Twitter Spotlight: Follow People with Different Interests

Twitter Spotlight: Follow People with Different Interests

Twitter Spotlight: Follow People with Different Interests

Here’s a question that people always ask me: why should I follow so-and-so? His business is completely different than mine! Why would he be interested in what I do?

We Each Know 600 People

Although the number is always changing, the average number of people each of us knows is around 600, according to this New York Times article, The Average American Knows How Many People? And each of those people knows 600 people, too. So the odds of someone seeing your tweets grows exponentially when more people follow you.

We Are Social Creatures

Back in the day, people might find articles and cut them out to send to each other. Now, people share links, tweets, and videos. So if your tweet, link, or video is easy to access, guess what? It could get shared by the right person. If your Aunt Betty sees your tweet about something her nephew is interested in, there’s a good chance she could share it. By the way, although you’re social, you might still enjoy the analytics behind Twitter.

3.435 Degrees of Separation

We all know about the Six Degrees of Separation and the Six Degrees game that came after it. But on Twitter, that six degrees number is smaller. It’s either 4 or 3.4, depending upon who you talk to. There are lots of studies quoted on the Six Degrees of Separation Wikipedia entry. In other words, it’s easier to connect with people on Twitter than elsewhere.


oil water photo

Who Should You Connect with?

When you first get on Twitter, you might only want to connect with a few people. But once you get comfortable, why not connect with more people? For instance, I retweet things about packaging and manufacturing because a couple of people with those accounts have become friends. By the way, you might have missed my article: Twitter Lists for the Power User.

Need to Get Started?

Need to Get Started?

Need to Get Started?

Here’s a good five-minute video by my buddy You Too Can Be A Guru: Twitter in Five Minutes! Yes, it’s from 2011. It’s a classic. And while you’re on Twitter, follow her, too! (@YouTooCanBeGuru)

Who Have You Met Accidentally?

Who Have You Met Accidentally?

Who Have You Met Accidentally?

Serendipity often plays a role in meeting people. Who have you met by happy accident? Leave me a comment. And thank you.




The Gamification of Social Media

The Gamification of Social Media

The Gamification of Social Media

The Gamification of Social Media

Robert Nissenbaum (follow him on Twitter at @RNissenbaumof Tactical Social Media recently wrote a post about fun being the ROI of social media, which made me think. We’re all intrigued by fun, but can it lead to more business? If you read the statistics on how many hours people spend playing games, with every subsequent generation spending more time and money, then you’d say it makes a lot of sense. For instance, Millennials spend 1.47 hours a day playing games, according to the Wall Street Journal. 1.47 hours!

Anything Can Be Gamified

Gamification is the practice of adding gamelike elements to reward behavior in a non-game setting. Think: getting points every time you brush your teeth.Or an award for doing the laundry. Or washing the car. I’d like a prize for doing the dishes! Also: can someone please make music come out of the soap dispenser? Please and thank you.


Foursquare is one of the first social media platforms that made social more fun. With its location-based checkins, badges, mayorships, and points, Foursquare gave users a way to measure excitement during outings. Foursquare’s explosive success has led to its morphing into a company that rewards its users in different ways now, without the intense competition that led to its early success. Still, the idea of play and social became intertwined with Foursquare.

Are Fun and Serious Work At War?

Are Fun and Serious Work At War?

Are Fun and Serious Work At War?

Fun and serious work can coexist peacefully. Playing games at work or playing games for work is possible when the purpose is to get work done. Many people experience a “flow experience” from playing music. And a game player achieves that same “flow” while playing a game. So why not play games at work? In fact, as Mario Herger explains “with new times there are new tools. And “Sales gamification platforms are one new set of tools that you can use.”

Could Gamification Work with Social Media?

Among your co-workers, how about running contests for the post with the biggest reach, or the most comments? You might consider giving away movie tickets, a night out, or a board game as a gift for the tweet or post that creates the most “likes” on a company account. Of course, the playing field would need to be level for each instance. You could also give away a prize for the best tweet during a tweetchat. Here’s a post about Twitter Chats: 101 tips for success.

Gamification Makes Us Smarter

Gabe Zichermann, in his excellent TED talk on gamification, explains how kids, given a game-based curriculum, improved in math and science from a third-grade level to a mid-fourth grade level. And the kids, when interviewed, say that “learning is fun.” He underlines that for Gen G (Millennials and those growing up on games), their primary form of entertainment is games or a game-like environment. And he recommends that we all get in the game so that we can understand kids. You might also like this article about how the San Francisco Giants can improve your game.

Gotta Go

So excuse me but I’ve got to get back to World of Warcraft! If it would be fun for you, leave me a comment. Thank you!



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?


Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

As I started this blog post, a huge storm was raging outside my home. Wind and rain pummeled the windows, and the river overflowed its banks, and in some cases, flooded. Over the past few days, the culvert under the road leading to my home failed suddenly from the excess water. Overnight, what had been a safe road became hazardous.

People Are Social

I was thinking about how dependent we are upon other people, and how often people will surprise you. And also about how people can become social if they’re forced to be. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by everyone’s willingness to help out, their friendliness, and how quickly things came together in the face of this big storm.


One neighbor helped pull the big stumps and debris out of the culvert using the winch on his truck. Every single contractor I called for help phoned back within 36 hours, and they all showed up quickly to investigate the scene. Within 24 hours, I had chosen a contractor to fix the culvert, and within two days there were 3-1/2 truckloads of Gabian rock dumped in place to prevent further erosion. And by the way, I found all the contractors by asking for referrals through a neighborhood Facebook group.

Storm Social: Before a Big Storm

Storm Social: Before a Big Storm

On the up side of the culvert, water rushed down and into the drainage. Corrugated metal was inserted into the rotting metal pipe and foam put in place to prevent the corrugated metal from sliding. A huge piece of corroded pipe was cut and then removed with a backhoe. The temporary fix was put into place.

Rubber was put into place to create a slide for the water. One piece of the corrugated metal was fanned out to create a waterfall effect at the down side of the water.

Social Media

While all this was happening, neighbors from far and wide came together to watch the progress, offer advice, give sympathy, and offer help in all forms. It was an amazing thing to see! So now I’ve met people up and down the street, as well as in the larger community, through social media.

Facebook groups were revived like mushrooms after a rainfall, so that neighbors could share posts, pictures, and resources about the storm. Many groups added huge numbers of fans quite quickly, as people wondered what the weather was like and which roads were passable. My new favorite on Facebook is the wonderfully informative U.S. National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area/Monterey. They gave updates as well as answered questions live on Facebook and their Twitter account. Other, more local groups, gave very specific updates on the roads in the mountains.

I added to my Twitter list of news organizations to be able to track the news more easily–something I recommend everyone do. And if you don’t know about lists, you can learn more about them here.

We only had two days to get the culvert fixed and our “band-aid solution” in place, and then we prayed that the rain wouldn’t be too much for the culvert. During the height of the storm, I went by, and the culvert was intact! There was some dirt below, but most of it held. A not at all minor miracle!



Live Tweeting: Social Data Week

Social Data Week San Francisco

Social Data Week San Francisco

If the purpose of social media is to be social, then going to a social media conference, like Social Data Week, which I just attended, is a chance to really connect with those you’ve only talked to or seen online. Here are some things that have helped me to prepare for a live conference. If you’re unfamiliar with live tweeting, read You Too Can Be Guru’s excellent piece: Live Tweeting Events.


You probably already have a list of the conference speakers. Why not reach out to those you’d really like to hear before the conference? Connect on Twitter, retweet, ask a question, and tell them you’re looking forward to meeting. For Social Data Week, I reached out to several social media superstars. I was excited to reach out to Susan Etlinger, Nova Spivack, John Bell, Nick Halstead, and Rob Bailey.

Educate Yourself

Conference cheat sheet

Conference cheat sheet

Dig a little and find out what the speakers at the conference do. I like to prepare a little “cheat sheet,” with conference speaker titles and Twitter handles. When you’re sitting in the dark, trying to tweet, you don’t want to have to dig around for names, so this really comes in handy. It took me about 20 minutes to compile all the names. Knowing a little bit more about these people and having more of a personal connection, made their talks even more compelling.


The conference itself may have a hashtag, so make sure you have that ready, too, so that you can live tweet. For instance, Social Data Week’s hashtag was #sdwk13.

Say Hello

When you say hello to people, they usually say hello back: it’s amazing! So during the conference, introduce yourself. As an introvert, I don’t run up to every single person, but I do make a point of meeting a few people, and especially those I’ve connected with on social media beforehand.

During the Conference

If you’re following the hashtag, you can also reach out to those you meet online at the conference. You can retweet them, comment on their tweets, or even connect with them after the conference by looking back through the hashtagged tweets. You can ask them how they liked the conference, and of course, follow them on Twitter.

Take Pictures

John Bell explains: "The U.S. is highest in passionate advocacy"

John Bell explains: “The U.S. is highest in passionate advocacy”

Take more pictures than you think you’ll need. You can tweet those photos out during the event or use them later. Make sure you get a photo of a sign or two, and of course the people you’ve met.

What Do You Do to Prepare for a Conference?

Do you like to live tweet? Do you do anything to prepare for a conference? Tell me in the comments below!

Startups: Social Media Chaos

Startups: Social Media Chaos

Startups: Social Media Chaos

When you first heard the word “startup,” you thought there’d be maybe a year or two of work, but not about the crazy, crazy chaos that would be involved. Every day the entire wheel has to be reinvented, and nobody is really sure what they should be doing. The social media is a huge, chaotic mess. Then again, there’s strategy. The “strategy” word brings up thoughts of high school chess club, the Civil War, and business plans. But it’s not nearly that bad, I promise.

Brain Dump

Start out by writing down all the things you can think of doing. Consider organizing those items into categories. These can be very large items. They might be by platform. For instance, “Come up with 12 board names for Pinterest.” Or “Create Facebook posts and images to go with them.”  Can you feel your blood pressure going down as you do this?

Choose a Starting Point

If you’re the social media manager, then you’ll have to do it all, so consider picking a starting point. What is the most important platform for your audience? Start there. If you’re not very social media savvy, LinkedIn is the one that many people feel most comfortable using. Many people also feel comfortable on Facebook, since they use it to connect with friends. Once you have worked that first platform into your schedule, move onto the next one.

Set Aside Time in Your Schedule

For instance, I like to start my day on Twitter. I like to be online tweeting and engaging by 8 am. You might prefer later in the day. And you don’t have to read a bunch of studies ~ to be successful, come up with your own schedule! Your chances of success will be much higher if you balance your own rhythms with your work.


Feel Like You're Drowning?

Feel Like You’re Drowning?

You may have the feeling that you are drowning in too many unmanageable expectations. People may be giving you contradictory instructions, or your team may not give you any hint at what they really want. In that case, you will need to come up with your own expectations and what is reasonable for you.

Have You Emerged from Chaos?

If you’re trying to start a new brand’s social media, I’d love to hear how you handled the pressure!




Startups & Social Media: 6 Issues

Startups & Social Media: 6 Issues

Startups & Social Media: 6 Issues

Your startup’s new product is almost finished and you look up and–uh-oh!–did anyone think about creating a social media strategy to spread the word about your terrific new app? Wait. Wasn’t the intern going to do that? Didn’t we write a note about it on that napkin that got thrown away with the pizza? Oh, just a sec. It was on the pizza box! Sound a little too familiar?

No Planning

Social Media Strategy Written on a Pizza Box?

Social Media Strategy Written on a Pizza Box?

Issue: You’re making a product, or creating an app, or a new platform, but don’t have anyone on the team to do the social media. If the technical team handles the social media, this means that there will be additional strain put on them to explain all the twists and turns of the product while they are learning the ins and outs of social media and while also doing a launch.

Fix: Have someone on board to do the social media before you think you need them. Yes, that’s right. They can

  • get the word out
  • be in sync with the rest of the team, and
  • learn about your product even before the product launches.

Not only that, but your social media manager can be out forging relationships with whomever you need to know on your behalf. However, if you really want to do everything yourself, you might want to read about first steps for startups.


Issue: You used to sell your app to consumers; you are shifting to an enterprise-only model. So you will need relationships with a whole different crowd of people.

Fix: The relationships you’ve already made aren’t a waste of time. Those people all know other people, right? Focus attention on your new demographic, and see how you can leverage the social media relationships you’ve already made.


Frequent Meetings Are a Must While Rebranding

Frequent Meetings Are a Must While Rebranding

Issue: You didn’t really think about your name, look and feel, or the user experience at the starting gate. Although you have a great product, you now need to pull in some marketing wizards who can do their magic and rebrand. How will you migrate the social media?

Fix: Communication is key. Everyone needs to be talking to everyone else frequently or the social media won’t reflect the new brand promise. So frequent meetings, communication between key players, and all that groundwork will go towards making a more solid social media strategy. Even a 15- or 20-minute meeting can make a difference in keeping everyone informed. The more your social media manager or team knows, the easier it will be for them to make an emotional connection with your customers.


Issue: Too much chaos. Yes, being in a startup is a fun, fun thing. Except when it’s not.

Fix: Write everything down and put dates on things. This includes account names and passwords for all your social media accounts, at the very least.

Management Changes

Issue: Does everyone know everyone else? Was the new marketing wizard fired last week? Does everybody know that that happened? Did the CEO run off to France to do a dance in his underpants? (Just making sure you’re reading…but you get the point, right?)

Fix: Create an organizational chart! Or at least a list in an Excel spreadsheet. And inform the team with an email letting them know what just happened. Update the spreadsheet and post it where everyone has access. Even thought you might think it’s a special secret (shh!) just for you, it actually does help the entire team.

Being in Overwhelm

Deer in the Headlights?

Deer in the Headlights?

Issue: You’re struck by that “deer in the headlights” feeling whenever you think about social media.

Fix: Pick a starting point. What would get you the most momentum the fastest? Would it be Pinterest? Google Plus? Twitter? Facebook? I suggest you look at the platforms with the most traffic, not the trendier ones. Start where your customers are. Keep it simple to avoid overwhelm.

Your Issues?

If you work with a startup (or even if you don’t), I’d like to hear from you! Maybe you handle the social media for a brand. What is your biggest issue?

Social Media: Different Platform, Different Language

Social Media: Different Platform, Different Language

Social Media: Different Platform, Different Language

Recently, talking to social media “experts,” I’ve run across some very different opinions about how to use social media. One “expert” admitted she only checks her Twitter account once a week. Another admitted that he pushes his Facebook posts through to Twitter. And a third says she uses the exact same material at the exact same time across all platforms. So do some of these practices seem not very social? Here are some of my reasons for using different language on each platform.

Each Platform is its Own Country

Let’s talk LinkedIn. To me, LinkedIn is the land of complete sentences, good punctuation, no slang, and professionalism. The demographic is  more business-oriented and less casual. I probably would not share a BBQ sauce recipe on LinkedIn as I might on Pinterest or Twitter. Nor would I use a bunch of hashtags or acronyms there. Facebook, similar to LinkedIn, is about connecting, but the language is different again. Although Facebook recently adopted hashtags from Twitter, I still wouldn’t use them there, since many people don’t fully understand them. The language of Pinterest is more casual, but still not as casual as Twitter. And so on.

One Post Across All Platforms Seems Lazy

Using one post across all platforms seems lazy

Using one post across all platforms seems lazy

If I see someone using the same post across multiple platforms, what runs through my mind is this person isn’t taking the time to fully engage on any platform. So I’m not likely to engage with this person. They give the impression of being too busy to interact and of someone who only wants to broadcast.

Why Follow Different Platforms if Posts Are the Same?

If I see the same post in two or more platforms, why would I want to follow on all those platforms when I could get the same content by following in just one place? If you’d like to recycle your content, why not just wait a couple of days (people have a short memory on social media), then post that content in a different place? As long as the content isn’t “stale,” you can still use it again.

Do You Use the Same Language Everywhere You’re Social?

I’m very curious about this. I know people want to save time, but does saving time for ourselves make us less accessible to our potential audience? What do you think?


3 Ways to Be Social with Social Media

People use social media in a lot of different ways, and what works the best is when social media is actually social.  Visualize a big networking event. Aside from that one guy your cousin knows who always shows up and gets ripped, many are approachable. So there you are, with your fancy glass of wine in hand–now what? Here are three ways you can engage online.

1. Talk to Your New Follower About Himself. If you accept the premise that social media is a giant networking event, what could you talk about? Think about each Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest account as being a person or a business. What would you actually say to that person if you met them in real life? You could talk about their profile, or ask them about their business. One thing I love to ask about is their name. If you’re a shy person, networking is much easier if you have a topic. Since most people love to talk about themselves, engage them in a conversation about themselves!

2. Ask Your New Friend How She Got Her Name. Most people love to discuss their own names. So you can ask: Were they named after someone? Do they like their name? Do they have a nickname? Do others have a hard time pronouncing their name? Why doesn’t their name have any vowels in it? If it’s a common name, did they ever receive anyone else’s mail by mistake?

3. For a Business, Ask About What They Do. How long have they been in business? What is their service area? Who are their competitors? Has business been good lately? Is their business seasonal? There are hundreds of questions you could ask–and that any businessperson would love to answer.

If you start out just talking about yourself, chances are after awhile the other person is going to leave. But if you put the spotlight on the other person, they will probably think “What a great conversationalist!” even if you haven’t said a word about yourself. What a crazy idea, right? That of being social on social media.

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