How to Be Extremely Online Like Lizzo

How to Be Extremely Online Like Lizzo

Who is the most engaged and responsive celebrity on social media? 

Lately, I’ve been in awe of Lizzo’s online presence. She not only sees and hears her fans, but she engages back. 

I especially noticed this on TikTok, when her song ‘About Damn Time’ went viral over the summer. During the dance challenge, you could find Lizzo dueting user-generated content from fans and even other celebrities. 

I remarked on Lizzo’s impressive fan engagement with a post on Twitter. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that she liked the tweet! 

Now, I of course can’t confirm if Lizzo manages her own accounts, but she seems to be everywhere. How can we do the same? This is a pressure many content creators or brands face. We try to keep up on every social media platform and we end up burning out or losing consistency.

Before we get into it, I want to confirm that you don’t need to be on every social media platform. I tend to focus on three — I post daily on Twitter, and a few times per week on TikTok and LinkedIn. Then I also publish my newsletter on a bi-weekly basis. The key is to diversify your marketing mix and avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Maybe Lizzo accomplishes cross-platform dominance because she has a team helping her out. And you may have this type of assistance too. Something as simple as hiring a virtual assistant for a few hours per month can help you crank out content more efficiently. 

Like it or not, volume and quantity are a big part of content marketing success. The average creator or small business can also develop a consistent and robust publishing plan. For me, this starts with creating long-form blog content.

Prioritizing long-form content is generally my process, which isn’t necessarily the best and only way, but I thought I’d give you the run-down. Adapt this framework to whatever works for you!

No, Blogging Isn’t Dead!

Now, you may think in the age of short-form video, blog content is dead. But it’s still the gift that keeps on giving. Your blog supports all of the following marketing efforts:

  • SEO
  • Sales
  • Lead generation and nurturing
  • Email marketing
  • Social Media

If nothing else, think of blog content as your opportunity to get your thoughts on paper before you distribute content via other media. Imagine it as your game plan and rough draft. It’s your place to fully flesh out your ideas and gather your thoughts so you can more confidently publish elsewhere. This step also helps you show up on video feeling more prepared.

So how does this work from start to finish? How do you bring your content ideas to life?

Typically, I’ll get an idea in my head, or make off-the-cuff observation, that I’ll tweet out. This is always my first step before I write any blog content. Twitter is almost like stream-of-consciousness, but I also consider it a sandbox for bigger content ideas. 

For example, this blog post started when I tweeted about Lizzo being an engaged celebrity on social media. Other people replied to that tweet, which got my gears turning on how I can keep building upon this thought. And now, I’m taking that random observation and expanding it into a fully-baked and thorough blog post that you’re reading right now!

With a simple tweet or post as the jumping-off point, here’s what my publishing plan typically looks like.

  1. Think the thought
  2. Tweet the thought
  3. Discuss the thought with others
  4. Think some more
  5. Write about it in a blog post
  6. Add subscribe forms to the blog post to encourage newsletter sign-ups
  7. Turn the blog post into a podcast, or invite a guest to discuss the topic further
  8. Share clips from the podcast on social media, or create a video short-form video version for TikTok or YouTube
  9. Embed the podcast audio on my blog
  10. Share the link to the blog on LinkedIn
  11. Share the blog post and podcast episode in my newsletter with some additional supplemental content

This content strategy certainly keeps me busy, but it all starts with a strong foundation with my blog post. Once that piece is developed, the rest is about repurposing. Everything is a building block.

You can certainly rework this in a way that’s best for you. For instance, maybe you like to start expressing your ideas in a quick TikTok video. This is also a great way to test your ideas and elaborate on them with a more refined blog post or podcast episode. You can start anywhere, just make sure it’s where your audience is.

Content Creation — An Ever-Changing Game

As I share my process with you, it’s important to keep in mind that there are lots of content creation best practices, but few hard and fast rules. It’s always evolving and changing, and so are you as an individual. At the end of the day, the creative process that’s best is the one that gets you excited to create. Every time you publish is a chance to gain insights about your art and also yourself. 

Create for fun, experiment, test, learn, but don’t wait for things to be perfect. You’ll gain your own wisdom along the way.


How to Tell Your Story – Inspired by Black Musicians Who are Part of Mine

How to Tell Your Story – Inspired by Black Musicians Who are Part of Mine

Just like the rest of the world, I’ve been doing some reflection on the people of color who have made an impact on my life. 

Aside from the incredible people I’ve come to know personally, there are a number of famous Black people who sparked my interest in music.

I didn’t realize it until now, but some of my earliest memories of music are thanks to Black musicians. 

When I was four years old, my parents had a record player. There were two vinyls I had access to: the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas album, and Donna Summer’s Greatest Hits.

You’d think given my age I’d gravitate toward Alvin and the Chipmunks, but they bored me quickly. Nope, as much as I love the ’90s, it was ’70s disco that stole my heart. 


Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” was the first song I ever loved that wasn’t a nursery rhyme. There was something about the way it started off slow and soulful, with the flutter of the flute and jingle of bar chimes. I loved the suspense it built leading up to the disco beat. I’d start spinning in circles as soon as it dropped.

I remember meticulously flipping the record to listen to “MacArthur Park.” The lyrics befuddled me — I didn’t understand why someone would leave a cake out in the rain. It was a visual my childhood imagination would paint every time I heard it.

The queen of disco-inspired these moments, but I also have fond memories of listening to the king of pop. On car rides with my dad, we’d sing Michael Jackson’s Bad album we had on cassette. As a young girl, I felt so rebellious singing about being bad, when I’d always been told to be good. And with my limited vocabulary at the time, the simple lyrics “I’m bad” resonated with me.



When I was five, I got my hands on my very first CD: Mariah Carey’s Daydream. I don’t recall the details as to how I got it or why, but it quickly became my favorite thing. 


I’d flip through the CD’s insert, staring at pictures of Mariah, in awe of her beauty. 

I studied the lyrics to songs like “Open Arms” and “Fantasy” while other kids read fairy tales.

Someone brought to my attention that her Boyz II Men duet “One Sweet Day,” was about death — an idea so foreign to me. From then on, I cried when I listened to it, fearful of my parents dying.



As I reflect back on these childhood memories, I think of how they shaped me into who I am today. But beyond that, they remind me how much the world needs change for our Black community. 


Your Story is the Change

As I reflect back on these childhood memories, I think of how they shaped me into who I am today. But beyond that, they remind me how much the world needs change for our Black community.

Yes, it’s great to see all the black squares, the messages of hope, or the links to resources. But we can’t achieve change until we embrace our differences. And to do that, more people need to openly share them.

I talk a lot about differences and sharing your story when it comes to personal branding, but in our fight for racial equality, this message rings true in a bigger way. We are all empowered with platforms to use our voice.

I hope this post inspires you to share more of who you are not just right now, but every time you introduce yourself.


Making Personal Branding *Personal*

In my personal branding course, I teach my students how to present themselves in a competitive world. There are countless people who will have similar qualifications or backgrounds as you. To stand out, you have to articulate what makes you uniquely you.

That’s where personal stories come in.

When we talk about ourselves, most of us mistakenly spit out positions we’ve held, companies we’ve worked for, or certifications we’ve earned. Ever read someone’s “About Page” that just felt like a ramble of their resumé? BLAH.

It’s your story that will make people connect with you.

Stories humanize you. Whether you’re interviewing for a new job, pitching to a client, or networking at a conference, they make a lasting impression more than any title or credential. 


How to Tell Your Story

Don’t think you have an interesting story to tell? Let me put your mind at ease.

Traditional storytelling says stories need heroes. In grade school, you probably studied The Hero’s Journey, popularized by Joseph Campbell. We believed every story had to be adventurous, suspenseful, challenging, and triumphant.

Traditional storytelling says stories need heroes. In grade school, you probably studied The Hero’s Journey, popularized by Joseph Campbell. We believed every story had to be adventurous, suspenseful, challenging, and triumphant.

But Kindra Hall, author of Stories That Stick, says stories don’t need heroes. They just need characters. 

The stories I shared with you are hardly heroic. There was no villain or battle to overcome. No brush with death or groundbreaking revelation. 

