How to Speak to Your Community with Whitney Gonzalez #68


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This month I welcome Whitney Gonzalez who is the owner and blogger over at CityWhit and who owns Radiate Social where she helps businesses with social media, public relations, and influencer marketing.

Whitney is also a huge Orlando community advocate and does a lot to give to the Orlando community. She currently is on the Friends of the Library board and is the co-host of a biweekly accountability meetup for writers called Write Nite Orlando.

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Whitney’s blog CityWhit has evolved over the years

CityWhit is Whitney’s blog where she writes about travel, hair, and other community events in Orlando. She started blogging around seven years ago by doing product reviews and talking about her day.

However, as Whitney has grown as a blogger and digital media professional, the voice of the blog has changed. “What has really transformed, most notably in 2019, is creating content for your audiences,” Whitney said.

The key is to think about what your audience might search for. Which is how Whitney now approached the tone and voice of her blog. When she writes, she thinks about useful information to the reader.

She explains for example, “what would my audience search for. So now instead of saying here are the five things I did in Costa Rica. It would say Five Top Things you can do in Costa Rica.”

Social media will give you clues to what your readers want

To figure out what her readers want to hear from her, she looks to what they’re interacting with her on social media about. “It’s always awkward to put stuff out onto the internet if you don’t know who your audience is. But you do know who your audience is,” Whitney said.

If you are just starting out and don’t know what people will respond to you about, look at your favorite social media channel you are on now. What are your followers commenting on? These are the types of people who will be your audience. Think about what you might write directly to them.

Whitney gives back in creative ways to the Orlando Community

Recently, Whitney worked with the Orange County Library System to bring the author of the book Influencer Brittany Hennessy to the downtown library.

She is on the friends of the Orange County Library Board. The organization raises money to put on programs that are outside of the library’s budget. After about a year on the board, Whitney thought a speaking event with a national author would be great for the library.

However, to get it done, it had to be something she took the lead on herself. So she reached out to Brittany directly on social media. Then presented the event to the board. Because of her leadership, the library put on a great event for over 100 interested people in the community.

The event its self gave Whitney a different perspective on how she looks at her social media numbers. Especially amidst news of influencers who have giant numbers but can’t even sell a few t-shirts.

So when numbers aren’t actually telling the whole story of how influential someone is, what can you do?

Whitney learned at the Influencer event to look to your DMs. Brittany encouraged the audience to screenshot what people are responding to you in your DMs. It shows what they’re asking questions about. It also shows where others consider you a subject matter expert.

This also has another benefit of encouraging your followers to actually interact with you on social. “Social Media has made people more accessible. If they’re on the platform they want to be vocal and they want to interact,” Whitney says.

Whitney is invested in the Orlando community

Whitney has lived in Orlando for over 20 years. In that time, she has built a lot of connections in the community. One job where she was able to connect both her love of social media and community building was when she worked for the Orange County Government managing their social media channels.

To Whitney, working for Orange County was a dream job for her because it allowed her to give back to the community. She learned so much about local government and how it works while she was there. She learned about how to speak up if you are upset about things in your local community.

“You have to represent in order to change things and make things represent you,” Whitney said.

This means it’s important to show up to local events and government meetings so you can represent your point of view. Not to think others might do it for you.

While working for the Orange County government, Whitney made a lot of connections in the community. It also reinforced to her why community involvement is so important.

Whitney said “It’s a small world and a long life,” which is why she wants to affect the community she lives in to make it the better for everyone.

“You help without asking because you want them to succeed and grow. Because you care about your community,” Whitney said.

Growing your community takes a lot of time and effort

“You really have to nurture your community if you want to harvest,” Whitney told me.

Recently, Whitney opened her own influencer marketing agency called Radiate Social. Before taking the jump on her own, she was apprehensive if she could do it.

However, she got advice to think about the 10 most influential people in her network. Could she reach out to them for work? Would they be able to connect her to what she needed?

Whitney realized that with all the work she has already done working within her community, she was in a position to ask those people in her influence sphere.

In fact, Whitney emphasized how important it is to take the initiative and ask your community for what you need. It won’t just magically fall into your lap. You have to initiate the majority of the time to get what you want.

Because she asked from her community, a few years ago Whitney won a trip to Germany because she won a popular vote. A contest she wouldn’t have won if she hadn’t asked her community to support her.

Whitney connects in-person community building with social media activity

“Social media is like a highlight reel. But it makes you feel like you know somebody and you know what’s going on with their life,” Whitney told me.

Social media is really there to help you keep up with what is going on with a person. However, there are only things you can discuss when you actually talk to a person directly.

These little things are important in human interaction. You can go more in-depth about your life. Also, in person conversations feed off each other’s body language, humor, or inflections in speech. It just allows connections to deepen in a different way.

However, you don’t have to meet with everyone all the time. “Even if you see a person only once or twice a year. It’s a huge difference than if you only see them online. There’s just a certain level of trust you establish in in-person conversations,” Whitney said.

These in person or face to face meetings (if you decide to do them over skype) can go a long way in establishing credibility and trust. Even a conversation off the social channels one or twice a year helps establish a bond that can help foster a deeper connection.

About Whitney Gonzalez

Whitney Gonzalez is a digital communications storyteller specializing in influencer marketing, social media strategy, and community engagement. She is a travel and self-development blogger at and the co-founder of a semi-monthly accountability meet-up called Write Night, during which attendees encourage one another to achieve their business goals. On a volunteer basis, Whitney serves as VP of Membership for the Orlando Area Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association and as VP of the Friends of the Orange County Library System.

Links from the Show

Read the CityWhit Blog
Join Write Night Orlando
Follow Whitney on Instagram
Follow Whitney on Twitter
Like CityWhit on Facebook
Visit the Florida Public Relations Association Orlando website
Orange County Friends of the Library

The post How to Speak to Your Community with Whitney Gonzalez #68 appeared first on Orlando Lady Boss.