Keys To Being Social: Discretion

Keys to Being Social: Discretion

Keys to Being Social: Discretion by Bridget Willard – “Little Owl” – Creative Commons by Marie Hale on Flickr

Our society worships youth. Does it go back to the 60’s or to Ponce de León’s quest for the Fountain of Youth?

Either way, the effect is the same. New technology breeds the expectation that the young, who have grown up with it, are the most qualified.

But I think any generation lacks something their senior generations have: discretion.

Sure, they may be able to play Nintendo from the womb, but it’s not enough. The young of today may have left Facebook for Snapchat. They may know how to buy songs online. But does this mean they have the advantage over Gen X or even Baby Boomers?

I say no.

Listen up Gen Y, Millenials, and anyone else born after 1990. You have to develop a sense of discretion.

Continue reading

How to Start A Blog

How to Start a Blog by Bridget WillardI was asked by one of my Twitter followers this week how to blog. Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve never written about it. I’ve talked about reasons why you should over at my work blog, but not how to do it.

In my view, there are two aspects of blogging: the writing and the technical.


My nemesis is motivation.

Other people are daunted by the technology.

Still others, time.

All of these things can be overcome.

We know that one of the keys to being social is content. Too many people, including myself, think there’s nothing more to be said. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

What if I have nothing to say?

Have you ever thought to yourself that everything meaningful has already been said? Maybe it has. I’m sure there is another blogging series or posts that are better than this one. But this is my creation and the words come out in my voice.

Believe me, you, too, have ideas. You have your own style. You have a voice. You can add value to the world. Are you worried you’ll just state the obvious? Maybe the obvious isn’t that obvious.

“Everybody’s ideas seem obvious to them. Maybe what’s obvious to me is amazing to someone else.” Derek Sivers 

Just Write

You just have to do it. This is what all of my friends tell me. I tend to write in binges, much like everything else in my life.

Carol Stephen recommends using a timer:

“Yes, you can write in small increments. Yes, it will help your startup. Back when I started to exercise, I gave myself an out whenever I went to the gym. If I didn’t feel better after 15 minutes, I allowed myself to leave. During many years of exercising, I’ve only left twice. So set that timer for 15 minutes and get going! You can do it!”

Continue reading

Seven Selfie Tips

Bridget's Selfie Tips

Bridget’s Selfie Tips

I started taking selfies as a proof of life, way to celebrate spending time with my friends, and my health; also, my mom likes them.

We need photos for every network there is from Facebook to LinkedIn, Google Plus to Slideshare.

It’s not always convenient to have professional headshot taken or even for a second person to photograph you. And so, the ultimate DIY for the social media enthusiast is the self portrait, forever now known as the “selfie.”

I’m also a stickler for changing your profile photo / avatar when you make significant changes to your look (hair length, style, color, glasses, etc.)  You do want people to recognize you, right?

Frankly, sometimes you just feel good and that’s the best time to take one.

Here are my tips.

1. Take it outside.

This is even better if you can find a plant, tree, or beautiful outdoor location (beach, park, etc). Early mornings and late afternoons seem to lend the best light.

The neighbor’s green fence was the latest background for my October 2014 LinkedIn, Twitter, and Gravatar avi. People responded well to it.

Find A Cool Background - Bridget's Selfie Tips

Find A Cool Background – Bridget’s Selfie Tips

2. Look at the Camera.

Actually look into the camera on your phone, not the screen. (Yes, that tiny dot.) This is the hardest thing to get used to.

Looking into the camera is looking at your viewer. That fosters connection. After all, it’s all about connecting with your audience whether it’s words or photos.

3. Smile.

Seriously, unless you’re trying out for Top Model or something, we’re tired of the apathetic looks.

As people, we are wired to mirror expressions. When we see a photo of you smiling, we smile. When we smile, we feel good. That evokes an emotional, subconscious response. That usually translates into positive comments and likes.

My friend Julie Brigham taught me years ago that if you tilt your head to the side and open your mouth, you look like you’re having fun. She’s right.

Otherwise, think of something that makes you really happy, wait a moment, and then click. Laughing helps, too.

Continue reading

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

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

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 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

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

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

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