What if Failure Didn’t Exist?

What if Failure Didn't Exist?

What if Failure Didn’t Exist?

Why do people think failure is such a good idea? After all, failure can hurt. You get up, you fall down, you break your toe. Or your nose. Your nose!  How can that be a good thing? And yet, people in the startup world, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, think of failure as the Holy Grail.

Trial By Fire

Trial By Fire

Trial By Fire

Failure is often defined by its opposite. It’s a lack of success, a falling short, the inability to reach a milestone or goal. Even by its definition, failure fails to deliver. And yet, businesses need failure. If everything was rosy all the time, we would always think we were doing well. And would you have any motivation to do better if you always got an A+ on every test? Probably not.

Fail Forward

Fail Forward

Fail Forward

Here in Silicon Valley, failure has always been touted as admirable. It’s a way to build character, a way to determine how startups operate under pressure, and, a way to find stories to tell later. Failing forward–that is, learning from mistakes–is a badge of courage. And naturally that Silicon Valley icon, Steve Jobs, was our greatest failure (think NeXT Computer). That is, until Apple came along.

Baby Steps to Failure

Baby Steps to Failure

Baby Steps to Failure

Maybe you aren’t ready to have a massive failure of the ilk that would make Steve Jobs proud. Could you start small? Say by experimenting in a tiny way with how you do your job, how you create your to-do list, or which route you drive to work? After all, starting with a small failure earlier is better than having a huge failure later, as this Forbes article about failing forward outlines. Being comfortable being uncomfortable is what it’s all about.

Failure Makes You a Better Social Media Marketer

As social media marketers, we are always experimenting. My friend Bridget Willard was just saying that she’s always trying new things. Partly, we test things so that our clients don’t have to go through what we go through. So the new plug-in goes on our blog first. The new method of posting with an image goes happens on our Twitter before theirs. Once the new method works, it’s ready for prime-time. And speaking of failure, maybe you’d be interested in reading about Ten of the Worst Social Managers.

National Failure Day

National Failure Day

National Failure Day

Here is the part where I was going to cleverly propose a National Failure Day. However, someone in Finland has beat me to it! You might not be surprised that the creator of Angry Birds has something to do with it. Rovio, who created Angry Birds, made 52 other games before finally creating Angry Birds. The other surprise is that the Finns traveled to Silicon Valley’s Failure Conference before going home and creating National Failure Day. So there.

Secret Sauce

Secret Sauce

Failure Is the Secret Sauce

If there was no failure, there would be no grit. There would be no workarounds. The “Aha” moments would be few and far between. Also, there would be no contrast. Without contrast, there would be no humor. And humor is something we need more of, don’t we?




Ten of the Worst Social Media Managers

Ten of the Worst Social Media Managers

Ten of the Worst Social Media Managers

Last week, you might have read my post about Finding Your Next Social Media Manager. If you search Google to find a good Social Media Manager (“SMM”), you’ll find all kinds of advice. However, bad advice is rare! Just kidding.

Here, then, are ten types of terrible social media managers. These people put in the extra work to be really, really bad. And if that’s not enough for you, here are some Bad Social Media Manager Secrets.

Does your candidate send Twitter DMs like this one?

Does your candidate send Twitter DMs like this one?

The Direct Message Twitter SMM

The most terrible SMMs send direct messages on Twitter like “Follow us on Facebook!” or “Buy my book!” for no reason. And a link. But the very best of the worst? Those ask you to connect in two places, along with cute emoji, before you’ve even read one of their tweets! Now that’s going the extra mile!

Does Your New Social Media Manager Say She's an Expert?

Does Your New Social Media Manager Say She’s an Expert?

The One Pin Per Board Pinner

This SMM is on Pinterest and has boards with one or two pins each. And they should call themselves a Social Media Expert. After all, since it’s on the Internet it must be true!

