In this episode, Kristin Smedley talks about the power of video on Twitter, using Twitter at conferences as a speaker, branding yourself consistently, and making an impact even if you have fewer than a zillion followers!
She’ll share her inspiring personal journey and the simple steps she took that elevated her Twitter presence. That success has helped her advocate for her two blind sons and launched her role as an advocate for the blind and visually impaired community.
This podcast episode is brought to you by the #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat. Each week, I host this chat and bring together hundreds of people in an active one-hour discussion revolving around Twitter marketing. It’s every Thursday at 1 p.m. E.T. Hope to see you there!
Kristin Smedley is an award-winning nonprofit leader, TEDx speaker, and author. She never planned any of that. But then two of her three children were diagnosed with a rare disease that causes blindness, and she had to learn how to use tools to help them. Kristin’s two blind sons are now thriving as gifted high school and college students.
She is the founder of the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, the only patient organization in the world for her sons’ blindness, CRB1 LCA/RP. Her book, “Thriving Blind: Stories of Success Without Sight” is available in all formats, including electronic Braille and large print. Kristin speaks internationally on the topic of “Setting Extraordinary Expectations” for your personal journey, and she’s also a co-host of the 4 Chicks Chatting Podcast.
— Kristin Smedley😎Champion of Hope (@KristinSmedley) May 9, 2019
Good answer good answer!!! pic.twitter.com/wFuyNRci8y
— Kristin Smedley😎Champion of Hope (@KristinSmedley) May 9, 2019
I’d love to make a donation!! Is there a website I can do this at??
PS you can call me John anytime new friend! 👍🏻 https://t.co/I7VbPuakEs
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) November 2, 2018
For more Twitter marketing information, check out Madalyn’s archive of Twitter Tips articles.
Your call to action for this episode is to use your smartphone to create a short video and publish it on Twitter. Even better if you use the Boomerang for Instagram app! Be sure to send me a tweet @MadalynSklar. I’d love to see it!
Need some simple Twitter marketing guidance? Check out my FREE #TwitterSmarter Secret Sauce course. It’s a mini-class I put together at madalynsklar.com/secretsauce. It includes articles and videos that share my strategies on how to boost your presence on Twitter so you get better results.
Ready to go all-in for Twitter marketing training? Then you’re ready for my #TwitterSmarter Master Class. This online course is ideal for beginners and intermediate Twitter users. You’ll get step-by-step instructions that will help you enhance your profile and learn strategies that work! You’ll learn how to maximize your presence and monetize your efforts.
My weekly #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat on all things Twitter marketing featuring a different social media marketing expert each Thursday at 1 p.m. E.T.
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Madalyn Sklar: Hey, Kristin, Thank you so much for joining the podcast. I am so happy to have you here as my special guest. My question for you is: What are your best Twitter tips?
Kristin Smedley: Oh, hey. Well, first of all, thanks so much for having me Madalyn. I’m like, I’m sitting here in, in awe of the fact that I get to be on this when just maybe three years ago I was mopping my kitchen floors and listening to you getting all the tips. That’s when I used to listen, get all the tips I could and then grew my mission so far and wide because of all your tips.
So I’m excited. Um, and to that end, I guess my, my big, uh, my biggest Twitter tip is teaching. I use Twitter to teach literally the world about the things I do in terms of raising blind kids, keeping a positive attitude about it and how to use my nonprofit to get the word out far and wide. Twitter is an amazing tool for teaching.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. You have come a long way in the three years since you first, you know … I remember your tweets and you were like telling me you were listening to this podcast. And uh, I see you out on Twitter all the time. You’re so active. You’re so involved, and you share so much information. It’s amazing.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. You know what, I actually … I used to think Twitter was so hard, and I think a lot of people have that misconception when Twitter really is … I mean I, I have thought bubbles all the time, right?
So it’s like Twitter lets you just put those, the things you’re thinking about and your reactions to things that happen, you know, in current time. You get to put your reaction out there and give your point of view constantly. It’s really cool, and it’s pretty simple.
