Twitter True Story ~ When One Door Closes

Talking twitter with Big Daddy Craig

We’re honored to welcome Craig Silva, AKA @BigDaddyKreativ and @FordCraigSilva, to SocialNorth. Craig is the Senior Community Manager for Ford Canada and a personal friend of mine. We met two years ago and following his journey has been inspiring – to say the least.

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In the beginning, there was Craig

Craig and his beautiful motivator!My path to where I am now professionally has been a long and bumpy road. From August 1998 to October 2010, I was employed as the senior graphic designer at Canada’s largest community newspaper. On October 21st 2010, after 18 years of working in the newspaper field, I was out of a job.

That night, after a long drive home, I sat down with my wife and she told me I should start to use my twitter account more. I had been using Facebook and posted a positive status update: “is now a free agent” on my personal page and on my Big Daddy Kreativ fan page, I posted “new expanded hours”.

A month before I lost my job, I attended a book launch at a local pub – and had a few ideas. The author had marketed his book solely on social media. I bought it and got him to sign it. Little did I know that book was going to be my roadmap to the future.

What the hell does unmarketing mean?

In one night, Scott Stratten singlehandedly changed the way I interacted on social media – and how I looked at my job loss a month after meeting him. For example, Scott talked about what really worked well for him.

  • Tweet constantly
  • Tweet quality
  • Tweet retweetable content
  • Be authentic
  • Use a face picture

Alright, I’ll give it a try. The response I got once I changed my avatar from my logo to a picture of me was incredible. One response opened my eyes… it said “it’s great to finally meet you”. Okay Scott, I get it.

After losing my job, I had some decisions to make regarding my future: work full time trying to find a job or work full building my business. I chose to build my brand.

Things got crazy. I started a small online apparel store, so I could design t-shirts when things were slow. Social media helped get the word out and sales started strong. A former colleague contacted me (now publisher of a magazine in Toronto) and asked if I’d take on designing a few of his magazines.

I expanded my services to include social media community management and moderation. Soon after, I was managing a few small businesses and charities. I helped them establish their social media channels, and implemented social media plans for them to follow.

Speaking of social media and life changing…

Craig beside the 2013 Ford Raptor SVT at the Ford Rouge Factory in Dearborn, MichiganSeptember 2011, I was invited to speak at Canada’s first 140 Conference in Kitchener, Ontario – my first time speaking in front of a crowd. The first time telling my story. Afterward I noticed an increase in my client base. More and more people came to me for my design and print work. I also noticed I no longer had to talk about what I did for a living. When people were looking for something designed or printed, my contacts referred me.

Around this time, I started to review vehicles for Ford. I had been designing ads for various auto dealers for over 18 years, and loved cars and trucks, so it seemed like a good fit for my blog.

In December 2011, Ford Canada invited me to attend the 3 day Ford NAIAS summit with them in Detroit. I was one of 22 influencers from Canada, and 150 from around the world to get this invite. To say I was thrilled was an understatement.

It was an amazing experience. I got to see how the vehicles were designed in the research and development center; the amazing exhibits at The Henry Ford Museum; and the media launch of the 2013 Ford Fusion at NAIAS. I was really impressed by the experience, but was also impressed by how happy all the Ford representatives were. They all seemed to thoroughly enjoy what they do.

In February 2012, Wendy and I were invited to the Ford Canada Blue Party in Toronto. At the party, I mentioned to Ammar Khan, Social Media Manager for Ford Canada, that I love what they were doing in the social space and would love to work on that team. He was surprised, and asked about BDK. I mentioned to him that if the opportunity presented itself, I would take BDK back to a side gig.

Ford Canada

Craig with Ammar Khan (Social Media Manager, Ford Canada), and a Henry Ford impersonator at NAIAS 2013.

Craig with Ammar Khan (Social Media Manager, Ford Canada), and a Henry Ford impersonator at NAIAS 2013.

In early 2012, my wife, Wendy, saw a tweet from Ammar. They were looking for a Community Manager. She quickly messaged me and suggested that since I had been helping clients with their community management, I should apply. I threw my name in the hat.

The next day, I get a phone call for an interview. They gave me an overview of what the job entailed. I gave them a basic introduction to me, what I do, clients I have worked with, etc… but they had done their homework.

A couple more interviews (all within the next week) I was meeting key partners I might be working with – if I got the job. Only, they were talking like I already had the job.



Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

April 18th, I officially signed on with ICUC Moderation. I was the new Senior Community Management Consultant to Ford Canada. I would have 3 other community managers working for me, as well as a support staff. The kicker… I would be starting right away.

On April 25th, I tweeted from my new Ford account for the first time after wrapping up at a meeting in Toronto. All the way home, my phone went crazy but I cranked up the stereo and let it buzz. When I arrived home, I sat down at my desk, and started going through my messages. The messages kept pouring in for the next few days. I responded to every one of them. Our analytics guys were blown away with all the attention.

I look back at some of the comments that were made when I lost my job, and one stands out more than any other. It was “Craig, you will realize in time that this is the best thing that could have ever happened to you.” They were right.

Who’s Yer Daddy?

I follow a few simple rules. Everyone uses social media differently but this is what worked for me

  • Craig's their daddyBe nice. Social media is a megaphone. If you’re an ass in person, you will be a bigger ass on social media.
  • Acknowledge every mention. If your feed is full of people sending you messages and you only respond to those who are influential, you’re doing it wrong. Treat everyone equally, regardless of their Klout score.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. Period. An online argument makes everyone look bad in the end. There is no advantage, so don’t do it.
  • Don’t worry about people who don’t like you. My buddy Chris Farias of Kitestring once told me “If everyone likes you, you’re doing it wrong.” Ignore the miserable, jealous, angry people – they take away from the time you’re spending being awesome and building relationships.
  • Think before you post. You may be tempted to post an emotionally charged status update or tweet. My advice, type it into a Word doc and then get up, walk away, grab a drink of water, go for a walk… whatever it takes to get your head clear. Then revisit that post. If it is something you wouldn’t want your mother to read online, don’t post it. If it is something you will possibly regret, don’t post it. If it is something that will have a negative impact on your brand, don’t post it.
  • Set your boundaries. Religion and politics? I have a personal policy that I will not discuss these 2 topics on social media. I know there are a lot of people who do, and I have seen conversations get heated.
  • Attend face to face events. Like any relationship, it takes time and effort to build it into a strong one. I have made some great friendships through social media – and strengthened through real life meetings.
  • Participate in Follow Fridays. Recognize those who impact or influence you. People will do the same for you. I have hit the top 10 in the Canadian Follow Friday list several times. But don’t just tweet out a list of people with the #ff hashtag. Give your followers a reason to follow them.
  • Talk about your company, but avoid the hard sell. That’s easy for me because my background is not in sales.
  • Never bash your competitors. Get ahead on your own merits and reputation. Let your work, your product, your service and your positive personality sell you.

It’s been a long journey. I am happy. I love my family and friends, and I love what I do. Now, the best part of my day is waking up, because I have a different adventure every day meeting and talking to amazing people.

And, I get to spend a lot more time with my family, which is the most important thing to me.

Read more profiles on SocialNorth:

About Craig Silva

Craig SilvaAfter spending more than a decade as a Senior Marketing Coordinator, Craig Silva found himself in a place he wasn’t expecting to be.  Laid off.   It was at that time he decided to start his own company and use his knowledge in Social Media to promote it.

Craig dove in head first and 24 months and 50,000 tweets later Craig is sitting on top of the Social Media stratosphere. His hard work, dedication and knowledge landed him the gig as Senior Community Management Consultant to Ford Canada.

Craig is a Designer, Brander, Social Media Engager, Community Builder, Volunteer and Blogger.  Whether he is attending an event, engaging with his followers or communicating for one of the largest automobile companies in the world, his voice is one that is heard loud and clear and he is sharing what he has learned with others.



Big Daddy Kreativ

Ford Craig Silva

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46 Responses to “Twitter True Story ~ When One Door Closes”

  1. Keith says:

    I met Craig at a tweet up at Bingeman’s a couple of years ago and I’ve read Scott Strattons book (and enjoyed it). It’s wonderful to see how these two guys have used twitter to launch their careers. Having worked in old media (at the Record) myself, its great to see new media generate business.

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks for the kind words Keith! I still haven’t been back to Bingeman’s since that tweet up. Wendy and I are going to take the girls back this summer. Love it in KW!

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hi Keith, thanks for stopping by and reading Craig’s story. It’s amazing how social media has changed so many people’s lives. I’m especially grateful for Craig’s roadmap to success – simple and brilliant!

  2. mara says:

    Craig, I think it’s just great how you have taken control of your life and found what you truly love to do. I have a very similar story. I agree with all your rules too! Keep doing what you’re doing.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Thanks Mara, Craig is an inspiration and there’s lots to learn from his determination – and willingness to share! Super appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to read and comment.

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks so much Mara. I would love to hear your story sometime… either reading or over a coffee or 2. Losing my job has let me meet some amazing people, including yourself. For that, I am truly blessed.

  3. Craig,

    So nice to get to know you and your journey! Life sometimes makes turns and at the time they seem to big to make, but your story holds the true meaning to how incredible life is and how destiny works.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tammy @inRdream

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Thanks Tammy, it’s always inspiring for me to see how “crooked” another person’s journey has been and how they’ve seized opportunity out of anything that comes their way. It gives me hope that my own “crooked” journey has meaning too. Appreciate your stopping by to read and comment!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thank you Tammy. It’s been a rough few years, but I landed on my feet with a great company, one that allows me to work my way. I have assembled an awesome team of community managers that work so well together, all for a company that loves to work with everyone. I couldn’t have asked for a better position. I get the chance to work with a wide array of people in a super fun way!

  4. SoberJulie says:

    Great article! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Craig and Wendy via Twitter and now count them as close friends of our famiily. Watching your journey has been inspiring Craig, you’ve certainly left folks some great tips here.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Julie, you are another role model of mine – just so you know. You’ve done your own share of making lemonade out of lemons. Thanks for sharing in my adoration for Craig!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words Julie! Meeting people like you would have never happened had I not been let go from my last job. For that, I am truly blessed.

  5. Julia says:

    Love this “Be nice. Social media is a megaphone. If you’re an ass in person, you will be a bigger ass on social media.”

    Craig you rock the social space and are an inspiration. Keep up the great work!

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Julia, don’t you love how Craig distilled social media down into one succinct thought. Brilliant! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks so much Julia! It’s been great meeting wonderful people like you. I’ve met a few people on social media that are asses in person, and use social media for promoting a negative atmosphere. It’s been refreshing meeting people like you, who add sunshine to a day. Cheers Julia!

  6. Chris Eh Young says:

    I remember that book signing Craig, that’s where we met. I also remember you killing it despite your nerves at the 140 Conference.

    You deserve good things man. Congrats.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Chris, you and Craig both deserve GREAT things. You’ve worked hard, shared abundantly and continue to grow – pretty damn awesome recipe for success if you ask me. Thanks for stopping by today, my friend!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks for your kind words Chris. It’s been a long road, and I truly value your friendship. A lot came out of Scott’s book signing… a book full of knowledge is not the only thing I value. It was also meeting people like you who’s friendship I cherish. Cheers dude!

  7. Shash says:

    You are a great designer, someone I loved to recommend. Daniel’s going to miss you. ;P

    p.s Your journey is a testimony to never giving in or giving up! awesome

    • Julia Rosien says:

      I agree, Shannon. Not giving up can be really, really hard – especially when faced with what Craig was facing. He carried on and his sharing will help others in the same space. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thank you for your kind words Shannon. I’m going to miss designing for Daniel. I mean, who the heck wouldn’t want to design stuff for a cowboy? Cheers Shannon, and thank you so much for your support over the past few years. I truly appreciate it!

  8. I love your inspiring story, Craig! You are definitely doing something right. I’m so glad to have gotten to know you over the past few years – I am so happy for you for what you have accomplished 🙂

    • Julia Rosien says:

      I agree, Craig is doing a lot right and we’re so happy to share his story here. Thanks so much for stopping by to help us cheer him on!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Awe thanks MTM! So happy to have the support of friends, and it has been awesome getting to know you over the past couple years. It truly means a lot to Wendy and I. Cheers!

  9. Cameron says:

    Having just started into the blogosphere myself, these are words to live by! I see examples of your “megaphone” every day on Facebook and can’t believe what people are putting out there.

    Thanks for posting!

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hey Cameron, it’s amazing how brass that megaphone looks from the outside, doesn’t it? It always saddens me to see people misusing such a brilliant tool. But then I see folks using it in such smart ways, like our friend Craig. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks Cameron. I have made my fair share of mistakes along the way, but I am human. It’s learning from those mistakes, picking yourself up, and moving forward in a more positive and productive way. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. HEY! Great post.

    I’ve always been about journeys. Thanks for sharing yours. I hope you continue to grow and wish you continued success…
    You are pretty awesome. Glad to know ya!

  11. Paresh says:

    An interesting read. i remember when Craig announced he would be managing the Ford Canada social space. He’s now one of the #FordBros making Twitter a fun place to interact in.

    • Craig Silva says:

      Mr. Disco, Mr. Disco, Mr. Disco! (see what I did there?) It’s been great interacting with you online, and a pleasure to finally meet you at the auto show. Thanks for your ongoing support and awesome sense of humour. It is truly appreciated. Cheers my friend!

  12. Christine says:

    What an incredible story and journey. I love happy endings. I haven’t seen you in a while since our local Oakville Tweet-ups stopped happening but knew through Twitter (naturally) that you were now with Ford Canada.
    All the best to you, Wendy and your girls!!

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hi Christine, thanks so much for stopping by and adding your comments. Craig’s story is a great one and I’m so glad to see it resonates with so many people. Cheers!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks Christine… I do miss the Oakville tweetups. There haven’t really been any local ones around.

      Hope you are doing well and staying glamourous!


  13. Kevin Grout says:

    I’ve followed BDK on twitter for awhile, but only recently noticed the Ford connection. I had no idea about the transition Craig went through, but so happy to see how his network and hard work helped launch him towards a great new opportunity.

    I recently went through something similar, working in higher education. I just made the move (with my family) from Ontario out to Victoria, BC where I now work at UVic.

    My network helped me along as well, and the support I received was phenomenal. I’ve also read Scott’s book(s), and agree that all business is now social.


    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hey Keith, thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment. It does sound like you and Craig both understand the power (and unsettledness!) of change. Hope it’s all working out for you and your family! Cheers!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thanks for the comment Kevin… it’s tough to keep the 2 Twitter profile separate when we are trying so hard to keep our Ford branded accounts human. I have no problem with the lines being blurred, as I am human, and want people to know the guy behind the keyboard.

      Hope things are well out on the Island… i have fond memories of my trip to Tofino back in 1998… such a beautiful part of Canada.


  14. Love the success story. Nice to see that when you do it right and with respect, you are recogninzed!

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Thanks so much, Margarita, for stopping by and for the comment. I couldn’t agree with you more – taking your time to do it right and with respect pays off every time. Craig set out to grow his network by supporting and elevating others – when he needed them, they were there for him. Kudos all around!

    • Craig Silva says:

      Thank you Margarita. You can never ask for respect… it is earned. There are people who will never respect what you do. What works best for me is to concentrate on the positive, live life the best you can, do the best job you can do, and most importantly… make sure you make time for your family. Without them, nothing else matters. They were my rock through this whole process.


  15. Joan Spares says:

    Great story about a great guy. I knew this (most of it)already but now all the gaps are filled! Proud to be your friend, Craig (andI LOVE your wife and little girls!)

  16. This is what great stories are made of. Crisis + Discovery + Change. I was going to say “Happy Endings” but something tells me greater things are on your horizon. Glad to have seen the transformation IRL and look forward to hearing more from your excellent adventure.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Trevor. Craig is a great example of someone who was able to leverage a challenging change and turn it into something wholly positive. Looking forward to seeing you at Tweetstock next month!

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