The Shimmy, Shimmy Social: Promoting Your Festival Affiliation via Social Media

My Twitter workshop partner, Stephanie Michelle Scott, and I are fans of Burlesque.  We wanted to offer some quick tips to advertisers and vendors of the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival  as to how they could promote their VIBF involvement (as well as Burlesque in general) via social media.

Photograph by Foxtongue Photography

Here are our suggestions:

By showcasing VIBF and Burlesque content you can have something interesting to talk about and engage upon, while subtly mentioning your involvement.

1) Keep your Twitter account active! It’s the perfect time to revitalize a dormant account. If you tend to feel you have nothing to say – well now there’s plenty! So get back to tweeting!

Things to keep in mind:

  • Twitter works best when you talk to and mention others’ content) and only occasionally promote yourself (the general rule is 80-90% promotion of others and 10-20% self-promotion).  So do spend the bulk of time talking to people and reposting interesting content.
  • Link your promotional posts with your VIBF involvement. (For instance, how are you participating in the VIBF? E.g. is a performer wearing your fashions? Which ones will they be wearing? You can post pics of those photos onto your Twitter feed. You might also wish to highlight those performers.)
  • Also, pay attention to other content being mentioned about the festival (you can search using You might do searches for VIBF or #VIBF (in the hashtag section) or the complete phrase Vancouver International Burlesque Festival
  • We’ve also started a Twitter list of people involved in the Vancouver Burlesque scene.  Check out what they have to say about the fest – or in general. (More cool people? Let us know and we’ll add them)
  • Remember to tag all your VIBF-related Twitter posts by placing the designated hashtag for the fest somewhere in any of the messages.  (It might be #VIBF – but I’m not sure, so ask the organizers.)

2) Interface – employ Facebook!

Remember to:

  • Update your fans! If you have a Facebook Page, remember not only to post content – but also to send an update to your Facebook Fans (Go to “Edit info” and then click on “Marketing” in the left-hand column. “Send an Update” will be the last options).
  • Don’t be shy – tell people that your supporting the VIBF. If you post this message you even remind even those you know about you of your efforts – and you encourage them to spread the message to their circle.

3) Be engaging!


  • With social media you are looking to create interaction – so don’t just post content – ask questions. (You can also get information – even about what people like most about you!) Think of interesting ways of interacting with your audience.

4) Try running a contest.

Have a few tickets to the VIBF that you are planning on giving away? Why not run a quick contest?

Some thoughts:

  • The easiest contests to run are ones where people can just enter their name for the draw. You can make a simple form via Google Forms to get entries.
  • If you have a blog you might just put up a quick post and ask people to comment to win. (You might want them to also “like” your Facebook page in order to enter. (e.g.))
  • You might just run one for your Facebook fans – ask a question (e.g. “What are you excited to see at the Fest?” or “What do you plan to wear to the fest?”)
  • Perhaps try a Twitter contest. Perhaps there too you might ask a question and get them to answer in order to enter.
  • Or you can go more complex on your blog and ask for photo entries or video entries.
  • Remember to promote your contest on all your social platforms in order to get maximum exposure.

5) Find cool content!

Stumped for fun burlesque content to link to via social media?

  • Look at the list of performers and hosts of the VIBF: You might try a search for any of them on Google for articles about them, videos etc. (use advanced search to narrow down content). You might also type in “Twitter” next to their name in the search to get some interesting content (Such as )
  • Search for “Vancouver Burlesque” or “Vancouver International Burlesque Festival” at Flickr photos – there’s loads of fun pictures to link to!
  • Search Google for “Vancouver International Burlesque Festival 2011” and you’ll turn up content about the fest. Or you might simply Google “Vancouver Burlesque” for general content about the scene. (e.g.)

6) Watch what others in the scene are saying.

Those are our tips – what would you suggest?  Do you have some good tips for sponsors of an event etc.? Please share your ideas in the comments.  Cheers!

Note: Our next workshop is on May 21!  To register for Twitter Parlour: (Twitter for Your Unique Business) Workshops (we’re currently rebranding 🙂 go to

Here’s a cute post about how to tease on Twitter: “How to Tweet Like a Burlesque Dancer“.


April 27, 2011 at 11:57 am 2 comments

Exposure or Exploitation?

I was reading the Utne Reader recently and I came across an pretty ad for Fluevog with an artist’s drawing.

The accompanying text read:

“Do you have the world’s best Fluevog Ad stuck in your head? Get it out at”.

I went to the url and read that this contest was offering $1,000 (in Fluevog gear) and exposure to the winning ad artists.

So…. is an ad worth only $1,000 and will the exposure really benefit the artist?

My initial reaction is “probably not”, because I have concerns when it comes to artists and contests. And because my antennae prick up when I hear the word “exposure”.

See, “exposure” is a woefully overused term. It is a huge “incentive” (really need the quotation marks there) offered in the indie film world – especially directed at actors:

“Work for free (and coffee!) on our production. Great opportunity for exposure!”

Now, granted, the Fluevog ads are being placed in decent magazines – so this is actual exposure, for what it’s worth, as opposed to imagined (many films don’t see the light of day as their filmmakers don’t fully grasp the challenges of getting their film into a festival).  And the winners also get bios on the Fluevog creative site (e.g. the ad I saw featured Heather Mulligan’s art and her bio is on the site).

But is there a true value for the artist in said exposure? This is not a rhetorical question. I would be interested in an unbiased follow up to this type of contest. It is entirely possible that someone else would notice the ad and hire the artist for a project.  But is it likely? How many of the ads/artists will there really be a success story for? I’d sincerely like to learn what happens.

The prize amount irks me a bit, though.  An ad results in $1,000 of product for the artists – which , by the way, in Fluevog dollars equals… about 2 pairs of shoes (perhaps less)?  Fluevog could reasonably pay more reasonably. (Of course, I can never wrap my head around purchasing shoes that are $400+, so my understanding of the value factor is clearly limited.  Oh wait, the value is only $1,000 no matter how much you love the shoes! OK, I’ll proceed then.)

In the Fluevog case, it also strikes me that the exposure might benefit one party to a degree greater than the other. The ad showcases Fleuvog. The artist’s concept is secondary – although I commend Fluevog for actual including in the creative, in addition to the artist’s name, their url (something I’ve rarely seen). (The ad I saw provided the link to Heather Mulligan’s Deviant Art page: )

Of course, on the plus side, the artist may not get magazine ad level exposure were it not for the contest (and, in this case, I’m assuming that the exposure might have some value, which of course, is still up for discussion).  And the artist could very well re-purpose something they already created (although I haven’t checked the rules on that) and just plug in a shoe or the name Fluevog or what not, and Boom!, ad created. So it may not, in fact, involve a huge effort on their part.

And, of course, there is the fact that here I am, & Pete is, talking about it. So the “tactic” is working, in some respect. (Although, again, perhaps more for Fluevog?)

But back to the bad side: Fluevog gets the ad(s) created for far less than they would pay an agency to create, and the art for far less than a fair price: I think this serves to devalue at both industries.

Now, I understand that nobody can be exploited in these cases without their consent. The artists have to agree and do the work – and the transaction seems to be clear. That said, the lure of “exposure” is a strong one – especially for artists – who sometimes encounter difficulties in terms of getting paid to do what they love.

Your thoughts? You might also consider weighing in Pete’s post on One Degree.

*At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I should note that I work on and enter contests. Obviously for those I don’t see the imbalance as much – although there’s always the possibility cognitive dissonance could be at play.

I have also written about the topic of artists, contests and crowdsourcing on the following posts:

Please, Sir, Can I Have Another

Contests for Artists

January 11, 2011 at 9:18 am 5 comments

Learn About Using Twitter for Business at Our January Workshop

(Note from Monica: Originally the amazing Tanya Roberts and I were running the workshop, but Tanya is at full capacity with her work and I am fortunate to have another awesome and brilliant gal to work with. I am thrilled to have Stephanie Michelle Scott of Wildfire Effect as my new partner.)

On January 22nd Tanya Roberts and I will be presenting our Twitter for Business Workshop.

We’re aiming to offer this workshop, geared towards beginners, monthly.  If you’d like to be kept posted, please fill out this quick form and we’ll keep you in the loop.  (We might also offer advanced sessions at some point in the future.  Again, please fill out our form if you want to be updated.)

FYI, the sessions will be informative, educational – and fun!

