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.

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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 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.

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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

Clearing The Cache: The Joy of De-Tasking in the Age of Hyper Productivity

Windows 95 by davidak, on Flickr

Windows 95 by davidak, on Flickr

Do you sometimes know you should be more like Windows 8 but feel like a Costco-bought Dell using Windows 95 with 8 MB of RAM (and only because you went to Fry’s and bought 4 extra megs at $100 a piece and installed them yourself) running the new AOL 5.0 using a dial up modem?

Do you think you’re a Maverick but feel more like a Tiger?

Are you constantly adding apps to your phone that makes it run like a flip phone?

Am I making a point here? Yes. I may be stretching the limits of this analogy by the limitations of my knowledge of computer science but go with me on this one.

Your Brain Has a Cache

Yes. Your brain has a cache. I’d like to say it’s the background processing and may even include your subconscious. Then again, I may have abused the analogy, forgiveness is requested.

Clearing the Brain’s Cache.

Do you feel like you’re “always on?”

Do you agree to take on tasks because “it’ll just take a few minutes?”

Do you have trouble saying “no?”

A yes answer to any of these questions may mean that you need to clear your brain’s cache and delete some apps. Continue reading

Are you in a Twitter rut? Stop Digging.

Backhoe HDR“They” say that if you’re in a rut, stop digging.

Are you talking to the same people over and over and over again?

Do you only spend time on Twitter in your “mentions” column?

We all have days where we’re trying to just get by and, believe me, I’m the one who says you can maintain your account in five minutes a day, but that’s not going to help you grow.

Whenever I start to feel like I’m in a rut, I am reminded of this Tweet from Scott Stratten:

If Twitter is about relationships, then it logically follows that relationships take work. That does take time.

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Six Tips to Gain Followers Through Engagement


How do you gain followers?

This is the question I am often asked.

“Do I buy followers?” No. In fact, most of the time people can tell when you have bought followers, as my colleague Carol Stephen describes in her post here. This strategy sort of backfired for former Speaker of the House and Presidential Candidate, Newt Gingrich, too.

Twitter is one of the major spokes in the social media wheel. Social media, people seem to forget, is about being social.

During the question and answer period of the Digital Influence panel at ACEC California’s April Conference, I was asked what the best practice for Twitter is.

My answer:  “The most important thing for you is to be a human being.”

In fact, my social media strategy revolves around being a polite, helpful person.

That seems to do the trick.

How does this work.

1. I avoid Twitter’s Retweet button.

This is controversial and everyone has their own opinions. Read my blog post here.

2. When I do retweet, I add a comment first.

This continues the conversation the original tweeter intended, presumably, when they sent the tweet in the first place. Awkward sentence? Sure. But the point is that Twitter is a conversation. By that logic, every tweet is potentially a conversation starter.

See: Retweet Styles

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Let Them Eat ROI – Mirror Marketing for B2C

This tweet actually produced a positive ROI both in gross receipts and word-of-mouth.

This tweet actually produced a positive ROI both in gross receipts and word-of-mouth.

It’s Saturday and The Mr and I are about to drive to Oceanside for a baby shower. It’s humid. It’s eighty-something-degrees. We are having Florida weather. I wanted caffeine, but not a Diet Coke. I thought, “I know, we’ll go to Starbucks and get a Refresher.” I was sure I had enough time, though we were running late.

As I approached my local Starbucks I was horrified that the drive through was so backed up that three cars in front of me were all out into the street, blocking the entrance to park. Personally, I don’t know how they were allowed to pass that through the City but I digress. I parked. Parched and sweating, I ran into Starbucks, already starting my Foursquare check in, with great hopes and expectations.

The store was so packed they didn’t have room to stand in line.

My check in that I tweeted now said, “Radical line! I think I better skip.”

Disappointed, I got back in the car, drove through McDonald’s for a $1 Diet Coke, and went to the shower.

This right here could have been the end of the story.

And, in most cases, it is. But because of shear awesomeness, it doesn’t end here. Continue reading

Can you fall in love with a brand? Why I always Tweet About my @ZipzShoes

Americanas at The Golden Gate Bridge - Taken by @Carol_Stephen

ZipzShoes’ Americanas at The Golden Gate Bridge – Taken by @Carol_Stephen 6/28/13

Falling in love with a brand – we hear about this a lot these days. Branding is the new black. Guy Kawasaki is known for being a “brand evangelist” for Apple back in the day, but can a brand really inspire the average person?

I say,  “yes!” 

ZipzShoes is one of those companies are just so fun that I can’t help but come up with ideas for them.

I won my first pair of Zipz from a Facebook contest (Dragonrose) and this year bought the Americana tops. They’re such a neat product and way more comfortable than converse (arch support, hello). It’s amazing how diverse of a reaction they incite.

One day I was at church and a guy knelt down at my feet and unzipped the zipper. That sparked a conversation about Roos (are you old enough to remember those?).

One time I forgot to pay a bill and was in hot water with the Boss-Man. He looked at my shoes and said, “Hey, is that a zipper?”  Talk about “saved by the bell – rather, shoe!”

Combine all of that enthusiasm with a Twitter Nerd and you get a lot of “here I am at [insert location here] with my Zipz.”  Am I paid to do this? No.  I don’t plan it normally, I just think – hey I want to help people find out about these cool shoes.  I’m converted. Continue reading