This morning there was zero time to prepare for a Facebook Live interview, but isn’t that the point? Ana, my client from the Spanish Immersion School in Rincon, texted me that she was coming over in 10 minutes because she told her class she was going live in 30 minutes.

She not only told her class, she also posted it on one of the biggest Facebook groups in Rincon, PR. And live we went, despite landscaper noise, a dose of unstable internet and accompanying pixels, and the time crunch of having to produce!

The interview on Facebook Live accomplished 5 things:

1) It showcased Ana’s brand in the moment, savvy, on-the-go, with interesting content

2) She translated the interview in Spanish, or at least parts of it to make it relevant to her audience

3) Ana featured me, and the four (4) events I will be having at her school in February, in great detail

4) Viewers I hadn’t met yet got to see the video, like it, comment and, most importantly, share

5) Whether I liked it or not, it featured me up close and personal for my new community to meet; plus, it started the LKT (like, know, trust) process

No surprise that this wasn’t a video where you prepped, and staged for makeup and wardrobe — at least where I am. The sun wasn’t out much yesterday, so I had a cool shower and didn’t wash my hair. But it really didn’t matter. Taking advantage of the moment did.

I was impressed with Ana’s knowledge of Facebook Live – but more importantly what she wants to do with it, and what we are envisioning together. I wish you could see her smiling ear to ear.

Here’s the Facebook Live video we posted.

Carpe Diem.

What’s the difference between being spontaneous and impromptu? Both are valuable skills when you’re at a conference – and especially shooting video.

Impromptu: Done without being planned, organized or rehearsed

Spontaneous: Having an open, natural and uninhibited manner

Sylvia Clare, Author of Trusting Your Intuition: Rediscover Your True Self to Achieve a Richer, More Rewarding Life says: “Being spontaneous is being able to respond with confidence; calmly trusting that, whatever the outcome, you will have a positive if challenging experience that will lead to greater self-awareness and success.”

I say, yup. I’m on board with that, especially if you’re trying to capture real time content at a conference and have an amazing videographer like Ellen Lacey from NewTV for only two hours!

It must have been my lucky day, because the booth in front of ours was empty. We didn’t have the nerve to take it over for the entire day, but we did manage to make it HQ for Robin’s Rainmakers videotaping.

The question to all attendees on the hot seat: What’s your biggest marketing challenge?

  • How can I get more engagement with my cause on a local level?
  • What do I have to do to grow my expert status as a scientist?
  • How do I become the go-to person at work?  (Hint: Candy works, but getting the job done rates higher)
  • What do I have to do to get my boss to notice me so I can get a raise?

The questions and answers were on the spot. Live on camera. I’ve never interviewed in this style before, but I liked that is was natural and almost the same as mentoring a client on the phone or in person. Ideas flow whether you catch them on paper in the middle of the night, in a conversation, get an intuitive hit or remember a fact or figure from years of study or experience. Being open to answers and trying new approaches is vital in video – being impromptu and spontaneous just like real engagement, live.

When you really think about it, what’s the big deal? You wave your hand in front of the camera when you make a mistake. You go with the flow. You have fun and stop being so serious.

Remember, we’re human and people are comfortable with like-minded souls who aren’t afraid of getting out there and learning from experts willing to share. Plus, when it comes down to it, we’re all really experts in training.

My hot seat advice as I write this? Let’s all learn from each other and have a good time doing it.

I haven’t met a smarty pants in years.

Last week I talked about Digital Marketing Trends for 2017. Becoming more instant, conversational in key words, voice activated, uber local and focused on niche target audiences. Hashtags. Data driven.

Not sure how to take advantage of these digital trends? Check out these 5 ways to build your brand:

  1. Turn your smartphone into your own media channel. Capture an event on Facebook Live, or better yet, “You Go Live.” Be transparent in the moment and let your audience, friends and followers see where you are and what you’re up to. Building a fan base is not about hiding. It’s about engaging. 80% sharing, 20% promoting. Don’t forget about a (CTA) call to action.
  2. #Hashtags. Hashtags connect like-minded audiences. They’re brilliantly used by big brands and little brands to inform, inspire, motivate and sell. Not convinced? Look at Instagram. It’s a wildly popular personal and business platform that’s hashtag crazy and instant. Same with Twitter. Share your photos, thoughts, quotes, videos and story behind the scenes – and in front of the camera.
  3. Get really local. For all that you may hate about Facebook, there’s a lot to love. Consider Facebook advertising to get leads, grow your list, create a funnel. Want to reach 25-40 year-old women who speak French and live thirty miles from Belmont, MA? Oh, and that have a combined household income of $100,000+? Invest 20 minutes and start a campaign. Spend as much or as little as you like. You will be amazed.
  4. Create keywords (and Adwords) as you would a conversation, especially with voice activated systems in place. Honda Dealership near here. Thai food in Boston. Christmas Tree Lighting this Saturday. Test to see what works and monitor often. Don’t be afraid to change things up. Tweak as you like, but make note of all your tweaks!
  5. It’s no surprise that digital marketing budgets are growing leaps and bounds. In fact, in the next few years corporate America may spend up to 25% of their marketing budget on digital marketing.  But, only if it’s working. How do you find out? Split tests. Consistency. Data. ROI. Numbers. Run yours and see what’s working, or not.
Ever since I was a kid, Thanksgiving reminded me of a happy time when families got together in the spirit of giving thanks.  It wasn’t a Hallmark® holiday, it was real life. We each were at a different place but connected wherever we were, and that happened to be at the kitchen table.
Life seems to be more complicated now, or maybe I see it through a different lens.  It’s still rosy if you choose that that color. I’m an eternal optimist.
I’d like to share a piece I wrote for my Gratitude Workshop, 50 Ways to Be Thankful and Show Random Acts of Kindness. It’s a reminder that being thankful begins at home.
When you think of having an Attitude of Gratitude, consider this. Being thankful comes from the head, being grateful comes from the soul.
May you enjoy holiday blessings today and always.

I gave a talk yesterday at a Leadership CEO Forum and was excited to present PR and Social Media ideas to a room of executive women, who ran successful businesses – and invested in their growth.  (I love that).

After the meeting and comments from the group, I was thinking of ways that entrepreneurs and experts could get noticed, without all kinds of fuss, muss and time restraints.

  • Walk into a room with power. What I’m talking about here is exuding confidence.  Knowing you’re the expert when you walk in to a room full of strangers. You’re well dressed, ready for action and prepared to share your knowledge.
  • Spend time getting to know your group. Before any speaking gig or meeting, it’s always good to know the players. Ask for a list beforehand if it’s available and do some research on your own. That way, you have some background information and can ask intelligent questions and give thoughtful responses.
  • Give without expectation. I often speak without getting paid because it opens the door to new circles and there’s so much possibility for potential business.  Some might say, “Nah, you’re wasting your time.”  If you’re doing something that you believe is getting you towards your goal, then go for it.
  • Make time for Q + A privately, in person if possible. After a presentation, don’t schedule yourself so tightly that you don’t have room to breathe and have a chance to talk with attendees.  I’m all for clustering a day of activities in the area I’m visiting, but there are hidden opportunities in NOT rushing. It took me a while to figure that out.
  • See an opportunity? Act on it.  I was on a tour yesterday of NewTV for an upcoming TV series and saw beautiful artwork on the wall.  I commented on it and asked if they showcased artist’s work on a monthly basis.  The answer was yes and it was a perfect opportunity for my client, Lidia Kenig-Scher to feature her paintings.  Had I not popped my head in the Director of Marketing’s office and said hi, that never might have happened.

This list could go on with other PR and marketing opportunities to increase your brand awareness and visibility – with referral programs, highlighting influencers, news jacking, podcasting and more.

But we’re looking at easy tactics here, that don’t require hours of thought. They’re free publicity tactics that are worth their weight in gold.

Speaking is a great way to hear first-hand what entrepreneurs and business owners are thinking.  Last month, this question popped up a few times. “How can I do all the marketing and still do my work?  I feel overwhelmed!”

Well, that’s pretty easy to answer.

You can’t do all your work and sell, then take care of all the PR and marketing.  It’s just not possible.  Unless, you have at least an outsourced person or two to help with the workload, an intern or another member of your team who’s qualified to carry out your vision (and instructions).

But, you can do what’s important to grow your business and brand. You just have to select the promotional tactics and tasks that matter, and automation that fits.

So, how does a busy entrepreneur avoid marketing overwhelm?  

  • Stay focused and don’t try to do it all. I’m a recovering perfectionist and drove myself crazy trying to be everything and everywhere all at once. To start, identify your ideal client and where they hang out. Then be clear on your messaging and call to action, and build a strong consistent outreach program.
  • Find the best 2 – 3 platforms that will increase your visibility and learn how to use them to get your biggest bang for the buck. If your customers aren’t on Instagram, don’t waste your time. If the majority of your customers aren’t women, don’t bother with Pinterest.  If you’re in the B 2 B space, use LinkedIn. Write on Pulse, comment, engage, join groups.  If your audience is on Facebook, go for it and mix it up with video. Building credibility? Consider Twitter.  Build a foundation then add layers (platforms that make sense).
  • Remember the golden rule of promotion (yes rules are meant to be broken). Engage 80% of the time with your audience, prospects, customers and influencers.  Promote your products, services, events and special offers 20% of the time. This takes time and requires content marketing, but it builds a base of raving fans.
  • Find influencers in your industry and see what they’re doing. Yes, you can lurk anonymously on LinkedIn, but really, there’s no need.  See what others are up to, but don’t go into a tail spin if they’re one place and you’re another.  Try a platform to see if there’s a fit – and also, consider your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). What makes you different from your competitor. Are they really competitors anyway?  Isn’t there enough business for us all?
  • Test, try, then say goodbye. You aren’t being judged. Let it go if you made feel like you made a mistake or something didn’t work. Read up on what you think the best strategy is for your business, phone a friend or expert and test it out.  No babies are dying here.  Think of it like adding accessories or trying a new look. Lucky you, most promotional copy and ideas can be reworked or recycled.
  • Have your customers sell for you. What’s more powerful than a solid word of mouth referral? “Hello – yes, I’d love to – this is how we work – and here’s what we charge.  Awesome, when do you want to begin?  Your credit card?  Of course – give me a minute to grab a pen.” You can also ask for referrals on your email signature, at network meetings and when you talk with an event organizer. Bottom line, you have to ask. It’s as easy as “ketchup please?”  Know anyone else that might like my ABC?
  • Automate baby, automate. I’m an expert in training. I say it all the time.  My colleagues are located all around the country, but one thing is, we share tools, tricks and tips and we try them out.  I love Buffer.com, Feedly.com, Canva.com and a host of other websites that make my social media and design life easier. Work for 30 minutes, post for 1 week. I’m into easy and colorful sharing of PR, marketing and business insights.

Overwhelm is a choice and it’s not for me.  I’d prefer to be more spot-on, not compare myself to others and listen to my gut to tell me what’s write. (Oh, I meant right).  Either way, business is what you make it.

Explore your options and be your best self.  You can’t go wrong.

There’s a small shop near my summer house that sells rafts, boating supplies and bouncy floatables to the vacation crowd who flock here every year to enjoy life on the lake. Their prices aren’t cheap, they have a decent selection of products, but from the minute you walk in the store you notice something wrong.

Terrible customer service.

We went to look at rafts and engaged the staff, from the manager to the owner, and what we noticed was true. Customer service was frightful. It wasn’t just their individual attitudes, but collectively it was horrifying. I was ready to walk out, but my friend wanted to buy a raft and was willing to pay full price.

Would they take the raft down so we could see it. NO. Could we look at it to see if it was the right size for the kids. NO. No seemed to be the only response and snarky disrespectful growls didn’t win any points.

We took the raft home and my teenage niece told us how to fight back. 

“Click on their Ad words and tell all your friends to do the same,” she said. “It could cost them thousands.”

At first, I chuckled then thought about it. She was right. If there’s an ad campaign for their company and they’re spending money on Google Ad words, she’s got a point.

I didn’t do it and suggested to the entire family and CEO friend who was irked as well, to let it go.

Truth is: One angry customer who felt violated, ripped off and annoyed at disrespectful lip service and attitude could cost a business money, and lots of it – especially if the business is buying Ad Words.

My take away from this experience and advice to small business owners?  Spend time in training and adopt an attitude of “How can I help you?”

We travel frequently and visit top hotels and restaurants (at great discounts) and companies who care spend time and money training their staff – to make a positive impression, keep a customer for life and create an experience that makes them feel special.

You don’t have to be a top hotel to do this – you or your company can have great customer service.

Hey, no one’s perfect. But from my experience and other’s feedback, this raft store on the shore of America’s oldest summer resort in America doesn’t give a hoot.

I wish they would.

Are you tired of posting content to your social media news feed and having it fall flat in the insights?  Then you should think about adding some GIFs to your digital marketing. GIFs are probably the most under-utilized media that I’ve seen in the digital marketing space.

What’s a GIF?

Definition: GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is “a computer file format for the compression and storage of digital video images.”  Source:  Merriam Webster Dictionary

In general terms, GIFs are those fun little images or mini videos that play over and over.  They can easily be embedded into your digital marketing to add some movement to your content and bring a little flavor to your online branding.

The first thing you need to think about when it comes to GIFs, is if you want to find a GIF or create one of your own.

Finding a GIF

I use GIPHY.com as my source but you can also find them on TumblrTwitter or do a quick Google search.

Saving a GIF (that you found). 

Once you find a GIF, the next step is to save it to your system.  Believe it or not, you treat GIFs as images.  Simply right-click and select “Save Image As”.  Just make sure “GIF Image” is your “Save as type”.

Making a GIF

If you can’t find a GIF that drives the message home, you can make one of your own.  There are sites that let you do this such as  Giphy’s Make a GIF ToolMakeAGIF.com.  My personal tool of preference is the Ripl App(For iOS devices).

How to use GIFs in Social Media

You probably have figured out already that when it comes to social media marketing, images will always take preference over text, and videos will always receive more interaction than images.  However, sometimes we don’t have the time or interest to create a video for every post that we create.

Enter your new friend, the GIF

Find or create a GIF and voilà!  You’ve now made your social media marketing more interactive!  Rather than posting an image, you can make it dance across your news feed – and give your account some more attention and interaction online.

Here is an example of how I used a GIF in my social media.  It was Friday and I was personally feeling run down after a long week.  I thought my audience may feel the same.  So I sought out a fun GIF to lighten the mood – and groove into the weekend.

Looking at the reporting, this one post received a total of 33% of my entire reach for the week.  “Reach” in social media terms is defined by the amount of people that saw your post in their newsfeed.

GIFs Aren’t Limited to Your Social Media 

You can use them in your blog content, or add a little flavor to your email marketing.  This may depend on the email marketing program that you work with.  I use Constant Contact.  I have been able to use GIFs to spice up the material in a content heavy newsletter.

The best example I’ve seen of a GIF in an email marketing campaign is Olive Garden.  They were promoting their delivery service during a weekend that had both an awards show and football playoff game.  They used a creative subject line, “Cleats or Stilettos?” and when you opened the email, your eyes fell upon this gorgeous GIF.

As you can see, for 5 to 10 extra minutes of finding or creating a GIF, the payoff is worth it.  Go seek out a GIF or make your own – and watch as the content pops off the screen and your numbers skyrocket.


Jeannine O’Neil, (@Jeannine_Oneil) owner of JO Social Branding, is a digital media strategist who empowers and educates marketing professionals on how to make the best use of their social media and email marketing.  Through JO Social Branding, she has positioned herself as a thought leader in the digital marketing industry.  In addition to her work as a speaker and consultant, Jeannine has a weeklynewsletter and podcast titled, “Social Eyes”.

You already know that in corporate world, you only get one chance to make a first impression. But what you may not know, is that the “you” who is reading this may not in fact get that opportunity – your LinkedIn profile might beat you to it!

Indeed, more frequently than ever before, everyone from prospective clients and customers to potential business partners and associates are “checking you out” on LinkedIn, which is by far the world’s largest professional networking site with over 200 million members who visit more than 50 million times a week. What’s more, these people are forming opinions, making judgments, and coming to conclusions about you long before you have the chance (if ever!) to say hello over the phone or email, or go in for a hearty handshake or friendly fist pump in person.

Clearly, it’s in your best interest to have an outstanding LinkedIn profile — one that makes the fantastic first (and second…and tenth) impression that YOU want to convey. But how do you create this kind of elite profile? It’s simpler than you think – just focus on these 6 keys:

1. Create a Killer Headline

If your headline suffers from dreaded SOSO (“same old, same old”) syndrome, then to paraphrase Sun Tzu: you’ve lost the battle before it has even begun. Avoid this cruel fate by having a catchy, unique and bold headline that sets you apart, and positions you as someone that people want to connect with. It can also help to put your email address in your headline, so that you send the message that you’re accessible and responsive.

2. Add Relevant Keywords

Be sure to use relevant keywords in your headlines, and throughout your profile (which we’ll get to in a moment). Keywords aren’t just SEO friendly, but they help you stand out in a search.  They also send the signal that you’re digitally savvy, which is certainly a characteristic that you want associated with your personal brand.

3. Write a Focused – and Fantastic – Profile

You know that blurb that might be on your resume – the one that describes your skills in pretty straightforward, ordinary terms? Keep it far, far away from your LinkedIn profile. Yes, people want to know what you’ve done and what you’re good at. But they aren’t leafing through resumes. They want to be impressed and engaged by something unique, authentic and written by a real person (a.k.a. YOU!). There’s so much possibility with LinkedIn to put personality in your profile. You can add photos, videos, special recognition, and so much more. And don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, either. If you don’t believe in your abilities and strengths, how can anyone else?

4. Get a Professional Headshot

I can’t emphasize this enough: if your photo is from the year 2008, or depicts you on a picnic, on a cruise, at the beach, or anywhere else that doesn’t convey the words “professional, poised and confident” then it’s time for a new headshot. As you already know, a professional image counts! Invest in a headshot or professional picture that does your personal brand justice.  You’ll turn heads, and what’s more, people will come up to you at conferences and meetings and say with warmth and familiarity that “they recognize you from your LinkedIn photo!”

5. Ask Others for a Pat on the Back

One of the best features of a LinkedIn profile is the “Recommendations” section. Build credibility with endorsements by asking for recommendations from colleagues, clients and partners. Every positive comment helps build your brand. And of course, remember to recommend others, too – “paying it forward” it always a good policy. Plus, believe it or not, but some people will want to see how you recommend others – so keep that in mind!

6. Keep it Current 

Things move ultra-fast in the corporate world, and it’s easy to let your LinkedIn profile gather dust and grow out of date. It’s essential that you stay on top of this, and ensure that your profile is updated at least weekly. Plus, be sure to join groups, contribute, post and share information that members within and beyond your network will find interesting. As a bonus, the more value you add, the more you’ll show up on news feeds – which will increase your name recognition and exposure in the marketplace. Don’t be the best kept secret in your industry!

The Bottom Line 

A rockin’ LinkedIn profile is just one of the many ways to brand yourself as an expert in your field. Make sure your brand is consistent and noticed on all relevant social media and online platforms. You’ll attract more opportunities and increase your professional reputation by building communities who recognize you as a thought leader in your industry.  Use LinkedIn as part of your online strategy to stand out – and stay ahead!

I’ve been promoting for most of my life. Ideas, interesting concepts, friends, schools, my kids, favorite consignment stores. You name it, I’ve always found a way to accentuate the positive. I learned it from my Dad, the ultimate promoter and influencer.

“When there’s a will there’s a way,” he would tell me.  By learning marketing, PR strategies and how to maximize ROI, he beckoned us to take advantage of every opportunity, live life – and live it up!

In How to Get Great Free Publicity from WikiHow.com, we get more than a few ideas to grab attention and get through to the media without spending a fortune.

  • I love the tip if a journalist “blows you off” tell them you’re new at this and ask for help.
  • Or, how about getting the right phone number for a journalist by researching Hoovers.com

 Click here to find other Free PR strategies.  

Lisa Furgison, from VerticalResponse.com shares 7 Tools to Get Free Publicity for Your Business for small business owners.  I’ve been a fan of  free online directories  for quite some time, but Lisa sweetens the pot adding these tips: 

  • Use a shortened version of your bio to create a resource box at the end of articles or guest blogs. Make every word count and include a call to action; Grab Your Free Report. Download this Checklist. Contribute to my trip to Bora Bora. (Why not?)
  • Sign up for a 7-day free trial to Contact A Celebrity and see for yourself how your brand or cause aligns with a potential 60,000 celebrities. See if they participate in a “gift program” where they’ll review your product. No guarantees of course, but why not try?  

 Find other Publicity Tips here that won’t cost you a dime.

I’ll add my name to the hat with a free report I’ve created called the ABC’s of Free Publicity. Discover how you can mix and match PR strategies with an alphabet of tips and tricks to choose from to maximize your visibility, credibility and expert status. Download the Report Now and Promote Your Business or Brand – Even Without a PR Budget.

Take advantage of all of these Free Publicity strategies and learn to market your business or brand on a dime.  Why not, Bora Bora might beckon you too!