How To Improve Your Social Media Communication and Authentically Build Your Digital Brand Today
Today we welcome a very powerful player in the world of social media marketing, Madalyn Sklar. Madalyn has spent the last 20 years helping people build their brand online. She is the Founder of GoGirlsMusic, which grew into the oldest and largest online community of female musicians and has been blogging since the early 2000’s, way before it was cool!
Today Madalyn is ranked as the number one social media power influencer in Houston Texas and Huffington Post recently named her as one of their 50 women entrepreneurs to follow in 2017. She currently hosts a weekly podcast called Twitter Smarter – interviewing movers and shakers in the world of social media and online marketing.
Madalyn’s mission is to help entrepreneurs and small businesses exponentially grow their brand in an authentic and impactful way. She does this through blogging, creating, speaking and teaching courses at MadalynSklar.com. In this episode, we discuss the past, present and future digital landscape, how you can Twitter smarter and better build your brand in a competitive digital space.
Key Points From This Episode:
- Madalyn describes her original all-women online community of the 90’s.
- Reflecting on the changing digital landscape from the 90’s to today.
- How the internet shaped Madalyn’s entire career and future.
- Find out why Madalyn started her Twitter Smarter podcast.
- The digital marketing and Twitter challenges faced by small businesses.
- Social media conversation: Why Twitter is a two-way street.
- Outlining a social media strategy to work smarter, not harder.
- Using Twitter as a way for companies to deal with customer service.
- Hear Madalyn’s advice for building your brand digitally.
- Digital trends and the chat bot phenomena in business today.
- And much more!
“It’s interesting to look back and see where we were versus where we are now.” — @madalynsklar [0:03:19.1]
“No matter what it is I do, the bottom line is, I’m helping people and I love that.” — @madalynsklar [0:06:12.2]
“You also want to take time to listen, communicate and actually talk to people out there on Twitter.” — @madalynsklar [0:10:50.4]
“The best thing to do when you are trying to build your brand digitally is to get seen and heard.” — @madalynsklar [0:15:35.9]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Madalyn Sklar on Twitter – https://twitter.com/MadalynSklar?lang=en
Madalyn Sklar on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/madalynsklar
Madalyn Sklar on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/madalynsklar/
Madalyn Sklar Website – http://www.madalynsklar.com/
Twitter Smarter Podcast – http://www.madalynsklar.com/podcast/
Twitter Chat – http://www.madalynsklar.com/twittersmarterchat/
GoGirlsMusic – https://www.facebook.com/gogirlsmusic/
Hoot Suite – http://signuptoday.hootsuite.com/
Buffer – https://buffer.com/
Read The Transcript
[0:00:05.7] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Spinning Yarns, the interior design podcast brought to you by rugknots.com, luxurious hand knotted area rugs for your home and clients. Want to offer top quality hand crafted oriental rugs to your customers? Setup your trade account now at rugknots.com/trade and get special discounts on all products.
Now, let’s talk interior design.
[0:00:28.0] SE: Welcome back to the Spinning Yarns Podcast. My name is Sara Eyd, digital marketing coordinator for RugKnots and today I have the pleasure of speaking with a very powerful player in the world of social media marketing. Madelyn Sklar. Madelyn has spent the last 20 years helping people build their brand online.
She is the Founder of GoGirlsMusic and currently hosts a weekly podcast called Twitter Smarter. Madalyn is currently ranked as the number one social media power influencer in Houston Texas and Huffington Post recently named her as one of their 50 women entrepreneurs to follow in 2017. Welcome Madalyn.
Hi Madalyn, how are you today?
[0:01:06.9] MS: I’m good, how are you?
[0:01:07.8] SE: Good. Madalyn, you created an online community for female musicians way back in 1996. What was the digital landscape like back then? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
[0:01:20.0] MS: Yeah, well, it was so different back then. You know, the internet was super plain, not the way we see it today with all the interactivity. It was just these static pages but I saw it as a way to connect people and bring them together in a whole new way, where you could step outside your local community.
It was a great ways of getting all these musicians together. I grew up playing guitar and I was not a professional musician but I thought it would be fun to connect with other female musicians that were doing what I was doing and it proved to work really well.
I mean, it was mostly email or finding each other on web pages, it was just too soon for the interactivity we have today with social media, it was definitely ahead of its time for sure.
[0:02:10.8] SE: Right, it almost sounds like an original social network like just way before that was a terrible –
[0:02:16.3] MS: It was. You know, it funny because looking back, I’ve had so many people say, “Wow, you really built a social network for all of us before we even knew that term and knew what it was.”
[0:02:27.6] SE: That’s awesome. I mean, did you ever expect back in the 90’s that today in 2017, social networks and online communities would be so pivotal to our society?
[0:02:37.8] MS: Not really. I mean, I definitely saw that the internet would be our future, it was really early on with the whole beginning of .com. A lot of people didn’t even know what that was yet but being exposed to it very early on, I could see that this would have so much potential for connecting with people. But I had no idea it would get to where it’s at today.
It’s interesting when we look back, just five years ago, to think where we were five years ago and where we are now with social media, with the internet, with having the ability to watch movies, online streaming, that we couldn’t do that long ago, right?
It’s interesting to look back and see where we were versus where we are now.
[0:03:25.7] SE: Right, exactly. Today, where you are now, you are a blogger, social media influencer or podcast host. I mean, those weren’t job titles 20 or 30 years ago.
[0:03:37.8] MS: No, they sure weren’t and I had no idea that I had this in me and that’s something I always like to share as a takeaway. You don’t have to be 20 years old and think, “Okay, I have to go set out and be an entrepreneur.” I started way later with all of this. I was getting close to my 30’s when I started realizing, “Hey, I could become an entrepreneur and I could do my own thing.”
Set my own hours and utilize the internet for this. I had no idea that this was something that I could do. You know, we’re all conditioned to grow up and think that there’s certain jobs that are out there for us and that we can’t necessarily do whatever we want.
I realized that yeah, sure. I never thought I would grow up to do something in the music business. I wanted to be a rock star, when you grow up as a musician, we all want to be rock stars but only a very small percentage actually get to have that as their real job title.
I had hoped I would do something in the music business one day but I had no idea that because of the internet and all the opportunities that came with that, that it will allow me to help musicians. To get known as an industry leader, I would speak at conferences all over the US.
Got to do a lot of cool things that if it wasn’t for the internet, it would have never happened.
[0:05:09.3] SE: Right, I mean, it definitely brings people together and it sounds like in your case, really shaped your – changed your entire future. I mean, what was your dream job before you kind of became an entrepreneur and got into social media professionally?
[0:05:22.2] MS: Well, I’ve always been like a dreamer and always wanting to come up with all these wild things. I used to want to be a nature photographer, you know, go out and take cool pictures of things that would require me to be out in nature all day.
I mean, who wouldn’t want that job? That would be pretty cool. I used to want to be a flight attendant and just all these really random things but as I got older, I realized I just wanted to help people and however I could do that. Not necessarily as a teacher in a school but finding a way where I could help people with the knowledge that I bring in.
That’s what the internet has allowed me to do. All these years, the last 21 years, doing all of this, the bottom line, no matter what the actual job title is I have at the moment, it has changed quite a bit over the years. But no matter what it is I do, the bottom line is, I’m helping people and I love that.
[0:06:22.4] SE: Right, that’s amazing actually and speaking of helping people, you do a podcast which answers a lot of questions about Twitter, it’s called Twitter Smarter. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
[0:06:34.3] MS: Sure, I’ve been on this mission to help people with Twitter, all industries, anybody that wants to learn more about how to market better using Twitter. I set out on this mission back in 2013 because I did something that’s really important in business. I asked my community.
“What’s your pain point? What do you need help with? What can I do to help solve it?” So many people were telling me, they don’t understand Twitter, they don’t like it but they’re not liking it because they don’t get what you could do with it, what you could get out of it.
I got on this mission that I was going to help people better use Twitter. Better learn how to make it work for them. In 2013, set out on this mission, started doing some online training courses and at the back of my mind, I always thought that I should start a podcast to help people with this. I had been podcasting for a few years so I understand the technical aspect of it. I understand how it all worked but I realized I would like to help people understand Twitter and use podcast as the platform.
I called the Twitter Smarter podcast and I ended up launching it in 2015 and it became successful immediately. There was a need and nobody was filling it. I didn’t set out to fill the need because nobody was doing it. I set out to fill the need because it’s what my community was asking for.
They wanted the help but in doing this, I realized that “Hey, nobody else was doing this” and even today, you know, several years later, there still are no podcast out there dedicated just to helping people with Twitter.
There are certainly ones for social media as a whole and I’m sure they help people with Twitter periodically with their episodes but there’s not one where every episode is dedicated towards teaching Twitter.
I really set myself apart by doing that and it became so popular that I also launched a Twitter Chat to go with it to help people even more with the weekly chat. That really took off and it’s been huge and we just celebrated our two-year anniversary with that.
Two years of the podcast and then two years with Twitter Chat.
[0:08:59.1] SE: Congratulations, that’s awesome.
[0:09:02.3] MS: Thank you.
[0:09:03.0] SE: I would imagine a lot of the people engaging in Twitter Smarter and Twitter Chat are a lot of other entrepreneurs, small business owners, people like that?
[0:09:12.0] MS: Absolutely. I get a full range of you know, entrepreneurs, startups, all types of business people and also a lot of social media marketers, a lot of them, they’re just starting out and they want to learn more that maybe they got hired to do social media for a company.
But they don’t know everything and so they look to me to help guide them when it comes to Twitter marketing. That’s been really cool.
[0:09:38.2] SE: What unique challenges do you see small businesses as supposed to larger corporations, what challenges do small businesses kind of face with online marketing and Twitter especially?
[0:09:49.3] MS: Well, the challenges that I see is that with small businesses, they just don’t have enough help when it comes to managing the social media. It’s really interesting that so many times with small businesses, they’re so busy, they’re over worked, they’re trying to do so much that many times, their marketing is put on the back burner or not seen as something as important. I always stress that it’s important to have a strategy.
Sit down, take time to write out a strategy and make a plan for how you’re going to do your social media and especially how you’re going to spend time on Twitter and use it. Because so many times what you see with Twitter, that businesses do wrong is that they just push it out, it’s a one-way street, push out.
Buy this, do this, go here, go there but not communicating back. That is not the way to use social media and especially not the way to use Twitter. You got to look at it as a two-way street and that you don’t just put out a bunch of information. You also want to take time to listen and communicate and actually talk to people out there on Twitter.
I find that with small businesses, it’s been more of a challenge because they’ll tell me, “We just don’t have enough ours in the day to spend time doing all of that. It’s time consuming so what can we do to make it easier for us?” I do a lot of coaching and consulting with businesses, mostly small businesses.
Showing them what my motto is, “Work smarter not harder.” Find ways to get seen and heard on your twitter and on social media but not have to spend all day doing it.
There’s so many tools out there that can help you. Simple things like just scheduling, using Hoot Suite or Buffer. These tools can make it so easy for you so that you don’t have to spend 20 hours a week dealing with your social media.
[0:11:53.5] SE: Right. I think like you said, the unique thing about Twitter is it really is a conversation and for me, as a millennial, I can’t imagine a business not having Twitter. Because that’s like in my mind and in my friends’ mind, if we needed to contact a company or a business or we had a complaint, our first instinct is, “Oh we should Tweet it to them.” Or you know, “Tweet that to them.” So it’s just funny that I can’t even imagine businesses not having Twitter but I’m sure you do.
[0:12:20.8] MS: I know, yeah.
[0:12:21.7] SE: I’m sure you encounter people all the time who are just stuck in their kind of old fashioned ways and maybe they don’t think they’d benefit from an online presence. What would you say to people like that?
[0:12:31.2] MS: It’s surprising to know that there are businesses out there that are like stuck in this mind set of, “We don’t need social media, we have a website, we don’t need anything else.” So it’s like “No, you’ve got to do social media.” Because you’re so right, millennials definitely turn to social media when they want a question answered but it’s really going beyond the millennials now. A lot of people are now seeing that “Hey, instead of picking up the phone,” which was the old school way.
You pick up the phone and call the company for a complaint and also old school now is emailing instead you go to Twitter and you complain about an issue you’re having and you’ll be amazed at how quickly it gets resolved. I had just a few days ago ordered food through Door Dash, it’s the food delivery service. I did the Door Dash and I get my order and there was a food item missing. It’s like, “Okay what do I do?” The first thing I think of is to go to Twitter and go look up Door Dash.
And Tweet them and say, “Hey, I am missing some food in my order that just got delivered.” I can tell you, they responded within 10 minutes. I got a response from them which was great. Now had I picked up the phone and tried to call I probably would have been waiting and waiting and waiting and it’s way faster to just go to Twitter. We’re seeing more and more companies utilizing Twitter as a way to deal with customer service. Like how airlines are very quick to respond.
You are having an issue, you’re at the airport, you Tweet the airline and they have now been trained to immediately respond because they found that by doing that on Twitter, they retain these customers and they can turn them around into advocates for them. They could turn a bad experience into something better, just by having a conversation with this person on Twitter. So it’s amazing how we could use this as a great platform for our customer service in our business.
You are listening to Spinning Yarns, the interior design podcast brought to you by rugknots.com. If you are an interior designer looking to grow your business by offering discounted hand knotted rugs to your clients, setup your trade account today at rugknots.com/trade and get exclusive discounts on all of our high quality rugs.
[0:15:10.7] SE: Right, exactly. A lot of people who we work with and listen to this podcast are interior designers and people in the interior design community, whether they are actually designers or companies selling home goods. So what advice do you have for people in the interior design specifically or just people who are kind of out there trying it in the more creative field, looking to build their brand digitally?
[0:15:35.9] MS: I think the best thing to do when you are trying to build your brand digitally is you want to get seen and heard. I mean that’s the bottom line. You want to get out there and get known and to do this, you’ve got to have a strategy in place. You got to think about who you are trying to reach, where are they, are they on Facebook, are they on Twitter, are they on Instagram, are they on the platforms that you are already using?
Maybe they are on a platform you’re not really spending time on. These days, you’ve got to spend time on Instagram if you’re in a creative business. Especially for interior designers because what you’re doing is visual and if somebody came to me and they said, “Okay I am an interior designer where should I be?” Even though I am big on Twitter, I actually do help people with all social media. I just have gotten myself very well known for Twitter.
But I would say to somebody first and foremost, get over to Instagram because that is a great place to get seen and heard using your work. And get lots of great photos and start posting them every single day and you can even use tools now that can help you schedule these out onto your Instagram. So finding ways of using these platforms that work in your favor to get seen and heard, you know there’s so many designers out there right?
There are so many people out there, so what can you do to set yourself apart like you have a podcast, that’s a great way to get known and get seen and heard in a whole new way because there is not a lot of people who are doing that in your field. But overtime as these platforms start getting more popular like I remember when blogging was brand new. I started my first blog in 2000, most people didn’t even know what that word meant yet.
They were like, “Blog? That’s a weird name, what is that?” I started doing it and then overtime it got really popular and today, everybody has a blog. So now podcasting has becoming really big and popular and overtime, it’s going to become something that everybody is doing and now we’re off to the next thing. But what I would focus on is where you can be visual on social media. Another thing right now that’s getting really popular is live streaming.
I mean what better way to show off your work than to start doing a Facebook Live or an Instagram Live or any of these platforms that offer the ability to go live and let people see you. The beauty is you can’t pretend to be something you’re not like you’re transparent, you’re real and people love that. So you can’t show off your work and let people communicate with you in real time is really an amazing experience. So I think we are going to start seeing that more and more.
[0:18:29.0] SE: Right, exactly. There is such a vulnerability almost when you are doing a live broadcast. You can’t go back and edit mistakes. To me it’s what you see is what you get and it really builds trust with a customer I would imagine.
[0:18:43.0] MS: It does, yeah.
[0:18:44.0] SE: Yeah so what other trends, internet trends, developments, changes to social media have you noticed this year or really enjoyed this year now that 2017 is more than halfway over. I can’t even believe it.
[0:18:57.9] MS: I know, it’s hard to believe. Yeah you know it’s interesting, chat bots are starting to get kind of popular. We are starting to see this more and more where businesses are using this. Let’s say for instance on Facebook messenger. So you go to a business Facebook page and when you start a communication, actually we can all set this up now. Facebook has this built in, where you can have it say very specific things.
So if you were to go onto somebody’s Facebook page and you ask a question, it can automate some responses based on what they are asking and it’s really interesting. I think we are going to start seeing this more and more especially as we finish out this year and into 2018. I think it’s become more of a standard of having, it’s almost like you have a little internet helper. It’s like this virtual helper that can help get the ball rolling for you.
By answering a few common questions and then you can come in and talk to the person but it’s interesting. So I am keeping an eye on that to see how that’s evolving. It’s still a little too new right now but I think we are going to see that really start evolving into the next year.
[0:20:22.2] SE: Right, it reminds me of back when Microsoft Word had that little paperclip that would pop up and be like, “Can I help you with anything today?” I remember that yeah but no, definitely. I’ve noticed that when I go onto a website for chat customer service like chat support, it’s very clearly not a real person. It is just an automated message that comes up. I can definitely imagine especially for small businesses, who maybe don’t have the time and manpower – that can be very, very useful.
[0:20:51.2] MS: Yeah and I think that’s what we are going to see. We’ll see this as a strategy really geared for small businesses to help them not to take place of the human touch but just to help facilitate it if you will, just to help get the ball rolling. It is not a bad idea at all. I really wasn’t too terribly thrilled when I kept hearing about chat bots this year. But now that I have spent a little bit of time investigating it, I can definitely see this as being a way to help a small business owner get a conversation started.
[0:21:27.9] SE: Right, okay. So if people want to learn more about you, how do they? I’m sure there’s a lot of different ways they can find you or contact you.
[0:21:37.2] MS: Yeah, I am all over social media. The best way to reach out to me on Twitter because I absolutely love being on there. It’s my favorite out of all the various platforms. So @madalynsklar but if your favorite is Facebook or Instagram or any of the others, you can just type in my name and I will pop right up.
[0:21:57.8] SE: Awesome, well thank you so much.
[0:22:00.2] MS: Thank you, I appreciate you having me on. This was fun.
[0:22:03.4] SE: Of course.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:22:05.3] ANNOUNCER: You’ve been listening to Spinning Yarns, the interior design podcast brought to you by RugKnots.com, suppliers of the finest quality oriental rugs. To open your trade account today, simply visit RugKnots.com/trade.
Until next time, thanks for listening.