Instead, I took the simple moments and objects from my childhood —  a record player, car ride, and CD — and wove them into a story to illustrate who I am. 

As you set out to build relationships and tell your story in the real world or online, start with your own memories. They can be from your childhood, or more recent. 

If your memory needs jogging, here are a few questions to help you rediscover some special moments:

  • When was the first time you became interested in the field or trade you’re in now?
  • Is there a person in your life who inspired you to pursue your passion? How did you meet this person, and how did they influence you?
  • What hobbies or interests from your childhood have stuck with you into your career?
  • What school subject did you excel in the most? Do you remember a certain project that you were most proud of?
  • What is your most prized possession and why?
  • Who is the first teacher who noticed your potential?
  • What did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
  • What was a pivotal moment when you decided to set a new goal or make a change?
  • What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you, and in what context?
  • What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in both your personal or professional life?
  • Has anyone ever told you couldn’t do something? Did you prove them wrong?
  • What is something you failed doing? How did you overcome this?


You’ll notice many of these questions require you to reflect back on your childhood. I believe our calling doesn’t always find us in adulthood. We first experiment with our interests as children, and follow that path. Sometimes we change course, but there’s probably a story there, too. 

No matter the medium, portraying your personal brand means getting personal. You can have the flashiest website, most impressive portfolio, or most coveted award, but it’s your story that makes you memorable. 

Find it and tell it every chance you get.  

More on how to tell your story:

READ MORE: This Storytelling Tip Explains Why “All Too Well” is Taylor Swift’s Best Song

READ MORE: The Storytelling Lesson Behind NBC’s “This Is Us”

8 Personal Branding Moves to Survive an Unpredictable Job Market

8 Personal Branding Moves to Survive an Unpredictable Job Market

I saw on the news that 6.6 MILLION people have applied for unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic. This makes my heart hurt.

Aside from social distancing, I wanted to help any way I knew how. So I’ve put together eight essential personal branding moves you should make right now to ready yourself in this unstable job market.

Whether you are still gainfully employed or if you’ve recently been let go, these steps are some of the best things you can do to position yourself for whatever lies ahead.


Personal Branding Moves to Make Right Now

Here are some things you can do right now to help yourself during this time of uncertainty.


1. Update your résumé.

It’s always wise to have your latest and greatest résumé ready to go. Update it with your most recent experience and accomplishments. If you can, include figures and data to illustrate the value you’ve added in all of your roles.

Rather than relying on a plain Word document, consider the gorgeous resume templates you can find on Canva (and they are FREE!). The small design details will make you more memorable (remember Elle Woods and her pink resume?!) Here are a few of Canva’s templates.

canva resume templates

2. Organize your portfolio.

I know there are a ton of amazing projects you’ve worked on in your career. Now is your time to compile them all! This way, when you’re in front of a potential employer, you can show vs. tell.

Think about systems you’ve built, posts that you’ve written, videos you’ve edited, photos you’ve taken, or collateral you’ve designed. If the evidence of your work is less tangible (maybe you are a make-up artist or personal trainer) collect testimonials, personal recommendations, or photos to illustrate what you can do.


3. Register a domain.

Social media is great, but if you really want to own your brand, you need to own your domain! This typically costs less than $20 takes just a few minutes.Visit a domain registrar like GoDaddy and search If you have a common name and it’s unavailable, try a domain address that is relevant to your industry. For instance, if you are a realtor, you can secure Or choose a different extension over .com, such as .me.


4. Rewrite your professional bio.

When was the last time you fine-tuned your LinkedIn profile or the bios you have on various social media sites? Your bio is your first chance to make an impression and compel audiences to work with or contact you. It’s also your opportunity to communicate who you are, what you do, and frankly, why you are awesome.

Don’t squander this by writing a canned, boring bio. Let your personality shine, and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.


5. Take new headshots.

Can you think of a better quarantine activity? You can take decent pictures for your professional profiles right on your phone. Dress yourself up and do a mini photoshoot around your house or in your backyard. Quick tip: you can even use a shower curtain as a backdrop!

If your images need a little extra TLC, you can edit them in a free app like Snapseed. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and color balance until you have the perfect photo.


6. Build a personal website.

Ah yes… all the other tips were leading up to this! Your personal website is your own personal hub online. It’s where you can house your resume, portfolio, and contact information all in one place.

The good news is, you don’t need to know how to code to make a stunning website. You can use a website builder like Wix or Squarespace, which offer dozens of personal branding templates that anyone can easily edit.

wix personal website tempaltes

If you want to connect your website to your custom domain, there is a small fee but it is well worth it! Otherwise, you can create a free site using Wix or Squarespace’s branded URLs.


7. Design your logo.

Just like building a website, this is another step that may sound intimidating if you have no design experience, but it’s 2020 — there are resources for EVERYTHING!

But first, I want to redefine how you envision a logo. It doesn’t have to be anything flashy! A logo can simply be your name in a consistent font and color(s) of your choice! If you’d like, add a symbol and you are good to go.

Again, Canva has your back! They have dozens, or possibly hundreds, of pre-designed logos that you can customize and make your own. Here are a few samples:

canva logos

8. Start blogging.

Okay, I know this sounds like another big undertaking, but blogging is when you truly take your career development into your own hands. An 8.5″x11″ PDF resume is not enough to show the world your capabilities. A blog will demonstrate your perspectives, expertise, and skills on a larger scale vs. withholding it within the walls of your current job.

With every blog post, you have the potential to unlock opportunities. If you prefer, you can also make videos or start a podcast. The point is, don’t hide your knowledge.

Most Wix or Squarespace templates have a blogging functionality built right into the platform — score!

If you’ve never blogged before, it’s okay. Your writing does not have to be perfect. Just start.


Finding Your Niche

You may be telling yourself that there are already a ton of bloggers in your field, so what’s the point? This is when I always quote one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert:

It may have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by YOU. ~Elizabeth Gilbert

The biggest thing to remember when building your personal brand is to make it PERSONAL. Don’t fall into the cookie-cutter influencer world. Embrace your personality quirks and share your true colors. Your unique experiences and perspective is what will make you stand out.

If you need help defining your brand’s niche and where to go from here, download my free niche finder workbook. It’s packed with eight exercises to help you hone in on your biggest differentiators and where you should focus your blog.


Keep Your Head Up

I know times are tough right now, but the best thing you can do is invest in yourself through personal branding. I hope you’ll find the courage to share more of what you know with the world. Your future is bright.

READ MORE: How to Market Yourself Like Elle Woods

RED MORE: 6 Things Bloggers Can Learn from Carrie Bradshaw

Jessica Simpson’s Brilliant Tips to Build Your Online Presence

Jessica Simpson’s Brilliant Tips to Build Your Online Presence

When you hear the name Jessica Simpson, many people think of her ditzy moments on the MTV reality show, Newlyweds.

But if you ask me, who cares if it was chicken or fish?

Jessica Simpson is not the dumb blonde that society paints her to be. Her true fans know that she is an incredibly talented singer, business mogul, and now author, who has been through hell and back.

On a recent international flight to Argentina, I decided to purchase her memoir, Open Book, on Audible. Admittedly, I thought it would be something to turn on while I tried to doze off during my red eye.


Boy, was I wrong. Jessica’s story demanded my attention while everyone around me was in a deep sleep. My respect and admiration for her grew as she narrated every word.

Jessica Simpson: Living Her Truth

When publishers approached Jessica Simpson about a book deal, they wanted her to write self-help on how to achieve the perfect life. I can understand why — this woman has it all.

She’s beautiful, talented, and successful. Her fashion line, the Jessica Simpson collection, is a billion dollar brand. She lives in a sprawling 11,000 square foot mansion outside Los Angeles with her hunky husband, former NFL star, Eric Johnson, and their three beautiful children.

Who wouldn’t want her glamorous life?


But Jessica declined to write a book on these terms. Despite what her image or the media may suggest, she knew her life was far from perfect. She instead chose to write a memoir, which bravely details some of her most personal struggles.

We all know Jessica went through a very public divorce from her ex-husband Nick Lachey, back in 2006. But a failed marriage just scratches the surface on the challenges Jessica has overcome.

As I listened to Jessica read her story to me, I could hear the intense emotion in her voice as she described her experiences with loss, sexual abuse, alcoholism, public scrutiny, body image issues, infertility and so much more.

Since its release, Open Book has already been named a New York Times #1 bestseller.

How Jessica Simpson Represents Authenticity

I gained more than I thought I would when reading Open Book. Jessica transparently shares powerful messages of hope, empowerment, and resilience that I will keep with me. But beyond the lessons from her personal stories, I also learned from her process and approach to writing a book in the first place.

I dug a little deeper and found an interesting intersection. We can apply lessons from Open Book to life in general, but also to our online presence.

In the marketing and social media field, we always hear the term “authenticity.” This speaks to presenting your true self with your audience, rather than portraying a facade.

Jessica Simpson exemplifies authenticity. Like the title, “Open Book,” suggests, she lets herself be vulnerable in her memoir. She bravely puts everything out there, with no topic too personal or humiliating to address.

Whether you simply want to improve your mental health or find the courage to share more of who you are online, there are many takeaways inspired by Jessica Simpson and Open Book: 

Keep a journal.

When Jessica was fifteen, her cousin Sarah died tragically in a car accident. To cope with the pain, she started journaling, and has kept up with the habit ever since. Her journal has not only provided mental clarity through life’s obstacles, but serves as a creative outlet. From new music, to the chapters in her memoir, it’s safe to say that Jessica’s ideas begin in her journal.

Start journaling for yourself and you’ll be surprised how often inspiration strikes.

Don’t try to be perfect.

In the world of Photoshop, filters, and lavish lifestyle content on Instagram, it seems like everyone is living their best life without any bumps in the road. This just isn’t the case, not even for Jessica Simpson.

Sharing your true self — the good, the bad, and the ugly — will undoubtedly build a bond with your audience. They’ll see you as someone who is just like them.

Create content fearlessly.

With a net worth of $200 million, Jessica Simpson could live happily ever after without publishing a memoir. She could’ve kept her life lessons and emotions private, but she instead chose to put them out there into the world for other people to hear.

You never know who will resonate with your story. Resist hesitation, overcome imposter syndrome, and just hit post. Someone will read your content and thank you.

Mute the critics.

I can’t imagine having my every move published in the tabloids like Jessica has, or being constantly followed by paparazzi. Even the everyday moments of her marriage were filmed for reality television. Every choice she made, outfit she wore, or song she sang, was met with criticism and harsh opinions from around the world.

But Jessica did not let her critics define her. Despite being labeled as a dumb blonde pop star, Jessica pressed onward and has built a billion-dollar fashion empire that is still growing. And now, she gets to add “best-selling author” to her list of career milestones.

It’s easy to let naysayers fill our heads with paralyzing self-doubt. Instead, use their comments or your own fear as motivation to keep building.

Turn setbacks into comebacks.

With all that was going on in her life, Jessica took a hiatus from the spotlight for a few years. Hey, everyone needs a break! But she didn’t retire from music altogether. Despite public breakups, fertility issues, addiction struggles, and other hardships, Jessica bounced back and is thriving in her both her career and family life.

Rather than letting challenges hold you back, learn from them use those lessons as fuel to pursue whatever goals are on your heart.

Channel your emotions to make art.

Like Jessica, you can pour your emotions into your craft. For her it was songwriting, but for you, this may apply to your passion for blogging, photography, cooking, crafting, or even make-up. Not to mention, going all-in on a creative endeavor that you love will help you find peace, master new skills, and build a community.

Open Book will Open Your Mind

It may not always seem this way from the outside looking in, but many times, some of the world’s biggest stars are just like us. None of us are perfect, and we all have our own battles to fight. Even multi-millionaire, Jessica Simpson.

Social media tends to be a highlight reel, and if we let it, a place for toxic comparison. But when you open your heart and share your true stories and experiences with others, the real magic happens. You will connect with your friends and followers on a deeper level, and create lasting relationships that can help you get through anything.

I hope Jessica Simpson, her book, and this post inspires you to throw caution to the wind and feel empowered to share your true self. With every photo you post, blog entry you write, or video you publish, never be afraid to show the world who you really are.


READ MORE: How to Market Yourself Like Elle Woods

How to Market Yourself Like Elle Woods

How to Market Yourself Like Elle Woods

Last month, I returned to my alma mater, the University of Central Florida to talk about marketing and personal branding with a group of students. Of course, I had to teach them what I know the best way I know how — with pop culture references.

I started brainstorming what moments in pop culture would be relevant to a room full of ambitious young students about to head out into the real world. They’ll be sending out resumes and trying to land their first real job out of college. I remember how hectic that was!

Although most of the students in my audience were born in the year 2000 or later (which was pretty eye-opening), I chose to emphasize the ultimate high achiever of the early 2000’s: Miss Elle Woods.

elle woods outside with bruiser

Thankfully, Reese Witherspoon’s performance in 2001’s Legally Blonde was iconic enough that these young students understood the reference. Plus, she’s a fellow sorority girl!

elle woods with her sorority sisters at delta nu

I admit, Elle Woods is probably not the most scholastic example of a successful person. For starters, she’s a fictional character, but it turns out there is a lot we can apply from her story in Legally Blonde.



How to Market Yourself Like Elle Woods

The entire premise of Legally Blonde is rooted in goal setting and proving yourself, despite doubt or lack of experience. If you’re trying to advance in your company, position yourself as a thought leader, start a business, land a new job, or even change careers, here are five things you can learn from Elle Woods:

Control your narrative by using your channels to your fullest potential. 

You might recall that Elle Woods took it upon herself to submit a video essay to Harvard. In fact, Kim Kardashian recently recreated it for Halloween. Although VHS tapes are a thing of the past, the takeaway is that Elle Woods used the channels that were available to her to tell her story and illustrate why she deserves to go to Harvard.

elle woods video essay for harvard

You can do the same on your website and social media. If you haven’t already, start a blog or YouTube channel where you share content relevant to your career goals. If you create enough content about a certain subject, you will position yourself as a local expert.

Find a way to stand out. 

Remember Elle’s pink and scented resume? It’s a little out there, but the point is, it’s unique.

elle woods and her pink resume

As one of my favorite authors, Sally Hogshead, always says, “It’s good to be better, but it’s better to be different.” 

Elle Woods wasn’t necessarily smarter or more experienced than her colleagues, but these subtleties helped make her memorable. And when recruiters have an influx of job applicants to sift through, being memorable is essential.

You don’t need the most prestigious degree, experience, or qualifications.

Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s when you feel like a phony— like you’re not credible enough to talk about certain things. The voice in your head tells you that you don’t belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck. These doubts and insecurities end up holding you back from achieving your goals.

It’s true that between Elle Woods’ bright blonde hair, loud pink outfits, and bubbly personality, she stuck out amongst the other law students depicted in Legally Blonde.

elle woods arriving to harvard

But she still put in the work just like everyone else. She got her foot in the door, then proved that she deserved to be there regardless of her background.

Be unapologetically yourself. 

You may recall in one of my recent posts about Dancing with the Stars, I mentioned my favorite book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. One of the messages Gilbert is that in this competitive world we live in, even if something has been done before, it hasn’t been done by YOU.

Remember, how Elle Woods won her case while representing Brooke Wyndham? Based on her own life experience, Elle knew you couldn’t wash your hair too soon after a perm if you wanted to keep your curls in tact. It’s hard to say if any other lawyer, including a more experienced or knowledgable one, would know that!

elle woods in the courtroom

Don’t overlook the fact that you have your own stories, experiences, and perspectives to bring to the table.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, especially yourself. 

Elle Woods set her sights on law school initially to win back her unsupportive boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, who told her she wasn’t smart enough. She then kicks him to the curb and becomes successful regardless.

elle woods going to harvard

The bottom line is, Elle took matters into her own hands because she knew she could do it. She used the tools at her disposal to stand out and market herself, and then worked her way up.

Achieving Your Goals: What, Like It’s Hard?

If Elle Woods can get into Harvard Law, you can achieve your goals, too. You’ve just got to make moves and build your brand.

Start by making a personal website that showcases your portfolio, illustrates your personality, and shares your expertise. There are really low-cost building platforms like Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly that have beautiful, easy-to-use templates.

With that advice, I’ll also leave you with words of wisdom from Elle’s commencement speech:

“It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”

Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

READ MORE: 6 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Carrie Bradshaw

Modern Networking: How to Slide into DMs the Right Way

Modern Networking: How to Slide into DMs the Right Way

It was May of 2013. I was 23, single, and visiting Las Vegas for an annual girls trip. My friends and I threw on our glitziest dresses and most uncomfortable heels before heading to a nightclub at Caesar’s Palace, which had free drinks for ladies until midnight. After dancing our hearts out for about 45 minutes, we flirted our way up to the rooftop bar. It was there, amid the glow of the Las Vegas strip, that I met Sandy — the man who I’d marry five years later.

brianne fleming in las vegas
Night one with forever to go! Sandy and I are on the right.

I know my love story is a bit out of the ordinary. Meeting someone on vacation is one thing, but Las Vegas? Sin City gets a bad rap as a hopeless place for gamblers, partiers, and people trying to relive The Hangover. It isn’t exactly where you typically find your forever.

But even with all of this in consideration, my summer romance is probably most unconventional for one simple reason: I first interacted with my future husband in person.

As a millennial, you just don’t hear about chance, face-to-face meetings anymore. They’ve become the minority statistic in the world of relationships.

Today, there’s a new way to play the dating game. These days, sparks fly when you “slide into DMs.”

The Direct-Message Phenomenon

When I met Sandy, Tinder was only a few months old, and I don’t think Instagram even had direct messaging capability yet. I never had the chance to make myself a profile and practice swiping right, or to experience courtship via Instagram. But it’s a serious thing.

For those who need a social media history lesson, the textbook (Urban Dictionary) definition of “sliding into the DMs” is as follows:

When you start a direct message chain on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, with the hopes of acquiring the booty.

Urban Dictionary

Yes, chivalry is dead. 

I recently visited a friend and spent what seemed like an eternity trying to help her find a date on Hinge. Woof, it’s rough out there folks. Godspeed.

How to Slide into DMs to Create Opportunities

I was lucky enough to retire from the game before the downfall of romance, but this old married soul still has a few things to say about the art of direct messaging based on my own experience.

These days, I don’t slide into DMs to find a summer fling or future love — I send and receive DMs to network and build genuine, professional relationships. (Jeez, what happened to me? I just grew some gray hairs even writing that sentence.)

Surprisingly, the old rules of courtship still apply, but it seems that this generation, and even the ones before it, never learned them or forgot them all. If I get one more generic LinkedIn message asking for a favor, I’ll scream.

So let me remind you how it’s done.

Here’s how to use direct messages to connect, either romantically or professionally: 

  1. Address the recipient by name. Dale Carnegie, the author of the iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People says “Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. This simple tip shows common courtesy and respect.

  2. Do basic research. If you’re going to DM someone, demonstrate that you haven’t done so blindly as part of a mass messaging frenzy. Such a turn-off! Write something personal and tailored to the recipient. 

  3. Flatter. A genuine compliment goes a long way, but don’t be creepy. Tell the recipient why you like their work, why you admire them, or what interested you in the first place.

  4. Give before you get. You might need a favor or have an end goal in mind, but try to start off the relationship in a way that is mutually beneficial. Ask yourself what you can offer, even if it’s just lunch.

  5. Take things slow. Jeez, shouldn’t you at least take me to dinner first? This proverbial rule holds true in the messaging world. Build your relationship little by little.

  6. Don’t ghost. The recipient might help you with what you want or need, but continue to nurture the relationship over time. Show gratitude, tag them in content that you think they’d find helpful, or invite them to an event they like. One day, you’ll be glad you kept in touch.

It’s really not that hard. At the root of it all, just be a good, thoughtful person. Show empathy. With a little respect and finesse, soon your calendar will be filled with meaningful meetings — either with your future spouse, biggest mentor, or potential business partner.


READ MORE: Even Jennifer Lopez knows how to send messages the right way. Here’s what we can learn from J.Lo’s text messages.