Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable


Recently, on our Women in Business Today Google Plus hangout on air, we talked with Chris Brogan about falling in love with not knowing. That in turn, led me to think about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Working with startups is always an experiment with content, with new technology, with being an early adopter, and with making educated guesses. Apps and social media platforms come and go. And being uncomfortable means doing what others aren’t doing, or not fitting in sometimes.


People are always asking me how to get new followers, how to get ROI, how to make money using social media. Here’s the big secret: focus on the SOCIAL, not the media. This goes for anybody. You already have the tools (especially if you’re a baby boomer). So talk to people. Be friendly. That’s the key to everything. As the old saying goes, “it’s simple, but not easy.” So if you’re on Pinterest, comment on pins. On Twitter, retweet and talk to people. On Facebook, chat with people. Rinse and repeat.

On Introversion

Being an introvert seems to be trendy these days. Susan Cain did a really neat TED Talk, The Power of Introverts and Women in Business Today, which I’m part of, talked about it on our Google Plus Hangout. A couple of things I really enjoyed about Susan Cain’s TED talk. Go to the wilderness. And this: Solitude matters. That really resonates for me. For an introvert, however, it’s talking with people–especially in large groups–that’s especially uncomfortable. And for an extrovert, hanging out alone or with just one or two people could be uncomfortable.

Eating the Frog

Eating the Frog

Eating the Frog

How many times have you heard that old adage to “eat the frog”? Some days you have to eat a lot of them before breakfast.  And being in a startup, you might be eating frogs all day long. Just when you’re the tiniest bit comfortable, along comes another frog.

Maintaining Focus Amidst Chaos

How do you maintain your focus every day? For me, the answer is writing. Lists and blogging help me clear my mind. The more I write, the more focused and calm I feel. This might go back to being an introvert. Maybe extroverts feel more balanced when they’re able to be around others and talk through their issues. What about you? How do you feel comfortable?



Twitter Influencers: Deciding Who to Follow

Twitter Influencers: Deciding Who to Follow

Twitter Influencers: Deciding Who to Follow

So you’ve decided to become influential, eh? Your latest mission statement proclaims that you will be the King of Twitter, with a Klout score of 75 bajillion, and Starbucks will name a new drink after you. You’re deconstructing each tweet and how it affects your target audience, testing it, agonizing over each word, and tracking who retweets it based on complex algorithms and spreadsheets in order to attract the “appropriate” audience with the perfect hashtags. Is that the best route to take to become an influencer, though? Here’s my take. If you want to learn how to get more followers, that’s a whole other blog post.

Don’t Be That Guy

Have you ever been talking to someone at a party and had them look over your shoulder scanning the room to see if someone “better” had just entered?  How did that make you feel? Then, when they realized that you were the the best friend of the mayor, they suddenly became your best friend? Gary Vaynerchuk says it really well in his video! Everybody is relevant.

You Don’t Know Who They Know

So here’s a for instance. Let’s take me as an example. Because I’ve done lots of work for people in the trades, I know a million people in construction. Well, maybe a billion, actually. There’s a construction company, who will remain nameless, who refuses to follow me back because he believes I’m not part of his target audience. And yet, I live within 10 miles of his company, have many connections to people in construction, and ghost tweet for three companies in the trades. But none of my social media profiles says that I’m in construction. If he made the least effort to reach out, he could make connections to many more people. But since he won’t follow or engage with me, I’m not inclined to retweet his material or lift a finger to help him.

People Have Multiple Profiles

That “little account” that you refuse to take seriously may be responsible for an account with a million followers. They could know someone who works at the exact place where you’d like to apply for a job. They could be best friends with your mom, for all you know. So why not be respectful to everyone?

The Second Chess Move in Life

The Second Chess Move in Life

The Second Chess Move in Life

As Gary Vee says, if you open yourself up to people who are not your exact target audience, if you reach out and say hello to people and stop “strategizing” and act like a human being, you’ll find your exact right audience.