Madalyn Sklar: Totally. Yeah. ‘Cause you know, Facebook is … It’s not the same. You know, you just can’t be as conversational like you can in a tweet and really express yourself. So that is a super great point.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. And, and the, the audience is a little different on Twitter too, in, in my opinion. And I have to, the reach that I’ve had to different people that I never would have had an opportunity to talk to. You can reach them on Twitter. It’s pretty cool that they’re there.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. For sure. Yeah. I know. I just like, I mean I still remember when you sent me that tweet telling me about, you know, you’re cleaning in the kitchen and or whatever it was you’re doing the kitchen and then, but you’re listening to this podcast and learning so much. Like, like that always stood out to me.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. And you know what? There was, I guess I’m always in my kitchen, right? Because I used to, I was mopping the floors, and I would listen. And then maybe maybe six months, a year in, was when I was cooking dinner. I actually wrote a blog about it.
I was cooking dinner and there was a rare disease Twitter chat, and because I knew about the Twitter chats from you and how to how to work it, I followed along and it was like the mega people in pharmaceutical at at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Like, all these rock stars. I think I even called it that.
Um, we’re literally in my kitchen while I spent 40 minutes making dinner. I was chatting with them all and that actually is the beginning of my name getting out there as somebody that’s educated in this field and had something to offer. That was pretty cool.
Madalyn Sklar: That was really cool. I’m going to dig up that tweet because I remember that tweet. I remember the picture. It always stood out in my mind, but I’ll put that in the show notes because it’s really interesting to look back on your progression on Twitter.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah, yeah. But it really is a testament to the way that the #TwitterSmarter podcast … back. At that point it was like little 12- and 15-minute segments that that did a deep dive and really taught me the basics.
‘Cause you don’t … People just think Twitter’s overwhelming, and you need to know so much. And when you have those couple of basic tools, then you really can go far because I honestly have not done much more than the basics and added some video and some fun – I don’t even know how you say them – Giphys GIFs, whatever people say.
Yeah, I got like a little bit fancy cause I don’t have time to learn a whole bunch of stuff, and still, um, It’s … My Twitter actually has started to explode now that I really have come into the message that I want to put out there and doing it with my style. And now like the followers are just nonstop now. It’s pretty cool.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. Well you make a great point there. I mean you learned a lot of the basics. So I always tell people, you just need to know how to use the platform you’re on. You’ll get all the information, you can. Learn how to use it.
But, but you know, now you’re seeing things turn in your favor. Like you’re getting the attention, you’re getting the recognition, you’re reaching out to people that you’re hoping you could do on the platform.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. It’s really cool. I mean, of course there’s the ones that, you know, maybe, I don’t know if people see them or you don’t get any reaction. But as long as I stay true to, to what it is that I’m trying to teach and um, have the conversations that I want to have and stay very true to my personality… And people say to me when they meet me in person, they’re like, “Oh my God. It’s just like I’m talking to you on Twitter.”
Madalyn Sklar: That is actually very awesome. That really shows that you’re doing it right. You’re, you’re being your true authentic self. That’s what you’re putting out there on Twitter.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Well, you know, it’s funny about that too, cause when I, when I wrote my book, my editor was my sixth-grade English teacher – that’s who I reached out to to edit.
And she, after all these years, right, she emails me back after the first chapter and she goes, “Oh God, Kristen, You still type like you talk.” And I go, “Hey, on Twitter, that’s a great thing.” She’s like, “Yeah, not on the book, though. Let’s clean this up a little bit.” I’m like, “I get to be all me on Twitter.”
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. Well, you also like really embraced video on Twitter, and that’s done a lot for your success, as well.
Um, I don’t know if this was one of your planned tips. But I, you know, one of the things that really stood out to me was seeing you get really comfortable using video in your tweets.
And not everybody’s comfortable just, you know, kind of doing it Instagram-story style, but because nobody thinks of going to Twitter to do Instagram story type of posts, even though you can do that there. It’s great for that. You can make little videos holding your phone selfie style and talk.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. You know, it’s funny though, I started video elsewhere on Facebook and, and some Youtube stuff a while ago and, and tried to get really good at it, and then I just got … I mean the original ones are like awful, but I don’t care. I leave them there. You know, then you just eventually get comfortable.
And then it was … You had mentioned about using video on Twitter in, in one of the, uh, things that you did. And I’m like, wow, man, video on Twitter. And I … The first thing I thought it was, “You don’t see video on Twitter.” And I’m like … I talked to you in your podcast, you don’t even hear me on ’cause I’m listening to your recording. And I’m like, “Man, no, nobody uses …” And you’re like, “No one uses videos so you will stand out.” And I’m like, “wow.”
It’s like you really are in my kitchen. And I’m like, “Oh my God. That’s perfect.” That’s exactly, and it was right at that time when you had mentioned that. And I’m like, “Oh my God, video on Twitter.”
