The Best Way to Quick Success? Follow the Fun!

The Best Way to Quick Success? Follow the Fun!

The Best Way to Quick Success? Follow the Fun!

We’ve all had the experience of being at an amusement park, wondering which ride to try next. The carousel? No–that’s for little kids. The Zipper? No, that one always smells funky (and when you see it, you know why!). Ah, but there’s always one ride where people are screaming and laughing their heads off! That’s the one you want!

The Roller Coaster

My favorite ride always seems to be the roller coaster. Even though it’s also the scariest ride and is over fast, it is, hands down, the most fun. The Giant Dipper at Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a wooden one, and the creakiness of the ride makes it scarier, for some reason. You feel like you could be thrown off at any moment and attacked by seagulls.

Post with Fun in Mind

My brother always went for the fun in life. He ran after it, and created fun wherever he went. That’s how you should think about posting on social media, too. Make it fun for everyone. People will want to stay, talk, and share if you make it fun.

Hashtags Make it Fun

One reason, in my humble opinion, that Instagram has become so popular is not only because it’s simple, but because it’s fun. Part of that fun is the way that people use hashtags. By the way, if you haven’t read about how to engage on Instagram, you might want to check it out. You can use hashtags in other places such as Twitter, too, but the over-the-top way people use them on Instagram? Priceless!

Memes and .Gifs

Yes, as a business you’re not “supposed to” use memes and gifs. But if they get people talking, why not? If you’re on Twitter, you can easily attach a .gif and send it to a bunch of friends. Again, it’s simply and silly. These days, silly has become an endangered species on social media.

Post with no Outcome

Sometimes it’s ok to post without expecting anything. You might want to share a favorite Netflix show, for instance. By the way, have you seen the Netflix original series Abstract: The Art of Design? Really fantastic! But I digress. Sure, you’re always supposed to have a Call to Action (“CTA”), but maybe your goal is just to connect with people.

What Tricks Do You Have for Making Your Posts More Fun?

Let me know in the comments! And thank you.

What Story Do You Need to Tell?

What story do you need to tell?

What story do you need to tell?

Everyone has a story to tell. And your business or brand has a story to tell, too. You might already be telling it through the social media posts you decide to share, through the organizations you support, and through the articles you write or comment upon.

Why Do We Crave Stories?

Storytelling makes time stand still. When we hear a story, the outside world goes away during the time we are listening to that story. We want characters with positive attributes, and we want to know what happens to them. We want to care about them and we want to know what happens next.


Every Business Has a Story

How was your business born? Did you always know what you’d do in your business life? How did you decide to do what you do now? There are probably quite a few stories intertwined in the making of your business. My business began when I started doing social media for myself, and then friends started to ask for help. One of them suggested that I do social media as a business, and I started to get some training. How did your business begin?

Buying is Emotional

Whether you’re selling a widget or a service, people buy on emotion, then justify with data. Most of us make our minds up very quickly. So having a story helps people who might otherwise be on the fence make up their minds. For instance, if I know that the local supermarket also supports a cause that is important to me, I’d be much more likely to go there.



These days, many brands have decided to be left- or right-leaning, often with catastrophic results. The on-demand car ride service Uber, for instance, has gone to the right. In response Lyft, the other big on-demand car ride service, has gone to the left. The Uber boycott and subsequent donation by Lyft to the ACLU has people squarely on one side or the other. So far, Lyft’s move has resulted in more downloads of their app than ever before.

Telling Stories About Clients

During #digiblogchat, my weekly Twitter chat, @ChrisLema (follow him on Twitter, by the way!) put an emphasis on focusing on others. “The hero isn’t you,” he says, and I concur. Let potential clients know what they can expect working with you! A happy client story is worth his weight in gold.

Have a Happy Client Story?

Do your happy clients have positive stories to tell about your business? What do they say about your brand? Leave me a comment! Thank you.


How to Effectively Stand out in a Noisy World

How to Effectively Stand out in a Noisy World

How to Effectively Stand out in a Noisy World

Embracing Your Quiet Nature

By nature, introverts gather their strength from being alone and having quiet time. They tend to turn inwards rather than outwards, toward themselves rather than toward others. With the world becoming noisier, especially with the crazy changes in government lately, what’s an introvert to do?

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The Power of Quiet

What if you didn’t have to compete in the same arena with extroverts? What if the loudest person didn’t automatically win every argument? As introverts, we gain strength and creativity from alone time. Original ideas spring forth from solitude–something that many don’t honor. Here’s my post Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends, in case you missed it.