Instead of following someone based on their Klout score, how many followers they have, or whether they have the best hashtag, how about this? Follow based on conversations with others, whether they have interesting opinions, or if you have something in common. And then how about feeling grateful for the followers you do have? And by the way, here is my very favorite TedxSF talk: Louis Schwartzberg on gratitude.

How Do You Decide Who to Follow?

Is engaging with the “right” people important to you? How has that helped your cause?



Social Media Managers: 10 Ways the San Francisco Giants Can Improve Your Game

Social Media Managers: 10 Ways the San Francisco Giants Can Improve Your Game

Social Media Managers: 10 Ways the San Francisco Giants Can Improve Your Game

Recently, I saw the San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park. You might not realize that the Giants have their very own Social Media Cafe, where you can see tweets about the game scroll across giant screens and see their awesome command center. Here are some of the ways I found the Giants’ social media effective, and some ways the Giants can improve your game as Social Media Managers (“SMMs”).

Engage Fans Before They Reach the Game

While waiting for our friends to arrive, my friends decided to visit the Giants clothing store in the park. I tweeted a picture of some t-shirts (below). And @CafeSFG not only heard me, but replied! So my experience of them being awesome began before we even got to the game. How awesome is that? For SMMs, your blog can be a way to “warm up” your possible clients before they meet you in person. If you need hints on engagement, you might want to read my post on being engaged and tweeting texts versus links.

The reply tweet from @CafeSFG, below.

Be Accessible

If you visit the the San Francisco Giants’ Cafe at AT&T park, you’ll notice a few things. You can walk right up to their social media team and talk to them. As in, “Hey, thanks for sending me that tweet!” accessible. They sit in a room, where you can see all the hashtags and accounts they’re monitoring on a huge screen. And you can get an idea of what it would be like to work there, how quickly the tweets fly by, and how fast-paced the job really is. As an SMM, how accessible are you to your fans? Meeting fans in person is always the best way, but if you can’t do that, then how about Google Hangouts on Air, responding to people on Twitter, or meeting people at conferences?

Be Accessible

Be Accessible

Allow for Spontaneity

If working for the Giants isn’t the most spontaneous social media position in the world, I’m not sure what is. Fans tweet and post Instagram pictures, which the team reposts, replies to, and favorites. Chosen tweets and Instagram pix appear on the big screen, so you can see your own words and pictures “up in lights” as it were. Sometimes being an SMM is the extreme opposite of spontaneity, with all the scheming that goes into planning posts, creating good content, and choosing images. But having spontaneity is what makes the job interesting, and for me, is what makes me want to get up and do it all over the next day.

Let Your Fans Create the Content

When your fans have interesting things to say, why not let them? When there is passion and excitement about the game, why not allow those opinions and images to flow freely? If you’re at all familiar with the success of ICanHazCheeseburger, you know that letting fans create content is a win times a million. Although this article about the popular cat meme is from 2008, I love the explanations (along with the charts and graphs).

Give Them the Right Drink

On a cold night, give your fans a hot drink. The Giants’ cafe has hot coffee, chocolate, and pastries from Peets Coffee. Are you giving your fans the right drink?

Create Branded Clothing

The Giants have worked with brands such as Victoria’s Secret to create their soft, beautifully designed and branded clothes. And I’ve heard the Giants are about to sign a deal with ZipzShoes for co-branded footwear. Maybe you don’t have a huge budget, but many places let you make one or two pieces at a time (including Zipzshoes).

Tweet from Zipzshoes saying they’re working with the Giants (guess who their first customer will be?)!

Let Your Fans Share the Spotlight

When a fan shares a really great photo on social media, that photo gets reshared on the big screen. At a Giants’ game, fans are watching taking pictures of their team, but also watching to see if that picture they took will show up and get reshared. Here are some tips on creating a good retweet, by the way.

Be A Leader

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a huge fan of the Giants in more ways than one. They really knocked it out of the ballpark with their social media engagement. While creating their own cafe and engaging with fans may not be the only things causing them to sell out their games, those things do cause many fans to want to return. What are you doing to knock it out of the ballpark for your clients?