And then the, the infamous um, uh, call for action on, um, the CEO of T-Mobile did his, “Hey, I have $1,500, where should I donate it?” And there was … I can’t remember how many thousands of replies there were to his one tweet saying, “I need the money for this,” or “Donate it here.” And I was the only one that did a video.
Madalyn Sklar: Wow. What made you do that video? Like you, so you saw the tweet from him, you know, saying, “Hey, I’ve got $1,500, where should I donate it?”
And like what made you like instantly think like, let me make a video and let me know and let me not overthink it. Let me just do it. ‘Cause I remember you telling me like … ’cause I was so wowed by your video. And you’re like, “Yeah, I just turned it on and started recording.”
Kristin Smedley: You know, I literally … So I’m a 5 a.m. girl. I’m up early, right. And my kids all start their routines about six o’clock, and it was a school morning. And I was taking my daughter to the bus and saw the tweet, drove her to the bus stop, and I’m looking at myself in my pajamas, right? And I’m like … Now I was fresh … You know how they say that saying, um, uh, “luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” right?
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah.
Kristin Smedley: So I had been for a long time learning Twitter, listening to, to your tips. Um, with my 4 Chicks on our podcast, we talked a lot about video and “you gotta get yourself out there. People need to see you.” So I was already kind of trying to perfect the video thing, right? Then this opportunity comes, drive my daughter to the bus stop. And I was like, I’m like, “Chris, get out. You have to wait at the bus stop today. I can’t chat with you in the car. I got to get home and make this video.”
Kristin Smedley: And I was in my pajamas, still. Threw on my foundation shirt for the nonprofit that I run. And, honestly, I followed every tip you said: “Talk from the heart.” I also was was um, studying a lot with um, Pete Vargas who … ’cause I’m a speaker. And I was really trying to up my speaking game, and um, and he has this Story Braid idea where, you know, to the head, the heart and a couple of statistics. And I did all of that learning from both of you in a 90-second video that just said exactly what I was working at…
And I happened to be in a really bad predicament of trying to figure out how to get my book in Braille for the blind community, and it’s so expensive. And I was banging my head against the wall, and, lo and behold, this opportunity comes. And I thought … for me it was more of serving my readers and the community that I serve well. How could I not take this opportunity to potentially get the electronic Braille version paid for?
And it was seven o’clock in the morning. I recorded that and posted it, and by seven o’clock at night I’m at dinner and my phone blew up. And here he had seen it, said yes, and then it went … it was shared. It was shared so much that we left dinner – The man I’m dating and I left dinner, came home and set up the GoFundMe. ‘Cause people all started saying “How can we help?” And then it was just, I was getting messages for weeks after that. It was incredible.
Madalyn Sklar: Wow. That’s amazing. And looking … I’m going to definitely put this tweet, I’m going to embed it in the show notes. I want everybody to check this out ’cause it’s just so darn inspiring. It’s at 37,000 views. That’s amazing. This little video you made, 90-second video. You’re wearing a baseball hat. You’re in, you’re … You know, you real quickly change out of your pajamas. You’re just trying to … You know, most of us women would’ve been like, “Wait a minute. I gotta shower. I gotta fix my hair. I gotta put makeup on,” and an hour or two goes by and then you don’t do it, right?
Kristin Smedley: Yeah.
Madalyn Sklar: You’d like take action and just did it. That’s amazing.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah, it’s funny. And you know, that’s one little Twitter tip: I tend to wear my … In the spring and summer I’m in my Phillies hat, and in the fall and winter I’m in my Eagles hat. It’s just something that I love, right? So I was initially thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to wash my hair and do all that,” like all the rest of us. And I’m like, “I am always in this hat. I’m so proud of my sports teams,” and I happen to have my Eagles had on that day. I didn’t have time to do my hair.
When I’m out and about now at conferences and stuff, people that know me from video on the social platforms, especially Twitter, will go, “Oh my God, There’s Kristin in the Phillies hat.” You know, like they know me from that. So little, you know, little tip there. Go ahead and put on a hat or some, some noticeable, you know, memorable thing.
And the other thing I do a lot is wear denim. Um, because part of the, the work that I do, um, is with the Global Genes organization, and their theme is “Hope. It’s in our genes” because it’s a genetic, rare disease kind of organization. So they wear jeans all the time.
So I love denim, you know. And I’m always doing my rare disease stuff in denim. Now I just kind of wear it all the time. And I do that on Twitter, too, and I have a picture of me, um, or a video. And then people recognize me elsewhere.
Madalyn Sklar: That’s right. Branding is important.
Kristin Smedley: A little bit of branding built in.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. I love that. That, that’s a really great tip. So, so, the CEO sees your tweet, he’s sharing it. So now it’s just going insane. So how did that affect your, your Twitter profile? Do you start getting a ton of new followers? Did it spark a whole ton of conversations? Did you get other donations? Tell us a little more about that.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah, we got other donations. Um, it came in so fast and furious and huge that GoFundMe, shut the page down for, it was like seven or eight days because it came out of nowhere that I, I like launched it. And then all this stuff was coming in, and they had to … It was at the time when there was a lot of fraud happening, and they had to make sure … My website crashed, and GoFundMe crashed because of all the activity. And I was like, I was so ecstatic at first. And then I’m like, “Crap, We’ve got to figure this out. (laughing) Everybody still wants to donate.”
But, um, I mean, uh, the, the coolest part of all of it is that, you know, the blind community tends to be, uh, not necessarily forgotten, but people just don’t know what to do. Right? And then in terms of Braille, and it’s, it’s a big production costs and all that.
When I got to call the national … And the National Braille Press that was trying to create the file, um, for the electronic braille, you know, they were trying to figure out solutions for the cost too.
And then when I messaged them and I said, “Guess what, you know, look what happened on Twitter.” They were ecstatic. The blind community was ecstatic. You know, it was just, it was just a really cool thing where everybody was together in one spot just with something really fun to celebrate.
And now that … The electronic Braille version of the book is available at the exact same cost as the Kindle version, as opposed to, you know, $100, which is what it would have been. Um, it can be available for $9.99. So that’s why we were looking to do was level the playing field for the blind community. And that one little, tweet with all the preparation beforehand and that little opportunity, um, really came together in a cool way.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. All from a little video tweet. I love that.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. But it was no, all that training of “Just get over yourself. Get your message out there.” This is a community that you’re, you know, a purpose that you’re serving and, um, have all the tools to do it well.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. Love that. Such great advice. I hope our listeners are inspired to start doing some video tweets and experiment. There’s so many different ways to do it. Are you doing other videos besides talking to CEOs of large companies to solicit donations?
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. You know, now it’s like I did a video of … and this was just purely, I wanted it from my own thing as a mom. When my son Mitchell, my middle blind son, um, he got accepted into this incredible, um, potential paralympic, uh, program where they’re going to go take a look at him as one of the all stars in blind sports in this country, Right? So he gets to come out to Colorado Springs to the Olympic training center and spend a week there.
So we waited for months to find out if he was accepted, and he wasn’t home when he got, when we got the email. So my other kids and I set up the kitchen and American flags, we had the music playing.
And just as a mom, I wanted the video of his reaction, right? So I set up the, the, the phone, you know, and took a video and it was, so .. I mean, I’m crying. He danced all over Chrissa. My daughter put the soccer flag on them, you know, the American flag. So anyway, so I took that video and just shared it, started sharing it on, on Twitter and all the different platforms, saying look at, you know, how excited Mitch is.
On Twitter that I think it’s, it’s like near 17,000 views that people were so excited to watch him SO excited, you know. And we had the flags and everything. Olympians, former Olympians were sending me messages that they saw it.
Madalyn Sklar: Wow.
Kristin Smedley: And we’re congratulating him, and, and the, um, U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, like the CEO of that organization, everybody is saying they can’t wait for Mitch to get to Colorado Springs. They feel like they know them already from that little video.
And now there’s a, a guy called me, we’re going to partner on a book together because he saw the video and saw the fun and passion.
And, and you, I think the coolest thing about that video – and I hope we can embed it in the show notes … But the coolest thing I want people to take away from that is, you know, so many times – and this is the beauty of video – so many times when you hear “blind,” it’s instant sadness, right? Or devastation.
And then they hear, I have two blind kids, and I’ve been saying, I’ve been known as the happiest mom with blind kids. Right? And then you see the video of Mitch and how happy he is. And it just shows the world that “Yes, there are challenges in this house for sure, but my kids so stinky and happy and doing the things that they want to do.”
You know, I had to put my dreams for them aside, and these videos show that they really are going after their mountain tops. It’s cool. Videos a cool thing for that.
Madalyn Sklar: Really awesome. Yeah, for sure. Well, video is just, you can show so much in a video, right? You can only say so much with words, and we’re really limited with Twitter, with 280 characters, so video …
That’s why I’m such a big advocate for video because you can share so much; it’s a great way for people to get to know, like, and trust you because it’s transparent. It’s real. You can’t hide behind the video. Um, and you, you’ve got great examples of how super powerful it can be. Take it to a whole new level.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. And especially if you have like … You know, some people think they have a quirky personality or they’re a little different that that’s not it … I think that’s a great thing because you can’t convey all of your personality in the tweets.
I mean, and I studied it. I was trying to figure out, like, how you use an asterisk, you know, to emphasize, you know, all those different little nuances. And I’m like, “Oh my God. I just don’t have time to figure all that out. I’ll just turn the video on and look, see how funny I am (Laughs) – in my mind.”
Madalyn Sklar: That’s so great. I love that. Well, these, these are such great tips you’re sharing. What other tips do you have for the listener?
Kristin Smedley: You know, one of the things, and I actually learned this from you also, was to make my own GIFs through … I use the Boomerang app. Real simple.
You know, I did one, um, I had the 4 Chicks do it too. We took … Of course Robin wasn’t exactly thrilled. We were in her studio, and we had all this confetti. And we just were throwing confetti and made Boomerangs of that, and we used those as the 4 Chicks together.
And I use mine separately when I want to, you know, somebody will be on Twitter and say “I just won this award. I’m so proud.” And then I send that little Giphy with the confetti saying “congratulations.” And those suckers go super far too. Like fun little things … It just stands out a little bit, and people actually think that that they look at that as I’m, I went the extra mile for them, and they always respond back to me over stuff like that. So I would definitely say use Boomerang and uh, make your own GIFs.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah, I’m going to put the link to that in the show notes. That is such a great tip. Custom GIFs are really awesome. I have one that I made just on one app on my phone like a couple of years ago, and it was just me like uh, you know, pointing at you and then doing the thumbs up. And, oh my gosh, people love it.
And, and every time I want to do some kind of a little thank you tweet to somebody, I’ll usually put that in there, and it feels personal to them because it’s me, you know, looking at them and like “You rock.” You know?
And so I think it goes a really long way, and I’m so glad that you’ve done that and you brought that up here. It’s an excellent tip.
And the Boomerang app. What a great idea. I’m going to try that because I wanted to make some new ones. I actually had that on my to-do list for today. I’m like, “What app should I use?” ‘Cause it was a few years ago when I made the other one, and, uh, I don’t think that app is still, so I’ll check that out. Thank you for sharing that tip with us.
Kristin Smedley: I, you’re welcome. The Boomerang is fun. I also, just on a side note, I made a few to drive my daughter crazy. I send them to her. I have one of me rolling my eyes, you know, and waving to her during the day. She’s like, “Thanks mom. Thanks for that.”
Madalyn Sklar: That’s a great use of them. That is hilarious.
Kristin Smedley: Now, another one that I absolutely love – and I think everyone is still using this one. I know that they’ve developed all new things, but that “Click to Tweet” in a blog post. Oh my gosh, the fact that you can … ‘Cause I love to just emphas… I’m a skimmer when I read. I like to skim through and the Click to Tweet not only gives you that little bullet point that you want to call attention to, then you can just click it.
And I’ve built in all the hashtags. Um, Mary Fran does it for us on the 4 Chicks Chatting one, and it’s all built right in. And you just click it and it’s out there on Twitter, and then people can come in and visit your blog. That one’s a nice, simple one.
Madalyn Sklar: I love Click to Tweet. I’ve been using them for years. I use them for my show notes for this podcast. We’ll definitely have some in there.
And what I love about Click to Tweet, and it’s just clicktotweet.com if you might want to check it out. There’s a free version and a paid version. I did the free version for years and years and years. I finally stepped up, and, and I do the paid version now just because I can get better analytics.
Like I can get a lot of detailed information, and I can go and edit any of my click to tweets that I put together. Whereas, with the free version you can’t. So I can always go back, make changes to them and get all these analytics. And that’s super helpful.
But, uh, I’m glad you mentioned that ’cause I, I’m a skimmer too, and I love when I see those big, uh, bullet points that are, you know, they’re designed as a Click to Tweet. It just makes it easy for you to click on it, and it tweets out what you’re reading. If you want to be in the giving mood and share a tweet of what you’re reading.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah, that’s cool. And that’s another thing that I’ve been able to do a lot of teaching on Twitter about blindness ’cause I’ll pull those special things out of my blog that you know about Braille or about different things. And that’s the tweet that gets clicked in. A lot of people end up sharing that. That’s cool.
