Hashtag Roundup

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Hashtag Roundup

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Hashtags have become a common practice these days; people use them for all sorts of purposes. You find them in text messages, chats, songs and advertisements. But where did it all begin? Turns out a former Google developer and California techie named Chris Messina posted a message in 2007 to solicit advise on using the hashtag symbol, then known as the pound sign, as an idea for groups on social media. He was met with mixed reviews at the time but the trend took off. So much so that in June of 2014, the Oxford English Dictionary added the hashtag to their definitions.


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What are hashtags used for?

Hashtags are the card catalogue of social media. The metadata tag system connects your content with other people talking about the same things or looking for information about something. So, if you write an article about using Twitter for Business and use the #TwitterTips hashtag, more people will find your content.


Hashtag Tracking

When you’re thinking of hashtags, it’s beneficial to look at your audience and your competitors. Find the keywords and hashtags that are already associated with your brand and boost them. There are many tools to help you find keywords. A simple trick I have learned is to use the search feature in both Twitter and Instagram. Instagram actually provides a number count for how many people are looking for the specific keywords when you plug them in.

Hashtag usage and effectiveness varies by platform. They will enhance your engagement if used properly. Engagement includes clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies.

Let’s take a quick look at each platform and the use of hashtags.


Facebook

On Facebook hashtags are not as well received as on other platforms. Research has shown they actually lower engagement. So a good rule of thumb is less is more. 1-2 hashtags are best for Facebook. You don’t want to be perceived as a hashtag spammer. You can use the search tool on Facebook in the graph section to see what is trending.

Twitter & Instagram

On these platforms hashtags are readily received and can increase your reach significantly. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without. Some brands have seen a 50 percent increase with the use of hashtags according to HubSpot, a leading digital trend agency.

Instagram is ground zero for hashtag use. The platform has noted up to 30 hashtags used but 10 or 11 seem to get the highest interaction.


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Google+

This platform has gone the way of the less used social media portals but is still worth mentioning. Google+ is Google’s social network; hashtags were built right into Google searches. If you type in a hashtag search, you’ll get the normal search results plus a sidebar of relevant Google+ posts.

Pinterest

Brands use Pinterest to showcase products in a visual sense. For tagging you can only place tags in the description section. The tag use helps searcher to find categories of interest.


Rule of thumb: 1 – 3 tags are best over all platforms.

  • Twitter: to categorize
  • Pinterest: to brand, build like communities and be specific (tags are only clickable in pin descriptions)
  • Instagram: to build community, and be unique/detailed. Up to 30 hashtags can be used. For best results stick with 10+
  • Google+: to categorize; auto generates tags based on what it thinks your post is most relevant to
  • Facebook: sort of a hashtag free zone – if your audience is very business-minded, follow Twitter rules; if it is community-oriented, follow Pinterest/Instagram rules

Check out these resources

  1. Hashtagify.me

Hashtagify.me provides a cross referencing tool for data you can use to analyze hashtags. When you type in a hashtag, you see other hashtags and a display of how popular each hashtag. This also provides a glimpse into what key influencers are using.

  1. RiteTag

This site provides a visual organization of hashtags into colored bars showing quick analysis at-a-glance. This allows you to see what is overused or saturated and what words would be good to boost your posts.

  1. Tagboard

The results pages on Tagboard show hash tagged posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest.

  1. Twitalyzer

Twitalyzer helps you audit competitors and can tell you what hashtags they use most frequently. This can be really helpful in finding out how your niche’s influencers tweet.

  1. Tweepi.com

If you are looking for more twitter followers try this tool. Plug in your interests and industry key words and Tweepi can help identify followers and groups to grow your lists.


Summary Tips

  1. Plug in relevant keywords to your business and the audience you are trying to target. (If you are a local business, use the name of your Geo Address too).
  2. Keep it simple on most platforms, less is more when it comes to hashtags.
  3. Put your #hashtag in the end of the #sentence. That makes #reading the sentence #lessannoying.
  4. If your brand piggybacks on popular hashtags, you could increase your visibility and reach. They are great for tracking events and see what others are posting.
  5. Try some of the tools noted and see which the best is for you. Some offer free services and others provide price based packages.

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, writer, blogger and brand builder. For more information visit www.crossnm.com or jcross@crossm.com .

Source Information on trends referenced from Hubspot.

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A Quick Reference Guide to Making Marketing Planning Simple

People often underestimate the power of marketing. Think of it this way, would you take a road trip without a map? You need a well thought-out plan for your business to succeed.   I have written hundreds of marketing plans. When I ask my clients what’s stopping them, the # 1 response is, they are intimated by the process or don’t know where to begin.  Here is a simple outline I hope will take the pain out of marketing planning.  

Here are some basic down and dirty elements of a marketing plan:

If you are interested in discussing or developing a marketing plan contact Jodi Cross at CNMI. Jodi may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or visit www.crossnm.com for more great marketing ideas.  

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Today’s Leader

Think about the mentors and leaders you have encountered through-out your career. Does anyone stand out as exceptional or unforgettable? By unforgettable I mean someone who challenged you but didn’t really model strong leadership. We learn about how to be a good leader from people we admire. Conversely, we can also learn some important lessons on leadership from bosses we don’t admire.


My Career Path

My first boss was a middle-aged retired nun. She had left the convent got married and adopted two children. To say she was intimidating would be an understatement. During my first month on the job as a hotel sales manager in Miami, Joanne regularly worked through the night.

We would come into the office the next day and find her at her desk, wearing the same outfit she was in the day before, wrinkled and rumpled with her hair all askew. I recall one conversation with parents as I described her and expressed alarm that I may have selected the wrong career path. Her leadership style was less than inspiring to the team, she showed a lack of empathy and no regard for our feelings which had many of us doubting our decision to work in hospitality sales. Today, bosses aren’t quite as intimidating and the workplace is more collaborative. Many of the team members ended up becoming good associates and later friends with her. She did excel in the characteristics of drive, humility and integrity which we all came to appreciate and value.  As a result, we all learned about certain traits we absolutely didn’t want to emulate in our career path.


What characteristics and qualities make for a good leader?

Visionaries

Leaders shape the future with a clear vision. They embrace change and make it their mission to develop and nurture the organizations soul.

Leadership by example

Today’s leaders make things happen, they have the discipline to get things done. They turn strategy into action and accountability. True leaders are committed to others.

Value Human Capital

Leaders understand the importance of having the right skills and talent on board. They see associates as the most important asset in the organization. Leaders create an environment that attracts quality people and put programs in place which help develop, learn and grow this asset along the way. A collaborative work environment draws talented employees who grow vested in the organizations success.

Establish a stable and enriching work environment

Great leaders understand the requirements for long-term success. They listen and work within the paradigm of making an investment in developing competencies for the greater good which later yield sustainable and scalable results.

What leadership style best describes you?

There are many models which help describe the various leadership styles prominent in the workplace today. If you peruse the internet you will see countless articles and definitions circulating on the web. It boils down to five or six true styles.

One book I stumbled upon explained the various leadership styles fairly succinctly. The book is titled The Leadership Wheel by Clinton Sidle.Sidle categorizes the various types into five styles; Warrior, Teacher, Nurturer, Visionary and Sage. I would add a sixth style, let’s call it the Expert. Sidle covers what he calls the positive traits of each style and the shadow side which can create negative ramifications.


To break it down;

  • The Warrior leads by inspiring and risk taking but the shadow side can be controlling. The warrior is perfect during a crisis and can lead a company out of chaos.
  • The Teacher, focuses on doing things correctly. Teachers believe in sharing information and gathering data to find the best processes and systems. Teachers can often get bogged down at the expense of effectiveness.
  • The Nurturer, works on teambuilding and collaboration. They bring unity to the workplace and create bonded and cohesive work environments. On the shadow side they tend to avoid confrontation and can take criticism personally.
  • The Visionary uses their intuitive senses to combine both intellect and emotion to inspire and lead others. They are charismatic leaders with big personalities that infuse energy into any organization. However they can lose focus and fall short when it comes to details.
  • The Sage is an optimistic leader who is addicted to continuous growth and learning. They are great conceptual thinkers who can see both the path and the end zone. Tragically Sage’s can lose hope, be marred by the blues and withdraw from the mission if they see things as unchanging.
  • The Expert, combines both a high level of knowledge and a great degree of skill. This is a leader who is in the trenches and produces alongside his/her team. People tend to respect and value them for what they have accomplished. Sometimes this style of leadership falls victim to comparisons and moral shifts when no one can figure out how to duplicate the exceptional results on their own.

When you reflect on these styles you should note people generally have a natural style but can adapt their style as the situation demands.

For more interesting topics on business and leaderships contact Jodi Cross at jcross@crossnm.com or visit www.crossnm.com to learn more.  


Footnote:

1 C. Clinton Sidle, The Leadership Wheel; Five Steps for Achieving Individual and Organizational Greatness,” (Palgrave Mcmillan, 2005)


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Reputation Management

Today’s consumer is discriminating and demands excellent service. If your company doesn’t deliver on your brand promise, they will let the entire world know about it. So what do you do to manage a negative perception and boost your on-line reputation?

Root Cause- you must address the root cause of the problems. To get an understanding of what is going on behind the scenes, conduct a social media audit. Look at multiple platforms and review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Twitter and any other sites that impact your business. Review the comment and bucket or categorize them into common cause areas. This exercise will show you the pain points. Perhaps you have shipping complaints, cleanliness or quality issues or poor customer service comments. Next, prepare to address the various deficiencies with the appropriate division heads.

Leverage Staff Buy-in-once you have your bucket list complete, assemble your team. Run through the exercise showing the buckets and common complaints. Have an open conversation to determine if you need to adjust written standards, define if job tools are missing or set up new training protocols.  Create a plan that starts with stakeholder buy in and accountability. The end game is to deliver excellent quality. Once the stakeholder team has developed an actionable plan, take it to the staff in the form of a We Can Do It meeting. Then monitor results weekly and monthly for progress.

Ask your guest to write review. Now that you have presumably turned a corner, don’t be shy about asking for reviews. If you know a particular customer has had a great experience ask them to comment. Send, thank you e-mails with links to review sites for easy access.

Good Quality and Quantity. Build up your positive reviews and your popularity rating will improve.  Many of the sites work off an algorithm system for prioritizing. Remember, you’re only as good as your last review, so keep up the accountability on the back-end.

Senior Managers should respond to negative reviews.  Use the process to help identify ongoing customer issues and pain points. I know several managers who do an audit quarterly just to learn about operational deficiencies.

For a complete Social Media strategy and tactical marketing deployment suggestions contact; jcross@crossnm.com

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Planning Overtakes Procrastination


Planning Overtakes Procastination

By: Jodi Cross

Check Mate! I have declared war on procrastination! The piles have been building for months and my “to do” lists have a list of their own but nothing seems to get done. The key to ending the madness is planning.


Start by organizing your to-do lists and make priorities:

Make a list and write items down in categories

  • Breaking things into Personal or Professional action items

Prioritize 

Think of issues as:

  • Critical-these are things that must be done in an urgent time frame or their will be consequences.
  • Important-these items are action that must be taken but there are not   urgent consequence.

Layout tasks on your actual calendar

  • Schedule action items into small tasks.
  • Set deadlines and stick to them.

Avoid getting caught in the perfect trap 

  • Perfectionists can be the biggest procrastinators of all, it is part of their winning formula. Instead focus on progress.

Minimize Interruptions and distractions

  • Set a time to get projects done. Check your emails during certain windows during your day to avoid distractions.
  • Compartmentalize work flow and return calls later. Stays focused on projects and see them through. Once a task is completed check your email list and return your calls during set times throughout the day. This will make your time more productive.

Build in rewards

  • Think about big and small rewards you can give yourself if you finish a project.
  • Use positive, pleasurable outcomes to motivate you to complete a project.
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Top Considerations Driving Meetings Bookings

Past experience was the No. 1 factor (at 92%) when choosing a specific hotel within the broader market or destination – See more at: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/article/14277/5-considerations-driving-meetings-bookings#sthash.YhReQY5P.dpuf

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What’s In A Name?

 


Whether naming a person or a product the power of naming has been immortalized for centuries in the bible, through poetry and in rites of passage. Choosing the appropriate name is vitally important, nothing is used more than a name. Take my name for example, in Hebrew Jodi translates to bright, lively and social. Of course there was no way of knowing this when my parents named me but I would say my name does suit me. In some cultures they have a naming ceremony after a baby is born. Naming is taken so seriously in Senegal for example, that they wait a week to observe the baby’s characteristics, temperament and look at the shape of any birthmarks to determine the best name for the child.


Selecting a name plays a critical role in influencing buying decisions of products as well. A great name can enhance a company’s brand appeal, while a poor name can weaken an otherwise excellent brand. When it comes to names, brands only get one chance to make a good first impression. The name must capsulate the features and benefits of a product in a way that the consumers can relate to and understand.


At CNMI, when we develop a new name for our clients, we start with an idea generation session. As we go through our process we consider both internal and external criteria along with aspirational and symbolic qualities. 


External:

  • Ownership
  • Personality
  • Distinction
  • Reputation
  • Differentiation
  • Retention
  • Positioning
  • Share of mind

Internal:

  • Company self-awareness
  • Culture
  • Alignment
  • Cohesion
  • Individualization
  • Relationship
  • Bonding 

When determining a naming protocol, companies need to examine their target audience and key drivers, as well as how well the name resonates in tone and personality. Once this is done, consider how the name might be abbreviated and look at abstract uses. For example, Chevrolet employees are responsible for calling their vehicles Chevy. At first, management forbid the abbreviated but now it is consider a more modern way to describe their brand. People and companies spend thousands of dollars and multiple hours on the process of naming. Apparently Shakespeare was wrong when he wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” If a rose had been called a Monkshood instead, which means deadly foe, would we love it just the same?

For assistance with naming or marketing projects contact Jodi Cross at jcross@crossnm.com.


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