General Session Information

You’ve heard that Twitter is a great marketing tool, but you still don’t get it, right? As Steven Berlin Johnson wrote in his Time Magazine story on Twitter, “The one thing you can say for certain about Twitter is that it makes a terrible first impression. The service allows you to send 140-character updates to your followers,” he writes, “and you think, why does the world need this, exactly?”

The goal of this workshop is to demystify Twitter and give you tangible, real life examples that you can use to get on the Twitter bandwagon, beef up your marketing efforts, and ultimately grow your online presence.


  • Twitter: What is it good for?
  • Getting Set-up: Creating a compelling profile and generating content.
  • Growing Your Following: Building your following and engaging followers.
  • Twitter & Marketing: Adding social media to your marketing mix.
  • Best Practices: What works? Real life examples, cautions, and what “not to do.”

Register for Twitter for Business Workshop - August 21, 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia  on Eventbrite

If you’d like to read more about us, check out Tanya’s post here.

And if you’d like to get an idea of my presentation style, here’s a video of my Northern Voice talk on “Finding Your Online Voice”.

January 1, 2011 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Tell Them – “It Gets Better”.

If you’re looking for a tremendous example of  using social media for good, here it is.

I doesn’t involve donating money.  But it’s beautiful, and powerful.  And learning about it made me cry.

Dan Savage is asking adults to tell youth “it gets better”.

(From the Georgia Straight: )

“In response to the suicide of Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old gay teenager from Indiana who hung himself on September 9 after suffering from bullying, Savage started a YouTube channel as a place where people can post videos with messages of hope for LGBT youth.

Hundreds of responses have already been uploaded by individuals who faced similar struggles in their adolescence.”

Michael Buckley of “What the Buck?”

I don’t know what it’s like to grow up gay – but I understand that for many it’s not a pleasant experience (to say the least).  What I do know something, or rather plenty, about is how crappy it is to feel disliked, alienated, bullied and out-of-sync with those around you.  The thing I hated most about my childhood was going to school –  from when I was about 7-14, because,  for a number of reasons, I was the school freak.  I spent recess and lunches alone and would often eat hiding in a bathroom stall  to avoid the insults and the taunting.  Then there was the general awkwardness of always being watched and criticized, and of being alone in an environment where no one else was. Simply put, it sucked.  I was in a very dark place over those years – but I was fortunate enough to somehow think that maybe it could get better.  Maybe, if I was finally allowed to change schools,  someone would think I was likable and worthy.  Maybe.

It’s the idea that “maybe” this would change, the true hope and belief that it wasn’t always going to be like this – that it couldn’t – that was the reason I didn’t really consider suicide.  But I also had the advantage of living in a big city (Montreal) where I saw plenty of different people.  And not all of them were walking down the city streets alone.  Even most of the weirdos had found a compatible weirdo.  It seemed if I could just get out of the insular fishbowl that was my school, I could make it.

Or at least, that’s how I recall why I didn’t throw in the towel.  Really, I don’t know what saved me.  But I am so grateful that I didn’t give up, because, while it took time, I’ve never been as happy with my life and as comfortable with myself as I am now.

Which is why I am so touched by this project and what it could mean to the teens who don’t yet know that it won’t always suck.

There’s been some improvement over the years in terms of society’s acceptance and acknowledgement of LGBT, but it’s still far from where it needs to be.   While our society works through these issues, it’s crucial to have teens understand that elementary and high school isn’t “the end”.  And that how you are defined – and define yourself – especially once out of these environments, is largely up to you.  Showing people who have made it through, who now have self-acceptance and a support network – I can’t say enough about how inspiring a message that sends to gay youth, as well as others dealing with difficulties and being “different”.

Please participate in this project if you feel you have something to contribute.  Let LGBT teens know that it does get better. So much better.

September 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm Leave a comment

You’re not a Product: But You are Your Presence

Here is the article I contributed to the May 2010 issue of Dan Schawbel’s “Personal Branding Magazine” entitled: “You’re not a Product: But You are Your Presence”:

Are people products when it comes to branding? The answer is somewhat complex. When we expect companies to become more “human” we often forget just how inconsistent humans are. We can be overwhelming responsible overall and still act like fools on occasion. Yet, when it comes to a public image – especially online, first impressions do matter. Likewise, our continued online presence has a strong bearing on our business: who we are affects who responds to us – and how they respond. You don’t need to be a walking slogan, but should be aware of perceptions.

The web already includes facets of you: mentions about what you do and images from gatherings, to name just a few. Social Media can you help represent yourself optimally. Take Twitter for example, where you’re able to prove yourself as an expert in your field, while simultaneously conveying the person behind the work. You’re already endearing, right? So leverage that fully.

Firstly, take control of your Twitter background and make it as evocative of your personal/business front. (And unless your business caters to fly-vision don’t tile the background with an image.) Include your url and have your bio describe what you want to be recognized for/as. Know that you can only be seen to be so many things. I know someone whose business card has at least 12 distinct professions including “Pilot”, “Film Director” and “Psychic”. It makes him seem sub-par at all. Such is the case when a bio includes “Doctor, Real Estate Agent, Career Coach”. What are the key things you do? Just like a first date, no one expects (or wants) to know everything right off the bat.

And when you tweet, don’t always be “on message”. Someone who only talks about business – especially his business – is a dull fellow indeed. Who are you after work? Again, you don’t have to be too revealing but do let people in on your interests. You don’t want to give the impression that you wear a tie in your leisure time and mumble “I can increase your sales with just one click “in your sleep.

Of course, you’re there to make friends and influence people, so be sure to answer questions, offer advice, help people and share valuable information. The beauty is that you don’t have to shill yourself: by virtue of participating in these ways, you showcase your expertise.

And always be mindful of what you say. In real life, your interactions have social cues and a greater context, so every comment matters less. It’s worth checking how your Twitter posts (as well as status updates on other sites, post comments etc.) appear when read in succession. Do you frequently complain or use negative phrasing? Looking at the content objectively, what would you surmise about this person?

A person isn’t really a product. But if you optimize your web presence you might find yourself selling yourself – without needing to hard sell.

Note: Now online – video of my Northern Voice talk on “Finding Your Online Voice”.

June 28, 2010 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Interview with Pourhouse about their Twitter Strategy

Recently, I was preparing a presentation on Twitter for a client*. To emphasize the benefits of using Twitter, I wanted to give them an example of a business in their industry (restaurant) which had seen results. I emailed some questions to Chuck McIntosh of Pourhouse and he was kind enough to respond. (Note: find them on Twitter at @pourhouse_van)

Cocktail?Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What were/are your key objectives re: using Twitter?

Chuck: few things we focus on using Twitter:

1. To generate positive awareness and new customers for our business.
2. To constantly keep top of mind consciousness.
3. To keep in touch and communicate with customers, their needs, and moderate feedback.

Q: How do you use Twitter to drive business, communicate etc.? Do you use Twitter separately or is it part of a larger social media strategy?

Chuck: We use multiple social sites to drive business and to communicate with customers. Yes, we use both Twitter and Facebook among others, they all work together to create our social network.

Q: What benefits and results have you seen from what you’ve done?

Chuck: Consistent feedback from customers in real time, people tweet straight from the bar or their table about their experiences. Whether good or bad, we can address it immediately which has been fantastic for us. Another obvious benefit is the awareness it creates. If someone is having a positive experience and they share that, others read it and want to try Pourhouse as well. If you consistently strive to make every customers experience great, then you are getting a consistent feed of testimonials sent out from people to their friends, you can’t beat that. And if there are negative ones, you can monitor them and deal with both the customers concerns and with your staff immediately. It’s a great monitoring system.

Q: Would love some links to coverage you’ve received re: your use of social media.


Many of these articles came from the awareness that our network creates.

Q: Can you offer tips or suggestions for others in your industry in terms of what you’ve learned, discovered?

Chuck: When using Social Media, be real and authentic, be consistent, and contribute.

*On a related topic:  In July,  Tanya Roberts and I will be running a Twitter for Business Workshop together. If you would like to be put into our database to be notified of the date of this session – or to find out about future monthly workshops, please enter your name and email into this form.

One more thing: Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen wrote a great post “How to Find Your Blogging Voice – 8 Tips for Bloggers” which mentions some points from the “Finding Your Online Voice” talk I gave at Northern Voice.

June 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm 1 comment

Psychology and Social Media (Part III) – on OneDegree: Anonymity

(Note: This post was originally written for – and published on –  OneDegree)

Our hearts raced.

Our friend picked up the phone.

“You smell bad!” we said in unison, masking our voices in creepy falsetto. Then we slammed down the phone and laughed.

I was a tween in a time before the ubiquity of Caller ID/Display and prank calls were in vogue. I was slightly ashamed of what we were doing, and yet we made the calls, and our ability to do this ugly, passive-aggressiveness and hurtful thing was facilitated by one critical factor: anonymity.

Without this cloak we were kind to our friend with whom we, clearly, had some issues. There were certainly more effective and decidedly more respectable ways to address our problems. Did we have the emotional maturity to do so? Clearly not. And the lack of identity gave us free reign to express our feelings honestly – and distastefully.

The benefit of online anonymity is often provided in the extreme. It enables users to offer information or perspective without fear of retribution or recrimination (e.g. whistleblowing, expressing political points of view under repressive regimes). Stigma is also a consideration: a person might be hesitant to attach their name because the revelations might lead them face discrimination (e.g. at their workplace for certain points of view or for their sexual orientation) and someone, for instance, who experienced sexual abuse or is dealing with depression might want to comment on a blog post or forum to express solidarity – but not if it meant revealing their identity to everyone.

Of course many anonymous remarks don’t fall under these categories. And while online anonymity, which has long been a contentious issue, allows for the expression of honest points of view, it is also an appropriate shelter from which to fire off damaging or defamatory remarks. It is theorized that “Good Lamps Are the Best Police” and anonymity – and even the illusion of anonymity – provides a cloak under which to operate, and is an excellent sanctuary for those wishing to use the internet for hateful comments, intimidation and character assassinations.

Recent occurrences have once again thrown this issue into the spotlight. There are, as just a few examples, a court case which requests the unveiling of anonymous posters who made defamatory comments, a newspaper which revealed their discovery that the anonymous comments on their site which were “disparaging a local lawyer, were made using the e-mail address of a judge who was presiding over some of that lawyer’s cases”, Anonymously authored blogs exist, as do as skewed Amazon reviews made under a pseudonym and social sites or applications that encourage anonymous feedback.

The sad truth is that people sometimes comport themselves differently when their identity is not known. Even those comments which express honest dissenting opinion frequently lack respect when posted anonymously. The anonymity adds yet another layer of distance from the other party: without the person in front of you, you can avoid considering his/her emotions and possible reactions, but now that you that your identity is also concealed, it is easy to dispense with any civility at all.

Take for instance a comment on a blog that remarks something such as:

“This post makes it clear you are a complete moron. I would be embarrassed to be you.”

How? Why?

With anonymity the opportunity is presented to phrase even one’s legitimate opinions in an inconsiderate and scathing way. Were there an obligation to attach one’s name – and all the reputation that may go with it – the user might be more inclined to take into account the other party’s humanity and feelings and rather than release vitriolic comments, perhaps provide constructive criticism.

Scott Rosenberg of makes the argument that moderation rather than “real names” would help to encourage responsible discourse. This makes good sense with respect to online conversations not descending into “barroom brawls” but does not address the difficulty in distinguishing between true and untrue statements made online. And, without attaching identity, there is also no way of gauging the perspective/conflict of interest of the party.

Writes Randy Cohen: “’Says who?’ is not a trivial question. It deepens the reader’s understanding to know who is speaking, from what perspective, with what (nutty?) history, and with what personal stake in the matter.

Certainly, anonymous posters aren’t the only ones who write distastefully or choose to grind their axe online. But this allowance does grant a great deal of power without responsibility. Power on its own can be a dangerous intoxicant. Without repercussions it becomes even more worrisome.

Recall the question: “Would you kill someone if no one would ever know you did it?” Replace “kill” with “defame” and you have a fair concern for the internet age.


Note: If would like to recommend articles or books, please feel free to suggest in the comments, or contact me through Twitter.

June 2, 2010 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

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Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

Good question (I wonder this all the time).
Linkedin profile is: here.
Find out more here.

Our Twitter for Business Workshops

I also offer Social Media Audits and a Twitter for Business Workshop (along with other services). For more information click here.

"The Twitter workshop opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing business. Terrific advice on how to best use twitter to create new business."

- Steve Rosenberg , Founder and Instructor, Pull Focus Films

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