Ten Ways to Be Social

Ten Ways to Be Social

Ten Ways to Be Social

If you’ve been on social media for awhile, you’ve heard me saying over and over to engage. So today instead of telling you to engage, I’m going to tell you how to engage. Don’t worry. It’s not that difficult! But it is one of the top questions I get about social media.

Say Hello

One thing is sure. When you say hello to people, they say hello back! Even a casual, “Hi! How’s it going?” will probably do more to get you engagement than tweeting ten articles with links. People like to be noticed and we all love to talk about ourselves.

If you say hello, people say hello back!

If you say hello, people say hello back!

Talk About Them

Don’t just talk about yourself. Talk about them. Ask how they are. Be curious. How did they get their name? Where is their company located? What do they do? How did they get the idea for the article they just published?

Thank People

When people retweet you, share your posts, or comment on a blog, say thank you. Don’t simply retweet their retweet of your tweet (did you follow that? Yay.). Go one step farther and retweet something THEY would like retweeted. Probably something they wrote that links back to their website. Here’s a terrific post on the two words that help brand loyalty (guess what they are?!) from Bridget Willard.

Retweet from a Friend's Website

Retweet from a Friend’s Website — I’d add an image here

If your friend sent a tweet without an image, go to the link and add the image. They will get more retweets and you’ll look good, too.

Finished Tweet, Uploaded and Scheduled

Finished Tweet, Uploaded and Scheduled

To turbocharge the tweet for your friend, add an image, shorten the link, include their Twitter handle, and schedule it at an optimal time so it’ll get the most views. The screenshot above is from my HootSuite scheduler.

Comment on Your Friend’s Blog

For extra brownie points, comment on their blog. It only takes an extra minute, and they will love it! Seriously. Even if you just say “good article!” Better still, ask a question about the article and keep the conversation going.

Cross-Post to Another Platform, such as Pinterest

Cross-Post to Another Platform, such as Pinterest

Cross-Post to Another Platform

See a good post on Facebook? Put it on Twitter. Or put it on a popular Pinterest board. Or post it to LinkedIn. And then you could tag your friend and thank them for the interesting article. The tag is important if you want your friend to see it.

Being Friendly Isn't All That Difficult

Being Friendly Isn’t All That Difficult

Join Their TweetChat

Many people have chats these days. Join in their chat and publicize it, too. That makes both of you look good. My tweetchat, #DigiBlogChat, is Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Pacific Time, by the way. And here is how to participate in a TweetChat should you ever want to join one.

Meet in Person

This is the ultimate way of being social. Once you meet someone in person, everything changes. That person becomes three dimensional. So if you’ve been talking to someone since the Internet was invented (by Al Gore), ask to meet that person if you’re going to be in their area.

What Did I Miss?

What are some other ways you like to be social?


Five Hidden Benefits of Listening

Five Hidden Benefits of Listening

Five Hidden Benefits of Listening

Coming up with content 24×7 gets old really fast. But what if there were some other way than blasting out your own content all day long? Something easier, some way you could get your stream filled with content without being in complete broadcast mode all the time. What if you could stop being like a one-way valve and have a two-way valve instead as part of your social media strategy? Crazy, right?

Intensify Conversations

What if you went to a party and talked about yourself the entire time? That would be pretty boring! And yet, some people still talk non-stop at parties. But if you listened twice as much as you talked, you might learn some things about your new and old friends. The same concept applies online. As  David Tovey says, hearing is not listening.

Take the Strain Off Yourself

Although listening might sound more difficult than talking, all it requires is that you be fully present. That is, ready to listen and free of distracting thoughts. That may seem a little “zen” to you–like a meditation. And listening can also involve watching the other person’s posture, mannerisms, and all the different tones in their voice. So instead of hearing your own inner thoughts, for a few minutes you can focus completely on someone else. Think of it as a mini-vacation, a way to balance your online life.

Listen Without Expectation

When I searched online for “listening,” there was an image of a shower head on the site–someone out there has been listening to my online searches. They wanted to sell me something. However, that’s different than not having any expectation than to hear. And it’s tricky to not be waiting with something to say, but to listen with no advice, no retort, and no pushing your own agenda!