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The Great Blue Heron

Here’s a great quote from the article Leaning Back: The Power of Introverts by Bonnie Marcus in Forbes Magazine:

“Have you ever been to a meeting where people are talking very vociferously about a topic, and there are a lot of individuals engaged. But then, there’s that one person, at the end of the conference table who chimes in, and just nails it. There’s been all this chatter – as one of the introverted leaders told me, he said, it’s like having all these cackling geese. And he says, he sees himself as the great blue heron that swoops in with the compilation, with the concise statement that really sums it all up.”

That person at the end of the table? That would be an introvert. The only issue that others may have is not always being able to “hear” the introvert. Often someone else may mistakenly believe that they themselves thought of an idea that the introvert came up with. It happens.

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Being a Tortoise in a World of Hares

Ritu Kaushal, in her lovely post about Accepting Yourself as an Introvert and Loving Your Inner Tortoise on the TinyBuddha blog, says “As introverts, most of us have heard messages about all the things that are wrong with us. We are too intense, too solitary, not fun enough. We may not have asked our own questions back.”

Questions such as:

  • What’s wrong with alone time?
  • Who says you shouldn’t think deeply about issues?
  • Why not enjoy small groups rather than huge parties?

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Introvert Superpowers

As introverts, our superpowers are thinking deeply and (often) not caring much about what others think. Add to that intuition, forging our own path, and observation and creating deep and meaningful connections with others. And if you need a good listener, then you’re going to want to have an introvert in your corner.

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Speaking of Listening

One of the benefits of being a good listener is that there is less expectation during a conversation. An introvert can read between the lines of the your words and hear what you’re not saying, as well as what you are saying. There are other hidden benefits of listening, too. You can get the jump on what others are really thinking. And that makes everyone feel good. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Social Media with No Safety Net: Being Unafraid to Fail

Social Media with No Safety Net: Being Unafraid to Fail

Social Media with No Safety Net: Being Unafraid to Fail

Old Familiar Ways

So many people use the all-familiar pattern of headline, link, and hashtag on their social media posts. But what about the age-old art of conversation? Wouldn’t it be more fun to just talk to people for a change? The good news is that you can! The bad news is that it will take more work.

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Being Unafraid to Engage

In case you don’t know how to get started, you could always read my post with multiple parts on How to Engage on Social Media: the Complete Guide. There are sections for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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The Lost Art of Hello!

The important thing is to get out there and say hello! As in something along the lines of:

  • “Hello, I like your profile picture!”
  • “Hello, what’s the weather like where you are?”
  • “Hello, how are you today?”

If the person doesn’t answer back, maybe they’re not used to people engaging, or maybe (shudder) they’re a robot.

Failure to Try

There are so many quotes on failure, but here is one of my favorites:

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K. Rowling

If that doesn’t ring your chimes, here are 30 Powerful Quotes on Failure–you’re sure to find one you like.

But I digress.

Begin Chatting

There are several ways to begin talking. Set yourself a modest goal. Say hello to 3 people a day. You might notice others having conversations–you could always step into a conversation that others are having. “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help overhearing…” you might begin. Would that be difficult? No, I didn’t think so!

Get an Introduction

If there’s someone you’d really like to get to know, you could use the old-fashioned idea of an introduction. This works very well on LinkedIn, as outlined in 4 Great Ways to Break the Ice on Social Media.

Blog Comments

If you really, really want to get to know someone, read their blog and comment! Quite often they will answer you and reciprocate. Leave me a comment and see what happens! And thank you.

How to Catapult Your Tweets Farther? Use a Powerful Hashtag!

How to Catapult Your Tweets Farther? Use a Powerful Hashtag!

How to Catapult Your Tweets Farther? Use a Powerful Hashtag!

What if I told you there was a free way to give your tweet wings, and let it travel farther and last longer? Would you want to join that club? I know would! Hashtags have entered popular culture these days, with TV shows, baseball teams, and just about everyone using them to organize searches. If you’ve never used a hashtag before, you might want to check out the basics.

Hashtags are Easy

Hashtags are Easy

Hashtags are Easy

Here’s the skinny: Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement of tweets without hashtags. So if you’re considering whether to hashtag or not, that should help you make up your mind! Not only will people follow others who use similar hashtags (for instance, I have #startups in my Twitter profile, and many startups find me that way), but you can reach out to those with the same hashtags as you. Win-win!

Use One or Two: More is Not Better!

Use One or Two: More is Not Better!

Use One or Two: More is Not Better!

If you use too many hashtags, your engagement will go down. One or two hashtags is fine. More than that, and a tweet is looked upon as spammy.

#203K Hashtag for Mortgage Loans via Hashtagify

#203K Hashtag for Mortgage Loans via Hashtagify

Neat Tools to Help with Hashtags

  • Hashtagify – tells you hashtags related to your hashtags. For instance, if you’re a loan broker, and wanted to use the hashtag #203K, you could see what other hashtags you could use along with that hashtag.
  • TweetReach – tells you how far your hashtag has traveled. For instance, I use it during my tweet chat, #DigiBlogChat, and then tell everyone the numbers during the chat (and later on Facebook as well). If you don’t know what a tweet chat is, you might want to check out this post on 101 tips for success with tweet chats.
  • – tells you what hashtags are trending on Twitter right now. So theoretically, you could catch a trend before it gets big and ride the wave all the way in.

Hashtags As Snark

Hashtags used to be used to sort, group, and categorize tweets. But then one day, not too long ago, people started using hashtags to self-identify, and add an Element of Snark to posts. Now people are using “air hashtags,” and according to some, ruining the English language. So if the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems doesn’t get your metadata all up in a knot, then you might like using hashtags in a snarky manner. #JustTryingToKeepItFun

Click Through

One very effective way to use a hashtag is to see who else is using it. For instance, if you’re using a location-based hashtag, click on it and see who else is nearby! For instance, this weekend is the inauguration. Heck, you could even go to Top Hashtags (dot com), type “inauguration” and see what the top hashtags are if you’re going. Or use the hashtag of your city, county, or state, and see who else is out there.

How Do You Hashtag?

Do you use hashtags? Or do you think they’re ruining the English language? Leave me a comment! And thank you.



How to Engage on Social Media: LinkedIn

How to Engage on Social Media: LinkedIn

How to Engage on Social Media: LinkedIn

This is part five of How to Engage on Social Media: The Complete Guide. The other parts are here:

Why LinkedIn?

A quarter of online adults use LinkedIn, a proportion that is unchanged from the 28% of online adults who did so in September 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. With over 3 million using company pages, having a solid presence there makes sense. With its focus on business, is it any wonder that LinkedIn has the most mature users, with the highest net worth?

LinkedIn Basics

If you need some basics for how to use LinkedIn, you might want to read:

Business to Business

For B2B companies, LinkedIn is a giant. Take a look at this infographic from Social Media Today on Why LinkedIn Matters. If you want a more active presence on LinkedIn, it’s a great article. I particularly like the part about what platforms LinkedIn users don’t use. 83% don’t use Pinterest. So if you’re doing B2B, you want to be on LinkedIn, and probably not so much on Pinterest. After all, 94% of B2B marketers distribute content on LinkedIn, with many of them making purchasing decisions on LinkedIn.

Not Just for Job Seekers

LinkedIn has had to overcome its reputation as merely a place for job seekers, and those looking for gigs. To do that, it has begun to offer users the ability to publish. Bloggers who share on LinkedIn receive over four times as many leads to their home page than publishing on Facebook or Twitter! If you use stats to make decisions, that should be pretty convincing.

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The Sleeping Giant

LinkedIn is like the shy guest at the party whom you later discover is the CEO of a major corporation. She may not want to talk to anyone, so if you decide to engage with her, you’ll be doing both of you a great favor.

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How to Engage

There are many ways to engage on LinkedIn. Here are four:

  • Give recommendations. Be generous and reach out to people first! Don’t wait to receive and then react. Like other forms of social media, your generosity will be rewarded.
  • Write testimonials (to those you’ve done business with). Say what you liked about the business.
  • Comment on others’ posts. Start a discussion on an article or post and see where it leads, like you would on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Share others’ posts. Once you comment on an article, share it. Don’t forget to tag that person so they’ll realize you’ve shared!
  • Offer introductions. This is my favorite part of social media. Connecting people you know to others you know. Like you’d do in person, you can say something like “Sharon, do you know Ellie? I think you two have a lot in common!” or words to that effect.


Groups can be a great way to start a conversation since by being in a group you already have something in common with everyone else in that group. So you might be in U.C. Berkeley’s alumni group, where you can ask people where they’re working now, or what project they’re excited about. Or a group for marketers where you can post or answer questions for those in your area.

