Category Archives: Social Media

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 metro.co.uk.


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 onlinecollegecourses.com 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!


#Infographic: The Impact of Social Media in the 2012 Presidential Election

With voters heading to the polls this week this infographic is rather timely. I am lucky enough to not have to suffer through too many political ads because I don’t have a TV. However, social media is part of my job and my life in general so it’s impossible to escape political posts in my Facebook news feed or in my Twitter stream. Indeed, I follow Barack Obama on both Facebook and Twitter and hardly a day goes by where I miss out on a piece of propaganda turned out from his crack digital team. I’ll admit I didn’t watch a single second of the recent presidential debates, but I basically got the gist from all the memes and post-debate online chatter.

Take a look at the infographic below to see how social media has impacted this election so far. First, a few stats that jump out at me. For one, 9 out of 10 Senators and Representatives now have a Twitter account. Of course, these accounts are mostly being run by the campaign team or other staffers, but I think this still helps to emphasize the importance of social media in the overall strategy of politicians. Other stats that really jump out at me are based on the sheer volume of Tweets this year’s election has sparked. Barack Obama inspired over 52,000 tweets per second during the 2012 DNC–4 million tweets during his 39 minute speech. The first presidential debate even saw a quarter million mentions for “Big Bird.”

After you skim through the stats below, think about how social media has played a role in shaping your opinions. Would you be voting differently without social media?

Social Media Election

Created by: Open-Site.org


Surprise Prize Pack for Fallon Worldwide’s 10,000th Twitter Follower

Fallon Worldwide rewarded its 10,000th Twitter follower with a surprise prize pack of agency swag.
Fallon 10,000th Twitter prize package.

Fallon put together a rather nice package of swag for its 10,000th Twitter follower … me!

I’m a little slow on this one, but I definitely owe a big thank you to the great Minneapolis ad agency Fallon Worldwide. Out of pure luck, I became @wearefallon’s 10,000 Twitter follower on July 11, 2012 and I received a surprise @mention the next day announcing me as the winner of Fallon prize pack. The surprise is two-fold: 1.) Considering I have a PR & Advertising list on Twitter and I’m a big fan of their work, I was surprised to learn I wasn’t already following Fallon and 2.) I had no idea they were planning to reward their 10,000th follower. Here’s the surprise tweet:

Of course I sent in my address right way. However, I didn’t really know what the prize pack would include. I assumed it would be some pens and a note pad or something. Little did I know, I would have a box of high-quality goodies show up at my doorstep the day before my birthday.

The swag pack included a Lands’ End vest, an aluminum water bottle, ball point pen, journal, bracelet and rather nice coffee table book celebrating 25 years of Fallon’s work. But that’s not all, I even got a signed and framed picture of Pat Fallon to hang on my wall (which I did).

From a social media marketing standpoint, there’s a couple key takeaways here. First, the power of a surprise reward can be just as good as a full-fledged online contest. Sure, you might not get all the consumer information as you might with a sweepstakes (users’ email, mailing address, demographics, etc.), but if you do it right, it can still work for you. After Fallon announced its winner on Twitter, they also posted photos on Facebook and Google+ to get a little more traction. It also helps that Fallon’s 10,000th follower also happens to maintain a blog (I’m now writing about my experience). 

Another takeaway was Fallon’s decision to go big on the prize package. It would have been much easier and cost effective to send me the pen and note pad I was thinking. However, I don’t think I would have gotten too excited about that. By including a book, vest, framed photo and other swag worth around $100, I definitely felt obliged to brag about it on my social networks and, eventually, blog about it.

Again, I thank the good people at Fallon Worldwide for taking time to reward a random Twitter follower. I’m looking forward to wearing my vest this fall and The Work: 25 Years of Fallon compliments my favorite advertising book, Juicing the Orange rather nicely.


#Infographic: The Psychology of Social Networking Sites

Psychology of Social MediaAnother infographic has come through my inbox that is definitely worth sharing. The folks at PsychologyDegree.net have gathered some interesting studies regarding the psychology of spending time on social networking sites. The basic assertion is that users of social networking sites are essentially narcissistic in nature. Though I would disagree it is that black and white, the infographic below does point to some interesting stats and findings.

It may be hard to argue with a finding that 80 percent of social media posts are about the poster. However, I might argue the validity of such a broad finding. It would be interesting to see how various social media platforms vary in this area. Twitter, it would seem, would yield more posts about topics of the user’s interests, but not necessarily about the poster him/herself. If you were to take into account social bookmarking sites, posts about the actual user would be almost non existent. My guess is the study was done with Facebook as the primary subject. Maybe I’m being too critical.

The last section of the infographic states that “half of all users compare themselves to others when they view photos or status updates.” That’s just human nature I suppose. What do you think? Are we obsessed with social media or are we obsessed with ourselves?

Psychology of Social Networking

Top image via http://451heat.com.


10 steps to get the most out of Foursquare for your business

Foursquare check in decal

Foursquare is definitely one of the most underutilized social media platforms. Sure brands such as the History Channel and Starbucks are completely killing it on Foursquare, but the location-based app is fantastic for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses in particular have a great opportunity to gain exposure, reward patrons with deals and earn customer loyalty. Chances are, your business already has a spot on Foursquare. Wouldn’t it make sense to claim your venue so you have control of it?

There are plenty of articles about Foursquare success stories and you can skim through a few case studies on the app’s website. Probably the best reason to get your business on Foursquare is for the check-in specials–those are deals users can unlock after a certain number of check-ins or for becoming the ‘mayor.’ Check-in specials are only the beginning though. The following is a quick how-to on getting the most out of Foursquare–without spending any money.

Setting up a ‘personal’ account:
  1. Create a new account for your business. To make this happen, go to foursquare.com and download the free mobile app.
  2. Fill out profile completely. This includes a good profile photo/logo, location, phone number, Twitter handle, and your company’s bio (160 characters).
  3. Add people you know & people in the area.
  4. Create lists & add tips. This is why setting up a personal business profile is important. Maybe you’re a restaurant owner who also serves pizza by the slice at local sporting events … might as well add a tip to those venues for fans to grab a slice during intermission. As the social media manager at KVSC-FM, I created a list of “KVSC’s Favorite Eateries.” The restaurants on the list are all underwriters for the station and the tips include special discounts for members of KVSC (a public radio station). Being a college radio station, I also created a list of tips for venues around campus such as “If you’re walking through campus or driving around town, tune to KVSC 88.1FM for college radio awesomeness! You can listen on mobile devices too. Just go to http://www.kvsc.org/listen.php” and “Make sure you get to hockey games in time for the pre-game intro. It. Is. AWESOME! Read more.” What’s really great about adding tips and lists is that you can link to websites and you can easily check the stats (e.g. “10 people have done this tip”).
  5. Connect other apps, check privacy settings. Foursquare has a number of apps you can connect such as Foodspotting, Instagram and The Weather Channel. If your business is on Instagram for example, you can sync Foursquare to automatically check-in at a venue when you share a photo (by the way, if your business is on Instagram, go ahead an connect your Tumblr and Twitter accounts too). Since you’re a business and not an actual person, be sure to make your privacy settings as loose as possible–make it easy for customers to get in touch.
Setting up your business page:
  1. Create/claim your venue. Unfortunately, this can be quite a drag–taking up to a week or more. This is good though because Foursquare is doing its best to make sure only real venues get claimed by the rightful manager. To get started, head to foursquare.com and sign in using the business account you just created or your personal account–doesn’t matter which. Search for your business and look for the “Do you manage this business?” and hit the “Click here” button. After that, just follow the steps. You will need to verify using the phone number of the business.
  2. Fill out profile completely: Profile photo/logo, Address, phone number, Twitter handle, website, hours and keyword tags. Restaurants also have the ability to add menus and prices.
  3. Create a special. Now that you’re managing your venue, go ahead and create your first check-in special. Foursquare offers a variety of specials to attract new customers or reward existing customers. Choosing a special for users who check-in to the venue for their first time might be a great way to get started. You can create multiple campaigns and test which ones work best.
  4. Add employees and managers. If you’re a busy manager or owner of your business, it might be a good idea to delegate the responsibilities of general venue upkeep to another employee. Also, you can add employees to your venue so they can’t become the ‘mayor’ and reap the rewards that your actual customers should be getting.
  5. Promote. You should get a window cling from Foursquare when you secure your venue … put it somewhere visible. Create fliers, Tweet it, include it in your eNewsletter, put it on your business card, train your employees to tell customers about it, add links to your website and anything else you can think of. Just be sure to follow the Foursquare brand guidelines.
Further reading:

#Infographic: The Rise of Cyberbullying in the age of Technology

There’s been a lot of chatter about cyberbullying lately and this new infographic from onlinecollege.org has some amazing stats to provide insight to how technology is affecting youth. I’ll let the infographic do most of the talking, however there are a few stats worth noting.

With girls aged 14-17 sending nearly 3,000 tweets per month, there is bound to be some negative conversations now and then. Kids are now growing up in an increasingly interconnected world where using mobile technology and online social networks is commonplace. As many would agree, a problem with online communication is that people can hide behind a persona and ‘bully’ others from a distance. Indeed, 7.5 million Facebook users are under age 13 and 81 percent of today’s youth say bullying online is easier to get away with than in person.

Please take a look at the infographic below and consider the teens you know in your life, or maybe you are one:
Cyberbullying Infographic with Stats About Teen Internet Usage
Source: Accredited Online Colleges


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