Monday, September 26, 2022

Storytelling, Connections, and Social Media

To quote Matthew Kobach (@mkobach), "Twitter is a key that unlocks thousands of doors, some of which you never even knew existed." As a member of the Twitterverse for 13 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. I recently connected with Gail Robertson from Ontario, Canada, and invited her to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A format. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.

Gail Robertson brings an unfamiliar and fresh outlook to the more traditional manufacturing industry. She has always been curious, which led her into journalism. She began her professional career as a journalist at the Toronto Star and has worked at The Hamilton Spectator, The St. Catharines Standard, and The Windsor Star. She now uses storytelling, developed as a journalist, in the manufacturing world as a social media strategist and keynote speaker, helping others to #ShowUP, tell their story, and exercise their curious brain. Her transferable skills have assisted her as she transitioned from being a journalist, to bed-and-breakfast owner, to fundraiser, to marketing manager at an insurance tech company and now, as “Chief Curiosity Officer” at GailNow.

QUESTION: What first attracted you to marketing, communications, PR, and storytelling?

GAIL ROBERTSON: Growing up, I loved to hear stories and was especially enamored by their development, one sentence at a time. To me, marketing, communications, and PR are related as they help a company or brand tell their story.

I also love to connect with people, and after years as a journalist and now Chief Curiosty Officer, I  realize how many stories are not being told!

Meeting people and helping tell and share their stories is exciting and powerful as I believe we can change the world, one story at a time. I know far too many women who also are reluctant to own their power and step into the spotlight.

TWEET THIS: Meeting people and helping tell their stories is exciting...we can change the world, one story at a time. ~@GailNow #brandstorytelling #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: On your website, it says, "Gail's true joy and passion for networking and connecting with others is what makes her a top motivational speaker." What tips do you have for people who may share your passion for connection but lack your confidence in public speaking?

GAIL ROBERTSON: My tip for them would be to embrace their own story and speak from that. As American author and professor of literature, Joseph Campbell, once said, “You are the hero of your own story.”

We also need to look at our own individual comfort zones and not compare ourselves to others. For public speaking, it is also about taking baby steps and realizing we have a duty to “show up,” not just for ourselves but for others. We have a duty to share stories!   

Some of the best speakers aren’t extroverts, but they had to start with the right mindset and decide to challenge themselves. Even the best speakers struggle with Imposter Syndrome and fear of failure, so it’s best to embrace failure and make it your friend!

Very few people find public speaking easy - even the ones who make it LOOK easy. It takes an incredible amount of time, hard work, and practice. The best tip is to just start. Speak up in a meeting or at your local church or school. Speak up online too. Join a video challenge! Get comfortable being uncomfortable, as cliche as that sounds. By just deciding to start, you are so much further ahead than others sitting on the couch. As a keynote speaker, I still get nervous; I worry and I stress about my content, which is normal. But the more I share stories and get feedback, the more supported I feel to Sign Up, Suit Up, and Show up!

QUESTION: What's your favorite social media platform, and why?

GAIL ROBERTSON: Twitter: it’s fast-paced, has a greater diversity of content, and is an excellent way to meet, get to know, and engage with people. It is also a place you need to curate content and embrace the scroll button. I have met phenomenal people through Twitter, including Nathalie Gregg who leads the #LeadLoudly Twitter Chat.

Along with great connections, there are some other top notch Twitter Chats like #USAMfgHour and #TwitterSmarter. You can find a chat for just about any topic. There is also audio. With Twitter Spaces, you can jump in, listen, and meet incredible people.

While Twitter still is a “favorite,” each social media platform has its own special place in my heart! I like a few others for different reasons and have also connected with cool people. For sure, LinkedIn is phenomenal, and I have even started enjoying the fun part of TikTok.  Social media is what you make it, and with some engagement and sharing of content and ideas, each platform can deliver results.

TWEET THIS: Twitter is an excellent way to meet, get to know, and engage with people. ~@GailNow #connections #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: You wrote an excellent article on your Blog entitled, "When You're Ready for Your Close-Up, Mr. DeMille." (On a side note, I'm a film buff, so I really enjoyed the post.) Can you provide an overview that explains the tie-in between the film and marketing?

(Read the post here:

GAIL ROBERTSON: In the film, Norma Desmond realizes she has to adjust to the times in order to continue making an impact. Similarly, in today’s world, we need to adjust to the times (for example, video is required to make an impact).

Video is extremely powerful when it comes to getting your message across. According to, 87% of marketing professionals use video as one of their tools, and whether they pop up on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or any other social media platform that allows more than just posting a pic, it’s a key way to sell your product or service through your most valuable asset – you.

So when we look at film, it is all about building relationships via the big screen. Today, we can use video and tell stories; showing a part of your personality AND building relationships by allowing people to get to know you. Films are still powerful, and now we can add to that power with social media, through video and sharing behind-the-scenes clips, by sharing insights about stars in a film. AND, social media posts with film and video content get 48% more views than those without them, according to HubSpot.

So, bottom line, video footage featuring your employees, customers, and/or volunteers is a great way to make them feel part of the action. And there is also great ROI: A single film/video can be repurposed for different lengths, platforms, and audiences. That ONE video can return a great deal back to you!

My thanks to Gail for sharing her digital marketing insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: Reuben Juarez via Wordswag.

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