Please, please, please… keep your social media names, logins and passwords simple!

"Give me the password to the email where you send the link to reset my password when I forget it, because I can’t remember that either."
“Give me the password to the email where you send the link to reset my password when I forget it, because I can’t remember that either.”

Did you know that business loses $38 biliion per year because employees can’t remember their passwords?  The average employee types passwords 4,000 times per year. For a social media pro with multiple clients, this must be tens of thousands of times per year.

And if there is a #1 thing that slows down social marketing and wastes time and money these days it’s having 10 different cryptic passwords and 8 different obtuse email addresses for all your social media accounts!  Especially when you have 6 social media pages and 10 people who need to be admins.

I’ve been doing social media for 7 years professionally and only once was a client’s Fan page hacked.

But 98% can’t remember their passwords!

Your poor marketing employees and social media folks have to log in and log out all day long using these obtuse passwords with multiple characters and symbols. So I recommend that you keep your passwords simple — even if that’s not the “secure” IT-sanctioned way. People need to continually use these passwords all day long. It’s adding an extra layer of confusion and complexity if they are complex.

According to eWeek, a survey of consumer users in 2014 revealed that companies lose more than $420 of productivity annually per employee due to workers merely wasting time with passwords.
For a company with 500 employees, the loss is equivalent to nearly $210,000 per year in productivity.

Your business social media content is 100% public and you want it to be as public as possible — so why are you worried about it staying private?

Who is going to hack into your Twitter account? Everything you do in Twitter is completely transparent and public anyway.

In the rare chance you get hacked, you will be able to change your password a lot faster if someone on your team can #$%^&*( remember it!

Keep it simple. Please.

99% of the CEOs and solopreneurs I work with also cannot find their log in emails and passwords and this can slow things down for days or weeks. I have one client who kept me waiting 4 weeks for the passwords while the meter was running!

One client never got started on her social media campaign and gave up because she couldn’t find her login and passwords.

Another could not remember where her website domain was created so we never got around to actually transferring a website I built over to her URL.

I have seen businesses scrap all their SEO and valuable fan base because they can’t remember their #$%^ log in and passwords!

The worst thing that happens is when the former social media manager gets fired and refuses to hand the login and passwords over and nobody knows them because only one person had access to this information.  This can literally bring your business to its knees for a few days.  And this happens a whole lot more than hacking.

If you are just starting out, this might not seem important, but someday in the future, when you get as big as you dream of growing, it will be.

And you won’t grow as fast as you want to if you can’t remember your logins and passwords.


  • Create a shared Google Document or spreadsheet for storing the accounts, emails and passwords.
  • Invite all the members of the team in who will need access to these accounts.
  • Then create one company email address specifically for all of your social media pages. (Not the email of an employee who might leave).
  • I recommend one password for all your social accounts.
  • Change all of the passwords on a regular basis, as employees, agencies or consultants turn over.
  • Name every social media page the exact same name (preferably the actual name of your company, film, book or product) and reserve the URL for it. (Example:
  • Before you even name your business, book, film, band or product, check Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress, and Instagram and make sure your name is actually available on all of these pages. It can be embarrassing if it’s not.
  • Don’t use a Yahoo or Gmail as your one email address — it needs to be because some social media tools will only let you use a business email to establish your account.
  • When an employee leaves, or you stop using an agency, please remember to change the passwords and remove the admins. (I am still an admin on about 23 pages for projects I no longer work for, including clients who died and companies that no longer exist but still leave their Fan page up.)

What’s in a name? Everything! 10 reasons why naming strategy is crucial for your brand.

DownloadedFileI was talking to a client the other day who wanted more visibility. They had a hideously long URL for their company website.

I rolled my eyes. I immediately knew they were doomed to failure unless they changed their name.

I asked: “Is there any way you can find a shorter url?”

My prospective client hemmed and hawed about how attached he was to his ridiculously long company name.

There’s a reason why Google and Yahoo succeeded — and a host of other earlier search engine contenders like NorthernLights and AltaVista bombed.

There’s a reason why YouTube won the video wars and early contenders like, “uh, um, uh, whats their name, I forgot” failed.

Because YouTube is a freakin’ awesome brand. It says what it does. It has attitude. It’s memorable. You can spell it. It rhymes with things. It’s unique. It works in other languages and other cultures.

When I named my business, I spent an entire rainy day on Go Daddy typing things in at random until I found “Visibility Shift.”

Even though it’s not short, it’s memorable, it says exactly what it is.

And it’s relevant to my consulting practice, which is about shifting your visibility to a new level. I was absolutely floored when I discovered such a great website name was even available — and for $7.99.

Here are 10 reasons you want to take time to find a truly memorable stand out URL:
  1. It’s easier to type a short, memorable name – a long or unmemorable or hard to spell url just discourages people
  2. It’s memorable – (One word is best. Two words are ok. Three is just too much. Say it out loud. Can you pronounce it?)
  3. Searchability (SEO) – A name that isn’t unique is going to bring up millions of search results in Google. You want a unique URL so you are the first and only hit in Google, without having to pay $$$$ to Google for adwords.
  4. International localization – remember the web is global and your name has to translate easily into other languages — so it’s better if it’s not a word in any language.  Run your name past some friends who speak other languages and some translation software and make sure it doesn’t translate into something embarrassing. (The Chevy Nova flopped in Mexico because “No Va” means “Won’t Run.”) Say it out loud again. Does it sound like something obscene in Chinese?
  5. Put less words on your site, more pictures. Especially remember that the web is international and words need to be translated.  So the fewer words, the more universal your message is.  Learn from the success of big brands like Apple and Google who take a less is more approach.
  6. It doesn’t have to be a .com — You can be successful with a .us, .tv, etc. For example, And that’s even shorter.
  7. Groupon is successful in large part because their name rocks. “Group + coupon.” Brilliant. Memorable. Unique. Short. Tells you what it is.
  8. Get your name first before you spend time and money branding it. Changing your name later is very costly and it means you are undoing all the work you did on public relations, marketing and social media outreach.  (Did you know that AirBnB was originally called “Airbed and Breakfast”? Seriously! The airbed rental idea flopped so they shortened it.)
  9. VCs look at your brand and name as a big reason to invest. A great logo, web design, business card, brand and name are almost as important as the product or technology behind the brand.
  10. Think about web branding when you name your products — and your kids, too. I’m grateful that my mother, very ahead of her time, gave me a name that is so unique that I go to the top of Google. Check that name out in Facebook, Twitter and Google and make sure it’s available. (The reverse applies if you want to protect your privacy — then John Doe is the way to go.) Consider adding a unique middle name to your name that describes what you do so you stand out. (ie: David “Avocado” Wolfe is a speaker in the health food field.)
This advice applies to any personal or corporate brand — a musician, band, artist, writer, book title or film. Choose your name carefully and snap up the URL as soon as you can, even if you end up sitting on it for years before you get your project started.
For more information about naming, visit Name Wire a blog about naming.

Pinterest is the marketing bargain of the century — free.

Pinterest is not just for recipe clipping anymore -- I predict it will dominate social media in a few years.  Are you using Pinterest yet?

This month, something incredible and unexpected happened. My traffic on the social media site, Pinterest, suddenly surged to 5,616 visits per DAY. (43,000 per month.)

At this rate, more than 2 million people could visit my Pinterest page this year.

Compare this to Twitter, where I obsessively tweet 20 times a day to get maybe a few retweets or this blog, which takes all year to reach 20,000 readers.

How did this happen?

What’s really strange is, I didn’t plan on becoming a Pinterest rock star. Pinterest is just a hobby, something I do for fun. But my Pinterest page has taken on a life of its own — pollinating pins throughout the Internet.

The Pinterest statistics (available because I created a Business account) tell me that most of my viewers are women, West Coast American, Canadian and Aussies, and that they, no surprise, are interested in exactly the same things that I adore — bohemian fashion, DIY found object crafts, rustic gardens, sacred interiors, the outdoors, flea market finds, vintage trailers, hammocks in the trees, outdoor music festivals, healthy food.

It’s a look and aesthetic that is distinctly me — and somehow citizens of Pinterest have decided I’m some sort of low rent Boho Martha and they like my style.

And clients tell me: “Meh….Pinterest is a waste of time for our brand.”


Just look at the statistics and growth on my page:

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.38.20 PM
If my website got traffic like this, I’d be in the top 1% of websites in the USA. Pins get shared — and as they travel, your traffic grows.

Pinterest does something that no other (free) marketing tool has ever done. It sends your “pin” like a little document, all over the planet — like a seed blowing in the wind. And everywhere it goes, this pin points back to your website. Where you are driving traffic to your webpage. Forever.