Give ‘Em Fireworks!

Give 'Em Fireworks!

Give ‘Em Fireworks!

Not just fireworks, but fireworks! The SF Giants’ fireworks display was bigger and better than many displays I’ve seen on the fourth of July. You can walk outside the ballpark onto the dock and see everything overhead–one of the best displays I’ve ever seen. Again, maybe you don’t have the budget for a fireworks display, but how about an unexpected gift? Flowers and chocolate, anyone?

Be a Winner

Last, but not least, the SF Giants won the game! Of course they did! What are you doing to create a win for your fans or business?

Be a Winner

Be a Winner






Baby Boomers: Social Media 101

You’re a Baby Boomer, intent on learning about social media. That’s great! Now what? Well, you might learn from your friends, if they’re part of GenC, and connected. But more than likely, you will learn from someone else, perhaps a consultant, or from hands-on trial and error. First off, congratulations for deciding to learn. Secondly, social media is just a bunch of tools. You already have the knowledge you need–good manners, pacing, and emotional intelligence. Let me explain.

This post was inspired by a cartoon I saw recently, and retweeted:


Remember your trusty Rolodex? You can still keep a Rolodex–if you like–but having all that information online is so much simpler. Plus, it gets updated automagically whenever someone changes their job, so you don’t have to use White Out. If there’s a good place for a Boomer to get started on social media, this is the place. The pacing is slower, and you only connect with whomever you want to talk to. And you’ve already got the good manners and mad listening skills.


Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is quite easy. Pin things you like, just as you would on a vision board. On your boards, remove things that are outdated or that don’t get liked or repinned. Comment on other people’s pins (because nobody does that!), and you’ll stand out! If your audience is Boomer women, so much the better!


Remember your trusty Rolodex?

Remember your trusty Rolodex?

For a boomer, Facebook is easy. Share authentic posts with your friends. Share a photo of something odd you saw during the day, or a thought you had. You can start by lurking if you want to learn. Then start to “like” your friends’ posts, comment, and finally, share things from your friends. You would never tell someone to buy your stuff on day one, because as a boomer you know about pacing! That’s pretty much all there is to it.


Skype is just a tool for talking, with video so you can see the other person. And since you are already a pro at using the phone, this is super easy. It’s like a chat with a neighbor over the back fence. With your advanced emotional intelligence, you have this nailed.


Twitter is maybe the most advanced of the tools. You may need a little time to learn the lingo. But again, Twitter is just a tool to talk to people. As a boomer, you are a natural talker and know how to engage. Do not have Twitter phobia! With Twitter, you can connect to people all over the world, or in your neighborhood.

Are You A Boomer?

If you are, I’d like to say: don’t be intimidated! You already have the most important skill set, and with these new tools, you will be unstoppable! Don’t let anyone look down at you for checking out these new tools. Really.

Social Media Conversation Starters

Social Media Conversation Starters

Social Media Conversation Starters

You might have had some practice starting conversations during the holidays or at parties. “Hey,” you might say. “Hey,” says your new friend. “How’s the punch?” you ask. “Pretty good.” your new friend responds. And a beautiful friendship is born. See? You already know a lot about talking! But in case you need to say a little more in an online conversation, here are your…

Social Media Conversation Starters

Before you say anything else to someone, before you tell them to “like your Facebook page” in an unsolicited direct message on Twitter, you might want to start a conversation. Some good times to start conversations are late at night, on Fridays during #FridayFollow, or on the weekend. Holidays are a perfect time to begin conversations, too.

Greetings Are Important

Greetings are important

Greetings are important

Just as in real life, the hellos, nice to meet you’s, and so happy you could make it’s are the hors d’ouevres of a good social media meal. Without them, conversations will seem a little weird because you’ve skipped steps. Greetings are what get us going in any relationship. They’re the bread and butter of your social media dinner.