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Company Pages

Company pages are a way to brand your company, share the pain points of your audience, and offer unique ways to fix your potential clients’ problems. Speak directly to your ideal client when you’re on LinkedIn and offer solutions. Social Media Examiner has an excellent article on ways to improve your company page, by the way. I couldn’t say it any better.

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Are You Linked In?

How do you use LinkedIn? Or would you like to start using LinkedIn? Leave me a comment! And thank you.


How to Engage on Social Media: Facebook

How to Engage on Social Media: Facebook

How to Engage on Social Media: Facebook

This is part of my series How to Engage on Social Media: The Complete Guide. The other parts are here:

Why Facebook?

Love it or hate it, Facebook is big and impossible to ignore. It’s not the elephant or the room, it’s the elephant AND the room! At over one billion users, Facebook is the most popular platform for social media marketers. Forbes has some of the top ten reasons to be on Facebook. Many people dislike the platform, since it has become “pay to play,” but you can’t deny that your audience is there.

“Fully 72% of online American adults use Facebook, a proportion unchanged from September 2014.”

~ Pew Research Center

Popular with Everyone

In addition, “82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those ages 30 to 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older.” (Pew Research Center). So it’s the perfect place to engage with others.

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There are so many ways to engage on Facebook now. There’s live video, there are the usual likes and comments, and you can share posts and tag people or companies. There are ways to send messages either privately or publicly. Here’s one way to proceed–decide which level you’d like to be at, with Level One being the easiest, and Level Five, the most difficult.

Engagement: Level One

Simply read and “like” other people’s posts. This is the most basic level. If you’re engaging on behalf of a company or brand, choose where you spend your time engaging. Then make the rounds daily, just the way you might visit favorite relatives during the holidays.

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Engagement: Level Two

The next level of engagement is to comment on others’ posts. Again, be careful where you spend your time. Choose those who are engaging! By the way, if you make a mistake while commenting, you can go back and edit your comments later.

Tip: Use a timer so you don’t get lost down a rabbit hole, distracted by endless cute videos of cats and puppies. Although that could be your reward once you get done!

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Engagement: Level Three

Know your brand’s voice, and use it exclusively when you post. So, rather than posting with a generic headline, try writing a few different headlines until something comes to mind. Or, alternately, comment upon the content or the headline when you post. PostPlanner has an excellent article about using your brand’s voice to boost your engagement.

Engagement: Level Four

Consider the Five Ws and the H when you post: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

  • Who is your audience? Your ideal customer is the middle of your bull’s eye.
  • What issues bother them? Do a survey to find out.
  • When are they online? Check your page’s analytics to see.
  • Where do you want them to go once they’ve engaged with you?
  • Why do they need the content you’re posting?
  • How will the content you post help solve a problem?

In case you still don’t know why online relationships are important, Justine Pretorious answers that question: “Online Relationships — Are They Important?

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Engagement: Level Five

Experiment and vary the types and amount of posts you make. So, for instance, do a newsy post in the morning, a more meaty post at lunch time, and a light-hearted post around dinner time. You might also post differently depending upon the day of the week. Having a strategy and then mixing it up is important–then keep track of what is working. Some social media managers post ten or more times per day. Others only post once or twice per week.

Which Engagement Level Are You?

Are you a six? Or are you closer to a two? Let me know in the comments! And thank you.

How to Engage on Social Media: Pinterest

How to Engage on Social Media: Pinterest

How to Engage on Social Media: Pinterest

This blog post is part of my series on how how to How to Engage on Social Media: The Complete Guide. You might want to see the previous two parts:

More parts will be added on a weekly basis.

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Pinterest a Rising Star

Pinterest is a rising star, and like certain other social media platforms, underutilized. If your audience includes women, then you need to be on Pinterest! Some 31% of adult Internet users use Pinterest, according to the Pew Research Center.

Can You Be Social on Pinterest?

The people at Pinterest claim that Pinterest is not a social media platform. In some ways, they’re right. But it is still possible to engage, to share, to comment, and to like posts. There is no live video (yet!), but that could be on its way. I’d definitely agree with Justin Horvath that Pinterest is Social Media’s Best Kept Secret.

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Social Discovery

Pinterest is certainly a place for discovery. Say for instance you need a pair of shoes. But that’s all you know. Would you go to Google and search for shoes? No! Instead go to Pinterest, because you’ll automagically get visual search cues to guide you: green shoes, camo sneakers, velvety green heels, and more.

