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

Keys to Being Social: Focus

wildflower, out of focusSo you have tons of ideas and you’re scattered here and there and oh look a butterfly.

We get it. I get it. Heck. I have three personal blogs for this reason.

Even if you look at the micro, you must focus at least on a topic. This blog is about social media, tactics and strategy, not about photography or business planning.

When it comes to curating an audience around your content, it’s helpful if you focus.

  • What is your passion? Focus on that.
  • What is your best source of knowledge? Hone in on it.

“Easy to say, hard to do.”

Okay, maybe you’re right. I started to worry that this blog had run its course, quite literally. Then I wrote a post, “Keys to Being Social: Reciprocation.” The fact that it sounded like a series, sort of kicked me in gear. I wrote out some titles and have been “filling out the series,” so to speak, since.

Pick a theme: stick with it for 3-10 posts, more even, to help you stay focused in your content. Want a real example? Check out how many posts Carol Stephen wrote referencing clowns. Genius.

Continue reading

Keys To Being Social: Be Friendly

Sometimes my blog posts end up being confessions of my failures and this one is no exception. Perhaps epitomes visit me more frequently after a failing.


I was invited to the media preview for the Festival of Arts Pageant of the Masters (#FestivalPageant) June 2, 2014. Though I recognized many people there, I froze. I could not muster up the strength to “say hello to others.” A kindly friend came and teased me a bit about hiding and went back to his group. My sister and mom texted me through that event and I focused on tweeting and enjoying the art.


That weekend, I went to Orange County WordCamp with friends Carol Stephen and Peter Woolvett. Being in a group, it felt much easer to greet others, especially when Peter or Carol did it first.

Saying hello to others can be difficult; especially if you’re feeling unsure of yourself. But with a little bit of help and prompting from other friends, it’s made even easier. Being a receiver of the greeting helps, too.

While waiting for opening remarks right before Chris Lema’s blogging class, we met @Student_OTC. He was a bit surprised that we three had met on Twitter and this year was our second WordCamp together. We got to learn that he’s a web developer somewhat new to WordPress and it was nice to be able to make him feel more welcomed, too.

During those opening remarks, I looked behind me and saw @JenBlogs4U whom I met earlier at Social Media Mastermind OC. Not wanting to interrupt, I sent her a hello Tweet. Later in the day, we ended up sitting behind her and I was able to both say hello and introduce her to Carol.

Carol and I also waved to and met Aaron Hockley whose blog post “Ultimate Guide: Conference Tips and Hacks” was helpful to read. Carol brought a power strip (aka friend maker) to the conference from that post and we were glad to use it. Continue reading

If you don’t value yourself, no one else will – Insights from Alex J. Vasquez at WordCamp OC 2014

Alex J Vasquez at WCOC 2014

Alex J Vasquez at WCOC 2014


What comes to mind? Is it the $1 menu at your favorite quick service restaurant? Is it the cave full of jewels in Desolation of Smaug? Or is it just as simple as a fair trade: money for services rendered?

It’s true that in the service sector, as opposed to the widget sector, price and value are often used interchangeably where the two parties often have differing definitions.

At WordCamp Orange County, Carol Stephen (read her “Awesome Moments” post) and I attended Alex J. Vasquez‘ talk called: “Valuing (and Pricing) Yourself as a Team.”

By the way, you know what blows me away about ? The humility of the speakers and that was demonstrated big time by Alex.

He had a way of speaking that was humble yet experienced. He wasn’t afraid to talk about mistakes or victories. That says a lot about the confidence of a person, especially one who believes we should be just as confident.

Although, I’m not a WordPress developer or even a freelancer, as an office manager for a commercial general contractor, I could not help but see the parallels during the talk. I was encouraged by it. 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.

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

It’s overused.  

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

You’re Not The Hero: Insights on Building Community by Chris Lema at WordCamp OC 2014

Chris Lema at WCOC 6/7/14

Chris Lema at WCOC 6/7/14

“Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.”

“Wind Beneath My Wings” by  Jeff Silbar, Larry Henley

In a storytelling mode, the speaker quiets the nervous yet excited chatter in the room within ten seconds as he leads into a story, bringing us in with every word, pause, and intentional inflection.

Until Saturday, I had only heard tales of the blogging Sherpa and WordPress guru, never yet experiencing the inspired smile or sitting next to a gaggle of mesmerized engineers.

The best part of the talk was being reinforced in everything I believe in. That is to say, be a generous person, focus on relationships, care for people, and the rest will follow.

“The hero of the story I’m participating in is not me.” Chris Lema

There is a tendency for “experts” to pass on classes that cover topics “we experts” already “know,” discounting the power of reinforcement learning. Being reinforced by a total stranger who doesn’t owe you anything (emotionally or otherwise) is more powerful than you can imagine.

Do you want to get the most out of your blog?

You can watch the presentation on WordPressTV here.