Be Unique

Everyone (on social media or not), is spewing information. We are up to our ears in information. And if you believe, as Julian Treasure outlines in his excellent TED Talk 5 Ways to Listen Better, that we are “losing our listening,” then it’s extremely important to work on this vanishing skill. Rather than reducing your friends’ thoughts and words to sound bites, listening fully lets them express the subtlety of their experiences–and lets you shine by being unique.

Start participating by listening

Start participating by listening

Save Time

What if you knew what your clients were thinking about? Or what your friends were focused on? You can! Just ask them. It’s that simple. Be creative in how you reach out. Try asking in a simple, yet direct way. “What’s the haps? Or “what’s new, Daddy-O?” are sure to elicit a smile. Rather than worrying about what they might be thinking, ask and then listen.

Be a Great Conversationalist

Here is my call to action for this post. For one day, try listening. Repost, retweet, and talk to people online. Could you do that? I’d be willing to bet that most people will say that you’re a great conversationalist! Like Ted Rubin says “Jump in & do it.”

Let me know how that goes. Although some of you are probably already there, listening.




Twitter: Best Practices

Twitter Best Practices

Twitter Best Practices

You’ve heard so much about Twitter and how to tweet, schedule, run tweetchats, etc. You may be running your own account, or managing one for someone else. What best practices still apply? Here are some things I’ve learned over about six years.

Talk to People

I’m tired of saying to engage, so will say it another way: talk to people. Chat with them, thank them, tell them stuff, retweet their pictures, read their articles and blogs, laugh at their jokes. You know–much like you would in real life! As Derek Silvers says in his video there’s A Real Person A Lot Like You on the other side of that computer. Hat tip to bestie Bridget Willard (@YouTooCanBeGuru) for that video.

Subscribe to Toyota Equipment's Lists on Twitter

Subscribe to Toyota Equipment’s Lists on Twitter

Use Lists

Lists are the great underutilized tool of Twitter. Here’s my post about lists for the power user if you’d like to read it. And if you want to see an example of someone who really uses lists, check out Toyota Equipment’s (@ToyotaEquipment) lists. While you’re there, follow them and subscribe to a few lists. You won’t be sorry.

Discover the Discovery Tab

If you click on the Discovery tab, while you’re on Twitter, you’ll see a mix of popular tweets and tweets from those you know and like. It’s an easy way to find content to retweet, see what’s trending among friends, and catch up quickly.

The Hashtag Can Sarcastically Undercut Your Own Tweet

The Hashtag Can Sarcastically Undercut Your Own Tweet

Employ Hashtags

A hashtag helps you organize your tweets, find others’ tweets, have a decent tweetchat, and mock your own tweet. It has even evolved into something else, as this fab article from the New York Times, In Praise of the Hashtag, points out.

Retweet with an Image

If you want to be a super resource, tweet someone else’s link, but add an image! This super charges their tweet, and makes both of you look good. Here’s the how-to directly from Twitter. It takes maybe 15 more seconds to do.

Report Spammers

Twitter is a community. Reporting spammers helps everyone. Most spammers don’t last too long on Twitter because they tend to get shut down fairly quickly. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, as Hunter Walk says, if Twitter closed the loop and told us how our efforts stop spammers? Yes, it would be.

Follow People

Don’t be a snob. You don’t know who people know. For instance, there’s a contractor who doesn’t follow me back because I’m not in his neighborhood. Little does he know I live about 10 miles away from him! And I run accounts that would retweet his content and probably also use his services. I tend to follow anyone who looks legit if their content is at all interesting. I don’t follow bots, spammers, porn accounts, or repetitious accounts.

Join Tweetchats!

Want to know who’s real and who talks? Join tweetchats in your area of expertise and interest. For fun, you could even engage in some way outside your usual area. If you’d like to join mine, it’s #DigiBlogChat (Tuesdays at 1 pm PST). Here’s my post about how to participate in tweetchats.

Twitter isn't all glitter and unicorns

Twitter isn’t all glitter and unicorns

Believe in the Power

Twitter isn’t all unicorns and fairy dust and glitter. But you can meet real people. You can discover your own deeper interests, keep up on the news, enter contests (if that’s your thing), or even donate a kidney, as my buddy Amy Donohue (@TheFabSocial) did. (Her tweetchat on live organ donation is #KidneyChat Mondays at 7 pm pst, by the way).

What’s Your Favorite Best Practice?

Did I forget one? Probably. What’s yours?


Social Media New Year’s Resolution: Do Less!

Social Media New Year's Resolution: Do Less!

Social Media New Year’s Resolution: Do Less!

Everyone is going to tell you to be thinner, to do more, and to mold yourself into a better person for the new year. People will offer up lists of ways that you can organize and prioritize your resolutions. However, from my point of view, this is wrong thinking. This year, for my New Year’s resolution, I am resolving to do less.

Instead of resolutions like eat fewer carbs or stop smoking, here are mine, broken down.

If you need justification for not doing New Year’s Resolutions at all, here are a few:

Change Pinterest Board Covers Seasonally

Change Pinterest Board Covers Seasonally (December’s Are Red)

One. Change Pinterest Board Covers Quarterly

Previously, I was changing my Pinterest board covers every month. Here’s why it’s a good idea to change Pinterest board covers. And the last day of every month, I’d be up half the night looking for perfect board covers. This year, I’m resolving to change them once a quarter. So, for instance, I’ll be doing all white board covers starting in January. To make this even easier, I created a secret board called “White.” It’s already got enough white pins so that I won’t be up all night! For Spring, I’ll create another secret board (maybe green), and so on. Four per year. Not twelve.

Use Secret Pinterest Boards to Plan Your Board Covers

Use Secret Pinterest Boards to Plan Your Board Covers

Two. Fewer Scheduled Tweets and More Tweets Without Links

On Twitter, I’ll be posting fewer scheduled tweets, and adding some that are tips without links. As my friend, Bridget Willard says, having a link in every tweet requires a lot from your followers. And I agree. The additional benefit is there is no link to check and recheck if I reuse that same tweet later. Another benefit of linkless tweets is that they tend to foster conversation.

You can search in your stream for tweets without links by adding -http to your search term. For instance, search: “startups -http” to find people talking about startups.

By the way, Bridget has a terrific series of Guru Minutes on YouTube, and you can follow her here:

Bridget Willard’s Guru Minute on YouTube

Three. Get Offline on Sundays

Another social media resolution is to get completely offline on Sundays. Previously, I’d be checking in and pinning, tweeting, or posting on Sundays. This resolution does require getting everything scheduled on Friday, rather than Sunday.

One New Year's Resolution? More sleep!

One New Year’s Resolution? More sleep!

Four. Sleep More

What to do with all this extra time, you may ask? Sleep! Being a social media manager requires a lot of attention to detail. Posting and engaging with people can be exhausting if you’re working on a lot of accounts. Your job is probably the same way. My bestie Amy Donohue (follow her on Twitter at @TheFabSocial) goes to sleep early, and has influenced me to do the same.

Here are some articles about sleep that you may enjoy:

So here’s the part where I ask you about what you think, and whether you have any social media resolutions. I’d love to hear from you. That is, unless it cuts into your nap time!

Twitter: Top Ten Terms (and Power Tips)


Twitter: Top Ten Terms

Twitter: Top Ten Terms

I’m teaching a class this week on Twitter to an audience with some people who are unfamiliar with Twitter. Every social media manager also has favorite power tips to go along with these terms. Here are my top ten “must-know” definitions, along with some “power tips.”


Every update you post to your followers on Twitter is called a tweet. Every tweet has a 140-character limit (including your handle). Remember: Your tweets are public and searchable by anyone on Twitter, even if they don’t follow you, so be careful about what you say. Deciding what you don’t want to tweet about is as important as deciding what you will tweet about.


Engagement means responding to and conversing with your followers and others on Twitter. Most successful accounts engage on Twitter daily.

Power Tip: Monitor who follows you, who @mentions you, and engage with those people daily. These are the things I do when I first log into Twitter.


Twitter is for sharing things that your followers might find useful, interesting, or entertaining. The “retweet” is a manifestation of this. When you see a tweet that you think your followers would be interested in, hit reply, copy and paste the tweet, then send.

Power Tip: If you just hit the “retweet” button, often people will not “see” the tweet, especially if they’re using a third-party Twitter application.  If there’s space, you can add a comment, such as “Great Idea!” Here is how to send a perfect retweet.  


This means “modified tweet,” which is a retweet that you edited to save space.

Power Tip: To really boost a tweet’s power, add an image.


When you want to “tag” someone in a tweet, use an @ before their Twitter username (for instance, @Carol_Stephen). Add this mention and they’ll get a notification in their “Mentions.” This serves a dual purpose: they’ll know you are reading their tweets, and you’re giving them credit for finding great content.

Power Tip:

This is a newbie mistake. If you tweet @username without a period in front, only your mutual followers (in other words, people who follow both you and @username) and the person you’re tweeting to will see it in their streams. Add a period or other character before @username so that all of your followers will see your tweet in their streams. 


A “DM,” or “direct message,” is a private message between two Twitter users. It’s different than a public @mention because in order to send a DM, the recipient must follow you. Select companies can send DMs without following.

Power Tip: Do not automate direct messages. Asking someone to “like you on Facebook” after they just followed you on Twitter is antisocial and may cause you to be unfollowed. Many people consider DMs to be spam.

Hashtag (#)

This innocent-looking symbol is a hashtag. Use it in front of other words in a tweet to provide context or to organize a search for specific topics on Twitter. Be careful not to overuse hashtags. More than one or two will turn off your followers. Here are more details about hashtags.

Power Tip: Use hashtags in your own profile to attract followers in a particular niche. For instance, I have #Startups in mine.


Your home page has a feed of tweets from the people you follow (click on “home” to see them), while your profile page has a feed of your own tweets (click on “tweets” to see your own tweets). 

URL Shortener

Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, services have popped up that shorten website addresses so you don’t use up too many characters in your tweet. These services are called “URL shorteners” because “URL” (Universal Resource Locator) is the technical term for a web address. URL shorteners create short addresses that work just like a longer URL.

Power Tip: Third-party apps, such as Hootsuite, have URL shorteners built into them.


Check What Your New Follower is Tweeting Before Following Back

Check What Your New Follower is Tweeting Before Following Back

A “follower” is someone who follows you on Twitter and sees your updates on their home feed. Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean you have to follow them back!

Power Tip: Check someone’s top ten tweets to see if they are interesting. You can also add people to a list even if you’re not following them.

Bonus Terms

FF or #FF

#FollowFriday was started by Twitter users as a way to recommend other Twitter users. It happens on Fridays; you can search Twitter for the hashtag on Fridays. Many followers also use #FollowThursday (or any other day) to recommend people.

Power Tip: Recommend one favorite account per tweet, and tell us why to follow that person. For instance, are they funny? Are they super-engaged? Do they have beautiful images? Give us a reason to follow. Otherwise, #FFs can become spammy.

Trends or Trending Topics

Any person, place, thing, or idea that a lot of people are tweeting about all at once is a trend. Find trends on the left side of your Twitter homepage.

Power Tip: Tailor trends by choosing your city or country. If your tweet relates to something that’s trending, use a trending hashtag to identify it and boost your tweet. For instance, if you’re at a San Francisco Giants game, you could tweet a photo and the #SFGiants hashtag–the Giants’ official hashtag. In San Francisco, The SF Giants trend often.


The Perfect Retweet: Seven Ways

The Perfect Retweet: Seven Ways

The Perfect Retweet: Seven Ways

A blog post about how to retweet might seem like Twitter 101 (and here’s my blogpost on Twitter 101 for Baby Boomers). But before you pull out that “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt” line, give me a minute to explain. Because lately I’ve seen a lot of bad retweets.

Don’t Hit That Retweet Button!

My good friend, Bridget Willard, of You Too Can Be A Guru says it best:

There are lots of reasons not to use the retweet button. For one, people often don’t see your retweet. For another, when you use the classic retweet, you use your own branding, instead of having a bunch of other people’s logos all over your Twitter account. For a third, you can add a comment more easily. The fourth reason is that using the retweet button can be a conversation killer. Do you need more reasons? I did a Google search and my bud Bridget Willard’s post on why she doesn’t use the retweet button was right there on page one. Seriously.

Use the Classic Retweet

To use the “Classic” retweet, hit reply, then cut and paste the tweet. Check that the tweet will fit. Put a “.” or RT or MT (for “Modified Tweet) in front of the tweet. Note: If you start a tweet with an @ sign, it’s a reply and only you plus the person in the @ sign will see it. More details about using the @ sign, plus other newbie hints here.

Check the Link

If you’re retweeting with a link, check the link. Even if you don’t read the entire article at the link, at least scan it. Make sure the link is still alive, and that the article isn’t spammy. Yes, sometimes you may tweet out a dead link (and please tell your friends if they do!).

Ask Yourself if Your Followers Will Like the Tweet

Try to retweet articles of interest to your followers. Who are your followers? What would interest them? For instance, if you tweet for a bank, your tweets could be about rising interest rates, banking history, events in your bank’s home town, etc. If your followers love the outdoors, tweet about hiking and mountaineering. And so on.

Don’t Retweet a Bunch of @ Names

Here comes the analogy. Ready? I’m sitting at one end of a long bench. John is sitting at the other end. I say hello to John and we start talking. But our conversation has nothing to do with anyone else on the bench. That’s how it is when you retweet those long chains of names. It adds to the noise. It’s also like a “reply all” in email. Remove all the @ signs if you’re talking to just one person. Everyone else will thank you for the peace and quiet.

Add an Image

For extra credit, add an image

For extra credit, add an image

If you really want extra credit, add an image. Since about Halloween of 2013 and its IPO, Twitter has allowed the addition of multimedia, as outlined by the New York Times. You may need a little time to find something appropriate (Creative Commons is good for this purpose), or you can use one of your own pictures to steer clear of copyright infringement. One of my friends, @TheSoulfulEmu on Twitter, sometimes adds an image to my tweets. How cool is that?

Ask for a Retweet

If the tweet is very important to you, add the words “Please retweet” at the end. Just make sure that you’re also retweeting other people’s tweets, too, not just asking for favors all the time. Yes, there’s that whole thing about being social again. Strange, I know.

What Else Do You Love in a Retweet?

Please leave me a comment! I appreciate it.

Twitter: Four Reasons You Don’t Get Retweeted

Hubcaps 3

You just got on Twitter and you spend a lot of time retweeting other people’s stuff. In fact, it seems like all you do is retweet other people’s stuff. But they don’t retweet your stuff! Is there something wrong with what you’re doing? Here are a few factors to consider about why that person on the other end–who you just retweeted (one hundred times!)–might not retweet you.


Their Audience is Not Your Audience

You sell hub caps and you’re in Australia. They sell umbrellas and they’re in Canada. Their audience is expecting tweets about umbrellas, rain, raincoats, bad weather, and galoshes. They are not expecting tweets about hub caps, or anything car-related. So is it any wonder that that person is not willing to retweet your tweets? They don’t want to alienate their audience by sending tweets about hub caps.

That Other Guy Has 100 Times Your Followers

You have 80 followers, and that guy you expect to retweet your stuff has 8000 followers. He has spent a considerable amount of time building a following (if his followers are legitimate). There are some telltale signs that those followers might be fake, but let’s assume that they’re real followers for now. So if you have 80 followers, why would someone with 8000 followers want to retweet one of your tweets each time you retweet one of theirs? They probably don’t!

You’re Telling the Other Guy to Retweet You

When you have to tell someone to retweet you, it sounds desperate. Not only that, but it’s bossy. And no one likes to be told what to do! Why not let people find your wonderful content about your fabulous hub caps, rather than shout at them to retweet you? We’ve all heard the adage “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.” And being social on social media does take some patience.

Your Tweets Are Too Long

A tweet is only 140 characters long. Once a person copies and pastes your tweet and adds their own name and maybe a brief comment (one-two words), there’s not a lot of space left! So keep your tweets short, with only one link and maybe a hashtag, and your chances of being retweeted will go up dramatically! For more  ideas about being retweeted, see the excellent article “Ten Ways to Be Retweetable.”

Does Retweeting Frustrate You?

Have you been retweeting others in the hopes of being retweeted? Have you found any tips that work? Please leave a comment below! Thanks!


Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed