This is why you need to always research hashtags before using them in any kind of campaign.


If the idea of networking makes you nauseous, you’re not alone—and science backs up your disgust.

According to research out of the University of Toronto, professional networking feels icky for good reason. Relationships formed based on a career need, rather than for sincere friendship, trigger our moral disgust—linked, in turn, to physical feelings of uncleanliness. The researchers theorized that this visceral reaction makes us network less frequently, and less effectively.

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I’ve been noticing an uptick in “marketed” InMail coming into my LinkedIn inbox. Some are from companies looking to get someone in my demographic interested in a new product or conference that they are promoting, others are recruiters blasting out a form letter about a job that I may or may not be qualified for, based on keywords in my profile.

The increase in using InMail for targeted outreach is no surprise, given that LinkedIn provides a wealth of access to people that you want your content to be in front of. However, as with any kind of content marketing campaign you cannot simply rely on basic keyword affiliation - you need to understand the breakdown of your target audience.



These are the people you want to reach out to first and foremost - the ones who have the networking capabilities on LinkedIn to not just read/register/respond to your outreach, but to also share with their relevant network.

The days of just spamming inboxes that match a short-keyword list are gone. Do your due diligence, find out whether or not the people on your send list actually make sense to send to before you hit, well, send.

Common Ground

One of my favorite outreach messages came from someone who actually did their research on me and signed their InMail with a quote from Tolkien. Now, anyone with access to Google and who knows my name will be able to see that my Twitter handle is Tolkien-inspired and can make the correct assumption that I am indeed a fan of the writer. Taking the time to make that connection meant that regardless of whatever was being sold to me, I was at a minimum going to respond. Why? Because I have a point of commonality with this sales person/recruiter - they stick out in my mind. 

Finally, write well.

While emails are not necessarily the platform for literary works of wonder, you still want to make sure what you’re sending is engaging. Keep it short. Keep it to the point. USE SPELLCHECK. And make sure that your call-to-action or request is up front and center. 

And that’s all I got to say about InMail. For now.


If you’re like most Americans, you suffer from the physical, emotional, and mental epidemic that the scientific community calls “sitting disease.”

But unlike many other illnesses that require a team of doctors, the cure is in our own hands—or feet, rather—and all we have to do is take a walk.

Last week we challenged readers, and ourselves, to restore some energy, focus, and creativity by taking either a 20-minute lunchtime walk or two 15-minute mid-morning and mid-afternoon walks each day.

Here’s what happened when we put this advice to the test.

Something to keep in mind when you work in digital.


"Last Week Tonight" host deflates a bit of the buzz surrounding sponsored content. 

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This is definitely one of the more cogent arguments out there for keeping business out of news (unless it’s business news, I guess).


My friends and I were watching the final match of the 2014 World Cup and, being marketers and advertising professionals, paid specific attention to the adverts and promotions that were sprinkled throughout the final. We then got to talking about the various advertising campaigns that major CPGs created for the world cup, the biggest being the sports accessory brands and your McDonald’s and Coke’s of the world. 

While we were watching the game on ABC (and other games throughout the tournament on other “US” channels), one thing was glaringly obvious: the lack of promotion for Major League Soccer (MLS) throughout the tournament. 

A recent article in AdWeek, where they spoke with the CMO of the MLS. discussed using the momentum of the World Cup to pull US soccer fans towards the MLS with an after-the-fact campaign that launched the weekend of the World Cup final. 

Yep. While the World Cup was coming to a close.

When I think about how I engage with the beautiful game, it’s not through sponsorship marketing. Or even via individual players that I like because of the way they wear their shorts. It’s about the stories, the history, the rich rivalries, the underdog triumphing over the monied clubs - the idea that anyone can make it to the “big leagues”. Sound familiar, yes? Now, I don’t know much about sports, but I do know that to get people engaged with a sport or a team, you need to have that personal connection.

And the MLS failed to capitalize during the World Cup in engaging with a rather rabid fan base. 

Instead of talking about technologically advanced stadiums and a vague campaign about being "Here" to stay, why not think about focusing on how teams like the ones in Portland, Seattle and Kansas City came to have such strong followings. Followings that probably came about by:

  • Building a following from the ground up within the community and engaging the youth (and their parents)
  • Communicating effectively and regularly with their fans
  • Capitalizing on homegrown talent (versus international players looking to spend their golden years in the MLS)

Telling these kinds of stories leading up to and during the tournament should have been part of a campaign to promote the MLS. Stories about players beginnings, stories about local team fans, stories about the underdog making it to the big time.

There was precious little storytelling at all represented about the MLS, and very little mention about the league itself during the games. Except, perhaps, by commentators telling us about an MLS match coming up later that day. But why should I care to watch it?

Playing up the MLS during the world cup would hammer home the association it has with the global landscape. It could have provided a platform to link the stories of futbol greats to the stories of players on the teams currently within the league, not to mention promotion of the games themselves.

Bottom line - there was no campaign for the MLS either before or during the World Cup, and that’s really a shame.

At first I thought it was a fluke, but then I realized that it was a trend in breakfast food advertising.

Namely, cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Krave and toaster pastries like Pop Tarts were being portrayed in a violent and, frankly, sinister manner.

Pop Tarts were being hunted by the people who would eat them. Unsuspecting dupes, meandering along their fruit-filling filled lives, conned into a terrifying end of consumption. Krave cereal pieces stalk their chocolate prey in a sinister manner, sometimes with poorly doffed disguises, before launching in a vicious attack. Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares practice cannibalism. They “crave those crazy squares” as the voice over in the commercial tells us. And who hasn’t come across the BBQ sign where the pig, with a big ol’ grin, invites us to come inside and try some of its succulence. 

The more I dug into my need to understand this trend, I found that anthropomorphism of food in advertising is actually not new. In fact, In Japan the kyara characters that adorn foodstuffs are the norm and ubiquitous to society and have been part of food advertising for years. In a recent dissertation from the London School of Economic’s Department of Media and Communications, it is noted that “beneath the humour and visual appeal of anthropomorphic advertising, there exist discourses that relate to dominant ideologies.” 

Anthropomorphism in advertising allows for a softer sell of a message - it’s cartoon-y and friendly (and sometimes creepy, but what modern cartoon isn’t these days) - makes it easier to ignore any potential negative associations with the brand. Not to mention, it cuts across cultures and countries - a symbol is a lot easier to translate than an actual human being or even language. 

As people tend to look less at words and more at images as the primary delivery-system for messages, it stands to reason that anthropomorphism in advertising and communications will become more and more prevalent. Cannibalistic or not.

And the same goes for personal posts as well - all my Thanksgiving meal pics got a lot more attention than my “what am I giving thanks for” copy-only post. 


7 Powerful Facebook Statistics You Should Know About

1. Photo posts get 39% more interaction

Not only do photo posts get more engagement than links, videos or text-based updates, they actually account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. And as we’ve mentioned before, self-explanatory photos seem to perform best.


If Instagram were to add a print button, allowing its massive community of shutterbugs to order physical copies of their photos right from the app, how much revenue could that drive? According to CanvasPop cofounder Adrian Salamunovic, a conservative estimate would peg that number at around $720 million annually.


Today I had the opportunity to participate in a Powered by Pro-Bono seminar/workshop - the first of it’s kind and a different way for people interested in sharing their skill set and experience to organizations that need them. I came in as a pro-bono consultant, ready to provide in-depth knowledge to non-profits with little to no marketing staff on how to pitch a pro-bono project.

The workshop was held at a sponsor’s HQ, and one of the things I noticed immediately were the suggestions for the participants to engage on social media, namely Twitter, about the event. Post a tweet or a comment or something, with a #hashtag that did not necessarily link back to the pro-bono organizers message, but rather the hosts. 

It was a little confusing. 

Naturally, I went and tweeted away (earning myself a Top Tweet no less) and kept tabs on the conversation to see if anyone else was joining in. It was pretty much crickets.

There was a missed opportunity here, I think, to engage digitally on what was being discussed in person. I’m not being critical, but I do think that some critical thinking should take place before including a hashtag at a conference or seminar.

  • Set goals - know what your purpose is before setting a hashtag to your event. Are you trying to increase interest in future events? Are you trying to raise visibility about the event’s topics? Are you trying to engage people who could not make it, but could provide valuable feedback or conversation?
  • Promote - try and get that hashtag out there! Providing this information to attendees prior to the event and encouraging them to use the hashtag can lead to good buzz about the conference even before it starts. Not to mention, it makes the presence of the hashtag and social more relevant when presented at the event.
  • Reiterate and engage - say you’ve already shared the one or more hashtags before your conference, seminar, workshop, etc. - simply posting it on a slide or putting it on a table top display won’t cut the mustard. Remind attendees throughout the event that they have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas about the content of the event with more than just those around them. One way to keep attendees engaged is by providing an incentive to encourage them to tweet - whether it’s a prize for the top tweeters at the event or even showcasing the most innovative or relevant tweet at the event. A little incentive can go a long way.
  • Tell the story - a great way to curate and showcase content from a live event when incorporating a hashtag is via Storify, not only does it promote those Tweeting, but it preserves the conversation in its entirety and is a great way to supplement the content of an event.

Bringing digital to in-person social events is just one more way to bring important content and conversations to a wider audience. Especially when the audience can really benefit from integrating social into their conversations.

If you want to share your thoughts, feedback or just want to comment - please do!