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How to Engage?

When you’re tooling around Pinterest, like and comment on people’s pins (I know they’re supposed to be called saves, but pins sounds so much better.)  Make sure that you tag the person whose post you’re commenting on! Hover over the person’s name and get their handle. For instance, mine is @YourSoMeWorks. Now, make sure to say something a little out of the ordinary. Put a little thought into it.

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Use Direct Messaging Sparingly

If you already know someone, use direct messaging. Or if it’s really important. Otherwise, direct messaging can seem spammy, like a direct message on Twitter when you don’t even know someone. It’s a good way to get unfollowed!

Send Pins and Boards

If you see something that a friend would like, by all means send it their way! Pinterest explains how to send either a pin or a board in a short post. You can engage with people that way as well.

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Group Boards

Another way to engage on Pinterest is to either join or have your own group board. Engage with the other pinners on the group board, making sure to tag them when you do.

Are You Engaging on Pinterest?

Why or why not? Leave me a comment and I promise to write you back! And thank you!

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How to Engage on Social Media: Instagram

How to Engage on Social Media: Instagram

How to Engage on Social Media: Instagram

This is part of my series on How to Engage on Social Media: The Complete Guide. Last week’s post was about engagement on Twitter.

Instagram is Serious Business

Some people think that Instagram is all pretty pictures–which it is–partly. But Instagram is also a serious business, with 28% of adult Internet users on board. People mostly use Instagram on their smart phones, unlike certain other platforms, and with more and more people moving to using smart phones, Instagram can only become more popular.

Why Use Instagram?

  • Instagram has the highest engagement rate between brands and customers of any platform, according to Forrester.
  • If someone follows you, they will see your posts, unlike Facebook, which has become “pay to play”
  • People are becoming more image-centric, and Instagram is the land of images
  • More people are on their phones and Instagram lives on your phone
  • People are more engaged on Instagram
  • Great for local businesses, since you can target using hashtags (see below)
  • Instagram is simple and fun!


There are so many ways to use hashtags on Instagram. I like to bury my hashtags in the first and second comments of a post. There are quite a few ways to use hashtags:

  • Location-based hashtags. Any city, state, country, highway, or area can be turned into a hashtag. Search the people nearby and see which hashtags they’re using. For instance, #SantaCruzMountains is a favorite of mine for finding people near where I live.
  • Topic hashtags. Use the topic of your post as a hashtag. If you’re an SEO, expert, for instance, you could do #SEO or #SearchEngineOptimization.
  • Hashtags that work across industries. For example, #tbt or Throwback Thursday works for any brand.
  • Self-deprecating hashtags. These are my favorite! Use a hashtag to make a comment about your own post or yourself. #facepalm and #sosnarky, for instance.

Once you use a hashtag, click through and see who else is using it and like or comment on other posts. Be assertive and don’t wait for people to come to you! Go see who else is out there and be friendly. Do a Google search on hashtags in your industry and then experiment.

Tag Others

If your business has a company outing or if you’re with someone else who has an Instagram account, upload a photo and tag that other business or person. This is a great way to get a conversation going. And you can use it in conjunction with another idea, such as Throwback Thursday, to double your interaction! For courtesy’s sake, you might want to ask before posting a picture of someone else.

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Comment on other posts, and tag the owner, especially if the account has many followers. Often people don’t check their own comments, so tagging ensures that they see your comment. Anything, such as “I love this picture.” “This reminds me of…” “I love that park, too!” can be good conversation starters. Often one word, such as “Beautiful!” works, too.

Captivating Captions

At the very least, tell us where a picture was taken. Often, I skip by posts with no captions. Something about a picture with no caption makes me think it’s fake. Do you think so, too? But a wonderful image with a great caption? That can be very powerful. And some of the best Instagrammers use Instagram to tell a story. For instance, @thecuratedfeast uses Instagram to educate. Their posts are packed with information about food history.


If you really appreciate one of your followers, use their photo, especially if they’re a big fan of your product. One of my favorite accounts is Cutco Cutlery, and they often ask people to use the #shareyourslice hashtag for a chance to be featured. Could you do something like that?


Contests are an exciting ways to get your followers engaged. You might ask them to like your own or another account, tag someone who might like that account, for a chance to win a book or a trip! The @Whole30 people are very good at generating engagement this way.

Who Do You Find Engaging?

Leave me a message in the comments! I promise to engage with you!



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