, #TeamFollowBack, or porn, I follow. One thing I’ve learned in this business is that you never know who is behind the account, who they know, or even where they live. All business is word of mouth and social media just multiplies that exponentially. I have friends all over this country who do accounts that aren’t necessarily local and we talk (and recommend each other).
  3. Nerds like me have lists by geography and topic. Take advantage of the work we’ve done for you. For example, here is the list my primary personality has for my county. Follow those people. It’s a much better way to find new people than buying followers (which is spammy). Continue reading

Retweet Styles – It’s like Jeans; there’s a fit for everyone.

Jean City 2004

Sarah Macmillan (c) 2004 – Flickr Creative Commons

Social media experts are known for their opining.  Like it or not, extreme positioning tends to garner both positive and negative attention.

As a dispensary of “unsolicited advice” I’ve made the enemy or two in my day. My thought, however, is this: why not experiment around?

One thing we can count on in social media is that trends, platforms, and accepted notions change over time.

By now, most people know what I think of Twitter’s Retweet Button.

But there is an element of style in the retweet. Style in tweeting is like jeans – there’s a fit for everyone.

1.  Old School RT

This is traditionally done by clicking reply on a tweet, copying the text of the original tweet, and pasting after the user’s name.  Then you put “RT” in the front of the tweet and click send.

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck (as well as their rival third party apps) have buttons that make this much easier.  In Hootsuite, however, you have to change the settings for this retweet style to be activated.

On Twitter mobile this is called “Quote Tweet.”  I still don’t get why they don’t have that option on the web version, but I digress. Continue reading

Live Tweeting Events – A Great Event Promotion Tool (Updated 7/28/14)

mac-livetweetingLive tweeting at events is quite fun and has a lot of benefits. Most recently I tweeted during the classes I took at Orange County’s WordCamp (#wcoc), June 1, 2013.

Personally, I love it. I type fast, it’s a fun way to sort of force myself to pay attention, too.

Live tweeting a great way to pickup followers, promote an event, and engage with other attendees.

These tips are applicable whether it’s a live webcast, a class, a press event, or a class. Anytime there is a public speech, you can live tweet.

Why Tweet quotes?

Quotes grab us. It’s a great way to tweet out the same content without having the same tweet.

You can tweet from live radio interviews, tweet from archived videos, tweet from debates, etc.

How is this done?

It helps if you can type 60 wpm or more and have an actual keyboard. But you can do it on a mobile device, too.

Update 7/28/14

I was honored to be the Spotlight Guest about this subject for Women In Business Today.

Here is the Video:

  Continue reading

Why I Don’t Use Twitter’s Retweet Button

grumpynoretweetNothing sets me on edge like the retweet button.

Twitter shot themselves in the foot when they took an organic, user-generated syntax (the retweet) and made a button for it.  

Sure, maybe I lose credibility in your eyes because I don’t have an MBA in Marketing but I have been tweeting since 2007 as @gidgey in the BRTB days (before retweet button).

Now, you can take my advice or you bounce from the blog.  But my perspective is always to be a help.

I’ll start with the benefits of the Retweet Button.

  1. People like to be able to say that their tweet was retweeted x amount of times.  Even I have fallen into this trap from time to time. 
  2. Some tweets are just too awesome or too long to edit in order to Retweet.
  3. People claim it curbs traffic on Twitter.  I’m not sure if that’s actually true but I’ll capitulate to the point for the purpose of this post.

Retweet Button & Conversations

Added 8/20/14

See the video:


Here are some of the reasons why I don’t use Twitter’s Retweet Button:

It’s Misused when a Reply is Appropriate 

When a “reply” suffices as in a case where “You’re welcome” or “Thank you” are appropriate responses, the retweet makes you look lazy.  Yep, I said it.

Now, don’t get your feelings all hurt, I’m not going to call anyone out and show screenshots or anything.  Just think before you press “retweet.”  Is it the appropriate response?  Remember, Twitter is for conversations, not just mirroring a statement back to the original sender. Continue reading

Ten Ways to Be Retweetable

If You Want to be Retweeted, Be Retweet-able

It never ceases to amaze me how technology cripples our ability to communicate.

(Wait. What?)

Yes, you would think it should be the opposite.

This post lists ways to remind you that you are still a human being even when you have a computer in your pocket.

1. Stop Tweeting from Facebook

Yes. Automation. Specifically, “Tweeting from Facebook” is very easy and popular. But is it the best way to get your message out on Twitter? I say no.

(Save your outcry for politicians or the comment section.)

Listen, I’ve been tweeting since 2007. I’ve seen a lot of new people take up Twitter lately, thinking it will give them instant results like the promise of Sea Monkeys on the back of cereal boxes.

You don’t build relationships by pushing buttons. Continue reading