Posts in Category: Blogging

Hashtags 101

If you have ever used social media, you have most likely seen the “hashtag.”

hash·tag /ˈhaSHtag / noun: (On social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

In 2009, the hashtag impacted society like an atom bomb, quickly changing the course of the modern language. Ever since Twitter strung together the disconnect of key words with the hashtag, people have been able to easily search for key words or phrases that would open up connections to other relating articles or tweets. People’s thoughts and opinions were soon connected into a web of hashtags

  • Hashtags can stand alone as their own sentence: #TGIF (thank God it’s Friday)
  • Hashtags can also be used to suggest emotion: #lol (laughing out loud)
  • Or sarcasm and humor: #sorrynotsorry

The symbol became so widely used, that in 2012 the American Dialect Society declared it Word of the Year. It became so overused by nearly everyone that it was officially declared comic (well, not officially…just satirized perfectly by Jimmy Fallon and his pal Justin Timberlake).

The hashtag has become so immersed in our culture that even brides make it their top priority to create the perfect wedding hashtag (i.e. #WeSaidIDoOnJune2, #SallyandSamTietheKnot). A personalized hashtag creates a folder of photos and updates about the topic or event.
Companies have also caught wind of the hashtag. It has quickly become a popular marketing tool and is now present in various media outlets. Television shows will hashtag character names, movies will hashtag titles and events, and restaurants will hashtag special offerings. The symbol can stand as a marketing/branding/PR technique to promote campaigns while also allowing followers to interact with the company by posting pictures or voicing their opinion. And while this phenomenon first took place on Twitter, other platforms like Facebook and Instagram have joined the hashtag conversation as well.

Greenville, SC, used hashtags as the cornerstone of their plan to elevate the perception of Greenville and highlight recent changes that have been made to the city. By encouraging the use of the hashtag #YeahThatGreenville in partnership with a website of the same name, they took the combined forces of Greenville fans and residents to spread the word that Greenville is hip, young, cool and the place that everyone wants to be.

Yeah That Greenville

Dear PR Daily, Please Make Your Posts Mobile Friendly

Bold, right?

I know. I’m a little guy. I am. Who am I to ask PR Daily to do something for me? Well, I’m pretty certain I’m speaking for a LOT of us who use our smart phones to read blog posts and catch up on content when we have a spare moment. The thrill of being able to do so without the pinch and spread action on a non-mobile site is just awesome. Pulling up a blog post or an article, whether it’s on Spin Sucks or, and having it load as it should for the screen in which I’m viewing it is flat out thoughtful. I read both of those while on the table last night.

Crowd Control in Social Media

Happy end of 2012!! Merry Merry and Happy Happy! We’re just about to shut down for the year and won’t see you around here until 2013. Before we head out, I wanted to leave you with this little video post about “Control” and how to have it when your business places their flag in the social media sphere.

What prompted this discussion for me? Two things:

The #SpreadtheCheer hashtag takeover (read about it here) and numerous new clients coming to me with the same question:

How can I control what people say about me online?

Maximizing Your Time Online

I’m back! This time, as part of my pop up series “Short on Time. Big on Ideas.” I took the advice of the lovely Michelle Quillin of New England Multimedia and shot a video on the go! Don’t let the driving while shooting scare you. I was extremely safe!

As I was on my way to an appointment in nearby Asheville, NC (Beer City, USA), I took the opportunity to share some of my thoughts in response to a post Jayme Soulati wrote last week, in response to the conversation she and I had regarding my absence from blogging. I know. That was a mouth full. Follow the link and you’ll see what I mean. It all makes sense and for me, I felt like there was an important point to be made for many a blogger and small business owner out there.

Skip the Movie and grab the Cliff Notes 

Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD!

Shout Hole

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE politics. I really do. I liked it so much that when I went off to school, that was the degree I chose…twice.  I grew up watching my grandparents entertain, support and work for gubernatorial, senatorial and presidential candidates; I thought it was how everyone lived. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find that my business even works on a campaign or two from time to time.

I’ll bet very few of you knew that, did you?

You know why? Because I don’t promulgate the Facebook or Twitter streams, or my blog, with political views. I know many people do. Good for them. But for me, in the business that I’m in, the only views I need to share are those that help my clients do a better job or enhance their bottom line. Period. Well, that and some cute kid photos and stories, but even then, there’s a business relevancy to it. 

Hey Baby, What’s Your Sign?

I sound like Bill Dorman, don’t I? I’m sorry, it was just too easy to throw that one up on the headline. Plus, it was his birthday this week and I’ve been remiss in visiting him, so I thought I’d pay homage.

The Business Sign

Last week, I moved my office, after almost five years in the same spot (with a brief hiatus at home with baby #2), to a new location.  In a word, it was time to go. We needed more space and well, it felt like it was time to evolve from the cozy little consultant shop I had inhabited for so long to a ‘grown up’ business location that allowed for expansion and looked more like the business model I am working towards – one that is sustainable and not completely reliant on yours truly to survive.

I had a small sign at my previous location, but nothing to write home about. It was a marker on a building in a downtown area, as it should be. I moved to a more medical/residential part of our town, on a corner, with a lot of drive by traffic. I suddenly was presented with the opportunity to have a BIG sign. Whoa. Big flipping deal here. 

Sometimes, You Just Gotta Boogie!

Kids Hoop Dance: Hoop Star Emma!Brace yourself, this might be an anti-social media post. I know. Crazy after my last one on engagement, right? Well, let’s just throw caution to the wind, shall we? Let’s boogie.

That’s right. Boogie. Like no one is looking, or even better, like they are.

You see, I recently had two things happen to me that made me sit up and take notice.  The first was the response to my post on engagement and the more than two weeks since that I have not posted.  The other sit up and take notice event was my trip to the Outlaw Roadshow – an outdoor concert featuring the Counting Crows and a host of other unfamiliar groups of rail thin young men in white t-shirts, skinny jeans and dirty hair.  I digress.

The Irony of the Engagement Post

That post on engagement was surprisingly strong as far as traffic goes, and the comments were flowing right in. Part of my irony? I almost didn’t publish it – I thought it had all been said before! As you know by now, I did publish it and much to my surprise, it was well received.  

What’s Pink and Slimy and Read All Over?

Please welcome my friend and esteemed colleague, Jayme Soulati, to Spot On today. She has graciously offered (and mightily delivered) a guest post for me in my absence. Enjoy and comment!


This is not a “don’t eat hamburger laced with pink slime” blog post (that needs a bunch of hyphens to make it grammatically correct).  I know that if Shakirah Dawud or Jenn Whinnem  were reading, they’d catch me in the lazy act and chastise me with a correction, eh, Ladies?

This post, rather, is all about how this issue is presented as a blogger.  I was in a squirrely mood a bit ago and decided to draft a blog post about the social media blame game and pink slime. Social media was taking the brunt of the evil doings against pink slimers, and as a result, governors decided to take control of the message (but, did they) and issue statements to reverse negative perception.

What I wrote, was what I thought was a comedic blog post about the issue (with my thoughts against pink slime obviously laced throughout the content). I didn’t research the issue to present facts; I focused on social media instead. But, my community took the facts and presented them front and center.

My Perception versus Your Reality

What was supposed to be a funnier blog post with what I expected (first mistake) would be equally humorous comments became a lesson for me in perception versus reality as a blogger.  I was called to task for not looking deeper at the issue with the pros and cons of the substance being used as lean-meat filler.

I set out to write a post that wasn’t about the situation; it was about social media’s power over the situation.

What a blogger expected to happen didn’t; readers took an opposing view of the issue and said so. What a fascinating lesson in perception versus reality among bloggers and readers.

Have you ever had a blog post you intended to write with one message and it was read in a different way? That is my lesson as a blogger of two years; never assume that what you’re writing will be perceived the way you want. It’s kinda like the glass half empty or half full conundrum.

Pink PR & Blogging Lessons Learned

Now, that said, let’s do revisit pink slime from a PR crisis communications standpoint for a minute.

I know this situation is a tipping point in favor of anti-beef. Look how forcefully the topic went viral, and look, too, at how many days it took for the beef industry and manufacturers to strategize with public relations professionals on the approach, to craft the message and issue the news.  Days went by; or maybe it was 36 hours?

Regardless; anything more than six hours in social media is essentially a lifetime.

As a blogger, I typically stay away from hot-bed issues like this. Because I didn’t, here are some key takeaways for bloggers everywhere:

    1. Look at the facts of an issue before you write; pros and cons.
    2. If you take a stance, ensure you support your opinion with factual evidence.
    3. Never assume what you write will be positively received.
    4. Don’t have such an ego and assume what you write should be positively received!
    5. Receive contrary comments to your opinion as a blogger in a positive way.
    6. Go ahead, admit your mistakes; it’s what makes bloggers human.
    7. Use every comment as your teachable moment to grow as a writer.
    8. Take on the hot-bed issues, but be ready for hot-bed comments.
    9. AVOID politics! In no way, shape or form should you engage in political issues as the country is so sorely divided amongst politicians and citizens alike that you’d suffer from the backlash.
    10. Try, try and fall down; get up and try again.

Jayme Soulati is a frequent visitor in this community who rabble rouses the comments which turns into BlogJacking. Those days may be over, but she’s always ready for blog banter. You can find her all over the interwebz and primarily blogging at Soulati-‘TUDE! via

Pink image via Flickr.

Twelve Online Marketing Apps, Tips and Tools that I LOVE!

"Fabric of my heart".

In honor of Valentine’s Day and in the spirit of love, I thought I would share with you my very favorite apps, tips and tools that make my online marketing efforts ROCK.  I don’t think it’s really possible to LOVE an app or a tool (although I’m certain I’ve been madly in love with a fella before who acted like a tool… ‘wa – wa- waaa’), I do think they can make our lives easier and deliver big time results for our marketing efforts (if used in the right way!).

Let’s get to it, shall we?

12.  Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (the Holy Trinity for mylink love). You think I’m kidding? Hardly. With any new post that I write, I go directly to these three (individually, mind you) and share my posts accordingly.

When Consuming Social Media, Chew Your Food Slowly

The other day I heard a report that evaluated how quickly we chew our food, or rather, the number of times we chew our food and how that affects our overall consumption of food.  Ultimately, too much consumption (without any energy expended) can result in becoming overweight, or worse, obese.

This particular study found that when test subjects were told to chew their food 15 times before swallowing, they consumed more than subjects who were told to chew their food 40 times.  Those who chewed their food 40 times before swallowing consumed less food and felt full after eating.  I found this fascinating.