Why Social Media Darwinism is the Most Wonderful Way to Success

Why Social Media Darwinism is the Most Wonderful Way to Success

Why Social Media Darwinism is the Most Wonderful Way to Success

Like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks, social media Darwinism can be your fastest, craziest, and funnest way to success. If you’d like a quick overview of Darwinism, you might want to check out Natural Selection and Biological Evolution for Dummies. It won’t be as fun as this blog post, but still.

Mistakes, Failures, and Startups

Mistakes, Failures, and Startups

Mistakes, Failures, and Startups

What propels you forward faster than making a bunch of mistakes, and the ensuing embarrassment? Nothing, that’s what! You may have read about how mistakes and failure are important to your brand and your startup, right? If not, here you go: What If Failure Didn’t Exist? Anyway, how can you create something new, and something wonderful if there’s no failure involved?

Mark Zuckerberg's Mistakes

Mark Zuckerberg’s Mistakes

Mark Zuckerberg’s Mistakes

Even Mark Zuckerberg admits he’s made every mistake you can make. Well, maybe not all the mistakes! I’ve made some of them, so he doesn’t get to claim all of them. His telling employees to “be fast and be bold” could be why Facebook is still thriving now.

Twitter's Survival

Twitter’s Survival

Twitter’s Survival

Remember when Twitter proposed losing the 140-character limit? And we all said “C’mon! Don’t do that!”? If you don’t remember, here you go: Will Twitter Dump Its 140-Character Limit? They learned pretty fast through that mistake! Talk about survival of the fittest!




While social networks may not lend themselves to Darwinism per se, cooperation can help those in the physical world. Cooperative relationships can help organisms with their reach (for example, Mychorrizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with host plants, greatly extending the “reach” of a plant’s roots). Our own tendency towards cooperation can help us with our own reach. And I think that’s pretty neat.

Brian Solis on Digital Darwinism

Brian Solis on Digital Darwinism

Brian Solis on Digital Darwinism

One of my favorite writers, Brian Solis, has this to say about social darwinism (article from Wired):

“This is a time of digital Darwinism — an era where technology and society are evolving faster than businesses can naturally adapt.”

And Solis adds this:

“But make no mistake. Digital transformation efforts grow market opportunities and profits as well as scaling efficiently in the process.” Plus the hashtag #AdaptOrDie.

By the way, here’s a review of Brian Solis, What’s the Future of Business: Generation C that you might like.

The Speed of Change

The Speed of Change

The Speed of Change

As technology races ahead, businesses must learn to adapt. They don’t need to blindly adopt new tech, but need to stay open to new changes coming down the pipeline. Think of Kodak (R.I.P.) or Blockbuster. We thought they were permanent institutions at one time. But now? Not so much.

fireworks photo

Are You Practicing Social Media Darwinism?

How so? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!



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?




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!

Pinterest: Five Newbie Mistakes You’re Making

Pinterest: Five Newbie Mistakes You're Making

Pinterest: Five Newbie Mistakes You’re Making

Since Pinterest showed up on the social media scene, people have been flocking to it like ducks to water, or maybe like addicts to a new video game. People who weren’t that visual became more visual, and those who didn’t know they were visual, are suddenly spending hours on this visual site. So what are a few things to avoid and what should you be doing to have fun for yourself or your brand on Pinterest? Here are some simple fixes to common errors.

Keeping Default Boards

Fix: decide on the boards you really want. Say you are a small business selling hand knitted leg warmers and other trendy items for chihuahuas. You might want to create boards such as Tiny Dogs, SPCA, Local Doggy Events, and of course a board for your own homemade doggy outfits. You might also want to create boards for different types of outfits, such as hats, vests, paw warmers, etc. Keep in mind that you can change the names of boards later if you like. To change the board name, click on the board, go to “Edit Board” –>Title (don’t forget to save your changes!).

Ugly Board Covers

Fix: Make Each Board Beautiful! To entice people to see the contents of a board, pin the most visually beautiful cover you can. To change a board cover, simply hover with your mouse over the board. Click on “Edit Board Cover” to choose a photo. You can position the photo if you like, at this point. Then click “Set Cover.”

Following Nobody

Choose the Best Covers for Your Boards

Choose the Best Covers for Your Boards

Fix: Follow people you already know or whose pins you enjoy. Although unfollowing people who don’t follow you isn’t easy, you can unfollow people later. Note: like other forms of social media, there is spam out there! So beware of people who have 40 boards with just one photo on each board, or who don’t appear to be real people, or who only sell things like wrist watches.

Not Commenting

Like other forms of social media, Pinterest is social. So “like,” repin, and especially comment on others’ pins! People will appreciate you, and they will be more likely to reciprocate!

Not Having Your Business Name in Your Profile

Fix: Along with your business name and logo, you might want to include a few things about you. A photo of you or a logo also legitimizes your account. People want to know a little about you! To make changes, click “Edit Profile.” You can use the First Name line for your business name. Don’t forget to click “Save Profile” when you’re done. Note: Pinterest has recently partnered with brands to add information to pins, which is very useful for brands.

Not Pinning on Sundays

Fix: Take Saturday off and pin on Sundays! Sundays are the busiest days on Pinterest. So even just pinning a few pins will really help you with traffic and getting more eyes on your content.

What Have You Learned About Pinterest?

Have you changed your strategy along the way with Pinterest? What has helped you the most? Please leave a comment below! Thank you!

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