Live Tweets:

Here are the tweets I sent out during the talk:

Continue reading

Keys to Being Social: Generosity

Just a Dragon at Pageant of the Masters Back Studio Taken By Bridget Willard 6/2/14

Just a Dragon at Pageant of the Masters Back Studio Taken By Bridget Willard 6/2/14

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J. R. R. Tolkien

Have you encountered a generous person online? They’re the ones who make you feel special, though they follow thousands or tens of thousands of people. How do they do it?

Often it’s more useful to define concepts by their opposites. Being selfish or stingy is regarded as anti-social behavior both online and off. Yet, this creature manifests itself brazenly on social media all of the time. It’s your inner me-me-me dragon.

It’s possible you haven’t intended to hold back but realize you’re not getting very much engagement. Is it because you post and go?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times:

If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend.

“…if you get on Twitter and you present yourself as a business with a reputation for helping others, guess what, the law of reciprocity is going to come back and help you at some point.”

Darren Slaughter, “Ten Ways Contractors Should Be Using but Aren’t

Tame the Stingy Dragon – Be a Generous Guru

Here are some ways to tame your inner dragon. Continue reading

Leadership Through Following – A Twitter Strategy

Group photo.... by Navaneeth KN, on Flickr

Group photo…. by Navaneeth KN, on Flickr

“Leadership is a choice not a rank.”  Simon Sinek 

To follow or not to follow, that is the question and a highly debated topic.

Twitter is, in my opinion, the most public of all of the social networks. Though you can make your account private, unless you do, I feel that you should fully consider why I believe you should follow everyone* back.

It is in your following behavior that you demonstrate true leadership and, dare I say, the best way to grow your following.


Yes, there are #TeamFollowBack, #BirthdayClub, and #BuyMoreFollowers spam along with porn sites. Don’t follow them.


Yes. It is your Twitter feed. You are able to run it the way you choose. However, if you plan on tweeting for a business or for your professional life, I’d ask you to consider it fully. But if you want to be that guy who has 50,000+ followers and only follows 78, be my guest. If that’s you, you probably won’t like the rest of this article.


Yes, it is way easier to manage tweets from under a hundred people. Did you really think you’d read every single tweet? Just the thought of it makes me stressed out.

One of my favorite parts of Twitter is that reading the tweets is a low-commitment, easy-to-handle task. When I’m waiting at the doctor, or waiting for my boss to sign checks, or have a few moments to spare, I can read Twitter. It’s easy to start and easy to stop.


Generosity is a key attribute of leadership. We all respond well to those who give more than they take. And when they ask for favors (retweets, links, store purchases) many of us are happy to oblige. We’re your biggest fans, so why not follow back?

Another form of generosity is spending 5-10 minutes a day in your home feed and responding to those people. Sage advice from Scott Stratten I saw years ago. I do it daily. Guess what? I meet new people. (Imagine that!)

Continue reading

Social Media Isn’t Sea Monkeys – It’s a Long Game


ad-sea-monkeys by Joseph Bremson, on Flickr

People in need of a quick fix to their business problems often expect [insert social media platform here] to produce instant results.

Social media is media (read: technology) used for social reasons (read: connections). Unfortunately, there’s no short-cut to that.

There is no “instant” in social media, only in oatmeal.

“Sea Monkeys – The amazing live, instant pets.”

I been known to exclaim, sometimes loudly, that Twitter isn’t Sea-Monkeys. In fact, it’s more like a salt-water fish tank with its complicated steps, wait time, three-week nitrogen cycles, bacteria, continual care and testing and that’s before you add your heavily-researched fish.

Your social networks are cultivated communities who respond in kind.

What kind of work is involved?

In no particular order, here are some things to consider.

So you see, there is a lot involved. Put time in your schedule to handle this fragile ecosystem or outsource it. But remember, above all, social media is a commitment. It’s a long-game.


The Guru


Keys to Being Social: Introductions

bulletin board [before there was twitter] by woodleywonderworks, on Flickr

bulletin board [before there was twitter] by woodleywonderworks, on Flickr

“Nobody gets anywhere in life without the help of others.”
~ John C Maxwell “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

How do you meet people?

Gone are the days when you read every randomly pinned business card on the laundromat’s bulletin board while you’re waiting for your clothes to dry. But even that is better than opening up the Yellow Pages (does anyone still have those?) and finding what you need. Your fingers would have to walk miles.

Meeting people is always challenging. Sometimes, it is our biggest question. How do you meet that special person? How do you find a plumber? Who will you know at the exciting conference next month?

Part of being social is getting to know people. (What a concept, right?) It may just be me but sometimes I think two people have more in common with each other (than with me). I simply send out a tweet.

“Hey @soandso. You should check out @whoever because you both [insert commonality]“

Not to digress, but this was the original purpose of #FollowFriday or #FF tweets – to introduce you to people who you may not know, but should.

In social media, introductions are a good way to build not just a following, but a community. These relationships develop. People know other people. Introductions can turn into connections and can become referrals. Continue reading