The "Social Proof" SMM Buys Followers

The “Social Proof” SMM Buys Followers

The “Social Proof” SMM Who Buys Followers

Having “social proof” is a good thing, right? And followers are so cheap! For $59, you can get thousands of them. Never mind that they’re bots from Indonesia, thousands of miles away from your local brick-and-mortar business. Your new SMM prospect should recommend that you buy followers.

Does your SMM Post from Facebook to Twitter?

Does your SMM Post from Facebook to Twitter?

The “One Size Fits All” SMM

Your new friend should never change their tone of voice, and should use the same post on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, whatever. If the post is too long for one platform, it can break right in the middle of the sentence. As long as lots of people see your posts that’s all that matters.

The UnSocial Social Manager

Your new BFF should never engage with anyone. They can ignore comments, shares, retweets and save themselves a lot of time. There are only so many hours in the day, after all! If you want to know why brands are still using broadcasting in social media, Emma Pauw can tell you why.

The Drunk Poster Sometimes Deletes Posts the Next Day

The Drunk Poster Sometimes Deletes Posts the Next Day

The Drunk Poster

Drinking and posting is the hallmark of a very successful bad SMM. And then deleting all the bad posts and arguments the next day? Even better.

Is Your SMM a Debbie Downer?

Is Your SMM a Debbie Downer?

Debbie or Danny Downer

Your SMM should be heard muttering at all hours that “nothing will ever work.” Things always go from bad to worse, people can’t be trusted, and Murphy’s Law always prevails.

The Overposter

This person posts 60 posts in the space of five minutes, then nothing for two days. What’s wrong with that, you might ask?

Is Your SMM Inflexible?

Is Your SMM Inflexible?

The Inflexible SMM

Why would your SMM ever change his or her strategy on social media? Just because Facebook reduced its reach, or Pinterest added promoted pins, or tweets got indexed by Google? Pffft. No reason!

Does your SMM Use Klod to Measure Influence?

Does your SMM Use Klod to Measure Influence?

The Klod Watcher SMM

Your new bestie should always watch their influence ranking on sites like Klod (not its real name). That’s what real SMMs do, don’t they?

Your Turn!

What did I leave out? Let me know in the comments! Thanks!


Five Things You’re Doing Wrong on Pinterest and How to Fix Them

Five Things You're Doing Wrong on Pinterest and How to Fix Them

Five Things You’re Doing Wrong on Pinterest and How to Fix Them


If you’re a business on Pinterest, then you probably would like to get more business. Am I right about that? And if you’re not getting any engagement on Pinterest, chances are you’re making one or more of these mistakes.

Not Clicking Through

What that means is keep clicking until you get to the other side of that pin. Where does it lead? Personally, I hate a dead end. And Pinterest now makes it easier than ever to see where a pin leads. You can hover over a pin and see the source. But occasionally, you’ll still wind up on a porn site or one that’s been blocked. You don’t want that happening on your own account, however.

Fix: Check every pin. Here’s a basic primer on how to pin.

Not Answering Comments?

Not Answering Comments?

Not Answering Comments

When people talk to you, answer them. If someone says hello to you in real life, you say hello back, right? Do the same thing on Pinterest! Especially if you’re just starting out. That doesn’t mean you need a 300-word reply to every single person, but a “thanks for stopping by!” or “glad you enjoyed the pin” go a long way toward having a truly social account.

Fix: Answer the people who bother to comment on your pins if at all possible. And if you’d like to know how to get comments, Tailwind has written a good article. (I like their advice to comment on others’ pins and you’ll get comments back.)

Not Filling Out Your Profile

It really doesn’t take that long to fill out your profile. Write down a few things about you or your brand, put in your website and your interests, and upload a picture. Having the red pushpin as your profile picture is a lot like having the egg pic on Twitter (you know who you are!).

Fix: Spend the ten minutes to fill out your profile before you get started.

Not Following 10,000 Accounts

Not Following 10,000 Accounts

Not Following 10,000 Accounts

Yes, everyone desperately wants followers. But pinning good content will really be better in the long run. Have a little patience. Look for good stuff that people want to see.

Fix: Pin more good content and follow just a few people at a time.