Seven to Thirteen Touches

If you’re selling something, as many people are on social media, it takes 7 to 13 touches to qualify a lead. You may have heard this before. I love the chart (Figure 2) in this article about how most prospects never receive enough touches. So using a “soft touch” in social media goes a long way towards nurturing a relationship.

Always Ask Questions

Usually people will tell you something about themselves or their brand on their profile. Take a look and comment on what you see there. Start off with “I love the…” and fill in the blank. “…thing you say about bicycle pumps.” “…way you string together nouns.” Anything to get the conversation started. Even noticing where they’re from or asking about the weather or their holiday plans is perfectly fine. Here’s an example from a recent conversation with Stephanie Mount on Twitter:

 Make it About Them

Don’t be waiting for a break in the conversation so you can talk about yourself. Let the other person lead and be willing to be surprised by listening. That way, it’s more of an adventure. You never know what people will say! Most people love to talk about themselves, so give them the opportunity. Alex Feinman has some good ideas in his blog (I particularly like the part about “merging” and his comparing it to traffic).

Be Funny

Not all of us are born comedians, but sharing a funny story usually helps to break the ice. I really like self-deprecating humor because that’s just my thing. And if someone makes me laugh, chances are, I’m going to like them because that’s the way to my heart. What’s the way to yours? Try what works on you with other people and you could be surprised.

What Are Some of Your Most Effective Conversation Starters?

Pull up a chair, sit down, and leave a comment!


Twitter: Get More Followers

Twitter: Get More Followers

Twitter: Get More Followers

You’ve read about this topic a gazillion times and it’s the first thing people always ask. How do I find  people to follow? And how do I get them to follow me back? My method is not foolproof, but it’s pretty damn good (not bragging). You will get followers, and they won’t be fake followers. It is work, however. You might not like that part. Then again, it’s not rocket science!

See Who Your Friends Are Talking to

Start by looking at who your friends talk to. Look at their profiles and their top ten tweets. If you like what you see on their profile and what they’re tweeting about, chat with them. Follow them if you like the way the conversation is going.

Say Something Directly to That Person

This could be anything. “Where are you from? Your profile doesn’t say.” “I like what you said on your profile about rapscallions.” “It looks like we went to the same school.” Start with something easy, just like you would in a real-life conversation. Start there. LifeHacker has some good, simple conversation starters that work in real life or online.

Retweet Them

Find a tweet that would be important to them. This requires a little more work. Preferably find something about their business or something you think they’d like you to retweet. If they have a small following, they’ll probably notice right away. If not, you may need to retweet a few to get noticed. If their tweet is short, you may have space to add a comment. And I recommend that you use an “old-school retweet,” for many reasons.

Comment on Their Blog

A blog comment is even better than a retweet, and is much more likely to get you noticed if you’re trying to establish a relationship. Bloggers love love love comments! And most will write back to you, I’ve found. And be happy to follow you.

Follow, Retweet and Comment

Be Generous First to Gain Followers

Be Generous First to Gain Followers

This is the trifecta of engagement. If you do all three of these things, then your new friend may be oblivious or a snob. And if they don’t want to engage with you, then why are you following them? Some accounts may give you really good content, but most people aren’t Katie Couric (and need to converse with others).

Have Good Content

Think of your followers (or your potential followers) as friends. What cool and interesting stuff would you like to share with them? It doesn’t always have to be related to your business, but you’ll be more likely to attract the right crowd if it is. Don’t trick people by saying, “Hey guys, I liked this” and then a spammy link. Share things you do truly love if you want to make friends either online or in real life.

Is This Approach Too Much Work?

Let me know what works for you in the comments! Thanks!



Audience: Engaging with Techies

Audience: Engaging with Techies

Audience: Engaging with Techies

Perhaps you read my earlier blogpost about common issues with audiences, and how to figure out who your audience is on Social Media. Or maybe you’re just wondering how you, as a non-technical social media manager, will be able to talk to those more technically savvy than yourself. Have no fear: you have Google. Not only that, but you have the ability to discuss your own niche, and are a subject matter in your own right. Here are some other ideas that may work for you.

