Is your event affected by the non-committal “California Syndrome”?

The “California Syndrome” as explained by Business and wealth coach JT Foxx. (JT is from Florida, and he’s got a refreshing perspective on Californians. I was attending one of JT’s seminars in Silicon Valley recently, and scribbled these notes.)

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Or: “Why everyone is so annoyingly non committal about committing to your event?”

JT quips: “It’s even worse in LA!”

Here’s an example from his event, which I attended:

Registered: 1112
Confirmed: 491
Actually showed up: 119

In my experience, having promoted more than 100 events, conferences and festivals, you need to invite 10 times as many people to your Facebook event page as you possibly hope to see. Yes, it’s the “California Syndrome,” also known as “FOMO” or “Fear of Missing Out.” There’s also the phenomenon of some of us only registering “Interested”  to simply be polite to the host. Others will say they are “Interested” just to look cool. And some will lie and say we are “Interested” when we are actually “Going” because we want to protect our privacy and avoid stalkers.

Nobody tells the truth, unless it’s Eventbrite and they have to register. And even then about 25% of those who register and even pay will be no shows.

If you add the number of people who say they are “Interested + Going” you will come close to the actual turn out. So relax and don’t freak out when the number of “going” is much lower than you anticipate and your ticket sales are slow up until the 11th hour! It’s just “California Syndrome!”

How to get 3,000 “likes” on your Facebook post.

People ask me: "How can I get 3,000 people to "like" my #Facebook post?

Well, it's very easy. Just create an engaging, visual post and pay $5 bucks for a boost!

I always recommend that you first post your content "organically" (unpaid) and experiment to see what "sticks." Once you discover engaging content, then pay to boost, or turn it into an ad.

Make sure your demographics in the boost are very targeted and appropriate to your content and audience.

This way, you can reach 4x as many followers as you actually have. This also usually doubles your organic reach too, and attracts new fans.

Here's an example that worked pretty well for my client Purism, a PC maker. As you can see, by both sharing the post to groups and tagging specific recipients, as well as paid hosting to hyper-targeted demographics, I got a huge number of "likes."

These likes build valuable "social proof" for your brand. Many brands will boost every post in this manner, creating the image of extreme popularity with customers. It works! That's why Facebook generates more income per employee than Google!

#socialmedia
#contentmarketing
#socialbranding
#crowdfunding
#viralmarketing
#facebookadvertising

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Social Media

It’s spring! Time to freshen up your social media and get organized.

There is nothing that ruins a social media campaign faster than disorganized passwords and log ins!

I swear 90% of my clients keep me waiting for days while they try to remember and find their passwords and log ins (or even remember which social media sites the are on). It’s a gigantic waste of time and money that can CRUSH your product launch. This happens to small solo proprietors and big brands alike.

1. Create a shared Google Document or spreadsheet for storing the names of your social media accounts, emails and passwords. Don’t forget the passwords to the email.

2. Invite all the members of the team into the document who will need access to these accounts.

3. Then, create one company email address specifically for all of your social media pages. (Not the email of an employee who might leave). Remember to record that password too.

4. I recommend one password for all your social accounts. Keep it simple and memorable as your Social Manager has to type this in all day long, several times a day, and you’re paying her by the hour!

5. Set a reminder on your calendar every 6 months to change the passwords and update the spreadsheet and team.

6. 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: http://www.facebook.com/mycompany.) Check to make sure you’ve reserved your private URL so it’s not taken by another brand.

Before you even name your business, book, film, band or product, check Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress, Domain.com and Instagram and make sure your name is actually available on all of these pages. It can be embarrassing if it’s not.

7. Use a service like Buffer to organize all your accounts.

8. Don’t use a Yahoo or Gmail account as your one email address — it needs to be http://www.yourcompany.com 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.)

9. Try a tool to clean up the deadwood inactive followers from your Twitter following. I like “Unfollow” and “Crowdfire.”