  • Pinterest users’ average purchase value is 126% more than Facebook users.
  • 47% of US online shoppers made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest, beating FaceBook & Twitter.
  • Pinterest is the 2nd largest driver of social media traffic after Facebook. 

Pinterest is the marketing and search engine traffic-driving (SEO) bargain of the century. And yet so few brands (except the really big consumer food brands) are taking it seriously yet.  Again, look at the traffic statistics for just one month:

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.39.31 PM
That’s 43,000 views this month. Why? And how do I make money from this? Pinterest’s stats reveal some clues: the brands that my followers like, the products they buy.

I have only 1700 followers on Pinterest, but those pinners can reach 2,000,000 people/year.

But wait this is what is truly amazing, and what most people do not “get” about Pinterest yet — those people don’t even need to be on Pinterest. My pins could land on Twitter, in a blog, Facebook, Instagram, another website, an email — who knows.  Pins, unlike Facebook, G+, Twitter or LinkedIn posts, are incredibly viral.

Pinterest is even more viral than other forms of social media posting because they are not tied to Pinterest — each and every one of those “seeds” it sends out, in the form of a pin, will link back to your website — forever — no matter how often it is repinned or where it lands.  While you can technically do this by sharing or embedding a Tweet or a YouTube video, it is just much more sharable and easier to do with Pinterest.

ARE YOU GETTING THIS YET? This is like, you can reach as many people with a Pinterest page than the entire circulation of the Los Angeles Times. More people than a Superbowl ad on TV.

For free.

And you still think Pinterest is “just for housewives in the Midwest posting recipes?”

Contact Giselle Bisson if you’re interested in learning how you can leverage Pinterest to help your start up start up, build your personal brand or drive more traffic to your website.

Fire your SEO guy. Here’s 9 reasons why social search is the new SEO.

Self publishing content on your own blog is the way to send content about your business out to your social media pages. This generates exponentially more chances that you will be discovered by customers or search engines.
Self publishing content from your blog or press releases to your social media pages is the new “SEO.” This generates exponentially more chances that you will be discovered by customers or search engines.  This is in most cases cheaper, faster and more direct than trying to generate “earned media” (press coverage.)

SEO is dead.

Yeah, that’s what I said.

Long live social search.

Old style SEO (search engine optimization) is about tricks, hacks and keywords. Your overpriced SEO geek may even convince you to pay him big bucks to put a big, ugly chunk of “geek speak” text written for the Search Engine (not human beings) on the first page of your website “for SEO purposes.”

Instead, the big opportunity to be discovered is by creating the most appealing, juicy, word-filled content possible and syndicating that yourself throughout the Internet via social media. Hire a professional writer and a social media pro and create compelling content if you want to drive traffic. (Not an SEO guru.)

Fire your SEO guy, and reallocate those resources to producing and syndicating more content that will drive free organic traffic to your website. (Now if your SEO person does most of the things below already, you should keep them. But I have a hunch they are still mostly doing the old-school tricks, metatags and hacks method.)

Here are 9 ways social search is the new SEO:

1. Answer the question in your headline. I know this is brain dead obvious, but you need to think like a search engine when you write every post, tweet and headline. What are people searching for? Ask the question in your headline. Answer the question in your content. (How can I get better organic SEO tips? How can I get more organic website traffic? How can I drive organic traffic to my site?) There. Done. Did it.  Now send these headlines out into cyberspace from your social pages.

2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is totally unnecessary if you build your website on a blogging platform like WordPress that incorporates keywords, tags and lots of “social sharing” features. This is the dirty little secret that the whole SEO industry kind of dances around.

3. SEO, or paid advertising, is doing absolutely nothing to build your visibility on social networks. SEO is no longer relevant once you start doing Social Media because your profile on Twitter and your tweets automatically get the same search rank as Twitter! That’s right — you can drive more traffic to your website with a Tweet than you’ll get from an article in the New York TimesSee this example when I Google myself — note that the New York Times article that quotes me is buried deep in the string. The first 10 results are all social media pages. (Social media has even better Google rank than my own website.)

4. SEO on your website is nowhere near as effective as a key-word filled, search-engine friendly press release that drives traffic to your website. Press releases go straight into Google News and Yahoo News, can easily be picked up by 50,000 blogs and feeds, and you can also distribute them on your social networks. It’s like having thousands of messengers in cyberspace sending people over to your website.

