#516 WP-Tonic Show With Special Guest Bridget Willard

Bridget Willard is a marketing consultant who brings her teaching and accounting background together to help small businesses. She began her marketing career in construction, then worked in franchise development, nonprofits, and tech. She is especially known for her brand building for Riggins Construction, GiveWP, and the Make WordPress Marketing Team.

Bridget co-hosts The Smart Marketing Show with Jason Tucker — a podcast and live YouTube show on the WPwatercooler network.

Bridget has spoken at dozens of conferences and keynoted a few on community, communication, relationships, and, of course, marketing.

When she’s not writing about marketing or social media, she is spending time with her friends, changing her hair style, learning languages on Duolingo, or walking by the ocean.

Say hi to her on Twitter at @youtoocanbeguru and check out her site at bridgetwillard.com.

Johnathan: Welcome back folks to the WP-Tonic Show, this is episode 516. We’ve got a friend of the show, but she hasn’t been on the show for a number of years. She’s been saving herself. The last experience took her breath away and she’s ready to come on. We’ve got Bridget Willard back on the show.

Bridget: Hi, bonjour.

Johnathan: Would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?

Bridget: Sure. Hey everybody. Thanks for having me. My name is Bridget Willard and I am a copywriter and social media marketer and consultant. Basically, if you have a product or service and WordPress and you need some help letting people know that you exist beyond your local meetup and GitHub, then I’m the one that helps you. You can find out more at bridgetwillard.com.

Johnathan: Yeah and Bridget is well known in the WordPress community. She’s specialized is not entirely, but she does normally help people in the WordPress community that is either selling services or products. And she does…

Bridget: I used… sorry I used to have a Magento guy so… [cross-talk 01:25].

Johnathan: She’s [inaudible 01:28] me right already. I’ve got my great co-host, Adrian. Adrian, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?

Adrian: Hi everybody. My name is Adrian. I am the CEO and founder of Groundhogg. We help small businesses using WordPress, launch their funnel, grow their list, and scale their business.

Johnathan: That’s great. And we’re going to be discussing all friends, Twitter, social media in general. How in 2020, can you use social media to actually get more sales for your service company or for your product’s company. We’ll be aiming a bit on Twitter, but we’ll be covering all the social media platforms. So, before we go into the main part of the show, I just want to quickly mention out to sponsors. Our main sponsor has been sponsoring the show for over three to four years is Kinsta Hosting. I hosted the WP-Tonic website on Kinsta.

 I’ve been with them for a number of years, they are a fantastic hosting company. They only specialize in WordPress. They use Google cloud as their main technology, and you get a fantastic interface for yourself or for your clients by specializing really performance sites, like e-Commerce, learning management systems, anything, where you need that kind of performance increase and the best thing, is you get fantastic support from them. We’ve all been on the phone with certain hosting providers that will remain nameless and we bring just passed around and the hours just kind of disappear, you don’t get that with Kinsta safe. So, if that sounds interesting, go over to Kinsta, buy one of their packages for yourself or for your clients. And the main thing is telling them that you heard about them on WP-Tonic.

Our second sponsor is WP- Fusion. They have been a great friend of the show. It’s a great product. If you’ve got a native or external CRM system and you will really want to take advantage of that system you need WP- Fusion if you are running a WordPress website. And it’s the name of the game in 2020 marketing automization so I suggest that you go over to WP-Fusion. I think you’re going to be blown away by their technology it integrates with over 200 different CRM systems, it’s quite amazing and they’re just great people. And if you do decide to buy a package for your own website or for a client website, once again, tell them that you heard about them on the WP-Tonic Show. So, into the main part of the show. 

Bridget: Do they integrate with Jetpack CRM?

Johnathan: I don’t actually know, I’d imagine so. I don’t know actually.

Bridget: I couldn’t help it, I’m sorry. It’s going to be a fun episode, right?

Johnathan: It is. It integrates with Adrian so that’s all that matters. Bridget, [inaudible 04:33]. So, the last time we spoke, I think it was about three almost, might be almost four years ago. And technology changes in the years. So, in the past year, let’s say, what are some of the major changes you’ve seen in people effectively using social media to help their business?

Bridget: Changes?

Johnathan: Yeah.

Bridget: Oh, there are no changes. I mean, people are always chasing the shiny object. Like everybody wants to be on tik-tok, whatever. I mean, if you’re in retail, maybe that’s a good idea. If you’re a nurse and you have nothing to do because there’s nobody in the hospital right now, then do tik-tok. But the main three places to do business marketing is Twitter and LinkedIn and then way, way, way below that is Facebook and not even on the map is Instagram. The change I’ve seen is people flocking to Instagram, hoping they get more brand awareness and clicks to their website on a platform that doesn’t allow you to share links. It’s a waste of marketing effort to start there. I love Instagram, I use Instagram, but not primarily [cross-talk 06:01].

Johnathan: Right. So, for business to business, the one you haven’t mentioned is YouTube. How do you see YouTube in this as well?

Bridget: Well, I don’t see YouTube as a social network I suppose it could be if people actually commented something that wasn’t just scrolling. Like, oh, go check out my channel. I see YouTube as a hosting platform and a search engine platform. So, I create videos, I’m the co-host of the smart marketing show on the WP-Watercooler. Of course, we’re on YouTube, but I have my own YouTube channel where I put my tutorials or marketing advice. I use that to embed on my WordPress blog because everything should be really on your site. So, I mean, I don’t see it as a social network, I guess it could be if people actually watched videos and said something valuable. I mean, it’s like, if you’re a gamer, then Twitch is the big deal. But like we’re talking about WordPress people who might be gamers, but that’s not primarily how they’re earning their living. Right.

Johnathan: I totally agree. Over to you Adrian.

Adrian: So, when businesses generally think of implementing social media marketing, at least my immediate thought is top of funnel, top of funnel, top of funnel. That’s where you get new prospects and customers, but are there… how would you use social media or can you use social media in order to engage with people on a deeper level than just kind of like top of funnel outreach?

Bridget: Oh, is that a question?

Adrian: That is a question.

Bridget: Oh yes, of course.

Adrian: The question is how?

Bridget: Okay, so here’s the thing. So, you had civilization and the Roman empire after the Greek empire and one of the things that the Romans did that was awesome, not the burning of people like candles, thanks, Nero, but they built all these roads, right? And they’re famous throughout Europe and that those roads allowed trade to happen. It became the infrastructure, fast forward to 1995 when everybody was getting Halo 5.0 and they’re so excited, most people are on the internet. The internet is the Roman road of the 20th and 21st centuries. So social media is social interaction on a medium. So if you’re going to tell people about what you do, you’re going to tell Bob over the fence, you’re going to tell your neighbor, you’re going to tell them at the chamber of commerce or you’re going to tweet it out or probably all of the above, hopefully, all of the above.

I mean, I go to the pub and I carry my business cards with me, not just to hit on guys, but people go, what do you do? And I say, I put words on the internet and they’re like, what does that mean? And then sometimes I give them my card. So yes, a hundred percent, you should be using Twitter to get people to those funnels for the social aspect but not only that but as far as an SEO, best practice, Google indexes tweets and they look at your social activity as part of ranking factors. So, like if you went and searched an incognito browser for Bridget Willard, you’re going to see my last tweets probably right below my website and then YouTube. So, like when people find out about you, so there’s these two sides of search, there’s discovery and validation.

So, somebody might share that page, landing page to your funnel and then people are going, oh, that person, now I’m going to go look her up or look him up or look them up. So, you really need both sides of that coin so the social helps people connect to you. And we talk about this all the time, we do business with people we know like and trust. And then we say, oh, I don’t need social media. I’m like, okay, well just keep using your website, don’t publish anything, make landing pages exist out there and hope somebody finds you and then looks at your website and doesn’t go, that’s the long answer to the answer is yes.

Adrian: So that’s top of funnel from what I understood that that’s a lot of top of funnel. I was specifically curious…

Bridget: Not necessarily.

Adrian: Not necessarily.

Bridget: Because you can nurture, so somebody comes in like… so I have landing pages too, I mean, I’m a marketer, and somebody buys my content planner and then I put them in my email marketing campaign. MailChimp, I don’t consider that social media, but that’s… I have, I have regular campaigns that I send out and I have a drip, so yeah, I nurture them and normally they’ve found me on social media. So if they found me on social media, now they’re going to be in the top of my mind and I’m going to be like, when I see their tweets or if I specifically go look for them to nurture that relationship, I’m like, oh, that’s a really great blog post. Oh, that’s an interesting thought. Like I’m going to intentionally interact with them on social media especially since I know that they came through my funnel, if that data is available.

Adrian: So, essentially what you’re saying is that you have to be part of the conversation and not just consistently get on Twitter and span out blog posts.

Bridget: Oh yeah. Because if all you would use Twitter for like if you have publicized on Jetpack working and that all you do is just spit everything out. It’s an RSS feed. It’s not social media.

Johnathan: Yeah. I’ve struggled with Twitter to be quite truthful. I’ve liked tried to use it every day, tried to respond to people’s comments, and then I just kind of lose energy with it, and then I don’t bother for a few months, so then I go back to it again. I think I kind of linked Twitter a little bit to the worst part of WordPress drama really, but I’m a hypocrite. So, you preach it because of my round table show I produce a lot of drama myself. So how do you… give me advice about how you engage in a community, but in the right way without actually getting sucked into some of the worst aspects that you see on Twitter in the WordPress community.

Adrian: Without offending anybody.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Bridget: That’s not going to happen. That’s probably the thing that is most on brand from me and me being in high school. So, the thing is the truth offends people. You got…

Johnathan: Maybe one person’s truth isn’t another is it?

Bridget: I’m just saying that you can’t protect everybody from reality. We’re not cuddling the little two-year-olds in daycare. So, here’s the thing. You don’t have to respond to things you see. That’s one thing also, you know how much I love Twitter lists. You put people on a list and you pay attention to those people. Like I have… everybody knows I’m dating because if you’re looking at my Twitter, you know, I’m dating and there are people that are kind of like not my favorite people that I’ve interacted with and they might interact with me and I’m not going to ghost them, but I’m also not going to like hit them up and go, hey, remember that time you totally ignore me in the restaurant? That was so awesome. Or remember that time you were chewing with your mouth full because you’re 55 and you don’t know how to be a person? That was fun, you want to hang out again?

You don’t nurture the relationships with the people that are toxic. You don’t go calling up your abrasive uncle and say… I’m just saying like the people you don’t… you can, I mean, you can literally mute them, but you could just stop paying attention because the algorithms on Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn, we train them with our behavior. So if all you’re seeing is stuff about the president, whoever it is or the prime minister or whoever your politician is, and all you see is all that drama on one side or the other, or all you see is the WordPress drama or all you see is like Jetpack is now 30%, 70% of WordPress, Jason Tucker, and like it and you replied to it, then you’re teaching the algorithm what to do. So, a lot of people say oh, Facebook only shows me this, or Twitter only shows me this.

No, it’s showing you what you have trained it to do. If your dog is peeing on a carpet, that’s what you trained it to do by not training it, you are training so that’s your mistake. So, if you want to see things that are positive, then you need to interact with those people. There are so many people online that are just amazing and just sharing their hearts. Amber Patchin is like, I’m having a hard time. She’s running an agency with four kids, single mom, she’s like, how am I supposed to write with all this oppressive COVID situation and you just go, man, I feel it too.

And then you feel like you are part of a human race and not just drama. You’re just… and if somebody just got a new job, people are hiring, just congratulate them, like go and look for the good. You can laugh at the fact that the Jetpack, whatever 5.5 is going to have tons of breaking changes, PHP eight is going to have breaking changes. It comes out November that Microsoft isn’t even going to support windows. Isn’t going to support PHP eight, there’s drama everywhere. Magento two is coming to the end of life or has already passed. Like it doesn’t matter what your industry is there’s always something going on because there’s always those shit stirs [cross-talk 16:38] from those people.

Johnathan: Well we’re going to go… Bridget managed to put some fantastic images into our minds. So, we are going to go for our break we’ll be back in a few moments’ folks. We’re coming back. I don’t know who Bridget is dating.

Bridget: Nobody, nobody. I’m running away to Texas for a couple of weeks.

Johnathan: Alright, there you go. So, you mentioned also LinkedIn another platform to say it puzzles me, and I kind of dropping in and a drop out of that is… I don’t even have any experience lately with LinkedIn. If you have, if you come to some conclusions about some… you give some tips about maybe some of the best ways to use LinkedIn.

Bridget: Oh, for sure. First of all, it’s not just for when you’re getting a job. If you’re using it that way, that’s like you only talk to your rich Aunt Bertha when you need money and then you wonder why you’re not in her will, it’s kind of like that you can’t use people. So, LinkedIn is the professional network, Linkedin’s where the C suite is. This is what I’ve been telling my WordPress developer friends since 2015 if you want the better projects, you need to be where the people are, who have more money, they are on LinkedIn. And so, the culture… so this is the thing about social networks, they all have a different culture and so you can use the culture to your advantage. Whereas Twitter is more intellectual people read, it’s great to share your blog posts. Instagram is so good to share like who your employees are, what you’re doing, something more personal, something different behind the scenes.

LinkedIn is where you’re allowed to brag. You can totally brag, it’s completely normal. In fact, you can semi-troll by commenting going, oh, that’s interesting. I never thought about it that way. What if you did [inaudible 19:30]. And you can have intellectual discussions that aren’t arguments on LinkedIn because people behave professionally and people will read from LinkedIn. So, when you’re sharing those funnel pages like you were talking about, you can share them on LinkedIn, people are there to be on online. And the other cool thing about LinkedIn is, you know, how, I don’t know how it is right now with everybody working from home but a lot of times Facebook is blocked by the I.T guys, Twitter is blocked by the I.T guys, LinkedIn isn’t blocked. LinkedIn is for business.

Johnathan: Is there any… to your knowledge, has there been any kind of recent independent evidence about how much time people are spending on LinkedIn now? Because they have been, I think over the past couple of years, they’ve really are attempting to change how people look at LinkedIn not only when you need a job, but with being able to post videos on the platform.

Bridget: Yeah.

Johnathan: When you log in, it seems a more of a kind of social in some ways, not completely because it seems to be a hybrid, Twitter and Facebook, but have there been any independent indications that their attempt to get more people onto the platform and to stay there longer has been working?

Bridget: Well, that’s a great question. There are about four questions in there and I’ll start…

Johnathan: Well, I’m notorious for my mouth…

Bridget: No, it’s fine. It’s fine. I can multitask, I’m a girl and I used to be a secretary for 30 years. So, here’s the thing, LinkedIn, if it looks like a hybrid between Twitter and Facebook, it’s because people are cross posting and it’s dumb and stupid and foolish, like stop doing that. I keep seeing… one thing that I ran on constantly is people share a picture and then they put the comment and then they put the link. No stop doing that. Just set your blog post up the right way in the first place so it shows a featured image and shares the link because if somebody shares that picture, there’s no link anymore. You want people to share the link, not your graphic, think about it. So, okay, so now that’s done. That has to be said, I see it every single day, all day long, stop doing it.

Okay. But here’s the thing I was talking to my friends who are speaking, [inaudible 22:09] speak at word camps and like LinkedIn lets you upload 10 minutes of video natively, 10 minutes. So, I did it just to show people, I got way more views than I would have ever done at any word camp talk, I didn’t have to apply and big nerdy developers to let a marketer speak. So, you have your platforms like you were talking about with YouTube, you want to talk to your audience, then make something for that audience. I did for a whole week. I did videos just for LinkedIn that were never posted anywhere else. And that gets people remembering who you are right now. If you want independent information, I would go to the Pew Institute for public research and just look it up.

Johnathan: Yeah, I just wondered they are…

Bridget: I don’t have…yeah, I don’t have that access, but it’s interesting, now I want to go look up the Pew research on it. But also, one of the cool things that LinkedIn has done recently guys, I guess I can say guys, but anyway, you all, is they are now doing newsletters. So, the people who publish on LinkedIn, which is a really great way to cross po… to like, cross-pollinate your blog posts. And when you publish on LinkedIn right now it’s just kind of like a beta thing, but you can subscribe to people’s newsletters.

Johnathan: Alright.

Bridget: So, I think they’re trying to link it…

Johnathan: Affiliate.

Bridget: Yeah. So, they’re trying to be more of that…

Johnathan: I think my only…this is before I bring Adrian back in, my only observation, I do like some of the things that LinkedIn has been doing, but the only thing I would say about it, they seem very slow about implementing something don’t they? The kind of… that’s my only observation, it’s a bit like the video They, only had a kind of beta a group and then before they opened, they seemed to be in that for months and months and months and months. So, they just seem a bit slow about it, but maybe that’s because they can’t… Because it’s a business to business platform, they don’t want to take the risks that Facebook is prepared to take where they just seem to kind of throw something out. [inaudible 24:42].

Bridget: I mean, is it slow or is it intentional? Like, because you really want the early adopters in there. You want those innovators and early adopters before you get the early majority. And so, Facebook’s constantly testing stuff in the middle like we’re in the middle of cooking a meal and they’re changing all the ingredients in the refrigerator live. It’s annoying. So those are two extremes maybe, but maybe they’re just investing in things to actually work.

Johnathan: I’ll definitely go back and have a look especially about newsletter. That sounds really interesting over to you, Adrian.

Adrian: So, I typically work with a lot of agencies and agencies needs clients. So if there’s like… and I don’t think a lot of them spend time on LinkedIn, mostly because new agency, I worked with a lot of new agency owners don’t really know how the whole shebang works, but is there a way to… because I mean, I’m the kind of person I have LinkedIn and I consistently get… just the other day I posted a job on Upwork and people skipped the job posting on Upwork and went straight to my LinkedIn and just like my message inbox, it was just like full of people who want to work with me from all over the world. And I’m like, there’s the job posting on Upwork for a reason. So, they totally skipped that process. I mean, that’s kind of just me, but is there a way to actually do outreach on LinkedIn that doesn’t turn people right off.

Bridget: That is the number one worst thing to do. I mean, you hit the… it’s not just you never, ever, ever… I’ve shared job postings from other companies and they’re hitting me up. I’m like, are you reading? Like to me that… and sometimes I write them back and I say, you’re not following the directions. This is…

Adrian: Nobody followed the directions in the original job posting, which was the most annoying thing. I’m like just read the damn thing.

Bridget: Not just that, but just qualifying. So, like if there’s somebody that’s actually watching this, who does that, I mean, not somebody that’s actually watching, somebody who’s watching this now who actually does that stop doing it. The thing about social media is you’re supposed to remain top of mind, have normal interactions, comment on posts, don’t beg for work. That’s not how… because as soon as somebody does that, I’m like, no. And I’ve consulted some of my clients who are trying to get work, they said, well, maybe I should message them and say, hello. I go, maybe you shouldn’t, just comment on something of theirs, provide value, show them feedback, be human.

Like I don’t believe in cold calling because it doesn’t work. It’s a turnoff it’s. It’s, it’s a turnoff in the boomer generation, but they had to do it that way. Gen Xers are like we super hate it, Gen Z really hates it and Gen Y it’s just now realizing that they need to be off tik-tok and on to doing something that’s more long-term.

Adrian: So how do you provide value without coming off as… well you put it in a good way, beggy, I guess.

Bridget: Yeah. It’s just too much. So providing value I think is kind of… okay, I’m going say something that might offend you, but there’s this whole thing, especially in tech where they think there was a sentiment in tech that everything we do should provide value or we shouldn’t do it and it’s wrong. Because they’re the kind of snobby version of what is valuable. It’s not… I’m not going to write a code and put it on GitHub and that’s it. What I’m going to do is be a normal human being that’s polite. Being a polite, supportive human being to your peers is valuable. So, like I said, when you see something in your feed and somebody says, I just got a new job, then say, congratulations, that’s awesome. Or, wow, I never thought about that. Oh, what a great service of Valet is doing a $15 a month accessibility audits.

I mean, yeah, share their things, being somebody else’s champion, because not only does that keep you top of mind, Adrian, but reciprocity, the evil marketer comes in human behavior… technology changes, human behavior does not change. It takes seven to 10 touches before you get a client, people will subconsciously feel obligated to you, that’s the evil part of it. But being polite makes them think of you. So, people come to me and they’re like, oh yeah, I need somebody to do Twitter. Oh, who did you hear about me from? I don’t know a bunch of people said it. So, because I’m always there sharing other people’s stuff and they know I’m super supportive about it.

Johnathan: Yeah, we’re going to wrap it up. The podcast part of the show, hopefully, Bridget can stay on for some bonus content. Can you stay on for a little while for some…?

Bridget: Yeah.

Johnathan: [Inaudible 29:53] Bridget the evil genius, there we go. Bridget, how can people find out more about you, your thoughts, and what you’re up to?

Bridget: Bridgetwillard.com, Twitter, or YouTube [inaudible 30:08] Guru.

Johnathan: Are you going to mention your podcast as well?

Bridget: Oh, yeah. Smart marketing shows every Friday at 9:00 AM, Pacific, WP Watercooler network. You can find us on YouTube or anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Johnathan: They are great podcast. I listened to them myself. Adrian, how can people find out more about you, your thoughts, and what you’re up to?

Adrian: Oh so after you’ve done all of your top of funnel work and people are pouring in from social media channels like no tomorrow because you’ve listened to all of Bridget’s advice, r you’re going to need some sort of follow-up system in order to help you manage all of those new leads, you can go to Groundhogg with two gs .IO to get our free software that will help you build onboarding funnels, follow up funnels, review request funnels, all of the funnels that you are ever going to need.

Johnathan: It’s a great product. If you… We’ve got a free webinar coming up on the 4th of August, that’s Tuesday, the 4th of August at 9:00 AM, Pacific Standard Time. Me and Chris Badgett CEO of LifterLMS are going to be talking about LifterLMS and how you can use it to build your first course. We are going to be talking about all the improvements that have recently been introduced to the Lifter. They’ve got some fantastic new add ons, but we’re going to be talking it’s going to be a great conversation and to join the webinar, all you got to do is go to the WP-Tonic website and in the top navigation, there’s a button that says free webinar.

You click that, register and you’ll be able to join the conversation live and be able to ask Chris any questions that are on your mind about building a course, or if you’re building one for clients using Lifter, he will be able to answer any of your queries. Also, if you want to really support the podcast, give us a review on iTunes. It really helps the show. And we’re going to go on now for bonus content, which you’ll be able to see on the WP-Tonic YouTube channel, and on the website. We have a full transcription of our interview with Bridget. We see in next week, folks. Bye.

Every Friday at 8:30am PST we have a great and hard-hitting round-table show with a group of WordPress developers, online business owners and WordPress junkies where we discuss the latest and most interesting WordPress and online articles/stories of the week. You can also watch the show LIVE every Friday at 8:30am PST on our Facebook WP-Tonic Show page. https://www.facebook.com/wptonic/

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