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Jan Koch 00:06
Welcome, everybody. Thanks for joining me again on the session on the WP Agency Summit. I’m here with Bridget Willard, who is my go-to expert when I have a question related to Twitter. Thank you so much for coming on,m Bridget.
Bridget Willard 00:20
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
Jan Koch 00:22
Absolutely. Can you give us a little introduction about who you are and what you’re doing?
Bridget Willard 00:28
Well, I was trained as a teacher, but my background was secretarial work. And then I kind of carved out marketing because I had all those aspects that you need, teaching, emphasis in psychology, secretarial work, which is basically diligence. That’s why I’m always paying attention to notifications. See. So it all combined to this my, my career path, it looks like the family circus, combined to the perfect place for me to use Twitter, to help businesses with their brand awareness.
Jan Koch 01:03
And that’s exactly what we are going to talk about today. And essentially, the overarching question for this conversation is, how can agencies leverage Twitter to generate leads for their businesses? And I would love to start at the very foundational level and that is how do we set up our Twitter accounts in a way that they represent our agency properly?
Bridget Willard 01:26
Okay, for sure, try to get your name. That’s the hard part. Because you could only have 15 characters. That’s why I’m not YouTube can be a guru, which used to be my, originally when I was searching for domains, Bridget Willard.com was a porn site. So I was youtoocanbeaguru. It was like tongue in cheek like social media is not that hard, right. So ideally, if I had, you know, not done this as a whim, that now is my career. If I was intentional, I would have made it Bridget Willard if I could, you know, not YouTooCanBeGuru. But um, you know, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, as they say, sweet, because like I used to say, I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to. So Gigi is my childhood nickname, you know, like Bridget, Bridget, Gigi. And so that’s why that was my email address my aim handle, my AOL email address, my Gmail email address, my first Twitter account, right. But I was all politics and religion. So that’s like, two of the three things shouldn’t be supposed to talk about at the dinner table. So when people started asking me for advice, I’m like, oh, this has to be somewhere else. So I just knew that my business side, my teaching side needs to be somewhere else. So if it’s possible, as soon as you set up your domain name, I would def for your company, I would definitely try to get that Twitter handle as close as possible. And all social media because remember, Instagram was only for iPhones. And I had an HTC Android. So I didn’t have Instagram. So when I finally got it, I had to be Bridget M Willard. I couldn’t be any of the handles I wanted. So it’s super important, even if you don’t use them yet. As soon as you start your business, get all of your usernames. So that you could just say, I am so and so it all the things find me online with this name, right? Yeah. So that’s number one. Whatever your branding colors are, make sure that your logo is a square 500 by 500. That fits in a circle. Because like maybe that’s not going to always be the trend. But we all still make logos. Do you know these rectangles? Well, we want a special rectangle, which is a square. And we want it to fit inside a circle inside that square. Because a lot of times I see I see bad Twitter accounts all day long, every single day. So I’m telling you square version of your logo, then you want a banner for the header 1500 by 500. Wouldn’t it be great just like with WordPress themes, Jan, if, if all of the social media header sizes were the same YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter well they’re not. But also remember when people see it on the desktop screen it’s gonna be wide when they see it on their phone, it’s going to be narrow. So if you are going to have text, you know, try to keep it in the middle part. Do you know what I mean? Like and test it test and see what it looks like on mobile makes a big difference. Also test that logo you made on mobile, because our phones are small, and people are looking, they’re not. nobody’s looking for you. You know, we, we make our social media profiles like their websites. And we think people are going to go to this and look at it exactly. They’re going to go once, and it’s going to make all the difference whether or not they follow you. Because you don’t know if they’re spam or not. So it should be recognizable. I should have said that recognizable logo. We don’t want words in your logo, because nobody can read that. Yeah, okay, it’s gonna be about, let’s see, on a phone, it’s maybe an inch square or a couple of centimeters square, maybe. So think about that. And then, so you’ve got your header, your, your username, your logo, your header. Now the next most important thing is to use a website. If you don’t have a website, for some reason, that’s fine. Go to I’ll just plug my client soul sites, go to solesites.co and go get a free little minimal listing, it’s all texts, it’s only text. It looks great on mobile, it’s already responsive, it loads like that, you can link out to everything. You don’t need like link tree or tap bio, I use it for my Instagram, just get something on the internet, your resume or portfolio, like use that instead of fiber, please stop using fiber links on Twitter. You know what I think of when I see fiber links, spam. And I know a lot of our developer friends yawn use fiber, and that’s fine. But don’t have that as your main link to it elsewhere. We want people to see your GitHub repo. We want people to see your portfolio, other websites that you’ve done guest articles that you’ve written YouTube videos, podcasts, so so do that. Okay, so your username, your logo, your header, your website. Now, this is really important. Your bio, you only have 160 characters. So make it count. Nobody on the planet, except for other WordPress developers knows what a developer is. Stop using the word developer, if you’re trying to get regular people to buy a website from you. Because what do people think of a developer, a developer for the general population is someone who buys land and builds on it.
Jan Koch 08:02
yeah, a property developer.
Bridget Willard 08:05
Huh, we know what developers are. But are you building websites for other WordPress developers? No, maybe? Probably not. So it’s not about you. It’s about what you do for the customer you’re trying to get? Right. So you’re gonna want to say I build websites, you don’t. The other thing I would love for our friends who are watching to stop doing is saying something generic, like, I provide business solutions. So does every business. What it doesn’t tell me anything? It could be a construction company.
Jan Koch 08:50
Yeah, yeah. Couldn’t agree more. So the bio essentially needs to be speaking to our target audience, rather than how we see our own agency or freelance business.
Bridget Willard 09:01
Yes. And if you could put some personality in there, it’s even better. Like I used to say changes hair often. But um, it does your neighbor know what you do. Back when I lived in my other apartment. My office was right in the living room. And there was a window right here. And that’s where the stairs were. And my neighbor said to me one day, so cute. So Bridget, what is it that you do when you’re sitting at your computer all day?
Jan Koch 09:33
like playing video games all day?
Bridget Willard 09:36
Pretty sure I’m not playing Minecraft but I said, Well, I manage other people’s social media accounts. Do people pay to do that? like so far isn’t it great? So I started just saying to people, I put words on the internet because they didn’t understand people would pay me to write words for them. Because you in marketing, we’re like, I’m a copywriter. What the hell is that? They don’t regular people don’t even know what that is. I go, Oh, I write blog posts for companies. Oh, people pay you to do that? I’m like so far it’s working. But just so do us some Google searches. That’s a really good tip. And then scroll down and to the part where it says, people also ask. Know, that part I’m talking about Jan?
Jan Koch 10:29
Yeah, that is suggested searches.
Bridget Willard 10:32
Yes, that is a good clue about what regular people, your target audience, how they’re going to what they’re going to understand. They’re looking for somebody to build them a website.
Jan Koch 10:46
yeah, that’s actually what I use. When I’m writing titles for my YouTube videos, I use the YouTube autocomplete to understand what people are searching for. Yeah,
Bridget Willard 10:56
it’s a really good tip. I mean, it’s right there, you guys will use it.
Jan Koch 11:01
So true. So can we use like hashtags? and stuff like that emojis in our bio? Or should we avoid that?
Bridget Willard 11:10
Okay, I have distinct opinions on everything. I’m going to say no on the emoji for a lot of reasons. Yes, on the hashtags, but if you can put them at the end. Now, the thing with emoji and hashtags in the text is it makes it difficult to read. So an emoji is a picture. And our brains are looking for text. And we don’t read the way a first grader does, where they’re sounding everything out, you know, on Sesame Street, and the words just kind of come together and like, wow, it’s beat B, E, A, T, Oh, that’s, you know, that’s not the way we read, right? We’re scanning. So from a neuroscience point of view, we’re scanning. And then once we see a picture, it breaks up that text. And now we have to concentrate more, you’re now you have an opportunity to lose that person. I was just invited to some group where they’re selling something, you know, when those parties on Facebook and there, their intro was so full of emoji. It was ridiculously difficult to read, I actually wrote them. I don’t even know what this product is. You want me to buy it? And all I see is all these stars and giveaways and everything. It’s like my space vacation and the internet. Remember, you would just open up a page or all these gifts and videos. The sound is ridiculous.
Jan Koch 12:52
So you would advise against emojis in all that we do on Twitter.
Bridget Willard 12:58
If you’re gonna put them at the end, put hashtags at the end. Because I mean, it’s fine to have an emoji because or to respond with an emoji. But I’m saying when you’re using emoji to replace text, which I’m not trying to do an effing puzzle, okay, I just want to read what you have to say. Twitter is for conversations, the whole point of Twitter is to go Hey, how you doing? I’m doing great. Hey, I have this problem. What have you tried this? I never thought of it did that you’re trying to go back and forth. Like, you know, I don’t say hey, Jan… Here’s a picture. It’s not Pictionary, right? So it’s cute, and it’s fun. Like, my preference is actually what a gift. Because then you’re getting a bigger thing. People like me can see it. Listen, let’s be serious. I’m 47. I just spent $4600 on LASIK. I got it in June. Right. And I still can’t I have a hard time seeing those emoji on a phone. They’re small. They’re really small. So I would put them at the end like, dude, you don’t even know how many times I just do three of the laughing faces. Especially on Instagram. You know, it’s fine. If it’s not breaking up the text. So say, Oh my gosh, that’s so funny. Hahaha. Or, well, I’m not really sure what the guy with the
Jan Koch 14:31
Yeah, with Monaco
Bridget Willard 14:33
Monaco guy, you know, but here’s the other thing. Screen readers read that out. Screen meters. Alexa Siri, Google Home assistant. They say Monaco guy. Red Heart, fire. Red Heart. Okay, so I’ll tell you because here’s the thing. I have a little code with my dating. And so everybody that I date, gets a fire emoji. There’s a lot of people named Jason in my age group, because like the super important, super popular name, so I had just Tucker that do the show with and I had a boss named Jason and a bunch of friends named Jason. And several Jason’s I was dating. But my favorite one, I’ve watched j, the letter J with a red heart and a flame. So I and my friends are calm j heart flame. But if I wanted to text him while I was driving, or if he texted me, and I’d say, hey, Siri, do I have any messages? It would say yes, J Red Heart fire said this. Right. And so if you wanted to text him, you had to say, hey, Siri, text j redheart. Fire. Do you know what I mean?
Jan Koch 15:46
It’s ridiculous yeah
Bridget Willard 15:48
it’s ridiculous. Right? So do you know how many people are listening to your text messages, your tweets your emails on with a lady, or a man in their ears reading the stuff? Not just blind people?
Jan Koch 16:04
Yeah, that’s a good point. really is. So it’s all about accessibility, even on Twitter as well. So when we are writing tweets, we need to make sure that they are easy to read. And that’s also I saw one post of yours recently, where you gave advice on how to structure a tweet, like breaking it down into various paragraphs and using bullet items and stuff like that. Talk to us a little bit about that. How do write the tweet?
Bridget Willard 16:33
Dear Everyone, please stop using emoji as bullets. Love Bridget. Okay, that’s another thing. It looks stupid. It looks like you’re a child you’re trying to be taken seriously. You just committed a crime you just did one of your like, things were committed to WordPress, which is the most robust, well, maybe not the most robust, whatever, debatable, but the biggest CMS in the entire world. And you’re trying to get business off of this. And you’re using emoji like a 13-year-old girl. How am I supposed to take you seriously? Okay, so that’s one part. But the other is more important. We are scanning, we’re not reading, we’re scrolling and scanning, we’re looking for something we recognize. And now I see something. And that’s why I like to use the returns the hard returns enter backboned or as typewriters return is when you went to the underline you press return. And do do do do do do dod od do. And so you want that hard, it was called a carriage return or enter. You want that hard-line break because then your eyes can scan it. So but here’s the thing, this is how I explained it to somebody else who didn’t get it. hashtags are links. They’re blue, they turn blue. And if you’re hashtagging words in the sentence above, and then you have a link that you want them to click on, you’re increasing the ability that the possibility, I mean that they’ll click on a hashtag, a hashtag is a link to a search or a filter of all the public tweets that have that hashtag in them. So essentially, a hashtag is a keyword search. They are for discovery. So if you’re going to use them, use them at the bottom of your tweet, because they’re not important for the reader. They’re important for people to find that by clicking or searching it on it somewhere else. And now Twitter is doing what Instagram and LinkedIn are doing, which is follow this trend or follow this topic, which is a hashtag, so that people see other people doing it like, Oh, this person’s doing it must be right. And like lemmings, they all fall off the cliff into the sea. And I’m like, you know what, you guys could do what you want, but me and my clients are going to be ahead, and we’re gonna get all the links, because what is the purpose? Besides I mean, let’s go like, let’s be evil marketer Jan. What is the purpose of being on twitter. We want people to go to our website.
Jan Koch 19:25
of course, yeah.
Bridget Willard 19:27
So if it were a landing page, if you’re building a landing page, which web developers do, people who build websites, you don’t want any navigation or anything distracting from the one thing you wanted to do? The call to action, the CTA, the one thing you want them to do, fill out the form, watch the video, buy this thing, right. So on a tweet, what is your CTA? That link? So why do you have all these other things at the top that they would click on because you saw So and so do it? And he has whatever amount of followers, we don’t know what his analytics are. And who cares? Like, once somebody is super popular, everybody just gives them a pass on their behavior on everything that they do. They don’t do it best practices. Nobody cares, because they’re like, oh, that person so great. You know, but if you don’t have that audience yet, most of us don’t have that audience. And we’re trying to build our business. We want people to buy our plugin. to buy our services.
Jan Koch 20:39
Yeah book a call with us yeah,
Bridget Willard 20:41
yeah, book a call, get advice, you know, be on our podcast, whatever it is, we’re asking them to do something. Not always. But when we do, we want it to be easy. Pick up that snickers and buy them at the checkout.
Jan Koch 20:58
That is so so important. I didn’t really think about that when I’m using Twitter. And for example, I write about something that I’m doing with WordPress, I will just put hashtag WordPress as I use the term, rather than just maybe using WP inside my sentence on Twitter and then putting hashtag WordPress at the bottom of the tweet, I definitely have to pay more attention.
Bridget Willard 21:22
Well, you could try it AB test it. I mean, you do it. You can do it however you want. But I’m just saying think about the user. And what is the behavior? And that’s why it’s like it’s blue. And they’re like, what does that mean? I’m like, we’re trained. I’m 47. I’ve been using, you know, the internet since at least 93.
Jan Koch 21:45
blue is for links. It always has been.
Bridget Willard 21:48
blue is links blue is a link, I’m trained since I was 20 years old. Blue is a link.
Jan Koch 21:53
Yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree more with that. Definitely, um, how do you go about selecting the topics you write about as an agency, I’ve seen that there’s a recommended split. And the portion of that split varies between self-promoting content, sharing valuable content, and then just purely content for fun, if you will. So how do you make those three as an agency?
Bridget Willard 22:20
So the self-promotional content should be valuable to your audience.
Jan Koch 22:26
That’s a good point. Yeah.
Bridget Willard 22:29
But I use for my clients, I do two and one. So two tweets, to somebody else, one tweet you. So I literally have a Google Sheet. And I have like professional development, WordPress, and then link to the site. So that includes your YouTube links, or anything else like that guest posts, anything that promotes you, one-third of the time. I mean, some people do more than that. But like for me, for literally for Bridget Willard.com, I have revival posts turned on. I’m not, I’m not really sure why everybody doesn’t just use that. Um, that’s my recommendation. If you can’t hire somebody to manage your Twitter, or make sure that you have a regular amount of things posting, from your website, from your blog, specifically from your blog, then I would definitely use revival post. It’s free, at least it’s a premium, right, but you can use it for free. The free version doesn’t support custom post types. But I don’t even know if that’s a thing anymore with Gutenberg. I can’t even keep up with it. So like, this is me using ClassicPress. But I mean, not ClassicPress, but the classic editor plugin. So the thing is that you can set it for a time. So I have like, I go anywhere from nine 7.5 hours every 7.5 hours to every 17.5 hours. I like the point five because I don’t want it always to hit at 8 am, you know, I want it to rotate throughout the day because I have a worldwide audience. I have a client in Manila. I have a client in Austria. I have a client in Las Vegas, you know, I need that I need you to know, those time zones covered so that doesn’t include responding like so. I specifically. So that’s how I schedule for my clients. For myself. I’m always sharing people’s stuff, because you reciprocation is the most powerful human motivator, you know like you can read Robert clonality or Chilla Dini whatever his name is, and the power
Jan Koch 25:02
Chialdini I think.
Bridget Willard 25:02
Chialdini, thank you. I mean, you can read all those books from social scientists. But I’m intuitively I’ve intuitively understood this. So I don’t, and I took psychology in college. So I really don’t need to redo that. But the point is that if you scratch my back, I scratch yours. It’s subconscious. If I so when I started doing this for the construction company that I build up to 20,000 followers, who were important to us, other real estate brokers, our clients, and other people in Orange County because we only worked in that area. So I would see something from them. And then if it was if it aligned with our brand, and our goals, our the way we thought then I would share it, and how you share things on Twitter is with a retweet. So I use an old score retweet. That’s a whole nother like, blog. That’s another blog post. But I mean, I have you can literally look up why I don’t use the retweet button. And you will find actually, the last time I looked because I googled my own blog post. Cause I can’t find them sometimes. It was a featured snippet Jan.
Jan Koch 26:22
Bridget Willard 26:23
I know. So basically, you don’t want to you want it to be a conversation. And when you press the retweet button without comment, there’s just the button. There’s no conversation. It’s just like, you know, it’s like, so you’re passing things around at Thanksgiving for the bowl, you didn’t take any out, you just keep passing it. It doesn’t do anything for you. You’re not even part of the conversation, but the retweet with a comment or the old school, those are good for conversation.
Jan Koch 26:55
Yeah, I think that that’s also a great point to inject your personality into these conversations, just as you said, when you are sharing stuff from others, it needs to be worthwhile for you. So that’s the whole point of what we’re talking about.
Bridget Willard 27:12
and that’s why I just love…let me put an asterisk here, sorry. That’s why I don’t believe in automation. Now, there’s a difference between automation and scheduling, but a lot of our friends will automatically retweet or tweet out things from an RSS feed. Okay, what if that person? What if that brand changes? What if you’re now, here’s an example when if you’re building Gutenberg blocks, and they’re like, this is a waste of time, even W3 schools don’t want to use it. I mean, you know, now you’re automatically tweeting out things that don’t align with your brand.
Jan Koch 27:59
Bridget Willard 28:01
Read things before you tweet them.
Jan Koch 28:06
So less is more in that case. I mean, we often use automation to fill up the schedule and to tweet when we don’t have the time for that. So we’d rather tweet less.
Bridget Willard 28:20
Well, be intentional.
Jan Koch 28:22
Yeah. Speaking of tweeting less, how often do you think, first of all, we should tweet in the first place and then say, I’ve published a YouTube video, for example, how often can I reshare that before my followers get bored on Twitter?
Bridget Willard 28:41
Okay, so I love Twitter the most? Because it has a culture of Twitter has a tolerance for repetition. So you should tweet at least once a day, that’s like life support. That’s like, that’s not growth. That’s I’m still in business. Okay. The more it’s about volume, just like everything you blog for volume, right? You want people to find you. So you, but that’s why like the revival post, like if you have a baseline of once a day, and then we have more time and less time like I was at lunch with Rhonda for four hours yesterday. So it was I tweeting was at lunches or no because it’s rude. So, but then I’ll tweet later and I’ll you know, did it at dinner or whatever. So the more you tweet other people the more kind of cultural permission you have to tweet about yourself. So you have a video out today, I would share it okay immediately. And then maybe in a couple of hours, share a little a different share it in a different way. So like, say there was a guest on there. And she’s like, you guys, Bridget Willard just said stop using developer your bio, go check it and try it out. Link hashtag WordPress, hashtag Twitter marketing, right? And then, and then maybe four hours later you’re like, quote dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, youtoocanbeguru. Like, hashtag, right? So you’re sharing the same thing, but when in different ways, because you might catch somebody’s attention in a different way. Instead of the people that just retweet themselves, which I don’t even know why Twitter allows that. Yeah, how self-centered are you? That’s the first thing I think of is like, you’re super self-centered. But when you’re sharing in a different way, and you can see I do this, I model, the behavior that I preach. If you want to learn how to tweet well, all you have to do is copy my style, you can see the way I’m doing it, I do exactly what I say I’m doing. I do it for every single one of my clients. And you can tell like my friends that know me and my style, don’t DM me like, Oh, yeah, Nutripor is this your client now? And I’m like, yep, I can tell.
Jan Koch 31:22
That is brilliant. But that’s also, I think, what sets agencies and businesses like yours apart from others is you have a process that you implement, and you have a clear structure that you implement. And I feel that, at least for me, Twitter is like this open field that you can play around with. And you have so many different ways of using Twitter, that you really need this framework in order to make the most out of it.
Bridget Willard 31:50
Well, yeah, and here’s this, I’m glad you brought that up, though Jan because that is what’s so cool about it now, I am a huge, huge advocate for making Twitter lists and spending your time efficiently and effectively by spending time in those lists. With that said, I recommend everybody spend five to 10 minutes in their home feed every day, five minutes in the morning, five minutes after lunch. And because then you can see different things in different ways. I love Hootsuite, but Hootsuite doesn’t show me everything. There’s no one platform that does everything I want it to do. Just like, you know, a lot of our friends probably you do, how many monitors do you have Jan?
Jan Koch 32:39
Bridget Willard 32:39
Right. So like my friend Jason Tucker has his laptop. And he has one big giant TV. And then he has one that goes up and down for the code, you know, vertical? And so then sometimes he has one on the wall because he’s a network administrator. So he needs to monitor the stats for the servers and all that stuff. Right? So there’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of tools, and everybody uses some differently, right? But here’s the thing. And I’m going to talk about algorithms for a minute. algorithms are like dogs. Okay, they do what you train them to do. I have I cannot. I’m gonna This is a tiny bit of a soapbox. But also, it’s just math. Okay. The math is responding to human behavior to things that you like. It’s always been this way. It’s always been this way. Okay. I’ve been using Twitter since 2007. Facebook since 2007. It’s always been this way. You start to think, Oh, I haven’t seen anything from Heather in a while. Well, because you haven’t been commenting on Heather’s things. So you go to Heather’s profile, and you find her thing. And I’m like, Oh, yeah, I saw it on Instagram. That’s why I’m not seeing it. Because I don’t interact with her on Facebook, because she cross-posts from Instagram. So that’s what I’m doing every time Instagram. But if I wanted to see her post more on Facebook, all I have to do is like and comment on them. And then Facebook will be like, Oh, you care about Heather now. So Guess who I see when I go to my home feed. It’s all the people I interact with all the time. It’s Vito, it’s John Locke. It’s Russell Aaron. It’s Warren lane, NIDA. It’s, it’s Jason Tucker. It’s Michelle wise. It’s all the people I interact with. But if you keep scrolling, you’ll see other people talking about things that are interesting to you, then you can learn, right? So it’s not the platform’s fault, that you’re not seeing things. It’s your fault, for not interacting.
Jan Koch 35:01
Yeah. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with that. And once you start paying attention to this behavior, you’ll see it everywhere. And that’s how these platforms keep us on their websites and in their apps. Yeah. Hundred percent agree with you. So based on that, how do we structure our feed in a way that we can actually generate leads from it? How do we make sure we see these potential people?
Bridget Willard 35:29
Oh, yeah. Okay, for sure, you have to use lists, I have a whole blog post about it. bridgetwillard.com/Twitterlists, with no hyphens or anything like that. So what you want to do is, so for example, if your niche is e-commerce, and you do things with EDD, and, and not the, not the Employment Department, I used to like when I first heard of EDD, I was like, what, that’s where we get our unemployment California. If you use easy digital downloads, or WooCommerce, or big commerce or Shopify developer, whatever, if e-commerce is your gig, then you’re going to want to follow, you’re going to want to put people on a list you call e-commerce, so it can, it can include all of those people. And then if you specialize in that field, you see what people are talking about. So you can see all people don’t understand that PayPal is for accepting credit cards. This is something we should talk about at give because we knew they were called payment gateways. Right, PayPal stripe, Wepay, etc. How many regular people know what a payment gateway is? Or PCI compliance? Probably zero, because what they want to do is use a credit card online. Right? And they don’t know that they’re doing recurring payments or recurring donations, they have a subscription to Netflix. So when you’re reading those tweets, you’re reading the way people talk about it, you know, and there, it’s so one of them I have a video about how to use Twitter for business development. One of the things is to type in a question on Twitter and see if anybody’s asking that question or use a hashtag. So Gary Vaynerchuk talked about how he did this back in 2009, I think, with his Wine Library, and he would just look for people asking for pairings, like, I’m having chicken marsala, what wine pairs with that? And he would just answer them. He would say what it was this, I don’t know what it is. But now you could go like everybody wants to pair with IPAs. So if you’re a brewer, you could do that, right. But for us, we build websites. So we’re building websites for a certain kind of client. We’re working with nonprofits, for example. And so if we’re working with a nonprofit, we’re gonna want to use the hashtag MP tech, or if it’s the church, church tech, or something like that so that we can see what the regular people are tweeting that we’re not necessarily following, right. And you can put people on lists that you don’t follow, by the way. So so then they ask you a question, and you could be the person answering it. Now, when you answer that everybody else is going to see that. Right? It’s like they’re overhearing a conversation we’re having in the hallway track. And then they can walk up to us and say, Oh, my gosh, do you? Are you using this? I didn’t know you could do that. What hooks are you using with Stripe in order to do that? Oh, what? You know what I mean? And then you have a good conversation. Oh, man, this is coming in a weird way. Sorry.
Jan Koch 39:06
That’s a personal touch to her. So I’m not going to edit this by any chance. I just, I just love how these events reflect how people really are. This just goes to show that it’s all about the conversations and it’s all about also being approachable, as a business and as the person and that is something that is also part of the reason I’m not going to edit this out right now is that you and I are not on a pedestal. We are not better than anybody else who’s watching this. We are just implementing some strategies that others might not know about, and that is why I’m putting emphasis on this is anybody can do what we are doing. So you just have to put in the work and build those lists and do your research on Twitter, which is I am guilty as anybody of not doing that, and I don’t, I made a conscious decision to not make the time for that. But that also allows me to not beat me up about not generating any leads from Twitter. But if you need that, if you want that, then set aside an hour a day to do the research on Twitter first, just as Bridget outline, you have the exact process of how to dive into your target audience now and then just have conversations and add value so that you can establish your expertise in the field.
Bridget Willard 40:33
Exactly. It’s the whole reason why you have a website. So I, I would definitely not spend too long at you know, putting people on lists. It’s a little, it’s tedious. It’s laborious. It’s a lot of work. And a lot of people don’t have the patience for that. I mean, you can definitely hire me to do it for you. But you know, the thing is, what I do is, I get a notification that somebody followed me. Or if I follow them, then I put them on a list 95% of the time I put them on a list, because I had this problem back when I was doing the construction company that I will remember Oh, there’s a painter we know. Because my bosses say Oh, do you know any other painters? Because both of our painters were busy. And like, Yeah, I know, other painters? Dang it, what’s their handle?
Jan Koch 41:28
Bridget Willard 41:28
Then when you go to your list, it’s easier to find them.
Jan Koch 41:32
Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And that that also ties into another topic on the summit, which is the mental health topic I had, I had a discussion with that about mental health with Diane Wallace from Big Orange Heart. And it comes to our mind because I just recorded this before we too jumped on the call. And having that list on Twitter with experts you can turn to is amazing as a resource to ask for advice as well as if you are stuck at certain points. And or if you just need somebody to talk to, and have their Twitter list of like 50 people, it doesn’t need to be thousands of people on the Twitter list just say 50 relevant people and engage with them.
Bridget Willard 42:13
Yeah. And so that when you look when you use Hootsuite, and you just see it in that column, it’s so much easier. It’s free. But you can do it on regular Twitter also. It’s just a little more awkward. But yeah, because you’re going to see who’s active, you’re going to see who’s actually talking about things. And like for me, I’m I feel like the operator lady with the, you know, back in the old school days where they’re plugging people in because I’m a people broker essentially. And people will say, Oh, my gosh, dah dah dah dah. Or I’ll see a tweet from Kathy darling about an API. I’m like, Oh, you got to talk to Devin, you know, so I’ll be like, Hey, you got to talk to interwebs. So less the thing is, it’s just like referring workout. You know, if you refer work, then people will refer work to you because of reciprocation. If you share their content, they’re going to share yours, or they’re going to refer you. Like Royce Yvonne is always referring me work. We don’t even talk that much on Twitter. But we’re friends. But it’s just like he’s talking about view or react or whatever. I don’t have anything to say about react. Except I know it’s Facebook’s little toy. And that’s what Gutenberg is built with. That’s all I need to know.
Jan Koch 43:32
Yeah. Yeah. So true. Yeah. It just boils down to who you know.
Bridget Willard 43:37
(Sun starts blinding Bridget) Yeah. I can’t even see your face. Sorry, my first podcast in this office.
Jan Koch 43:49
No problem, no problem at all.
Bridget Willard 43:52
Jan Koch 43:54
No, not edited, just for the fun of it. And I would love to I’m just looking at my notes. I would love to hit on one more topic before we wrap up this conversation. And that is this best practice of following people. So they follow you back and then unfollowing people if they don’t follow you back? What are your thoughts on that? And what’s a good ratio of followers versus people you are following?
Bridget Willard 44:21
Okay, so if you’re just using Twitter, and you just want to talk to your closest 2000 friends or less, you never want to grow your business, then do whatever you want. There is an elitist, snobby attitude. This is Bridget the mom being like, come on now WordPress developers stop being a snob where they’re like, Oh, these people aren’t relevant to me. Or they’re not adding value. Or you know, I don’t need to follow them. It’s just it’s so mean. Like it’s really mean You know, and I, and I would love for, for this inclusive community to stop saying that people aren’t relevant based upon two seconds of seeing their tweets or they’re cramming up your feed. If it’s bothering your feed, then you’re not using lists, which means you’re not using the tools in front of you, which makes how much sense Jan, since what do WordPress developers know? hooks, which are actions and filters, right? Yeah. Okay, a filter filters, we work in databases, all day long. Search is our jam. So if you’re not filtering out, that’s not everybody else’s problem. You’re just not using the tools, tools you very well understand. And I have seen so many people have really hurt feelings. And I had hurt feelings when I first started going to word camps back in 2013. That I thought all these people that were kind of my heroes were wouldn’t follow me back or, and I had more followers than any of them. You know, because like I had, I mean, I think I’m about 15,000 followers, or Now, something like that on my account right now. And I’m like, I have more followers than any of you guys. Or they won’t follow me because I tweet too much. Are you kidding me right now? Like, I’ve I share for you, but I’m not worth a follow? That’s mean. Yeah, think about how you’re treating people. You know, it. We are built to be accepted. We’re social animals. And when you think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s like air, water, food, shelter, love, and belonging. This is why WordPress preaches inclusivity and diversity. So you can be diverse and noninclusive. Because diversity is just I’m gonna get so much trouble for saying this, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Diversity is checking off boxes. Yeah, we have this many people, it’s, you know, we’re helping its affirmative action. You know, nobody likes that. But it’s not bad. It just needs to happen. It’s not bad. But that’s not the same as being inclusive, being inclusive. So if you have a diverse, a diverse board, not all those people necessarily have the same or equal voice. And having that same voice is about being inclusive, making people feel that they’re a belong is about being inclusive. So it’s not just for word camps. It’s how we build our businesses because businesses are about relationships. Now, going back into that was the strategy. Now we’re doing tactics, right? So the ratio, the only reason why the ratio matters is that Twitter is the only network that demands you have a one to one following to followers ratio, in order to get past these glass ceilings. So they are they exist at 2000, 5000, 9000, 14,000 and 19,000 followers that I’ve experienced because I’ve never gone over 20k yet. So what happens is, if you have if you’re following 2300 people, and you only have 1900 or 2000 followers, you won’t be able to follow anybody else. Because this is too high. So if you see WordPress accounts that aren’t the only people that can get away with having 20,000 followers and their following 64 are verified accounts. If you’ve seen anybody else without that verification checkmark, with 20,000 followers, and their following four people, what they’ve done is and this is why it makes me so angry. They’ve used people in order to grow their accounts. And then they dumped them all. So all those people, all those little people you stepped on in order to grow your account are not now no longer valuable to you.