5. The best kept secret that that SEO guy doesn’t want you to know is that you’re probably paying him to drive traffic to your dead, static, dated website instead of starting from scratch with a social media optimized blog. I know it’s scary and expensive to leave your 1990s static website behind and get with it. After all, it’s your baby. You have tens of thousands of dollars and hours invested in it.  But your 90s website is not only invisible — it’s dated, like an old kitchen that screams “Avocado and Harvest Gold,” like shoulder pads on a suit, like a wide necktie.  A 2014 WordPress site looks like this one — it can adjust to desktop screens, tablets and smartphones.  The other thing about using a blog as the center of your content wheel is that WordPress has great content syndication features that will automatically syndicate every post to all of your social media pages.

6. All that SEO you overpaid for will disappear when you remove your old site and update to a 2015 responsive template. However, links to Twitter, news coverage, blogs, press coverage and Press Releases will last forever in Google. As long as you don’t change your URL, those pieces of content drive traffic to your website as long as those networks stay on the Internet.

Every post or "pin" you send on social media should have a link that leads back to your website, or to merchandise you are selling. This will drive traffic in the search engines too as social media pages have high authority in Google.
Every post or “pin” you send on social media should have a link that leads back to your website, or to merchandise you are selling. This will drive traffic in the search engines too as social media pages have high authority in Google.

7. SEO is about words. More words = more chances you will be found by Google.  By putting those words out on press releases, articles, blogs, Tweets, Pins and multiple social media pages (not just one place, your website) you’re exponentially increasing the chances that Google will find you. Even more if that stuff gets shared.

8. Google likes relevant, timely, fresh content. Nothing is more timely than social media posts like Tweets and G+ updates, or  your own blog posts. Stale website content from your 1999 website is not very interesting to Google. (Or your customers.)

9. Google likes (surprise!) Google products such as G+ and YouTube. Nothing impresses Google’s search bots like using one of Google’s products. This is the only reason to have at least a token channel on YouTube and a G+ page where you post at least 1 time per day. Note that most of the top 10 hits when you Google me are G+ posts.

Social media is now the center of your marketing in 2015, especially if you are trying to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to your website.
Social media is now the center of your marketing in 2015, especially if you are trying to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to your website.


Today, to drive organic traffic to your website (without paying for links or ads) you need:

– An updated site that contains a blog, preferably a WordPress template

– An excellent writer (hire a journalist, not some cheap person on Fiverr who can’t write in English) to produce regular, juicy, keyword-rich, interesting and topical posts. (Bonus points if they capitalize on the trending topics of the day.)

– A social media consultant (to get more posts out there into the social sites and distribute your blog content to drive traffic back to your website.)

– A PR consultant – to send out more press releases that drive traffic to your site, and get you press coverage which will drive up your search ranks and generate the permanent, high-quality links back to your site that Alexa and Google love.

With the rise of Social Sharing we’ve entered a new era of digital media: personalized discovery. The balance of power is shifting: Many web managers and publishers are seeing more audience coming from Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter, Reddit and other social sharing sites than from Google search.

Social signals are the new page rank — become a “trending topic of the day,” or comment on the trends of the day, and you will see your traffic soar.

People will discover you and find you through your content, your networks and your conversations.

By creating your own "news" in press releases and social media posts, you are boosting your website traffic and page rank. You still want to get "real news" too -- articles in credible blogs, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV coverage.
By creating your own “news” in press releases and social media posts, you are boosting your website traffic and page rank. You still want to get “real news” too — articles in credible blogs, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV coverage.

PR is dead — long live social PR

pr is dead social pr

pr is dead social prPR is dead.

Did you hear me? The career I’ve been in for 18 years — dead. Over. Toast. Done.

It’s evolved into something much more powerful and effective. Social PR.

I think that PR and social media are not separate anymore — and are in fact the same thing.

I’ve seen social media evolve over the past 30 years, from CompuServe to the WeLL to AOL to Craigslist to Ryze, then Friendster, MySpace,, blogging, and today, Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook is just another chat room. It’s all just a big virtual cocktail party.

But what has changed — dramatically — is how we influence other influencers today. And who those other influencers are.  They’re not just press anymore.