10. Add a tab on your spreadsheet with the names, emails, social accounts and phone numbers of each person on your marketing team involved with your social media.

You just saved your team hours of future frustration!

22 steps to double your website traffic and lead generation.

22 steps to double your website traffic and lead generation.
22 steps to double your website traffic and lead generation. It’s not brain surgery. And it brings more business and clients.

Today I discovered my website traffic has quadrupled since December 2014 — and soared to the top 1.5 million US websites according to Alexa. (The prior rank was in the top 3 million).
The number of leads coming in per day are overwhelming me now — and are from business in the US as well as China, Russia, Israel and France.  My Klout rating is now 69 — in the top 1% of all bloggers who write about social media.

How did this happen?

You know the saying: “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot?” I actually started using the Internet marketing techniques I get paid to do for clients to promote my own business.

STRATEGY FIRST:

First, I looked at my competition and analyzed the content marketing and websites of the top 50 Internet consultants listed on the “Forbes 50” list and tried to figure out what was working and not working for them, then copied it. (More about this in a future blog post.)

TACTICS:

Website:

1. Redesigned my website with a state of the art mobile-first responsive template.

2. Chose a unique color palette for my personal brand. (Plum/Peach/Black.)

3. Changed my photo to a recent, digital photo with currently stylish clothing (a gray/black dress) and got rid of the old, black and white photo that was obviously taken pre-digital with a film camera.

4. Added client lists and work samples to my website.

5. Rewrote the first page as a “Pain Letter” writing directly to my potential client and stating how I can solve their problem. (No visibility on the Internet.)

6. Added logos of the clients I’ve worked with in the past on the right hand side of the page.

7. Added a “Contact Me” with a form to send an email.

8. Used a scheduling app (I like VCita) so clients can schedule a 15 minute trial consultation.

Social media

1. Ramped up social media posts to 10-20/day on Twitter by using Buffer to time the posts 24/hrs. day. (It now takes only 1 hour a day to do my own social media.)

2. Got mentioned in a few articles as a social media expert. (Builds SEO. Adds credibility.)

3. Started regular posting on Google +. I know nobody uses G+ but the Google search engine likes Google + and these posts boost your page rank and SEO.

4. Created several new pages in listings and directories that built links back to my website

5. Put my URL on press releases on PR Web. This is huge. It drives tons of traffic back to your page.

6. Rewrote the first page of my website so it is loaded with key words clients are searching for. (“Social media and PR consultant in Silicon Valley and San Francisco”.)

7. Blogged 1 x/ week.

8. Set up content syndication from my blog to Twitter, G+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

9. Blogged on LinkedIn Pulse — creating more than 2,500 followers for my Pulse blog.

10. Built pages on About.me, Eolio and other sites that point back to my URL.

11. Tweeting about the “trending topics of the day” using #hashtags.

12. Changed my photo to one that looks directly at the reader instead of off to the right.

13. Choose a new color palette for my “personal brand” that no other consultant has. (Deep plum/peach/black.)

Can I do this for your business? Yes. And if I can’t do it for myself, why would you hire me?

It’s not PR anymore — it’s Social PR. Your PR program and Social Media must be intertwined.

Social media is just a natural evolution of the tools we started doing PR with in the beginning of the computer revolution — email and databases.

Now instead of keeping your list in email and a database, your contacts are in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

This should be brain dead obvious, but I still see clients separating PR from social media, and often attaching a much higher dollar value to press coverage or PR than an effective social networking strategy.

Social media should be integrated with your PR strategy.

You should be including the press in your social communities on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn — and they should be learning your brand’s story, bit by bit, day by day, one post at a time.

These days, most of the press contact I do is directly via Facebook instant messages or Twitter direct messages — not email. I can’t even imagine separating PR from social media.

Sure you announce the “big news” with an advance press release or a big event — but you’re now telling your story in real time to an audience that includes the press and customers.

Facebook and LinkedIn are just your new Rollodex.This is how you find customers, build loyalty and keep them. This is also how you find influencers and the press, build fanatical loyalty and keep them on your side.

Social media is now the front line of your brand.

1. Your network is your net worth.

2. Business is now all about customer relationships.

3. Branding is now all about storytelling.

4. Marketing is now all about building communities. The first step to launch any business now is to first build your community. Then you tell your story to the super connected connectors who lead other communities.


PR is still important — but in the social media era you must intertwine it with your social media program for success

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

Social PR blends traditional mainstream print/TV/radio news media Press Relations with Social Media content marketing — to reach influencers.

It 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.)  I also pitch editors via Facebook or Twitter.

I build relationships with press and influencers. Some of them 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.

Over time, we create authentic, engaged communities who will be advocates of your brand. Who tell your story. Who spread the word for you. I believe in telling a story so compelling that the press call you.  The best press coverage always happens this way — pull not push.

Social media and PR are all about connections.

If you have just 1000 friends, and they each have 1000 friends, you can reach 1 million people with your network.

Think about it — you can reach 1 million people with a single post now.

That is the most amazing marketing bargain in history.

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.)
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.).
You influence other influencers who reach other influencers. who spread the word. This exponentially amplifies your message.

There is no other way to do this — and all of the leading social media experts leverage their personal relationships on behalf of clients, just as publicists have for decades.


Reach early adopters

The way you get a paradigm shifting or disruptive technology launched is by first convincing the early adopters.

THE THREE PRIMARY EARLY ADOPTER COMMUNITIES:

  • Technology early adopters
  • LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability)
  • Transformational consumers

These are the three groups of people most likely to adopt and try a new idea or trend — and then spread the word about it.

You need to reach pundits, journalists, bloggers, reviewers, investors, analysts and influencers who spread the word to early adopters. The “I am the first on my block” trendsetters, hipsters, techies who dare to try new ideas.

Influence the influencers.
The secret to a successful product launch? Influence the influencers, beta testers, reference customers and early adopters. Like these folks willing to camp out for the new iPhone.
Via this selectively curated group of exceptionally networked people. (Malcolm Gladwell in “The Tipping Point” calls them “mavens” and “connectors”) I can reach millions in a few minutes.

Connect other connectors.

To “go viral” you need to reach other connectors who are connected with other communities outside your own.

Social networking is just like face to face networking. The whole point is to have a network that reaches other networks.

You are most effective when you network outside your network into new circles:

cropped-unify-community-influence-chart.jpg
How social media works: You are connecting different social networks and communities in order to generate huge influence. Generally each of these communities has influencers. The point is to identify the influencers and influence them so they spread the word to their networks for you
You can either pay for this with Facebook advertising — or do it manually by having relationships outside your network. I believe that doing a combination of both is most effective.

This is the #1 reason why your event, workshop or concert fails — and how to fix it.

I’ve probably promoted at least 100 events, conferences, concerts and festivals with social media by now, and over time, I’ve learned what works and what fails. Too many events lose heaps of money and fail, and it breaks my heart to see event producers make the same mistakes that lead over and over again to failure.

Most of these events make exactly the same mistake.

They treat their event like an annual product — instead of seeing it as a year round community.

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When you shift from “marketing” to your “customer” to “community building” and from “branding” to “belonging” you will see an exponential increase in loyalty.

Perhaps the two most successful examples of this is Burning Man — the annual temporary community in the desert, and the TED Conference.

Both TED and Burning Man began as annual events and splintered off into smaller, regional events all over the world that happen year round.

Both TED and Burning Man are events that grew up with the advent of email, the web and later, social media, and have built a presence that is equally strong in the virtual world and the “real world.”

Both TED and Burning Man have become desirable identities that symbolize a certain kind of “belonging” into a community that has meaning and status for its members.

Wisdom 2.0 Summit, which I had the opportunity to work with recently as a marketing consultant, is also cultivating and nurturing a year round brand that has created an almost fanatically loyal following that has now expanded into a global brand.

Musicians who have also very successfully built “families” instead of “brands” include the Grateful Dead and spin off bands like String Cheese Incident, who have cultivated fanatically devoted, year round tribal communities of their fans.  Most community symphonies, art museums and ballets also understand this and cultivate year round communities by selling season tickets and by offering special member-only events.

If you want a successful turn out for your retreat, workshop, conference, concert, festival or event you can NOT wait until the last two months to do your promotion, blast them with email and ads and expect everyone to drop everything in their life and rush out to come to your event.

You are building a community, a family, and you need to pay attention to and nurture your tribe all year long.

If you are a musician, speaker, producer, workshop leader, etc. you must build a virtual social media community and a real- world live event community 365 days/year and not just one month before your event.

  • You are not “selling tickets” — you are building a community!
  • You are not getting “fans to your fan page” — you are building a community!
  • You are not “adding names to your email list” — you are building a community!
  • You are not “advertising to total strangers” — you must build a community of people you know!

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes:

On any given day there are thousands of workshops, conferences and festivals competing for that holy grail customer–someone who has free time and $1500 lying around in spare change so they can just hop on a plane and indulge in a luxury yoga conference, writer’s conference, retreat, workshop or drive 500 miles to a festival.

Maybe .001% of the humans on this planet have unlimited free time, no job, no kids, no pets, no commitments and a fat trust fund to blow on your indulgent fantasy get away, elite conference or yoga retreat.

The rest of us — the 99.99 percent — have to plan all year for these events in advance. We save up, drive the kids to Grandma’s house, beg our employers to give us time off, find a petsitter or a dog sitter and someone to water our garden and we use our frequent flyer miles or shop around for the best possible airfare well in advance.

If we’re lucky, we can go to one or two of these events — and we’re selective.

Get real. Stop chasing after the same mythological fantasy customer who is rich, self actualized and has no commitments and unlimited free time.

How about building a community so real people with real lives will feel like the belong to a tribe — and absolutely must be at the tribe’s annual gathering, which they anticipate all year?

Build a community and your tribe will save up and plan all year to reconnect with their tribe at your event.

How to build a community:

Community = communicate + unity.  You must build an authentic community by engaging your tribe in a meaningful conversation. This means listening and dialogue — not just one way marketing at them.

Marketing is the conversation between people and brands!

Relationships are all we have. With the world around us, with other people, with ourselves. People are coming to your event for one reason — to meet and connect to a community. To belong to a community. To make friends, network and build relationships.

The community = your event.

The fan page = your event.

The email list = your event.

Stop marketing and start community building.

You must work at this 365 days/year — all year long. As you build your community, slowly, organically and gradually over time, you will not have to work so hard every year to “sell tickets.”

So who is in your community?

  • Fans and attendees
  • Performers, DJs, presenters, bands, workshop leaders.
  • The venue and the local community around the venue (including government agencies, city council, law enforcement, fire, neighbors, merchants, and others impacted by your event)
  • Consultants, employees, volunteers
  • Press and local media
  • Sponsors and vendors.

Try transforming your social media into a virtual version of your event. Engage your tribe in online teleseminars, video tutorials, photo albums, music.  Give them a taste, day by day, of what’s coming up.

Invite them to small day longs and social events before and after your big event — to keep the tribe activated and connected.

The more you think of your customers as a COMMUNITY and the less you think of them as REVENUE the more successful you will be.

Invest in building your community. This community will serve you for years to come.

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.
See more at: http://www.eweek.com/security/how-companies-are-losing-money-on-password-time-wasting.html#sthash.jHgFiOBf.dpuf. 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.


TIPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS 

  • 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: http://www.facebook.com/mycompany.)
  • Before you even name your business, book, film, band or product, check Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress, Domain.com 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 http://www.yourcompany.com 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. Less is more. A short URL in a .co is more valuable than a long .com. 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, Delicio.us. 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.