And then my final one is, um, I’m a big podcast listener, like I mean I, when I go for runs, when I’m cleaning constantly. And I go on in, in the, um … It’s not iTunes now. What are they calling it? The Apple podcast. When I’m listening, you can go in and share it. You hit that little, the little share thing, and you can tweet it right from there.
And I’ll pick out like I was on a run today for 50 minutes and was tweeting when it was time for me to like, you know, when the big hills were coming. And I was walking, whatever I had just heard that was worth it to tweet, I would go in there, share it, do the little … I was listening to um John Lee Dumas and Stedman Graham were talking today and tweeted the little, you know, value bomb that that they said. And then I go through and do it as a thread sometimes or multiple tweets. So that’s a nice, easy one to share.
But the funny thing about that is I started doing that on Twitter because I wanted to remember when I was out on my runs, those specific points in the podcast. I didn’t want to forget them and I couldn’t write it down. So I started tweeting it, and then other more sharing it really it was for me to go back on my Twitter and go back and see what I learned and wanted to remember.
Madalyn Sklar: I love that. That, that is a great idea. You know, I sometimes do that to worry where what I’m doing kind of has a dual purpose. So sometimes it’s also as a reminder for me to go back to it. So super smart. It’s a great way to get attention.
I love, uh, tweet when I’m listening to a podcast, I’ll tweet it out. I’ll also put it in Instagram stories, I’ll usually do a screenshot and share it and tag the people I’m listening to. It’s a way to kind of let them know, “Hey, I’m listening to this, and I like it.” And I get great response when I do that.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. You know, I do too. And, and I mean I’ve been retweeted and, and all from a lot of the podcast hosts, um, when I was just looking to share their information. So yeah, that’s been really cool. Totally cool.
Madalyn Sklar: Awesome. Well, great tip.
Kristin Smedley: And then I also already talked about … I did have one funny story though. I talked about making sure, you know, if you have like a, um, a color, and your brand is all in your videos and stuff. I am a, I am like a snob about looking like you when you’re on Twitter. You’re, my, um, my head shots. It drives me crazy when people don’t look like their headshot and don’t look in real life like they do on videos, and I don’t know who they are. Right?
So I always … My business card has my picture on it. I just want people to remember who I am and, and what not.
So, I was just at a conference in Vancouver. I think it was something like 14,000 people or something. And I’m at the registration. You know how those things are. These big convention centers. There’s bazillions of people around. And I hear somebody yell from across the convention center, “There’s Kristin Smedley from Twitter.”
Madalyn Sklar: Oh my gosh.
Kristin Smedley: Isn’t that hilarious? And I’m like, and everybody’s like, “You look just like your videos.” I’m like, “I know.” You know, I, what are you going to do? It was so funny. But then …
And then we were doing Twitter meetups and, and all kinds of stuff, and I really met a lot of people that already knew me because of the videos and stuff on Twitter. So look like look like yourself.
Madalyn Sklar: That is powerful. That is so powerful. It’s a great tip because, you know, I’m a big advocate of telling people the importance of branding on your, you know, your website and your social media and have like this cohesive brand. And it should look like you.
So on social media when you’re putting your profile picture … You know, I always tell people they should be able to recognize you at a conference. You walk into a con … just like what you do … You walk in, people should know who you are because they already know you, they follow you on social media, you chat on social media. You should look like that picture.
I love that you brought that up because I’m huge with that too. And I think is so important.
Back when I was in the music business, back in those early Myspace days. Um, at first for my music community I had just the logo, and then it’s like, and you know, social media was new, you know. Myspace was a way to really kind of learn ins and outs of how to use social media, that type of a, a platform for connecting with people.
And I quickly realized you need a good headshot because when people are looking at that, and, especially if you’re doing direct messages, they feel like they’re talking to you if they see a picture of you looking back at them. And I made sure it was a picture of what I look like right now.
And over the next few years, every time I went to a conference … because I was really heavy user on Myspace because it was great for the music business. And every time I went to a conference, I mean, I used to go to whole lots of them every year. So, many people walked up to me and did exactly what you, you know, crowded room, “Hey you’re Madalyn. We’re Myspace friends.” And it’s like, “Wow, I’m doing it right.” You know, and you should always use a photo that, that, that really portrays who you are, what you look like right now.