You cannot separate “PR” and “Social Media.” They must be on the same page. The strategy must be interwoven.

Your social media, PR, marketing, web and advertising teams need to talk to each other.

Your marketing strategy must be a social marketing strategy.

Your PR strategy must be a Social PR strategy. You must evolve from the 1990s idea that “announcing to the media” is any different than “talking to your customer”.

You’re communicating directly to the public.

Your brand isn’t just B2B, or B2C. It’s person to person. Human to human.

It’s not a one way broadcast anymore. It’s a multichannel conversation.

Today you talk to everyone at once.

Your customer is there. Your investors are there. The press are there. All in the same room.

You must take social media seriously as the front line of your brand, pay attention to it, and stop posting lame, idiotic, poorly written, typo-riddled, boring dreck.

Social media is the front line of your brand!

Social media is marketing + branding + advertising + PR + analyst relations + investor relations + customer service rolled into one.

Why is Facebook worth billions — and newsracks are empty?

Today, a single Facebook post can easily reach 1 million people. That’s more than the circulation of most daily newspapers.

A Facebook ad can reach more customers for $5 than any other form of marketing ever devised in the history of mankind.

But you’re blowing thousands of dollars on ad agencies, PR agencies and print ads?

And you’re outsourcing social media to the cheapest possible, lowest level employee you can find?

Get rid of that 1990s idea that a newspaper article is more influential than a Tweet, a post or even your own blog.

You used to have to own a TV network to have influence. Today, a kid in their bedroom could have more viewers on YouTube than Oprah.

A musician or DJ who happens to have 100,000 fans or friends could be much more influential than a columnist or a journalist. (Many magazines don’t even reach 100,000 subscribers.)

Have you taken the train to work lately?

Do you see anyone reading a print publication? I don’t.  This is what the train looks like on a typical morning in San Francisco.  And these guys in t-shirts are your target audience.

Do you see them reading the banners on the bus? Billboards? Newspapers? Do they look like businessmen in stock photos?

And they’re probably not reading your website on that little screen unless it’s mobile-enabled.

Morning commute in San Francisco on the MUNI train, 2014. Do you see anyone reading a newspaper? Most of these people are probably reading Twitter and Facebook.
Morning commute in San Francisco on the MUNI train, 2014. Do you see anyone reading a newspaper? Most of these highly influential business people are reading Twitter and Facebook on their smartphone or tablet.

You need to start taking Social Media seriously as the front line of your communications strategy.

It’s not an afterthought to be delegated to Interns, your receptionist, or “maybe I’ll get to it later”.

Social media is the front line of your brand.

Social media is where you get to tell your own story. Where you generate your own news. Where you build relationships with the media. And where you let your customers know about your press coverage.

But just social media isn’t enough. Because newspapers and magazines are still important. That’s because most readers discover the news on Social Media, and because reporters and publications have influential followings on social media.

Newspapers and magazines are still very influential –– they have high page rank and authority in Google, so getting mentioned in them does wonders for page rank and SEO. They drive traffic to your website — forever.

Social PR blends traditional mainstream print/TV/radio news media Press Relations with “content marketing”. (That’s a fancy word for: “photos with words on them.”

To do viral content marketing effectively, your messages must be created specifically to reach influencers who spread the word further. And you must include those influencers in your community.

This also means, simply, that your “friends” on your social network also happen to be reporters, freelance writers, columnists and editors and they “discover” the story ideas you share on their news feed. (This is kind of like sending out a press release only much faster.)

These days, instead of relying mainly on email pitching and press releases to announce news, I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to build relationships with press and influencers.

Try following and befriending every member of the media or influencer crucial for your product. You’ll be surprised how many follow you back.  And they’ll follow what you say — so make it great content, moderated by a professional who is talented in storytelling, community building, customer support, relationship building and conflict resolution. (Hint: they’re probably not even close to entry level.)

They spread the word for you to their networks, which include their Fan pages, Twitter and the blogs and publications they write for.

Some of these influencers are traditional print or TV press.

Others are simply well connected on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — but have influence equivalent to or greater than that of traditional media.

Try discovering who among your followers and friends champions your brand and spreads the word most frequently. Reward them. Thank them. Give them free tickets and favors.

Over time, you create authentic, engaged communities who will be advocates of your brand. Who tell your story. Who spread the word for you.

Do Social PR. Because, social media is the new PR.