Would You Follow You?

Would You Follow You?

Would You Follow You?

I was thinking about this the other day, while fixated on a new DIY front door that I could make out of pallets and Mason jars (that’s a Pinterest joke). Would you follow you? That is, are you pinning high-quality articles, images, and videos that interest you? Are you putting in the time to craft great headlines that tell people what that article is about? If not, you might want to brush up on writing headlines.

Fix: Check out your competition. Could you do something that they do, if their Pinterest is getting more followers?


Social Media Worst Practices

Social Media Worst Practices

Social Media Worst Practices

You’ve probably gotten tons of fabulous great advice about how to do social media, but what about bad advice? Bad advice is rare right? Just joking! Sometimes bad advice is so bad that it can be good. Or at least, good for a big laugh! Here are some social media worst practices suggested by a few social media manager friends.

“Social media is a waste of time”

Haven’t heard this one since 2009, but there may be some who still believe it. My friend Heather Baker Steele (of Blue Steel Solutions) suggested this one.

“Automate Direct Messages in Twitter”

Send an auto DM to people right after they follow you thanking them–or asking them to “like” you on Facebook. Maybe back in the day people were able to pull this off successfully, but I haven’t seen anyone do a good job with an auto DM recently. This is one that I’ve heard personally.

“Just connect all your networks to Facebook, and schedule, and it will all get cross-posted. #FACEPALM

A beauty of a piece of bad advice, via Kirti Dwivedi, of Diya Marketing. What some people don’t know is that you can see when you cross-post. On Twitter, those posts show up with a shortened Facebook link. People know you’re not there, so they’re not very likely to follow you.

“Automate posts on Facebook (via 3rd party app) especially if you are strapped for time”

Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing sent that one. Did you know that it’s pretty easy to schedule from right within Facebook? No need to use a scheduler!

“Cross-Posting Can Save You a Lot of Time”

Yes, it can. You can save even more time if everyone unfollows you because your cross-posting annoys them! Because then you’ll only have a few followers, and fewer conversations.

Social Media Worst Practices: ROI on Every Tweet

Social Media Worst Practices: ROI on Every Tweet

“You Need a ROI on Every Tweet”

This one was submitted by friend Amy Donohue (@TheFabulousOne on Twitter). And yes, social media managers hear this one a lot. Some even try to micromanage Twitter by asking their social media managers to justify each tweet. See my post on how to demotivate employees for more information!

“We don’t need Twitter”

This one is pretty common, although most people then admit that they don’t understand Twitter. Another good one that Amy Donohue heard. And if you think Twitter is a waste of time…did you know that Amy donated her kidney because of a tweet? Take a look at the trailer for her movie, “Social Media Stole My Kidney.”

 “Buy followers to get your clients started.”

Another wonderful and terrible piece of advice heard by Kirti Dwivedi of Diya Marketing. If you want to know about reasons not to do this, see my previous post about buying fake followers and why it’s a bad idea.

Did you get any really good bad advice?

Was there any bad advice that made you laugh out loud? I’d love to hear it!

And thank you to all my social media manager friends for the bad advice!

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: LinkedIn

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: LinkedIn

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: LinkedIn


This is the fourth and final way to fail on the biggest social media platforms. If you missed the others, here they are:

LinkedIn has survived in Social Media Land almost longer than any other platform. It’s there quietly behind the scenes, ready for when you want to make new connections. There are roughly 300 million people on LinkedIn. If you’d like to read more statistics, you might want to read this interesting compendium of 100 Amazing LinkedIn Statistics.

No picture

Do you connect with people who have no photo? Neither do most people. Also, with a photo, people are much more likely to view your profile. As on other platforms, people think that you’re not “all in” if you don’t have a photo. If you really still think you don’t need a photo, read this article on Huffington Post, 5 Reasons You Must Have a Photo on LinkedIn.

Saying you did something you didn’t

Why would someone do this if they could get caught so easily? Were you really an astronaut AND a brain surgeon during college? Ok. I believe you.

No original content

It’s hard to imagine, but some people have stolen other people’s words. If you’re not good with words, there are many people who are good with words who can help you. Ask your friends. Or do a search for editors! You’re sure to find someone.

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: LinkedIn

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: LinkedIn

Don’t finish your profile

What about those people who stop writing right in the middle of a sente…?

Asking for testimonials from strangers

Have you ever had this happen? You just got connected with someone and they ask for a testimonial! You’ve never worked with them before, and only met them at an event a couple of times. Don’t be that guy.

Don’t have connections

You can still make connections with people even if you’re not looking for a job.

Only connect to people you know personally

You don’t have to have lunch with someone five times before you connect with them on LinkedIn. Really.

Spelling errors

See, “No original content,” above. An editor can help. Use a spell checker if you don’t have the time or money to hire an editor.

Sending spam

If you immediately ask people to buy from you, that’s spammy. Whether it’s an auto-DM on Twitter, or a private message on Facebook, most people won’t engage with you if you do that.

Never posting

People want to know what you think, so posting an article, even occasionally, helps them see what your interests are.

What LinkedIn mistakes have you seen?

Leave me a message in the comments! Thank you!

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: Facebook

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: Facebook

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: Facebook


This is the third in my series of four on the ten ways to fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms. You can go back and read the ones on Pinterest or Twitter if you’d like. By the way, here’s an excellent article about Five of the Biggest Facebook Mistakes and how to Fix Them.

1. Crosspost from Twitter using hashtags.

Use tons and boatloads of hashtags. People love them! Make up your own private jokes using hashtags. For extra points, use random words. For instance, #SuperCaliFragilisticalSpaceShip. See how random that is? And how long, too?!

2. Steal content

Pretend that the cool article you just found is yours. Steal the post and don’t say where you got it! Deny everything if accused. Don’t forget to remove the artist’s signature off that artwork, too! (This has happened to me more than once, by the way.) After all, if it’s on the Internet, it’s meant to be taken and used!

3. Post when no one’s there

Can’t sleep in the middle of the night? That’s a great time to post! Don’t take advantage of Facebook’s native scheduler. Don’t save that post for later, either.

4. Don’t post at all

Don’t have any opinions ever and don’t “like” or comment on any one else’s posts. That’s a good strategy.

5. Never use images

Plain text rocks! Especially when you’re ranting. Use a lot of run-on sentences so you can go on. And on. In fact, a whole paragraph with no line breaks is the best of all.

6. Don’t reply

When people comment, ignore them. Be mysterious. Be cryptic. But don’t answer any questions or comments.

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: Facebook

Ten Ways to Fail on the Biggest Social Media Platforms: Facebook

7. Post and run

Like a hit-and-run accident, a post and run works best when your friends and fans feel like they’ve witnessed a car crash. Post when you only have five minutes left and you’re about to go on vacation. That’s how you appear to be even more mysterious. If you do reply, wait until you’re back from vacation (in two or three weeks).

8. Don’t invite your friends to like your page

They probably wouldn’t like it anyway. Would they? And if you don’t tell them about it, they won’t ever have to know! That will save a lot of work.

9. Don’t have a business page

Post all your business stuff on your personal page. Your friends won’t mind. That’s what friends are for!

10. Make your posts private.

Don’t let anyone see what you’re talking about. You can also have posts where you address just one person.

What failures have you seen on Facebook?

I really do love failures. Here are a few more, in this article from Business to Community, 7 Common Facebook Marketing Mistakes. Without calling anyone out, let me know what really great failures, mistakes, and belly flops you’ve seen on Facebook!


Ten Ways to Fail with the Biggest Social Media Platforms: Pinterest

Ten Ways to Fail with the Biggest Social Media Platforms Pinterest

Ten Ways to Fail with the Biggest Social Media Platforms Pinterest


This is the second in a four-part series on ten ways to fail on social media platforms. If you missed the first one on Twitter, read it here.

You’ve had a presence on Pinterest for a few months or years, yet nothing seems to happen. The pins seem to languish on abandoned boards, with no one liking or repinning any of them. Your three followers don’t pay any attention to what you pin. If you set out to fail, you’re in luck! Here are more ideas about ways to fail!

Don’t pin anything

Why doesn’t anyone follow you even if you have no pins or boards? Aren’t they your friends? Don’t people owe you that much at least?

Fix: Get pinning!

Ugly pins

Some of the ugliest pins, to me, are the failed Do it Yourself projects. So if you have something that doesn’t look quite right, why not take a picture of that and pin it? Better still, make it the board cover! No adorable, beautiful, or funny pictures for you!

Fix: Make your pins beautiful, useful, funny and adorable. Here are some thoughts on making beautiful board covers, by the way.

Put everything on one board

Why do you need so many boards, anyway? Why not have one humongous board called “Stuff I like a lot for many different reasons!!!!” and put everything there? Why not, indeed?

Fix: Create a few different boards to organize your pins.

All your pins look the same

Variety is so overrated. You can easily pin the same pin over and over. And over.

Fix: Think about the person coming to your account. Then act accordingly.

Steal pins and identities

Ten Ways to Fail with Pinterest

Ten Ways to Fail with Pinterest

If you find an account you like, pin everything from that account. Don’t change the descriptions of the pins, and use the same names for the boards, too. Better still, create accounts with other people’s names and pretend you’re them. Celebs like having “fans.”

Fix: Nobody likes a thief, so don’t be one. Here’s a great article (see number six on his list, “Don’t Steal Someone Else’s Board.”

100 pins, then nothing

When you can’t sleep, get on Pinterest and pin. A lot. Nobody who follows you will be annoyed by all those pins of cute hedgehogs, right?

Fix: If you must pin, pin to a secret board. Then, when you’re more awake, move those pins a little at a time, to other boards.

No descriptions

A period (“.”) is the best description. Or you could also use a slash (“/”). Both are equally descriptive.

Fix: Tell us what we’re seeing. And don’t say something like, “Jeff would like this.” Unless we’re a close friend, we don’t know who Jeff is!

No fun

Make sure everyone knows your opinion. Repeat it many times and use a lot of exclamation marks!!!

Fix: Modulate your voice a little bit. Unless you’re a celebrity, people don’t like ranting.

Pins that link to Spam or Malware

Nobody’s going to actually click on that pin. Are they?

Fix: Click all the way through the pin to see where it goes. There are some not-very-nice people on the Internet. Here is Andrea Eldridge’s Article about 12 Mistakes You Are Probably Making On Pinterest.

Seen any good fails lately?

Have any made you laugh? Have any made you cry? Have any made you shout? Leave me your opinion, please! Thank you!

Social Media: New Ways to Fail!

Social Media: New Ways to Fail!

Social Media: New Ways to Fail!

You got on Twitter, but you don’t tweet. You won’t show your face on Facebook, your Pinterest has a bunch of boards without any pins, and forget about Google Plus! There’s absolutely too much to do, and you don’t have enough time to goof around on the Interwebz. Does that sound like you? It actually sounds like a lot of people. There are so many ways to fail, and here are some more in case you haven’t tried these.

Ignore People

When people send you a tweet or tag you on Facebook, don’t respond. Turn off all notifications (what a nuisance!) and pretend not to notice anybody.

Post Once a Month

Post about 2,000 times once a month. Then stop until the same time next month. Calendar it now!

Use Broadcast Mode

Send out your messages continuously, and use UPPER CASE. And lots of punctuation marks!!!!!!!!! People love it when they think you’re yelling!

Don’t Say Anything

Alternately, adopt radio silence. Make like a cricket.

Stalk People

Post embarrassing pictures of your friends on Facebook without asking them and then tag them so that all their friends will see how great they look when they’re drunk and punching a cop in the face. When they ask you about it, laugh. If they ask you to take them down, say “why? you look so good!”

Steal Content

Take other people’s content and pretend it’s yours. When someone politely asks you to stop sharing your content, ignore them.

Be Boring

Make every story sound exactly like the last one. And the next one. And the one after that.


Use your tweets on Facebook, your Pinterest pins on Instagram, and act hurt when nobody comments on your things.

101 Dalmations

Post only pictures of dogs, nothing else. Or if you’re not into dogs, how about cookie jars? Or old spoons? Everybody finds fire hydrants as fascinating as you do!


Ranting is a wonderful way to fail

Ranting is a wonderful way to fail

Are you a member of the aluminum foil hat brigade? Let your freak flag fly and rant endlessly about aliens, conspiracies, the government, the other political party, how ObamaCare has failed, and so on. Here are some of the benefits and down sides of ranting.

What New Ways Have You Found to Fail?

Are you as amazed as I am at all the creative ways people find to fail? Let me know about it in the comments!

Social Media: Do You Really Know Your Friends?

Social Media: How Well Do You Know Your Friends?

Social Media: How Well Do You Know Your Friends?

How well do you think you know your friends on social media? You may have tweeted, Direct Messaged (DM’ed), sent messages on Facebook, and yet…do you really know them? Recently, I had an experience with someone  I thought I knew who turned out to be very different. The person I thought I knew was a funny, kind, tech-savvy guy living in another part of the country. We had virtual friends in common, discussed meeting up at conferences, chatted about all kinds of things, and yet…

Something Happened

One evening, out of nowhere, a mutual friend contacted me and told me that this person (let’s call him Terry Rantula) had been DMing her. Terry had been ranting at her, telling her all kinds of lies about me, and she now she was warning me not to trust him. I couldn’t believe it until she forwarded me the messages–messages saying that he had “turned my business around,” and that I had not paid him “for all his hard work.” We had never worked together. Never.

Warning Signs

Looking back, did I somehow overlook the warning signs?

Avatar Instead of a Photo

Terry only has an avatar, so really he could be anyone. He could even be a she, when you think about it. If the person doesn’t ever want to share photos of themselves, then you don’t really know who you’re talking to.

No Real Name on His Profile

His name does not appear in his tweets or on his Twitter profile. On Facebook, he uses a pseudonym. Again, without any real photo. By the way, there are some photos that you should never use as your Facebook photo.

Inexplicable Ranting

How well do you know your virtual friends?

How well do you know your virtual friends?

Thinking back on it, Terry had ranted to me in the exact same way about someone else whom he said hadn’t paid him. He’d sent about 24 DMs about this person (whom I didn’t know) late one night. I had no reason to not believe him, and yet, I couldn’t understand why he’d chosen to share this information with me (it was sharing, yet it was not social). We had not been having a conversation about it–yet there were two dozen DMs all in a row. That could have been a tipoff, and yet if we were truly friends, it wouldn’t be so unusual.


Terry had complained/bragged about getting drunk. He was proud when he got beer for free. Another red flag?

Living with Parents

While living with one’s parents isn’t necessarily a negative thing, Terry kvetched that the p’s complained about noise. He couldn’t talk too loudly, and one of them had wrecked the car that was going to be his. He was about to hit a milestone birthday, and had no job, no car, and was living with his parents. That was the last time we DMed on Twitter, and all of that information came out all at once.


How Well Do You Know Your Friends?

How Well Do You Know Your Friends?

I wrestled with whether to share this. Now that some time has gone by, I think sharing this story might strike a chord with someone else. I don’t mean to be negative because: law of attraction. And the positives of being on social media far outweigh the negatives. But truthfully, sometimes things like this happen. I don’t really know if there’s a moral to this story because sometimes people can be unpredictable.

Even if you know someone in real life, strange things can happen. This is an unusual post for me because I don’t have this story all tied up in a pretty box with a bow on it. I just wanted to share and maybe see what other people thought.

Anything Like This Happen to You?

Can you mourn the loss of a friend you’ve never met? How did you handle it? Leave me a comment below! And you don’t have to name names!

Note: No real tarantulas were harmed in the telling of this story.





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