Jan Koch 49:47
It goes a long way. That statement really, really says a lot about those people and to be honest, I am. I think a few people follow me with that extraordinary ratio of lots of followers and just a few hundred people follow, they follow, and I’m one of those few hundred. And it makes me proud that I am because those usually are these verified profiles of high-level CEOs or something like that. And there is a certain pride when somebody like that follows you. I won’t lie.
Bridget Willard 50:21
Of course, there is. Of course, there is because we want to be included. That’s what I’m saying.
Jan Koch 50:29
Yeah. And it also, it says that you’re doing something right if these perceivably important people, because so many more people pay attention to what they have to say, than who they are paying attention to if they follow you. It’s also a little bit of a validation that you’re doing something right with your account. But then it’s important to know about these glass ceilings. I wasn’t aware of those.
Bridget Willard 50:54
They don’t publish it. It just that’s your experience.
Jan Koch 50:56
It doesn’t make sense for them to publish them. Yeah.
Bridget Willard 50:59
No, because of what they want. SaaS companies are valuable because of users.
Jan Koch 51:05
Bridget Willard 51:07
And right now, there’s a whole moratorium on getting verified. I’ve tried so many times to get verified. It’s not even funny. And it let me tell you, it’s a pain. I manage people’s Twitter accounts, I have to go and unfollow people. That’s why I’m so glad they’re on my list. If they don’t follow me, I have to unfollow them, or I will not be able to grow. Because I will be following too many people. It’s ridiculous. But also, it’s social media. You want to be a rock star, and have all these people just you know, be your sycophants. Fine, but, but that’s not being approachable, That’s not being friendly.
Jan Koch 51:55
Yeah. Which in the end is the most important thing to build a sustainable business. I mean, you can make a quick buck by just taking advantage of people, if you will. But that’s that is by no means the way to build a business that will pay you in five years.
Bridget Willard 52:12
Right? It’s not sustainable. It’s not a good long term strategy. And guess what? You might need those people again. Yeah. But if you already stepped all over them, how, how willing are they to help you?
Jan Koch 52:29
Bridget Willard 52:30
Or so the same goes for somebody who responds to you. Like they respond to your tweet. And I said That’s awesome. And then you never say anything back. It’s rude. If you did that in person. You know, all you have to do is say thank you. It takes 20 seconds to make to be a polite, good human being. Yeah. Mic drop.
Jan Koch 53:03
And that’s the perfect way to wrap up this conversation, Bridget, because I really think we’ve covered a lot of ground and also we have already gone over the scheduled time and I do want to be at least a little bit respectful of your calendar. Where do people find out more about you obviously on Twitter, so what’s your Twitter handle
Bridget Willard 53:23
@YouTooCanBeGuru Yeah, it’s kind of a weird name. But nobody knows what it means. But it was tongue in cheek.
Jan Koch 53:34
I think it stands out because you have to talk about that name to explain where it comes from to not look cocky.
Bridget Willard 53:42
Yeah, well, I wrote my own jingle. So at the end of my guru minute videos, I have 52 of them on YouTube. Go to YouTooCanBeAGuru.
Jan Koch 53:55
And that now that that sticks in the ads of people watching this session, so it definitely serves its purpose. Bridget, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your wisdom with us. Thank you.