How to: Use an Event Hashtag Before, During and After an Event

Schmidt says

If used effectively, a hashtag can bring added excitement leading up to and during your event.

By now we should all be familiar with hashtags and how they can be either annoying or helpful depending on how they’re used. At its core, hashtags are meant to categorize online content, emphasize keywords or phrases and aid in connecting with others through common interests. Once exclusive to Twitter, hashtags are now widely used across most online social networks. When used sparingly and appropriately, hashtags can enhance communication. But when used out of context or without creative thought, they become distracting. Using hashtags in verbal communication can put you that the butt of a joke. And nobody wants to be the butt of a joke.

One effective use of hashtags is for events. If you’ve attended a networking event or large conference in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed or even used an event-specific hashtag. When used at events, hashtags can be a great way for attendees to actively participate, allow for social networking and make it easy for people to find event highlights with just a quick Twitter search. Event hashtags can even allow for people to follow the event virtually if they’re unable to attend in person.

Unfortunately, many events do a poor job of execution when it comes to maximizing event hashtag usage. The list below should give you some good ideas to effectively promote the event hashtag in the days/months leading up to the event, increase hashtag usage during the event and in using the hashtag to recap the event.

When looking through this list, keep in mind that these are merely ways to get the most out of an event hashtag. Remember that the event hashtag also needs to be unique, short, descriptive and memorable. Check out this article in AdWeek for more on how to choose and effective hashtag.

Hashtag promotion leading up to event:

  • Include event hashtag on any main graphics produced for the event
  • Make sure to include the hashtag on all communications leading up to event
    • Save the date email/mailer
    • Newsletters
    • Registration email
    • Reminder emails
    • PDF flyer
    • Tweets leading up to and during event
  • Include on website(s)
    • Main event landing page
    • Registration page
    • Confirmation page/event ticket
    • Website homepage banner
    • News section
    • Blog post promoting event and what to expect
  • Include the hashtag on event printed materials
    • All signage (posters, large print banners or tabletop items)
    • Name tags and lanyards (also include company Twitter handle and attendee’s Twitter handle or leave space to fill in)
    • Table cards
    • Agenda print outs
    • Presentation decks
    • Event specific SWAG (lanyards, T-shirts, pens, note pads, etc.)
    • Place on food items (on coffee cups, printed on napkins, written on desserts, stickers on chip bags, etc.)

Encourage using the hashtag during event:

  • Have speakers mention the hashtag prior to their presentation or during their introduction by the emcee
  • Encourage audience participation by giving out prizes (signed book from one of the speakers, free registration to next year’s event, gift cards, etc.)
  • Project the branded hashtag at a main area where attendees will convene or just off stage from presenters
  • Have someone live-tweet the event from event Twitter handle
    • Monitor the hashtag and favorite/retweet the best ones
    • Have pre-planned tweets ready to go out during the event
    • Share photos/videos during the event
  • Project event hashtag conversation on a wall or monitor using a tool like HootSuite’s HootFeed (more services here)

Post-event hashtag use:

  • Thank attendees and everyone who participated
  • Share notes or speaker presentation decks
  • Post a recap video (embed on event page, post to YouTube, share on other sites)
  • Share photos from the event (make a Flickr slideshow)
  • Share a Storify event recap focusing on the best tweets and moments shared

Do you have ideas on how to get the most out of an event hashtag? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me: @eric_wheeler.

Schmidt gif via

PHOTOS: Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Apostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice Caves
Apostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice Caves
Apostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice Caves
Apostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice CavesApostle Islands Ice Caves

Apostle Islands Ice Caves, a set on Flickr.

I had the fortunate opportunity to visit the Apostle Ice Caves along the shores of Lake Superior in Wisconsin last weekend. Here’s some of my best photos.

Via Flickr:
Photos from the Apostle Islands Ice Caves on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin.

My Top 5 Super Bowl Ads of 2014

Image of the Super Bowl XLVIII logo.Another Super Bowl has come and gone and that means it’s time for a breakdown of my top five ads from one of the biggest days in sports. There’s not much to talk about in the 43-8 beating the Broncos took from the Seahawks so we’ll just dive right into it.

This year’s crop of Super Bowl ads seemed pretty weak at first glance. Maybe I was a little distracted from munching on a delicious assortment of Chex Mix, pizza and other delicious treats. Maybe the game was so boring that I just had too many side conversations and browsing on my iPhone to catch all the details of the commercials. In any event, upon a thorough review of each game-day ad on YouTube, it turns out there were some pretty high-quality ads. I’m still a fan of the slapstick comedic spots, but this year seems to have fallen suit with 2013 in leaning toward the dramatic and heart-warming side of life.

Below is my fourth annual list of the top five spots that aired during Super Bowl XLVIII. View my top five list from previous years here.

#5. Audi: Doberhuahua

This ad was a must for my top five list for the sheer chaos that ensued during the 60 seconds of terror. Things got a little weird, but you gotta love the appearance from Sarah McLachlan and just the mere thought of a Chihuahua with a snarling, oversized Doberman head running rampant in a zombie apocalypse-style setting. It was certainly talked about at offices around the country on Monday.

#4. Jamie Casino: Casino’s Law

You probably weren’t expecting any local ads on this list and you’d be right in assuming I’ve never featured one before. However, this is the most extravagant local spot I’ve ever seen–Super Bowl or not–and it deserves to be on this list. As AdWeek put it, Jamie Casino takes on a Saul Goodman-esque role, who was a “lawyer to the crooks until something bad happened to him—and he reinvented himself.” Please watch the full two minutes of local advertising glory. 

#3. Budweiser: Puppy Love

Here’s a sweet quasi-followup from Budweiser’s “Clydesdales Brotherhood” spot from last year. This ad probably would have slipped into the No. 2 position had the music been of a different tune–I can’t stand Passenger’s voice. My opinion aside, the girls in the room were nearly in tears before the commercial ended and it’s a must for this list.

#2. Chrysler: America’s Import (Bob Dylan)

This ad being in the No. 2 position reveals two things about me: 1.) I’m a sucker for Americana and 2.) I love Bob Dylan–my parents even thought was good idea to name me after the legendary American singer-songwriter. There’s a couple moments of this ad that I think are a little weak and it probably could have been done in 1:30 or even 60 seconds, but again, you gotta love the Americana set to the tune of Dylan’s aging voice and iconic music. Actually, I’m probably only justifying the presence of this ad on my list because I am such a Bob Dylan fan. Who cares, it’s my list.

#1. Doritos: Time Machine

After four years of reviewing Super Bowl ads, the score is even: two dramatic ads and two funny ads clinch the top spot. By now you should be familiar with the annual Doritos Crash the Super Bowl online commercial contest. The contest made a big splash when it debuted in 2006 and has produced some of the most memorable Super Bowl ads of the past decade. Indeed, I’ve now placed three Doritos ads throughout my four years of top five lists. This spot has it all: Short, cute and hilarious. I could watch this over and over and get a smile on my face every time. Well done, Mr. Anderson and good luck in your future film career.

Bonus spots that didn’t quite make the cut:

CarMax: Slow Clap – Who doesn’t love a good slow clap? Plus a cameo from Rudy!
RadioShack: The Phone Call – Everything you loved about the 80s.
Coca-Cola: It’s Beautiful – Nicely done and bold move–even stirring up a little controversy.
Chobani: Bear – More Bob Dylan!

Union Depot Station

Union Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MN

Union Depot Station, a set on Flickr.

Take a look at the main entrance to Union Depot in St. Paul, Minn. These photos were taken with a newly issued Nikon D610 and 35mm lens while on assignment for Metro Transit just before the press conference announcing the METRO Green Line opening date.

Lots of excitement gearing up for June 14, 2014 when the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis will, once again, be connected via light rail. Learn more about the METRO Green Line and see the countdown at It’s a great time to work at Metro Transit!

Twitter Analytics is Finally Here!

Screenshot of eric_wheeler's Twitter analytics

Twitter analytics provides lots of useful data including interests and location of your followers.

Twitter recently launched its analytics function for advertisers. I’m a little behind the curve on this one, but I finally had the chance to poke around a bit by looking at my own analytics–I found all sorts of useful data. One thing that is especially useful is the ability to look at your entire history on Twitter (apparently going back to Dec. 28, 2008 for me) to uncover follower growth, top interests, gender of followers, top locations and more.

There is also a breakdown of your timeline activity for the past 30 days that shows mentions, follows and unfollows for each day and each post. What’s cool about this is you can sort the data by “best,” “good” or “all” posts meaning I can sort by only the best posts and see what is most successful. So I can easily sort the data and know that one of my most popular tweets of the past 30 days is the article I posted about the food truck employee who got fired for tweeting at a company for not tipping–three retweets and three times the normal reach. It also tells me the link to the article got 13 clicks–highly valuable intel.

Here’s a nice summary article on using Twitter analytics from PR Daily if you’re interested in learning more:

A Twitter analytics cheat sheet

Have you used Twitter analytics yet? If so, how and what for?

#Infographic: Are you Suffering from Facebook Fatigue? Need a Break?

Image of an infographic about fatigue from Facebook.

Do you need a break from Facebook?

If you’re like most people, a Facebook vacation may be in your future…

Facebook now has more than 1 billion users. That’s a lot. And most of us are aware the social networking site is the largest in the world. Facebook has seemingly proliferated nearly every crevice of the ‘interwebs.’ Websites are using Facebook widgets in place of the ‘traditional’ comment section, the Facebook share button sits next to nearly every blog post and most people check their Facebook news feed several times a day.

For many of us, Facebook is such a huge part of our lives that it can be hard to get away from the daily dose of friend updates, brand pages marketing their products and news about the site itself. I get made fun of for my constant social media consumption–I’m always on the hunt for articles spanning a wide array of topics just so I can share it across my networks. All this Facebook usage and consumption of updates from our online social networks can be rather taxing. Even I take a break from time-to-time. According to the infographic from below, I’m not alone–61 percent of current Facebook users have taken a break from Facebook for one week or longer.

The infographic states several reasons why people feel the need to take a brief hiatus from Facebook. For me, it’s just nice to ‘unplug’ for a day or two just to clear my mind a bit. Take a look at the infographic below and let me know if you’ve taken a break from Facebook or if you plan to soon.

Facebook Fatigue Infographic

My Top 5 Super Bowl Ads of 2013

It’s time for a breakdown of my top five spots from advertising’s biggest day. This was certainly a good year for Super Bowl advertising and an even bigger year for social media during the big game. Last year I ended up picking five funny spots and this year I have a more balanced list (as balanced as a top five list can get). Brands mostly went for heart-warming over hysterical this year and many of the comedic spots were really not that funny in my opinion or they were produced a little too over-the-top.

Social media played a role in this year’s brand bowl more so than ever before. If you’re a marketer reading this, I’m sure you’re well aware of the brilliant and timely posts delivered by the Oreo social media team. When the lights went out at the Superdome, Oreo pushed out the below image on Facebook and Twitter in a matter of minutes:

This was an image with real staying power. It picked up another thousand plus retweets the day after the big game, the Facebook post got over 20,000 ‘likes’ and close to 7,000 shares and the quick and witty post picked up tons of free press. Oreo is certainly on top of its game and made sure its ‘Cream Or Cookie’ Super Bowl spot was fully supported with social media build up and timely posts sent out before, during and even after the game. Social media activity like this can only be achieved with a command center and all hands on deck. The social media activity during the Super Bowl this year was certainly impressive, but it’s time to break down my favorite ads.

#5. Samsung Mobile USA – The Next Big Thing

I’m not usually one to fall for celebrity endorsements, but these two are hilarious. Not sure how much the ad will help in its epic battle for marketshare over Apple, but it can’t hurt.

#4. Viva Young – Taco Bell Game Day Commercial

This commercial is great. I can only wish I will be this cool when I’m sitting around in a retirement home a few decades from now. Only thing bad about it is now I have that Fun. song stuck in my head, which I spent most of 2012 trying to get rid of. At least it was in Spanish.

#3. OREO – Whisper Fight

A whisper fight in a library? Brilliant. Though I’m a little surprised it hadn’t been done before. Again, Oreo absolutely stole the show from a branding and marketing standpoint. They even took this moment to launch an Instagram account. Before the Super Bowl, Oreo had around 2,200 followers on Instagram and garnered around 35,000 followers by the end of Sunday night. Props to 360i and the Oreo social media command center.

#2. Budweiser Super Bowl Ad — The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood”

This ad literally brought tears to the eyes of some of my coworkers. With several terribly awful ads from Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch InBev totally redeemed itself with this tear-jerker of an ad.

#1. Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial “Farmer”

This one struck a chord with me from the first frame and had chills going through my spine by the end. Growing up in northwest Oklahoma and listening to farmers talk about the weather and wheat prices everyday definitely had an influence on this year’s pick. Paul Harvey had a big part in my life as well. Seemed like anytime I showed up at my grandparents house in Alva, Okla., Paul Harvey was delivering his famous “The Rest of the Story” segments on the kitchen radio. It also helped that the commercial was beautifully done with shots from a National Geographic photographer and a renowned documentary photographer. Nicely done, Dodge.

Bonus spots:

Because of my Oklahoma roots and because the Flaming Lips are just incredible in general: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe | Big Game Ad | “Epic Playdate

Because I love awkward moments: Unattended Laundry: You needed the machine. You got caught panty-handed (Speed Stick)

Because I love Amy Poehler: Best Buy – Asking Amy: Official 2013 Best Buy Game Day Commercial

My Personal Top 10 Instagram Photos of 2012

My nine best on Instagram from 2012.

My nine best on Instagram from 2012.

Another year has gone by. I’ve been through some fairly major life changes. New city. New job. New friends. New experiences.

Instagram has gone through some major changes as well. The photo-sharing app with vintage filters opened its doors to Android users and a few days later was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in early April. A few Instagram users freaked out about the availability on the Android Market and even more freaked out after the news of Facebook’s purchase. Of course, this did nothing to slow its growth. In fact, during this 10 day period, the app saw explosive growth and ended up adding another 10 million users–1 million new users a day.

Then Instagram changed its privacy policy and people freaked out again–this time with the idea that Facebook was going to start selling users’ photos. This would all come to a close soon enough after Instagram apologized to its users and vowed to remove language that suggests they have the right to sell users’ photos. Oh, and a new version with a new filter was recently launched. Nice timing.

Now that you’re all caught up on the latest happenings of Instagram; let’s take a look at some of my personal top photos. For the second consecutive year, I have combed through my hundreds of photos and picked my top 10 of the year. I posted a good number of images shot with my Nikon D90, but this list is comprised of only photos shot and edited with my iPhone. You can take a look back at my top 10 photos of 2011 to see I have continued to grow as a photographer and get more creative with my shots. To view all my best photos from 2012, follow my on Instagram (@eric_wheeler) and view my hashtag #wheelers_best_of_2012. Take a look at my top 10 and let me know what you think!

Site Stats for Wheeler Blogs: 2012 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 36,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 8 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

#Infographic: Is the Drop in Apple Shares a Sign of a Possible Plateau?

Image of Apple's logo in silverApple is certainly a newsworthy company. In the past few weeks, Apple released the iPad mini, the patent war between Apple and Samsung has escalated and iPhone 5S and even iPhone 6 rumors have begun circulating the Internet (only three months since the launch of the iPhone 5). Not all Apple news is positive, however. The infographic below is particularly timely given the recent tumble in Apple shares. “Peak or Plateau: What’s Next for Apple?” is certainly a good title for this infographic as the data points look at the success from Apple in recent years and considers the falling stock as the tech giant looks ahead to the future. Whether the future for Apple is gloomy or sunny, you can be certain Apple will continue making big news.

Remarkably, Apple is able to remain in the limelight incessantly while still holding out on social media. Indeed, Mashable recently had a nice write-up on four huge brands still not on social media. There Apple was, the largest company in the world, at the bottom of the list. It seems silly. For the amount of traditional advertising the company does for each new product launch, it seems like a natural next step would be to layer social media on top of that and create online communities to further push its messaging throughout the Web. Maybe social media is finally in Apple’s future?

From the looks of this infographic, Apple might need to shake things up a bit to be sure it doesn’t ‘plateau.’ As you can see Apple has gained some huge ground in the past five years. For one, the iPhone alone now has higher sales than every product Microsoft has to offer. With a $500 billion value, the company is either going to continue thriving or simply flat line. This infographic even says its fan base is leveling out. But the underlying question? Is Apple’s financial skyrocket peaking or is it merely preparing for the next big launch? Check out the infographic from below and draw your own conclusion:

Peak or Plateau: What’s Next for Apple?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,393 other followers

%d bloggers like this: