Rebekah Radice: Christmas (or Lou Grant) in July

Social media marketing, Mary Tyler Moore-style! Don't give up on social media. Put my social media marketing strategy to the test and you'll discover, "You're gonna make it after all." | KOTAW Content MarketingWhen Mary Richards was forced to spend her first Christmas Eve in Minneapolis working alone at WJM-TV, she was sad that she couldn’t spend the holiday with her parents. But her boss and coworkers surprised Mary shortly before midnight, cheering her lonely spirit and redefining family for the millions who watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show when it first aired in 1970 or in the four decades since.

Social media can feel a lot like a deserted newsroom when you post your first profile. But it can, in time, renew your sense of community and spawn virtual connections and friendships you might never have found in the so-called real world.

And it just takes one Lou Grant to make you stop feeling like a social media snowflake lost in a Twitter blizzard. Or a single Murray Slaughter to make you realize that Google Plus is a community, not just a bunch of confusing circles and plus-ones.

In my case, it took Rebekah Radice to convince me that my social media experiment was not a mistake.

When I launched KOTAW Content Marketing in June, I pledged to practice what I preached to my clients about social media. Before, as a solopreneur, I’d lectured business owners about social media “best practices” and chided them when they told me it was too hard — impossible — to make meaningful connections on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google Plus. But, I’d never really put my “no tricks, all treats” theory to a personal test.

My theory was simple:

If you share great stuff, find interesting people and show genuine interest in them, success in social media will follow.

After seven weeks of sharing, finding and showing, I started to feel compassion for my complaining clients. I was tempted to apply some marketing magic to my efforts or give up in quiet, embarrassed defeat. But I pushed on and a few days later stumbled upon an infographic that Rebekah had posted and someone in my circles had shared.

Mary Tyler Moore show Christmas episodeGo Fly a Kite!

Hmm, this is interesting, I thought when I saw the infographic titled “50 Ways to Take a Break.” I want to learn more about the person who shared something that made me smile. I want to meet the person who made me feel like flying a kite on a blistering hot summer day.

And with nary a further moment of pondering, I wrote to Rebekah. We spent much of the rest of the day chatting and, within a week or so, discovered mutual professional interests — social media, writing and personal branding — and myriad personal interests, ranging from authors (James Patterson), musical artists (Sara Bareilles) and comedic actresses (Lucille Ball).

Rebekah was someone I genuinely liked, whom I found fascinating and who seemed to find me reasonably interesting as well. I didn’t know when I contacted her that she was a social media powerhouse or that we lived within blocks of each other. I didn’t pursue her for personal or professional gain. I just wanted to know her better.

I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten the chance to laugh together both online and off and that Rebekah made me her Santa hat buddy last week.

Getting Social on Google Plus | KOTAW Content Marketing

And I’m beyond delighted that I asked her the question that makes this more than a personal anecdote, the question that makes this a lesson in social media marketing strategy.

“Do you know anyone else interesting I should follow?”

Rebekah’s answer to this query made the real magic happen. Her suggestions and personal introductions helped turn me into a social media butterfly and, more important, created connections of enormous professional and personal consequence.

I’m not going to mention the names Rebekah gave me. For one thing, I don’t want some random reader to spam anyone in the amazing community that has so graciously included me as a member. For another, the list of names keeps growing and I don’t want anyone to read this a week, month or year from now and feel left out. (If you’re reading this and wondering, “Am I on the list?” of course you are! If you have any doubts, just ask me.)

More important, the message here is that you should do whatever it takes — for as long as it takes — to find your own success in social media.

The only connections that count are the ones that matter to you.

Make them, nurture them, protect them.

Don’t give up on social media. Put my theory to the test and you’ll discover, “You’re gonna make it after all.”

P.S. I don’t know for certain if I first reached out to Rebekah in July. It may have been August — the month we first met for iced tea — but I liked the Christmas in July title better.

It’s better to give than to receive, but I do want something from you: your comments!  Please share your thoughts below. Wishing you and your loved ones a fabulous holiday season!


  1. Elizabeth says:

    The Mary Tyler Moore Show was always one of my favorites growing up – what a wonderful illustration of your point. Social media can be tough to break through. You have to fumble a bit before making it work for you and it can get frustrating along the way. What worked for me on G+ was joining a couple of great communities (a couple of them smaller and private) and I was able to connect with some really great people there. For me, I have to make SOME personal connections with a few people. I need a reason to go back on a regular basis. Having people plus and share my material is great, but if I don’t have a few “go-to” people that I communicate with on a regular basis, it’s just not as much fun. Katherine, thank you for being one of those “go-to” people for me. You’ve been so kind and generous with your time and posts!

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your words — and spirit — here. I’m honored to be among your go-to people and grateful to have connected with you. The image of you and your husband sharing a private wedding dance will live long in my memory, and I hope it always brings a smile to your face to remember that moment.

  2. Carol Graham says:

    I am new to the world of social media and was pole vaulted into it when I launched my memoir, Battered Hope, a few months ago. I am so green but working as hard as I can, several hours every day. This also includes researching methods to accomplish my goal. I have received a lot of help from many new found friends in this world of social networking. One person who has been especially helpful is +Diane Bjorling of Adlandpro and it is greatly appreciated. I had my second radio interview last night which never would have happened without exploring my options to promote my book.

    I am so grateful for the people I have connected with from Google+ especially +Women in Midlife.

    Thank you

  3. Katherine — this is a beautiful piece, sharing such wonderful sentiments and offering proof to anyone that real relationships can be established online. I am also fortunate to know Rebekah whom I met through Peg Fitzpatrick and the beauty of social media — and as you know, it is because of Rebekah that you and I met.

    It is no surprise to me that you are finding such success on social media. You have a kind and generous nature — online or offline, it comes across loud and clear. It is evident in your writing, your posts, your communications, and I am sure other ways as well (someday when we meet, I’ll be better able to speak to those too!) :-)

    • Katherine Kotaw says:


      How lovely of you to write! I often thank Rebekah for introducing me to you and Peg Fitzpatrick. And, although I know we will someday meet offline, there is nothing virtual about our relationship. It is real and greatly treasured.

  4. You two live near each other!?! How exciting!!!! This post is spot on…off to share!

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Yes, discovering that I could walk to Rebekah’s house from my own was an amazing bit of serendipity! Very exciting as I had no idea when we started chatting. We’re not within walking distance of each other, Megan, but I hope fate (or modern transportation) makes it possible for me to give you a real hug someday!

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