I mean that’s just, to me, that’s just like an added bonus. You’re on social. You’re meeting all these people, and now you’re in real life, IRL in real life. And like, people should know that’s you.
If they’d been talking to you on social media … If I hadn’t met you in person, I would be able to point you out in a crowded room. ‘Cause you, you do have a consistent look on your social media. And I think that’s so important. It’s just one of those things that doesn’t get talked about very much.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. I, it drives me crazy when I can’t, when I don’t know who people are because they don’t look like themselves. So. Yup. That’s a good one.
Madalyn Sklar: Yes. Kind of like, you know, the how realtor’s not all, I don’t want to offend anybody, but you know how like realtors can be notorious for like, you know, you see their, their picture online and then you go meet them in person and it was like they used a picture from 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and they look a little bit older, a little bit more gray, less hair, and you’re like, “I would have never picked them out in a crowd.”
Kristin Smedley: Right. What is that about?
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. So yeah, get a, get a photo that portrays who you are right now. It really goes a long way. That’s a great story of getting, you know, picked out in a, in a large crowded room at a big conference and somebody recognize you. I love hearing that.
Kristin Smedley: And you know what, it’s not even just video for … Before I go to conferences – ’cause I’m, I’m a speaker at most of them that I go to – I’ll take my headshot, put it on a … I’ll go in Canva and do a quick um, headshot, the title of my session when it is. And I’ll start tweeting about what people are going to learn in that session.
I can’t tell you how many people end up filling that room because they knew in advance. You know, the, the conference apps are great that you find out all the stuff, the sessions you want to go to, but then when you’re constantly seeing …
And they get to know my personality a little bit too, um. And the event coordinators love that, that I’m promoting their conference. You know, and then I’ll throw in a video or two when, when I get there, showing ’em, you know, that I’m excited and what people are going to learn. But I use a simple picture with what when your session is is perfect.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah, that’s an awesome tip because … I saw you mentioning that on last week’s #TwitterSmarter chat. You’re one of our regulars that comes on the chat, and you’re always sharing.
You used to come on in like really just be taking it all in. And now it’s like I see you putting so many tweets during the chat, like you know, sharing your two cents ’cause you’ve learned so much. And now you’re sharing all this knowledge you’ve accumulated.
And I saw you talking about when you said using the Canva image and creating it and putting that out there to share the details of where you’re speaking at. And I tell you conferences really do appreciate that. They take notice of speakers and do things like that because it helps promote the event.
You’re helping so many people, but you’re helping yourself too. You know, it’s, it’s a win-win all around.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Yeah. Why not? Why not? So yeah, it worked out good. And then I just did it. I just was interviewed because I get, I’m getting this big award from Global Genes in September. And when I got the call that I got the award, I mean I call it the Grammys of rare diseases.
It’s the big … one of the biggest awards you can get. I had my son turn up – while I was already at another conference and he was there with me cause I was going to present. He turned on my phone, and I just did a “I am so grateful” two-minute video, and they called me.
They were so grateful that I did that to promote the gala and the awards in the organization. I was like, “Well wait a minute. I was doing that just to be grateful,” you know? And it was like this whole love fest, you know. It just, um, it’s cool.
You really can, you really can’t give back. You really can serve your community well, and you really can, can show your gratitude, uh, for things like awards or being chosen to speak and that kind of thing. So yeah, it’s, it’s a good spot.
Madalyn Sklar: That is so cool. These are our really great useful tips that you’re sharing. Do you have any others or are we ready to talk about tools even? You mentioned a few, but uh, actually a lot of these things you talked about were actually tools, but you’re, which is cool because you’re kind of like this dual purpose.
You’re sharing them how you’re doing it as a really great tip. But I have been taking notice that a lot of these are really awesome tools as well. Which uh, it sounds like you’re like me. You like using tools.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah, I like using and the simpler the better. Um, and I’m a, I’m a frugal girl, so you know, I’ll go for the, the free ones and maybe upgrade here and there and try the try. Oh God.
If you ever try those free trials, make sure you put a notification in your, in your phone to discontinue the free trial. ‘Cause I have gotten into subscriptions where I’m like, “Oh man, I meant to cancel that free trial.”
But then I have found stuff that’s really worked well for me, and I keep the subscription going.
But um, yeah. And then, and then the only other thing that I’ll say is I almost always have my phone and iPad with me to, to be able to, um, snap videos. I’ve got the, a little tripod with a, um, remote shutter thing, so I can set it up, you know, a little further away. Um, and I’ll say I’m on location if I’m in a hotel and I want to do a video or something.
I don’t have my typical stuff behind me. I’ll say I’m on location. Um, but I’m always just looking for opportunities to, to get my face out there, my message out there with me saying it, um, through video and pictures and then a fun, silly tweets here and there.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. Well what would be like your number one tool that helps you the most just using Twitter in general?
Kristin Smedley: You know what, it’s my phone. It’s, it’s, it’s on the iPhone, um, in the Twitter app. And, um, and I just started getting into the analytics to take a look. And I encourage people to do that. It was a little scary for me ’cause I didn’t quite understand it.
But I would encourage you to just go and click on that because you actually will have so much more gratification because even though you don’t get the amount of likes that you want to look like, it’s not going anywhere.
When you go into those, into the um, analytics, you see just how many impressions it’s made, how many people really are seeing it that you’re not aware of.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah, analytics are so important. In a previous episode where I talked about Dhariana Lozano, we were just discussing the importance of your analytics and looking at them regularly because it really lets you know what’s working and what’s not so you can tweak your strategy as you go.
And, uh, for those of you listening, if you’re not sure where to go, I’ll have in the show notes. But go, uh, you go to your Twitter and twitter.com and a browser at the top right-hand corner.
You click on your little picture, and then in the pull down menu you’ll see analytics. But best way to do it is bookmark this link analytics.twitter.com. Bookmark that and check it regularly. So I’m so glad you mentioned analytics.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. And I, I can’t even believe I’m mentioning that because I was like, you know, that kind of stuff… And like spreadsheets. I’m like, ah, those kinds of things drive me crazy. But it really did help.
And that’s where I saw that my tweets that were more teachable moments where I was teaching about blindness and living with blindness, those were the ones that were having a further reach. So I started doing more of that, and then the engagement started going up in the fall and we started going up. So it really does all help. Yeah.
Madalyn Sklar: See what works. Like I’ve been doing this big experiment lately where I’m doing more, more of like repurposing some of my Twitter tip blog posts. I’ve been, I’ve been doing a whole series of these blog posts, sharing all these different Twitter tips. And I’m making these tweets. I’m doing a miss thread so I can keep continuing them on and using emojis to make it like bullet points, but using fun emojis and look at the analytics.
I mean, they’re, they’re just doing so much better than my typical tweet.
And other, another thing I love about the Twitter analytics now: You can also get your video metrics, and since you do a lot of video, uh, they used to not have that available. And then at first it was like a beta.
But now when you’re in the analytics section, there’s a little pull-down menu for more, and it says videos. And you can go look at how they’re doing, you know, stacked up against each other.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah. Cool. And I think that the final thing that I have, if I can’t convince people, I don’t know how to convince them, is to get on the tweet chats, the, the Twitter chats.
I mean, the people that you meet there that are, that are so much like you interested in this stuff you’re interested in. It’s uncanny. The conversations … I mean, everyone talks about Twitter’s a conversation.
For years I was like, “No, it isn’t. It’s, it’s a microphone.” You know? And then when I really started getting engaged with people that are in the field I’m in and interested in the stuff I’m in, especially through the tweet chats, that’s where the engagement and conversation comes. Huge.
Madalyn Sklar: Yeah. That’s awesome. You have been just a wealth of information for our listeners. I’m so glad I had you come on, and these are really great stories you are telling stories and tips. I love that so much.
Now, if people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way? I’m sure plenty of our listeners want to go check out all the great work. You have a TED talk. You’ve got a podcast. You’ve got your book. Tell us how we can go get all this information and learn more.
Kristin Smedley: Yeah, well, of course I want everyone to connect with me on Twitter. And I, my handle is Kristin Smedley, and I’m Kristin with two “i”s. I’m an “i-n” – Kristin with an “i-n.” Um, and then my website is KristinSmedley.com.
You can find my nonprofit there, the book, the Braille version. Um, and you’ll link, it links you to our Facebook community. Everything is pretty much hubbed at kristinsmedley.com.
Madalyn Sklar: Awesome. Thank you so much. I, I’m just like, I was taking notes. It was like some really good stuff. And I’ll have all of that in the show notes ’cause you shared lots and lots of good stuff. So thank you for your time today.
Kristin Smedley: Oh God. Thank you for having me! And I finally get to contribute all this stuff that you’ve taught me all these years.
Madalyn Sklar: I love it. That makes it even better.