Ask Questions

People love to talk about themselves, and techies are no different. So let them shine by asking questions about their areas of expertise. Listen and then ask more questions. Dale Carnegie suggests that “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Have you found that to be true? Did you see what I did there? lol

Do Your Homework

If you need to engage more with techies, you can study what they study a little. On social media, see what your favorite techies are reading, tweeting, and discussing, and do Google searches on those topics. Read a little bit every day. I like TechCrunch, GigaOm, and VentureBeat at the moment.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Without going completely overboard, why not show your favorite techy a little love by adding them to a list of your favorite people on Twitter, reposting their content, or commenting on their blog? Everyone loves attention. And if you don’t use lists (yet) you might want to read about Twitter Lists for the Power User.

Find Something in Common

Maybe you grew up in the same city, went to the same school, or like the same baseball team. Establishing some similar footing helps you gain rapport. Sharing your outlook on a technical subject or a newsworthy current event might also be a good topic of conversation.

Food, Weather, Pets

red flowersThese are all easy topics to start a conversation. I often like to comment on something in a person’s profile. They might have a beautiful picture of flowers, or some funny expression that you’ve never heard before. Ok. That’s all I’ve got. Did I leave anything out?

Tweeting for Engagement: Links Versus Text?

Tweeting for Engagement: Links Versus Text?

Tweeting for Engagement: Links Versus Text?

You’ve been on Twitter late at night looking for conversations, and all you’ve seen are tweets with links and people broadcasting. You’d really like to have a conversation and engage like you’re supposed to on social media, but how? Here’s one idea: Why not try plain text?

Tweeting Without a Net

If you don’t schedule a tweet with a link what does that look like? Will people still respect you if you don’t include a link? Well, yes, they will respect you. In fact, they might even try to **gasp** try to talk to you! How strange and wonderful that could be! And how different from the majority of the tweets out there! This isn’t about creating the perfect tweet; it’s about using Twitter to talk to people!

No Link = Less Commitment!

As Riggins Construction says, “Links are a bigger commitment for new conversations.” If you broadcast a tweet with a link, people have to click the link (if they trust it), read the whatever-it-is, think about it, and then get back to you. Without that dreaded link, people are much more likely to say hello, reply, or retweet. So it’s easier for your audience to talk to you–and for you to talk to them!

Fewer People Engaging Means You Stand Out



When fewer people are actually listening on Twitter, you get to look like a superhero when you engage! Well, maybe not like Spiderman, but you will get to be social on social media, which seems unusual some days. Now, I’m not saying to entirely stop putting out links, but adding in some tweets without links makes your Tweetstream friendlier.

The Road Less Tweeted

With all the broadcasting there is, you will definitely be in the minority if you listen. Sometimes taking the road less traveled can be a very, very good thing. You might even make a friend or two along the way!

More Spontaneity

Text without a link is more spontaneous. You can tweet about something that just happened to you, or something you’ve been thinking about, and start a conversation that way. Or you could look at your Twitstream to see if anyone is having conversations at the moment. You could also put those talkers onto a list, so that you can check back with them easily from time to time.

How Do You Like to Engage on Twitter?

Do you have any special things you like to do on Twitter to find people to talk to? I’d love to hear from you! Really. I would.


Startups: Social Media Graveyards

Feel like you're getting left behind?

Feel like you’re getting left behind?

Your startup got a running leap at social media, pinning three million pictures of dogs wearing costumes. The Twitter was active for exactly nine days. Facebook went dormant after the intern left for vacation and never returned from Vegas. Uh-oh. Is your startup’s social media turning into a graveyard of dead platforms, populated by the ghosts of dogs in funny outfits?

Best Intentions

Maybe you had all the best intentions of getting onto social media. You wanted to keep up with the other Startup Joneses to drive business. So starting everything at once seemed like a good idea at the time!

There’s no “There” There

Now everything has turned dark and sad. Without an actual person to consider strategy, post, and interact, nothing is happening on your social media. People click on the badges, and see tumbleweeds, and hear the sound of one sad crow whistling out of the side of his beak. Wait. Is that even a thing? Never mind! We’re painting a sad, sad picture: stay with me here! Would you blame the person for wondering if your startup is viable?


Social media populated by dogs wearing costumes?

Social media populated by dogs wearing costumes?

If you start your social media, realize that it’s going to take some time. You’ll need a full-time person who’ll set strategy and create content. That person needs to dedicate time every day to keep all the platforms running, and to engage online.

Where Will You Find Such a Person?

Try reading interesting blog articles about this issue. Have you read any good posts on the subject lately? If the person’s style matches your brand, that could be a good fit. Ask friends for recommendations. You want someone reliable, with good writing skills, who can listen and engage online.

To Sum Up

Don’t let your platforms grow up to be tombstones. There are enough ghosts on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook already.

How is the State of Your Social Media?

Is your Pinterest pining for the fjords? Does your Twitter lack tweets? Does Your Facebook need a facelift? Tell me a sad story in the comments below! Thanks!


Social Media: You’re Not Katie Couric!

Social Media: How to Engage Like a Pro

Social Media: How to Engage Like a Pro

Although this has been said a million times, I’ve only said it 999,999 times: you must engage on social media. And lately, I’ve been seeing more companies of all sizes broadcasting, instead of engaging. Katie Couric is a famous and beloved correspondent. We expect her to broadcast. However, it is likely that you are not a famous correspondent.

What do I mean by engagement? Here are a few ideas about ways you can step up your game.

Keep Your Focus on the Other Guy

If you’re shy, knowing what to say can feel uncomfortable. But asking a question about the other person is something anyone can do. The question shouldn’t be a yes or no question, but something more open-ended, like “how do you know [the person who introduced you to the other person on social media]?” or “what did you think about that news story?” You can ask about their home town. Were they born there? How do they like living there? Those questions are not so personal as to be off-putting.

Conversing on Facebook

Conversing on Facebook

On social media, keeping your focus on the other guy could mean gaining a friend and maybe later, a loyal customer. For example, take a look at how Starbucks dominates the social media landscape with conversations galore. They’re on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, have apps, and share seasonal specials that always reflect their own branding. They’re good listeners and also manage to talk frequently about the social good that they do, such as charities they’re involved in. As a smaller brand, you can ask yourself how you can do something similar, on a tinier scale. Pay attention to what your audience wants to see and hear. Of course, the content shouldn’t be completely off-topic, or that would cause confusion about your brand. The trick is to balance posts that your audience would like to hear about with what you’re sharing while actually listening and talking.

Converse on Facebook

If you don’t like to talk much, you can always “lurk” on Facebook. But it’s a lot more satisfying to like, comment on, or share a post. So try clicking “like” first of all. Then you can try a short comment, like “Yes!” or “I like it.” If you get very brave, you can share a post to your own wall. Being generous first is a good way to be social on social media.

Schmooze on Twitter

Schmooze on Twitter

On Twitter, that most social of social media platforms, there are a million questions you can ask people. That’s a gorgeous profile picture! Where was it taken? You have an unusual name–are you related to___? You’re interested in Slow Food, what do you think of Michael Pollan’s work? Have you met my friend___, who is also interested in baseball and apple pie? And so on. And by the way, having a good profile picture is a good conversation starter for anyone.

Comment on Pinterest

Comment on Pinterest

Talking on Pinterest is like putting a message in a bottle. You might or might not hear back, and if you do hear back, a lot of time could have passed. People don’t talk as much on Pinterest. So if you do comment, you’ll stand out. Try commenting on Pinterest and then tag the person who’s meant to see the comment (even if you’re on their board, they might not see it!). To tag them, type the “@” sign, start typing their name and –wait for it!–their name should auto-fill. For brands, there are lots of ways to connect with fans on Pinterest.

Are you Engaged?

If you like to chat on social media, what has worked for you? Seriously, I’d love to hear your views!

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