Posts in Category: Social Media

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

The Pros & Cons of a Virtual Conference for Community Engagement

Last month, ADG blazed the trail with Henderson County’s first-ever Virtual Conference, which coincided with a live event for Speak Out 2014. We brought together non-profit groups and childcare professionals from around Henderson County to discuss issues facing children in our area and brainstorm ideas to help them. At the end, we were exhausted, mentally drained, and satisfied that we had brought something new and successful to deliver results to our client. Now that it’s further behind us and we have some time to reflect, Erica has some thoughts on the pros/cons of putting on a Virtual Conference (VC), and what you should consider before doing one of your own:

An example of an exhibitor "booth" at the Speak Out Virtual Conference

An example of an exhibitor “booth” at the Speak Out Virtual Conference


  • The VC works well for a regional campaign, multi-state or even international network of people who want to gather around a topic and do so over a period of time, rather than gather together physically in a location.
  • A VC can be a great branding and messaging tool, as was the case with Speak Out 2014: delivering a broad message with multiple touch points and subjects, to a diverse audience.
  • The cost for attendees is minimal, other than their time, it’s simply logging on with internet access and enjoying an array of educational opportunities or options. It was also much cheaper to put on a Virtual Conference compared to putting on a live conference.

Before You Endorse Me, At Least Get to Know Me

LinkedIn Centipede Participants in the 2010 ING Bay to Breakers

At the risk of sounding ungrateful here, please, for the love of all things genuine, stop endorsing me on LinkedIn for things you’ve never seen or heard me do!

I know. That’s going to get me just what I asked for, right? All of a sudden my endorsements for skills that I should possess are going to take a nose dive. I’m fine with that. You know why? Because unless you’ve seen me do it, been the benefactor of the results produced by my work, or heard me speak, then don’t endorse me.

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 

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.  

Want Community Engagement? ENGAGE!

Birthday Party

Seriously. That’s it.

I hear this ALL the time:

Why don’t we have more people liking our Facebook page or following us on Twitter? Aside from the fact that I ALWAYS want to ask: Why do you want more and how will that help your business? My next question, or rather the one that I ask, is this:

What are you doing to engage new followers?

Here are a few things I like to offer to anyone starting out on social media who is desperate to get those Likes and Follows.  

Stop Wasting Money on Social Media

Big Ballin' Money Shot 044/365 Ok, that’s a bit of a hook. However, what you’re about to read is going to save you time and money. I’m so tired of hearing horror stories from clients who went with a firm to “do their social media” but got no results.  After asking a few questions, and actually having experienced a positive ROI from social media efforts that support my marketing strategies, I figured out why these businesses were in such a pickle.

Islands in the Stream

News flash: you can’t “do social media” without first understanding Marketing!  One without the other is well, just one without the other. Bring them together and your business can be a powerhouse online and off.  Unfortunately, what happens is that businesses start looking for someone to handle their social media, thinking that the marketing is a separate issue entirely.  

Follow Friday: Autumn Thompson (Trust me, she rocks!)

Well it’s about time, right? I’ve been swamped lately, but thankfully, persuaded one very important person to come on full time with me on this crazy train that is Allison Development Group.  Some of you already know her, but I thought it would be fun to have you really get to know the newest addition to ADG with a little Q&A. I asked the questions and while some of her answers are clearly sucking up to me, I LOVE them!

Get to know (and follow!) Autumn Thompson:

1. Where are you from?  I was born in Miami, FL but moved to North Carolina when I was two. My parents were from the original hippy movement and they bought a farm to live off the land. OK, it was a commune. We moved to Hendersonville when I was 6 because they weren’t really good at the whole thing.

2. What is something about you that would surprise people? I’m married to my high school sweetheart (20 years).  I used to race motorcycles.  I had a street bike. I’ve run two marathons. I love to shoot. I’ve been in a mosh pit.  I love to fish. I watch Jersey Shore. I have a massive shoe collection. (She’s right about that last one; awesome shoes come through this office on a regular basis!)

3. What excites you most about working at ADG? I have always loved the entrepreneur spirit.  People who can take their dream and make it a reality is something to be admired.  Erica is the epitome of an entrepreneur and she loves helping others realize their business potential. I’m excited to work with her because she is wickedly smart and I hope some of her knowledge will rub off on me.

4. What scares the heck out of you about working at ADG? 🙂  Making a unfixable mistake. And the steep steps to the office can be tricky in heels.

5. What do you do in your free time?  Umm….what is free time? I’m working on my Master’s Degree.   Kidding….in my spare moments I enjoy reading.  But, with a seven year old who shares my love for books that usually means reading to her.  We just finished books about Amelia Earhart and the Wright Brothers.  See the theme?

6. If you could be doing anything at all with your life, what would it be?  I would own a beach resort. No shoes, no shirt, no problem.

7.  What is your new title here at ADG?Surprise: You’re creating your own!!!  I thought I was the Marketing Assistant, but I have moved up in the world! Chaos Tamer? (Yes! She nailed it!)

8. What is your favorite ‘tool’ on social media?  I love Hootsuite because I can look at so much at one time. (Um, she’s downplaying her role here a bit…she manages three different client accounts with that little owly thingy.)

9. Where can people find you on social media?  Twitter: @autumnmthompson;  Facebook: autumnmthompson; LinkedIn:  autumnthompson; and Pinterest.

10. Favorite music/playlist on Spotify?  I enjoy all music!  For work, the best playlist is the ‘80s.  I’m a huge Jimi Hendrix fan but save that for Friday afternoons.

And that, dear friends, is Autumn Thompson…Chaos Tamer here at ADG and someone you should get to know!  Rock on.