Posts about Communications

Entry Level Cybersecurity Jobs Paying More than Entry Level Lawyers

While this headline might be salacious to some, it’s reality. By 2021 there will be a global shortage of cybersecurity professionals that is estimated to reach 3.5 million. This is significant in that cybercrime is also increasing and shows no sign of slowing down. As a result, if you graduate with a degree that you can leverage for a cybersecurity job, you will be paid as much or more than an entry level lawyer.

To discuss the global labour shortage, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Morgan of Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading researcher and publisher covering the global cyber economy — and a trusted source for cybersecurity facts, figures, and statistics. We had a great conversation and this blog is part one of a two-part series.

MacLean: Steve, thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. I know how passionate you are about sharing information so let’s get started. As we know, cybercrime is not going away, it’s only increasing.  What concerns you most about the global labour shortage?


Steve Morgan, Cybersecurity Ventures

Morgan: What troubles me most is unlike some specific cyber threats that we see, I don’t really see an answer or solution for the workforce shortage. Situationally we hear vendors speak to certain market sectors such as Artificial Intelligence and technology as the solution. Every vendor speaks to technology being the solution for the workforce shortage, but it is not helping. We are still behind the eight ball and it’s getting worse. People need to think differently for the solution.

MacLean: Your research shows that cybercrime is predicted to reach $6 trillion by 2021. How do we help get the message out that there are tremendous opportunities for people in this sector?

Morgan: Cybercrime is an epidemic that is getting larger and larger every year. Black hat hackers are getting better and they have no rules. The unemployment rate for cyber sits at zero percent right now. I think that some of the issues arise from people not being informed. Quite frankly schools are not informed. Raytheon did a study in the US that stated that two thirds of students have never been spoken to by a parent or a school about cybersecurity. This is concerning.

MacLean: Do you think this has a lot to do with people not understanding the issues and/or the fact that they may not be able to articulate the complexities of cybersecurity?

Morgan: Absolutely! When you go out to dinner with people and start talking about cybersecurity, you just lose them. They have a very, very general knowledge of computer science and what kids might be looking at jobs for graduation. In terms of cybersecurity however, they just don’t get it and they, themselves are at risk on their own media as they don’t realize just how at risk they are. In general the industry, media and others have not done a good job at articulating the issues.


MacLean: So, you raise an excellent point. We – as a collective in the industry – need to develop educational messages for the average consumer. We need to educate parents so they are better informed. Are parents the best point of contact?

Morgan: Parents aren’t the only point of contact, but they are an important one for young kids. They speak to their kids about what they are struggling with or what excites them. And most parents, not having the foundation of knowledge, would likely give their kids a blank stare if asked about careers in cybersecurity.

MacLean: Your website provides a wealth of information. It really is a wonderful resource for educators, marketers, journalists, etc. to use. Is there any issue with people sharing your content?

Morgan: Absolutely not. We want to educate the market. We make it easy to access the information and to share it. When quoting our research, Cybersecurity Ventures should also be cited as the source — and we recommend a hyperlink for the benefit of readers.

MacLean: What other ways can we reach kids?

Morgan: A few months ago I saw something that can really make a big difference and can reach moms – not that dads aren’t important – it’s just that moms spend more time with their kids. Palo Alto Networks signed an agreement with the Girl Scouts of America. It is a well thought out strategy that gets girls focused on cybersecurity.  This of course directly gets the girls thinking and learning about cybersecurity and the key is, it involves the mothers. This won’t work without the mothers being involved. I thought it was brilliant. We need to reach those kids in the US and really around the world. We need kids leaving the 11th and 12th grade thinking about this field.

There’s no doubt that we need to change the dialogue and provide more information so that we can overcome the global shortage of cybersecurity professionals.  This is not something that can be done in isolation. We must work together.

To learn more about how TaylorMade Solutions can help you collaborate, contact us today.

[Editor’s Note: a version of this blog previously appeared on the CyberNB Blog.

cybersecurity, cyber security

Four Reasons You Should Have Cybersecurity Insurance

Do you have insurance on your house? Of course you do. So, the question is why wouldn’t you protect your business – your source of income – the same way you protect your home? Cybersecurity insurance won’t stop a breach. It will, however, help raise awareness and cover damages, should you be attacked.

Small or medium-sized business owners should check out these four reasons to have cybersecurity insurance.


Data breaches and other cybersecurity issues such as ransom are not typically covered in general liability insurance policies. It’s essential to understand what is, and what is not, covered in your policy.


The damage caused by a data breach will exceed the cost required to overhaul security procedures or replace lost or stolen laptops. Many business owners and managers fail to consider the costs over and above replacing tangible assets.

For example, the financial impact on corporate reputation could be devastating. Reputation costs range; it could be a few thousand dollars to build new processes and policies to reassure customers it won’t happen again. On a larger scale, it can result in stock prices dropping significantly. In worse case scenarios, approximately 60% of small businesses will cease operations within six months of a breach according to the U.S. National Cybersecurity Alliance.

A final cost consideration is the penalties rendered as a result of a data breach. Canada, like most jurisdictions, continues to modify its privacy regulations. It is anticipated that sometime this year, regulations requiring notifications of data breaches will be implemented in Canada. Fines of up to $100,000.00 could be issued.


Business owners and managers often fail to understand this important nuance. Just because you outsource IT, have another party host your data or use the cloud, does not remove your responsibility to protect personal data. You have collected the data, therefore, by law you hold the responsibility to protect it.


Risk management teams are reserved for larger organizations. They have bigger budgets and access to more resources for their overall operations. They look for, and assess, all types of risks, not just cybersecurity or data risks.

Smaller businesses have neither the budget nor the ability to have full-time risk management teams. Insurance providers typically have checklists or a minimum set of standards to follow for coverage. This is very similar to home insurance. If your insurance company recommends a new roof for example, and you don’t comply, don’t expect coverage if you have a major leak.

Cyber insurance is continuing to evolve as cybersecurity issues emerge. The one thing for sure, however, is that cybersecurity insurance can help protect your operation, your employees’ source of income and your client’s data.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity communications? Contact us at TaylorMade Solutions .

This blog post was previously posted on the CyberNB blog.

An Interview With Cybersecurity Expert: Dr. Natalia Stakhanova

Cybersecurity risk management and mitigation is at the forefront of discussions in boardrooms globally. With an estimated annual burden of up to $1.7 trillion resulting from data loss and downtime (often from security violations), both the c-suite and shareholders have called on security experts to get out in front of the risk.

Researchers and research initiatives are the foundation for accomplishing this. At New Brunswick’s Information Security Centre of Excellence (ISCX), researchers like Dr. Natalia Stakhanova are leading the way with the support of funding, innovative partners, and an unparalleled focus. As one of the leading researchers in the field, Dr. Stakhanova was recognized in 2014 as the first NB Innovation Research Chair in Cybersecurity.


I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Stakhanova to talk about her work.

MacLean: You were named the first NB Innovation Research Chair in Cybersecurity, can you tell us about what you want to accomplish in this role?

Dr. Stakhanova: I continue to be very excited about this initiative. Over the next few years we will be facilitating the research that will foster innovation in the field of cybersecurity. An important component will be my team working very closely with local industry to promote further commercialization of products that will benefit companies around the world.

There is already a significant level of expertise right here in New Brunswick. We will be building upon our core expertise and further developing the skills and assets that we have right here. There is a great culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the people collaborating in this space right now. And the best part is seeing the actual results.

To generate a renewing pool of local talent, I’ll be mostly focused on building student knowledge, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit. I’m hoping that in this endeavor the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship (TME) will step in with its programs to give students necessary skills and tools to become entrepreneurs.   

MacLean: How will you be working with other New Brunswick companies, students, and people?

Dr. Stakhanova: A major part of my role is to assess the risks that the local industry has, and to provide the research with practical applications to mitigate those risks. My work facilitates research in both the private and public sectors. Several local players have already come on board and are ready to work in a collaborative environment to focus on such issues as Smart Grid to address security-related challenges. Among these players are IBM Canada, Sentrant, and NB Power. We are also working closely with several startups. I know that through the research there will be additional commercialization.

MacLean: How does New Brunswick stand in this field of research and innovation compared to other regions?

Dr. Stakhanova: There is no question that there is a lot of support in Canada for these R&D centres and we are well positioned here at UNB with other global areas. We have leading expertise, lots of researchers, and interested private sector companies. There is an excellent relationship between UNB and the private sector. This fosters collaboration, innovation and the drive to succeed.

MacLean: What do we have here in New Brunswick that positions us better than other areas?

Dr. Stakhanova: I can’t name any other province that has as many initiatives, activities and investments in play at one time to support the Information Technology (IT) industry. There is just so much innovation and research taking place right here in New Brunswick. We also have a unique solidarity of people here in the province. People want to be here. This is so rare and wonderful.

There are of course developers elsewhere, but the developers that are here have a unique connection to the province and its people. They are loyal and can’t be lured away in the same way that you see happening in other regions. This creates a wonderful stability.

MacLean: Do you see spin off companies emerging or other companies wanting to locate here in New Brunswick to take advantage of the work that you are doing?

Dr. Stakhanova: Absolutely. We are already seeing companies from outside the region that are quite interested in what we are doing. These are still early days, but we are hearing from a lot of people.

MacLean: What made you choose to come to New Brunswick and UNB?

Dr. Stakhanova: I moved to Fredericton in 2007 as a professional Fellow. I fell in love with the region immediately. It is one of the most family-friendly places I have ever encountered. There is also a personal touch at UNB. It is essential and critical when education is involved to be able to collaborate, have mentors and to have access to as many private sector companies as we do.

It is truly a unique experience to find a place to grow professionally, while also having everything you would want for your family.

Cybersecurity is one of the most important issues of our time. If you are a small or medium business, cybersecurity should be more top of mind. We can help you develop your Marketing and Communications strategy to handle communications around a breach. We can train you and your team to be media ready. Be Prepared! Be Trained! Have a TaylorMade Solution – Contact us today.

Editor’s Note: This is a post that I originally wrote for Invest NB’s Blog and has since be reposted to Opportunities NB’s Blog.

Personal Branding

New Year: Time to Audit Your Online Presence!

I always think that people should take a good long look at their online presence twice a year. For many people, however this is a lot of work. So, I really recommend that people audit their online presence at least in the New Year. It’s the perfect time to have new perspective. And now that we are a few weeks in, you are focused!

Some people might roll their eyes when I mention personal branding here, but that’s o.k. Whether people like it or not, they have a personal brand. Managing your online presence is an important component of owning and managing ‘your’ brand. A cornerstone in branding is ensuring consistency in all channels. That applies to your personal information. And, with cybercrime only on the increase, managing your information has never been more important.

Here are 5 things to help you do just that: (Not in order of importance)

social media

1. Take an Inventory

Over the course of a year, we end up signing up for a lot of different things. Sometimes it is email updates and other times it is for newer social apps such as SnapChat. If you haven’t been keeping track, it is time to start an inventory. Make use of either a spreadsheet or keep track in an application like Evernote. I wouldn’t recommend you keep your various passwords in anything but a very secure password keeper, however! Please forgo the spreadsheet OR Evernote for that.

When you have this comprehensive list you can review and determine if you have actually been leveraging all of these tools. If you haven’t, it might be time to opt-out or deactivate some.

Pros for doing this: By keeping an inventory, you know just where your information is and for what purpose. As roles change and careers progress, you may not want to have certain assets as you go forward. Additionally, you will ensure that your professional image is consistent across platforms.

Cons: This can be time consuming if you haven’t kept track and you may not find them all. There are of course apps that help you do this, but in my experience you have to “sign-up” for them as well and most are “not secure” sites. As a result, you could be further compromising yourself. So, while it is hard work up front, it pays off very quickly. 

2. Review your Avatars

When is the last time you updated your photo? Last year? Five years ago? Or, hopefully you don’t still have the “egg”. Regardless of what image you use, ask yourself, what professional imagine do you want to convey? What is your line of work? What message do you want to send? Your picture should reflect this.

Pros for doing this: Having an up-to-date and professional photo that portrays your profession, can only be a positive.

Cons: It does require keeping your photo up-to-date on all channels and if you use a lot of different social profiles, it can be timing consuming. However, this is another reason to edit out just how many you have.

3.  Contact Information

Have you changed companies? Perhaps you have consolidated some of your contact information? More and more people are doing this, but neglecting to update their social information to match your current information is less than desirable. The result? Outdated contact information for you. Again, think about what this says about your brand. If people are trying to contact you, this is not the best impression.

Pros for doing this: Keeping updated information, contact information in particular, means that you are reachable. If you are in business for yourself or in sales, having the “right” contact information is critical.

Cons: I really can’t think of any.

4. Automation

Despite being 2017, people still revert back to tactics of the 90’s or even the 2000’s. What do I mean by this? Well, for some we believe that we should only broadcast information. There is no social interaction with those whom we are connecting with. This is not the purpose or intention of social media. So, for those who focus on having automated social messages, such as on Twitter thanking people or telling them to connect on Facebook or LinkedIn, please rethink that. This is not a numbers game. In business you NEED interaction and specifically ACTION! Numbers alone don’t create action. Relationships create action. So, communicating and interacting with the people who follow you  and you follow, matters. In fact, it matters a lot!

Pros for doing this: Far too many people focus on numbers versus relationships. Creating relationships will set you apart from others. Dump the automation and focus on relationships.

Cons: I am not going to beat around the bush here. Doing this properly takes planning and orchid.

5. Security

This is probably the most important rethink for your social media. What information are you sharing? It’s important to remember that there is a fine line between sharing professional information and sharing information that can compromise your personal/online security.

Sharing birthdays and martial status on sites such as LinkedIn is not necessary and I would recommend that you just don’t do it. Think about each channel you are on. What is really relevant and right for your brand. Just because there is a ‘placeholder’ for something doesn’t mean you need to use it.

Passwords are also extremely important. Of course there is the debate about how often you should change your password. My rule of thumb for passwords is to change them on sites when I learn of a compromise. I also recommend having a longer and more complicated password with special characters and numbers.

Of course these are some of my top hits. I will explore others in a later post.

Want to learn more about social media audits, an integrated marketing strategy? Be Trained! Be Prepared! Have a TaylorMade Solution!

4 Things Professionals Don’t Do on LinkedIn

It’s official! I have been on LinkedIn for more than 10 years now. Over that time I have worked with a lot of individuals and companies —more than I can remember really —to help them with their social media and their overall marketing strategies.LinkedIn

Unfortunately there are still some basic things that should be avoided that many people still insist on doing when using LinkedIn. These things can really affect their credibility quite frankly. The good news is, there are some very simple fixes and I have listed several below:

Unprofessional photos – Of all the places that you want to look professional, LinkedIn is it. This is “the” professional network. Your photo should reflect what your profession is, or what you want it to be. Take the time to get a professional photo.

To help, remember to keep things simple. If in doubt, wear clothing that is simple. No patterns or bold colours. It’s not that colour isn’t good. It is. In my current profile pic, I am actually wearing orange. However, not everyone feels comfortable with that choice. Keep make-up and hair clean and simple too.

2.  Avoid Writing in Third Person – For the life of me I can’t imagine why someone would think that it is a good idea to write about yourself in the third person. It sounds odd and out of touch.

3. Make use of showcasing “YOUR” publications – This is a great feature…”IF” you actually have written and published material.

Make no mistake about it, this section is to showcase your writing. Never, ever use this section to repost blogs or works written by other people.

Also, this is not the section to showcase media interviews that you have done with reporters. I have recently seen a few profiles where people put links to interviews and list themselves as well as the reporters as the authors. They aren’t authors. They are interview subjects. This is both confusing and misleading. It also suggests that people don’t understand what being an author is.

4. Avoid listing your martial status – This one people might not agree with me, but I don’t feel that this is appropriate for a professional networking site. It is not a dating site. So, skip it.

There are many other tips for your LinkedIn profile to make you shine, but these are four very easy quick hits.

Want to learn more about LinkedIn? Check out my other blog posts on the topic, or reach out to me for a consultation.

5 Things I Learned from Teaching University Students

As another term starts, I can’t help but reflect on the last term. When I started teaching I was fairly confident that I would enjoy it.  And, I do – very much in fact. Last term was particularly enjoyable. In part it was because of the subject matter and also in part because I was more in tune with the process. It also helped that I had a number of students who were in my class last term. It’s always nice to see a familiar face or faces.

Learning, STU, Students

COPP 3023 Ethics Class (Thanks to everyone!)

My goal of course is to share my experience and knowledge from my 20+ years of marketing and communications. When doing my first and even second Undergrad degrees I always craved and loved when Professors were able to share their real-life experiences versus just discussing what was in text book. Learning however, is a lifelong endeavour and while I hope that my students learn very useful information from the courses I teach, I also learn from my students. Here are *5 things that I learned from teaching University Students.

5. Passion Starts Early

I had the pleasure of getting to know many, many fantastic students who were filled with passion. Whether it was learning something new or sharing information about what was learned during the day or in another class or event, nearly every person in my Ethics class was extremely passionate about his or her learning and beliefs. It made for great conversation; and great conversations get you thinking. When you think, you challenge your own beliefs. When you challenge your own beliefs you learn. The best part? You don’t have to be in a classroom to do this. Anyone can do this as long as you are open and willing to have a conversation without judgement.

In reviewing the final exams, I can’t say how rewarding it was to read about students who have done just this. They have learned. Perhaps most rewarding is reading statements made by mature students who discuss how much they learned and the tools that they can now leverage in the careers. You can’t get much better than that.

4. Silly Jokes are a Necessity for Filling Wait Times

I absolutely loved that when we needed to fill time when students were setting up for presentations, that students were willing to fill the void with silly jokes that made the entire class laugh. It was both funny and enjoyable. To me it was a demonstration of a group of students who were respectful and caring. People listened and laughed together.

3. Respect is Alive and Well

I don’t have many rules for class, aside from the regular ones like come to class, be prepared and participate. I do believe strongly in being respectful to all. That means when a person is speaking, whether it is me or a student, we respect that person and listen: one conversation at a time.

I would have to say that overall this was one of the most respectful classes with people doing just that: “listening.” Additionally, people were very respectful with asking questions and participating in discussions with other students. This shows how mature these students are and it truly lends to a great learning environment.

2. People Crave Real Experience

I already knew this, but this class really reinforced this concept for me. Learning about theory has its place, but learning about theory and understanding how it fits into the work environment and why it is important makes learning much more relevant. The more we talked about real events and issues the more the students engaged. The more they engaged and wanted to know, the more I wanted to share with them.

1. Age Has Nothing to Do with Anything

One of the things that really stood out for me was the diversity of my class this term. It was wonderful to have a good mix of Canadian and international students. It was also rewarding to see a fantastic mix of younger and mature students. Each group brought such unique experiences and learnings to the class. I could see numerous examples where the younger students learned from the mature students and I could also see numerous examples of the mature students learning from the younger students. This is perhaps the perfect mix which results in learning happening in numerous ways. Learning is lifelong and being able to learn from people of all ages and backgrounds makes for a very rewarding experience for all involved.

These are just 5 things that I learned from my students last term. They are the ones that really stand out for me. Of course there are more. In the end, I want to learn too and I believe that this adds to what I can bring to my class next term and other terms in the future. I am thankful to all the students in this class that just wrapped up. They inspired me to continue to develop my classes so that all students get the most out of the class.

*For my students reading this and wondering why I used “5” and not “five” as I taught them was the right grammatical way to use numbers, this is an exception for the purposes of blog writing. I know it is not actually the right thing to do :).

Want to learn more about me? Check out my company website.

4 Ridiculously Simple Tips to Improve Your Email Communications

Whether you get too much or not enough of it, each email that we receive and subsequently send, has a lot going on it in. More than just words, our email contains emotion: surprise, joy, happiness, hidden angst and sometimes even anger.

Sometimes our email contains emotion that we don’t even intend. You know the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” right? Well, with email, emotion, tone and interpretation falls squarely to the perception of the receiver. You may intend one thing, but quite another is perceived. And that is exactly why I wanted to share 4 ridiculously simple tips to improve your email communications.Email Tips

Just yesterday I received and email from someone I don’t know from Eve. Since I don’t know this person I can’t imagine that her intentions were to evoke the emotion that she did. I interpreted the email as curt and rude. I decided to pause and reflect before responding. I also asked another person, whom I knew was her acquaintance, about how he would describe her email style. I am really glad that I did pause and reflect. Doing so lead me to ask the person the question I did. As it turns out, she is nothing like what her email made her appear.  She is actually very lovely and sweet. When we spoken in person, I liked her immediately. After a good chat, the topic of her email style came up and she actually acknowledged that email is not her forte and asked if I had any tips. I gave her the following tips: (I also asked if she would mind if I did this blog post, without mentioning her name of course. She smiled and said go for it!)

1.  Say “Hi”, “Hello”…..

This might seem obvious for many, and unnecessary to others. However, starting an email without saying something like “Hi Heather,” and just jumping into the actual message, could potentially come across as curt.  I am guilty of this myself. I admit it.  I tend to do it however with people whom I know really, really, really well.  I also tend to do this when we are having a back and forth. I don’t do this when emailing a person I don’t know and it is our time corresponding.

In business however, I think that it is imperative to always start your email with a formal hello. This immediately sets the tone of your communication and you are showing a level of respect and etiquette. And yes, etiquette still matters in business communications.

Finally, while a personalized email does not mean that it is not a part of a mass email (or spam), you do increase the chances of someone actually reading your email when it is personalized.

2. Understand Protocols for Addressing People

If you really want to impress someone, address the email properly at the get go. For example, if you are trying to sell me something, you will likely fail if you start out with “Dear Sir.” I should add that I have received email  with such salutations from very reputable companies.

Even though we have moved to more informal communications as a result of social media, there are still situations when you should formally address an email. For example, if you are communicating with a member of the C-suite, a academic or medical doctor, clergy, etc. you should carefully consider how you address the email. You might not want to go as far as Dear Sir or Dear Madam, but you might like to think about using Dr. or Reverend, etc. in the appropriate cases.

Remember this is not about being stuffy or rigid, but rather about setting the tone and building relationships. As noted above, I have not been impressed when I receive email inaccurately addressed to me. If the goal is to sell me a service or a product and the sender cannot take the time to properly address the email, then what kind of customer service will there be after the fact? The tone has been set by that very first email.

 3.  Words Matter

In many ways email has become far too relaxed. We type them up and send them off with little thought or consideration. That is often where we get into trouble. If you have a really good relationship with someone you can often get away with a quick email. However, with people you don’t know, subordinates and peers, and managers, it is important to take your time with your email and consider your words and the potential tone that they create. Remember to pause and reflect.

4.  Remember to Thank People or Sign Off

Again it comes down to to how people feel after reading your email. Saying “thanks” or “thank you” at the end of the email is not over the top. Of course there are other options too. Just make it human and respectful. After all, there is another human being on the other end of that computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.

Email doesn’t need to be boring or complicated, but you should think about your email as it is an important communication tool that is not going away. In fact, a recent survey by Forrester finds that 73% of Marketers indicated that email continues to be effective to generate leads. So, creating thoughtful and creative email is another step closer to reaching your goals, whether they be sales, communications and/or employee or customer engagement.

For more tips, check out our website and blog and follow me on Twitter.


How to use Hashtags Like a Pro

Do hashtags confuse you?  Do you wonder why people use them?  Are you not really that sure when you should use them?  Well, you are not alone.  I recently presented to a group of really, really smart people and one finally asked the question they were all wondering:  “how do you actually use hashtags?” Nearly every person in the room was nodding in agreement and had that can you tell us look.  So, here are my tips to use hashtags like a pro.

My Definition:  A hashtag is denoted by the “#” in front of a word.  For example, #photooftheday.  Marketers use it to track and  leverage a trending campaign.  The best case scenario is for a marketer to use a hashtag and create a trending campaign.  The average joe can use it to follow conversations, conferences, trends, industries, authors, and on and on.  You can see any conversations taking place on a subject even if not following the people having the conversations.  It is a great tool!

Using Hashtags Like a pro,,

1. Do Your Homework

If you want to create a hashtag, because anyone can, do some research first.  Use the search function in Twitter to see if it is already used.  If it is, check to see if it is for the same purpose you intended.  For example, if you want to use a hashtag for the information and communications technology, affectionately known as ICT, low and behold someone beat you to it: #ICT.  So, you can use it.

Now, if you are having a conference and it is very specific, chances are you could be the first one to use a hashtag.  For example, just for fun I searched #conferenceofme.  I would have been surprised to see one already in use for that particular item, and I was correct.  So, if you want to use it, go for it.

2.  Don’t Hijack a Hashtag

This should be a logical next step after reading the preceding item.  If for example I started using #conferenceofme for a specific reason, say speaking engagements that I do, then it is kinda for people doing speaking engagements.  So, for you to come along and start using it for the conference of medical examiners for example, would a social media faux pas.

3.  Carefully think about Your Hashtag

Whatever you do, write it out.  Read it.  Say it out loud.  Get another set of eyes.  The last thing you want is to have a hashtag that is inappropriate or embarrassing.  You might not even see it.  After all it sounded right at the time.  However, testing it this way will help your potentially avoid looking silly.

4.  Don’t go Overboard Using Hashtags

One hashtag is great.  Two is fine.  Three is just about the limit.  Any more than three and you have likely gone overboard.

5. Overly Long Hashtags

With Twitter in particular, we don’t have a lot of space.  We have had to learn the art of being brief and concise.  If you want people to use your hashtag, don’t make it overly long. Keep it simple:  #simple.

6.  Don’t forget Capital Letters

Something that is super helpful for readers is using capital letters in your hashtags.  You often see only lower case letters, but there is nothing stopping you from #ShakingItUp.

7.  Share It

So, you have created a hashtag for this super awesome topic or event, now what?  Share it.  Use it in your Tweets, on Facebook, LinkedIn and all other channels that you use.  If you are advertising an event, product, etc. in print or online, don’t forget to include the hashtag.  At a news conference or industry conference, get your emcee to share the hashtag with everyone.  

There you have it!  7 simple tips to use hashtags like a pro!  Have a few other favs that you would like to add?  Feel free to share.  It’s all about the sharing.

Looking for more information on Tweeting?  Check out How to Live Tweet like a Rockstar.

Like my post?  Feel free to follow the blog and me on Twitter:  @MacLeanHeather

How to be a Rockstar When Live Tweeting

Live Tweeting while at an event can be a great tactic for a brand and doing it like a rockstar not only fosters engagement, it can drive traffic back to your site and ultimately add to your sales funnel.  So, what are the best practices when it comes to live Tweeting?  Check out these 10 tips:

How to be a Rockstar When Live Tweeting.,

Image courtesy of

1.  Establish A Plan

This is particularly important if you are live Tweeting on behalf of a brand.  You need to ensure that you have all your ducks in a row, or at least be prepared for all scenarios.  For your plan to cover all of the bases, be sure to think about all of the following tips.

If you are Tweeting on your own, you still need to put some thought into how, what and when.  The following points will also help you to do this well.

2. Have Your Playbook Updated and Ready to Go

This mostly applies to brands, but an individual could have his or her own playbook.  In any event, make sure that you know what to do in the event of trolls, hashtag hijacking, etc.  Be sure you know your workflow, who needs to be involved in any escalation and more.  While 99% of the time you won’t need this level of detail, being over prepared for such events is always worth the effort.  It also serves as a refresher for those listening and engaging on behalf of the brand.

3. Be Sure to Listen as Well as Engaging

This might seem obvious and would hopefully be addressed in your playbook, but for brands in particular you want to ensure that you have enough resources to not only be live Tweeting, but also to be listening.  Have one person focused on responding on behalf of the brand and let the other focus on live Tweeting.

4. Use the Right Hashtag

For a brand, you want to establish your own hashtag.  However, you should think it through carefully. Make sure that you don’t select a hashtag that when combined is offensive, embarrassing, or already in use by someone else. (See image above…I am sure that Susan wasn’t thrilled with this hashtag.)  Also be prepared that you could have other people hijack your fantastic hashtag for their event at some point.  It can and does happen.  Also share, share and share your event hashtag.  Make it easy for people.

As an individual this can be equally important.  Believe me it can be quite lonely Tweeting if you are using the wrong hashtag.  Do some research first and/or ask the event organizers what their hashtag is if they don’t have it on their website or in their collateral.

5.  Give Your Audience A Heads Up

Your followers will always appreciate the heads up when you will be Tweeting more than normal.  This applies to both brand handles as well as personal handles.

If your brand is live Tweeting and you want your followers to participate, be sure to let them know what the proper hashtag is and when you will commence live Tweeting.

6. Schedule Tweets

While this works really well for a brand, it can be quite useful for an individual to schedule some Tweets in advance too.  There may be specific points or pieces of information that you want to get out there.  Prescheduling can be great for this.  This also works well if you are Tweeting in more than one language.

7.  Remember Your Goals

As a part of the overall plan, brands should have goals and objectives of what you want to achieve through live Tweeting.  Is it to inform your customers, increase your network, drive more traffic to your website.  Make sure it is clear and understood by all parties.

As an individual you should also have goals.  Don’t just Tweet for the sake of Tweeting.  Be thoughtful and add value.

8.  Don’t Forget Photos

People love photos!  So, be sure to include a good variety of quality photos in your live Tweets. You don’t need to do it for every Tweet, but maybe try a 50:50 mix of text:text & photo.  For quality photos look at composition, lighting and the number of people in the picture.  

9.  Maintain Your Voice

Remember what your brand voice is.  This is not so important for an individual, but do remember to avoid becoming a robot.  Have fun with your live Tweeting.  Others enjoy that and are more likely to share your Tweets.

10.  Ignore Trolls and Hackers

While this can be hard to do at times, giving them an audience is exactly what they want.

Like this post?  Feel free to follow my blog and connect with me on Twitter: @MacLeanHeather

The Sunday Brief (May 11, 2014)

Welcome to this week’s Sunday Brief.  The Sunday Brief is intended to share with you a few of my top picks from the previous week.  As I always say, sit back and relax with your favourite cup of Joe and enjoy! (If you have a fav that is not on the list, be sure to let me know). The Sunday Brief

1.Top Pick of the Week:  Over 100 B2B Content Marketing Statistics for 2014

Thanks to Lee Odden (@leeodden) for this one.  He has not only reminded us of the fantastic report done by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, but he provided highlights. You get a good overview of what is working for most marketers and what isn’t.

This is an awesome read and I highly recommend it.

2. Most presentations aren’t bullet proof by Seth Godin

This is an interesting and quick read. Seth points out that we really abuse bullet points and quite frankly don’t know how to use them properly.  He has a point.  Pun in intended!

3.  Bring Back Our Girls by 

This one is definitely not like the others in this list, but it is in part inspired by this being Mothers’ Day.  I find it unconscionable the actions of these men.  I find it difficult to believe that in 2014 we continue to have these conversations.  The absolute worst however, is that these actions continue to happen.  I have written about women’s rights a few times and while I don’t consider myself a feminist – I also abhor labels – I cannot, as a human being, ignore inhuman actions.

Regardless of your age, sex, race or religion, human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and equality.  Ignorance and hatred never result in positive results.

Thank you for taking the time for reading The Sunday Brief, if you have comments or suggestions for other great posts from the past week, do comment!

(For more Marketing and Communications, visit us at TaylorMade Solutions.)