It’s time to Zen your brand: The new Apple iWatch shrinks your social media content strategy.

How will your message communicate on a teeny tiny screen?
How will your message communicate on a teeny tiny screen?
How will your message, logo, photo and brand communicate on an ever-shrinking, teeny tiny screen?

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

E.F. Schumacher, “Small is Beautiful.”
A responsive website template can shrink and expand, yet the fonts remain legible.
A responsive website template can shrink and expand, yet the fonts remain legible. Don’t force the user to carry a magnifying glass to see your message!

When I was in art school, my teacher, Mr. Nick used to constantly say: “Simple says more.”  That stuck with me my whole life, and it’s my marketing mantra.

I’m constantly reminding my clients to simplify their message and branding and think small.

Now with the new Apple Watch and other smartwatches, social media marketers will need to shrink their messages ever simpler, bolder and smaller. We’re entering the world of the Dick Tracy two-way communicator and our messages will become both tinier — but they will also more aural, sensory and ubiquitous.

The time is now to prepare for wrist-top always-on marketing and Zen your brand so it’s wearable and portable.

1. Your website needs to adjust for multiple screen sizes. (Get rid of that old template and move over right away to a scalable, responsive template that can shrink and expand while keeping the fonts legible and readable.)

2. Scroll vs click. One long scroll is much easier to navigate on a small screen than a site that demands lots of clicks.

3. Can you touch me, can you read me? When the icons shrink down, your customer still needs to be able to touch them. Can they even see the words?

4. From poster to postage stamp. Your event poster needs to be readable on a smartphone–and you need both print and online versions. Get rid of all the small type and create bold, simple graphics.

5. Can your logo shrinky dink? Your logo must pop and stand out when it’s shrunk down to a tiny icon. Redesign and simplify right away.

6. Are you an icon? Your portrait photo should still be recognizable when it’s a 1 x 1 centimeter icon. (Think iconic — a consistent photo, consistent hair color and style and a consistent and memorable personal brand.)

7. Abolish serif fonts! Your content should have large, sans serif, bold type that’s easy to read when you shrink it to a cellphone screen.

8. Write in soundbites. Your Facebook posts should be Twitter sized — or even smaller.

9. Don’t annoy people with beeps and music. With notification messaging instantly available on a user’s wrist, they will see them far more often. Marketers need to be cautious about annoying the user with beeps and blips or especially websites with annoying music.

But what do we do when it all shrinks down to the postage stamp-sized screen of a smart watch in 2015? Now is the time to prepare for the ever shrinking, ever mobile world that your message will be seen in. No longer on a desk in a business setting — but possibly anytime, anywhere.

Jumping into video editing with Animoto

Jumping into the river of bliss!
Getting my toes wet in video editing with Animoto and YouTube
Getting my toes wet in video editing with Animoto and YouTube — it was time consuming, but the results were worth it.  Photo above: Tony Bisson,

I took the plunge into video shooting and editing with Animoto and a Canon DSLR camera. Here’s my experience and how you can get professional caliber video for your business on a shoestring.

Video is de rigeur for social media these days. You need video to convert those customers you send to your website with Facebook. You also need it to tell a story that can’t be told in still photos.

For my longtime client RiverGuidess Adventures, a pioneer in the “transformational river rafting” retreat, we’d been struggling for years to convey the magic of these events and falling short.  These retreats combine dance, yoga, healthy food and rafting in a very upscale and comfortable fantasy estate that is more golf course than wilderness.

Video is the best way to convey the magic of this property, the lavish catered meals and the very special vibe of the heart-opening transformation that happens on these retreats. They appeal to the lucrative and mostly untapped older Baby Boomer market and families with kids — an age group often ignored by events of this nature that tend to market only to younger Millennials.

The trips fit into a new category called: "Summer camp for grownups," or "Transformational micro festivals." It's an ever-competitive market with so many competing dance, yoga and festival retreats vying for people who can afford a $500 weekend.
The trips fit into a new category called: “Summer camp for grownups,” or “Transformational micro festivals.” It’s an ever-competitive market with so many competing dance, yoga and festival retreats vying for people who can afford a $500 weekend.

The retreats are pricey – $580 for a long weekend. To convey this value, and help transform the image from “hippie” to upscale, we have been sending pro photographers to each trip.

But every time, something was missing. Each photographer had a different artistic and personal vision of the experience that was not always compatible with our marketing goal — to attract the affluent “transformational” consumer and shift our appeal to a slightly younger demographic.

After struggling to direct outsiders to give me the results I wanted — I finally caved in and learned how to shoot and edit video myself.

I used a Canon DSLR  camera ($299 on sale at BestBuy) and a high speed 64 GB card ($200) to shoot  the video. Then I blended it with photos shot by four different professional wedding and event photographers plus a few images I shot on Instagram with an iPad.

I edited the photos in iPhoto and then imported the video clips and photos into a video editing app called Animoto.

This process took me more than 48 continuous hours — and resulted in 4 minutes and 30 seconds of video. This is about the average for how long it takes to edit video — generally one day per minute of finished video — so keep this in mind if you’re getting your feet wet. It’s time consuming!

The Canon DSLR is known as the camera of choice for Indie film photographers in Hollywood, but I found it clunky and hard to use. It also did not shoot well in low light (unless you add an optional lens.)

The quality of the resulting footage was sometimes very good, though (if I can just learn to hold it still and remove the lens cap!) I still found a DLSR awkward and heavy to hold and will be looking into smaller, lighter cameras in the future.

Animoto is an app that lets you host your images in “the cloud” — this solves one of the critical difficulties with video editing, storing all those huge clips. It also makes it very easy to share the process with the client or a team as the project evolves, and it includes some fantastic ready-made templates. It’s really not more difficult than making a Powerpoint and in some ways easier.  The other beauty of Animoto is that it can time your clips to the beat of the music– generating very professional and engaging results.

We added the royalty free songs from Animoto’s library of 10,000 songs. I did a keyword search for “summer” to find the uplifting song that conveys our “summercamp for grownups” theme.

Taking the plunge on the rope swing. (The woman in this photo is over 50 years old. The client wants to create an experience for older Boomers who want more comfort. We call it “glamping.”)

Taking the plunge into video

Animoto for Business costs $39 per month. (

Here’s how the video looks when hosted by Animoto – sharper than You Tube:

Is Facebook fan page advertising useless?

You can reach 1,000,000 people within a few minutes with great post on Facebook -- if it gets shared and syndicated. Only a few newspapers can reach that many readers (such as the New York Times or LA Times.)

This week, a controversial Gallup poll declared that social media was all but useless, and that nobody was influenced by social media ads and it was all a bunch of hooey.

I was immediately suspicious that results from the Gallup survey were skewed by the print and TV media. Mainstream media are late to the social game and totally threatened by the amazing reach of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube — now reaching millions and even hundreds of millions–numbers that vastly exceed print media.

They’re also probably very threatened by Facebook advertising, which is much cheaper than print/broadcast, and reaches that oh so desirable Millennial demographic that doesn’t read or watch TV anymore.

Since I live in Facebook stats all day long, I know the truth — one post can reach more people than an article in the New York Times. Sure, Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner are no doubt losing sleep over that.

Facebook ads, and Yelp, also, can be targeted with laser-like focus on extremely niche local demographics — something print media can’t do quite as well because print is either niche and national or broad and local . Print media and TV are rarely niche and local.

Internet radio still does a lousy job of targeting its ads to any meaningful niche. Local radio still thrives because it’s both targeted and local.

I’ve been doing PR (press relations) since the days when we used fax machines and FedEx — before the Internet existed. Back then, print media was king. Getting an article that reached 100,000 readers in a national print magazine was a big deal. I think some people are still attached to the “prestige” of Print but do not realize that they can actually reach bigger numbers with social media, with far more control over their message.

Print is still very valuable — but now more because it drives traffic to your website and gives you SEO rank in Google.

In the good old days, it was an even bigger deal to end up in a big newspaper like the New York Times and reach 1 million readers. If you got on TV you might (woo hoo) reach an aggregate of 2 million people through multiple TV news stories and a video news release after spending $250,000 on a press conference and a product launch.

Times have changed. Now you can reach just as many people in a few minutes with a single Facebook post or self syndicated blog post — or half a billion with a You Tube video.


I’ve been saying “PR is dead,  long live Social PR” for a few years now. I was a little ahead of the curve. I was also sitting around listening to the phone not ring from PR clients, and watching stories not appear in publications that were disappearing, so I was ahead of the curve and got into social media.

Now it’s clear that shift has happened.

Social media is not optional anymore. If you’re not leveraging social media to amplify your message, it’s as if you don’t exist.

Social media is now the front line of most successful marketing programs. Social media is where you distribute your message first — and later it’s picked up by the news media.

(The exception is if you are a publicly-traded company. If so, then SEC regulations require that you announce news on the newswire first, and your key media are pre-briefed under a non disclosure agreement.)

Traditional PR is still very important, but it serves a different role now–in tandem with social media. After your story appears in the news media, they use their larger networks to “syndicate” your message to their networks. You then in turn amplify the message further by syndicating their content on your networks.

Articles and reviews in mainstream media also provide credibility and great content for your website and social media to leverage, and they will boost your search rank (SEO) in Google forever.


Social media is the “information hub” of your marketing wheel — and your personal social networks at the “hub” that links to other social networks and communities worldwide. The press and publications are some of those networks–but no longer the primary one.

In the old days, you sent press releases to actual members of the press for distribution. Newswires were only available to the press.

Nowadays, you are the press and you syndicate your news over social media, in addition to the press. A press release on the wire now reaches everyone on the planet at once.

Here’s an example of the reach a press release typically gets now on the Internet. As days go by, this number increases, infinitely, and many of these impressions remain on the web forever.  A press release mentioning a company traded on NYSE or NASDAQ would get much more impressions — this was what I got for a small business — 32,000 in two days. This doesn’t include the amplification from self syndicating this story on the client’s social networks. It would be difficult for a small business to get out the word that fast with traditional media.

Example of the traffic generate in two days from a well written, key word tagged press release.
Example of the traffic generate in two days from a well written, key word tagged press release for a small business.











Here’s another example of that from the campaign that illustrates how the Unify Facebook fan page links to other Fan pages and organizations, creating huge amplification for each post. (A single Unify post is often shared more than 5,000 times, reaching literally millions of people worldwide with no advertising.) Even with Facebook’s new restrictions, by utilizing this kind of networking, you can spread your message very rapidly and globally.

Illustration of overlapping social media communities. This strategy helped build into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the strategic plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts behind Unify.
Illustration of overlapping social media communities. This strategy helped build into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the strategic plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts behind Unify.

This strategy helped build into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the initial strategic social media plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts that helped ramp the page up. This is now one of the most viral social media communities on the planet.

As you can see in the screen shot above, it’s very possible to reach 1 million people with a single post if it’s shared, tagged and amplified with well targeted paid Facebook “boosting.” 


Is your Facebook fan page a cocktail party, a barbecue, a conference or a drum circle?

Social media is a virtual party.  Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference or a drum circle?
Social media is a virtual party.  Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference or a drum circle?
Social media is a virtual party. Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference, a yoga class or a drum circle?

The funny thing about social networking is…we often forget that it’s just a virtual party. It’s not about amassing tons of “fans” so you can have the biggest party — it’s about inviting the right people and serving tasty snacks and drinks.

It’s about playful banter, music and laughter.

You know what happens when you talk sex or politics at a party — dead silence.

A cocktail party is NOT the place to pull out a gigantic billboard and say HEY BUY MY PRODUCT! (Unless you are a paid sponsor with a table or booth.)  And imagine if you pulled up your shirt and showed off your appendix scar?

But people do this all the time on Facebook! They forget it’s a party.

A great Fan page is an authentically engaged community where you have a conversation — even better if your tribe cares about what you have to say and shares it with their communities. At a party this is called gossip and word of mouth. On Facebook it’s called sharing and viral marketing.

Remember — a great party is not about QUANTITY it’s about QUALITY. Be selective. Invite the right people. Dress to impress — or stand out in the crowd. Serve good spirits and keep the music upbeat and the conversation as bubbly as champagne.

We are not collecting fans or contacts for Ego — we are collecting real human beings and we should care about them as much as we hope they will care about us.

Think about the real world equivalent of your Fan page. How would you interact in these different real world parties or events?

50 friends or less = backyard barbecue, workshop,  a drum circle.
150 friends or less = a tribe, a retreat, a big party, wedding, etc.
1000 friends or more = a conference
2000 friends or more = industry trade show, music festival
10000 fans or more = sporting event or concert
100,000 fans or more = gigantic stadium event
1 million fans or more = broadcast on television

And here’s a great metaphor for Fan pages from #socialmediamixology: