Believe in the Power of Hashtags

Believe in the Power of Hashtags

hashtag #icantbreatheWhat is a Hashtag, you ask?

Hashtags are simple. Born from the social network, Twitter, hashtags are simply a number symbol, #, placed before a word or phrase. As a way to easily curate topics and conversations, the hashtag can have incredible power.

On Thursday, hashtags united protesters from New York City to Seattle after another grand jury decision. Social media sites Twittter, Facebook and Tumblr, came alive with reactions to a New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the death of a black man. The case, quickly follows the Ferguson, Missouri case where a grand jury decided on November 24 not to indict a police officer in the death of a black teenager. Using the hashtags #ICantBreathe and #EricGarner, protesters around the country united in conversation and a group protest on the issue. Today, three days later, these hashtags were the still top two on the list of Twitter’s trending topics. Getting a community to gather around a hashtag can take some work, but in this case, these hashtags took on a life of their own and rallied folks across the country to join the protest, or at the very least, find out about it.

I agree with this statement from the article about the protests in the Wall St. Journal: “Hashtags have become a centerpiece of activism on social media, helping bring attention to major events while enabling protesters to direct large groups of people to specific demonstrations.

‘There’s no need for a group when you have a hashtag,’ said Stephanie Koithan, 28, who said she found out about the protests on Facebook. “There’s no one managing it. A hashtag takes a life of its own.'” Read the full article here.

[By JENNIFER SMITH and ANDREW TANGEL, Dec. 4, Social Media Help Fuel Protests After New York Officer Not Indicted Over Death of Eric Garner. Retrieved from]

Want to learn more about Twitter? Content Fresh offers a hands-on class to help you understand how to use the social network for simple social posts or as part of a public relations strategy. Send us a note if you are interested in a training class!


The Nonprofit Advantage

The Nonprofit Advantage


Pulling the Heart Strings

By Deborah York Geiger, APR

They don’t call them “heart strings” for nothing, and when it comes to Social Media, nonprofits have a significant advantage and I will tell you why.

Social Media is a tricky medium. It doesn’t always generate immediate actions that result in sales. The promotions that are successful take investment not only in Facebook advertising, but a significant investment in time, creativity and budget to create an artfully designed campaign. Some things never change. Just as in the past, the promotions that work, take forethought and planning.

Many businesses have become disappointed in their social media results. The big success stories have led them to believe that all they had to do was post and sales would come! People are finicky, though, when it comes to their social time, we have to make it interesting to have an impact. They will not seek out a company that is just pushing out ad messages, they simply won’t. We have to pull at the heart strings or elicit a powerful emotion to get their attention.

One of the best articles I have read on this topic is by Eric Jaffe. He sums it up like this:

“Recent research suggests that emotions hold the secret to viral web content. Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content.”

This where nonprofits have a significant advantage! My advice to nonprofits is to take your powerful stories, past and present, and package them in a digital manner. Make a powerful presentation with your quotes, success stories and images using free services like or . Build a photo collage or an infographic using free tools: or

Once you have the fresh content developed, announce it at a board meeting or your next public gathering. Provide it to your volunteers, staff and board members via e-mail or your social networks. Encourage everyone to tune in for the latest “sharable content.” Give them something ready to share with their own friends and followers. This strategy works best when repeated often!

Need help? I have a softspot in my heart for nonprofits, having spent eight years of my career working the heart strings. I would be happy to provide a free consultation.

Daphne resident brings fresh outlook to social media marketing

Daphne resident brings fresh outlook to social media marketing

TaylorStrunkWritesAbout The Author: 

Taylor Strunk is a freelance writer and editor. A native of Memphis, Tenn., she and her family now call Fairhope home. Taylor and her husband, Troy, have two children, Jackson and Ellie.

Deborah York GeigerDaphne resident brings fresh outlook to social media marketing

Last fall, as Deb Geiger was working full-time in marketing and meeting the daily demands of her young family, she decided to invest the extra time she did have into a service project that would ultimately change the course of her career.

Utilizing her creative energies and technological background, Geiger help lead the social media portion of the “Invest in Progress” political campaign for the penny sales tax on the 2012 November ballot.

“I realized through the success of social media in that campaign to influence voters, and then through the impressive swing of the votes, that there might be something to this,” Geiger said. Her feelings were confirmed when she received the Medallion Award from the Public Relations Council of Alabama for her work on the campaign.

“Receiving that award was such an honor, and it gave me the courage to take the next step and start my own business.” And that she did.

Content Fresh was launched as a full-time venture for Geiger in June, and since then she has not slowed down. “Businesses can really benefit from social media and attitudes can change, and I want to help show our local businesses how that can happen,” she said.

When Geiger graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in geography, little did she know she’d be helping others chart the course in social media years down the road.

Incidentally, Geiger’s first job was as a cartographer.

“I have always had a technology mindset,” Geiger said. “I helped the company take 3-D photos and digitize them into maps…and I absolutely hated it,” she laughed. “I liked the technology and I am so interested in traveling, but when it came down to it, but I didn’t enjoy such a technical job.”

Geiger said she started thinking about her passions of writing, working with people, and graphic design, and decided a career in PR was exactly what she needed. “I took a job with Goodwill Agencies in Colorado Springs, where I was hired as assistant to one of the best PR professionals in the country, and she taught me everything I needed to know.”

From Colorado Springs, Geiger landed a job with a language translation software company, working as part of a team that took an off-the-shelf product to online software. “I was actually the sixth person hired on, and Glenn [who would later become Geiger’s husband] was the seventh. That job was everything I always wanted: investor relations, marketing and technology.”

Geiger and her husband eventually made their way to New York but soon found themselves unemployed when the dot-com crashed. “We were in Manhattan with no jobs, and we thought, ‘Where do we go? What do we do next?’ So we moved to Mobile!” she laughed.

The rest, as they say, is history. The Geigers bought a house in Daphne, started a family, and even convinced their parents to follow them to the Eastern Shore in 2003.

“Ever since [our move], I have been trying to find job to match all of my interests. I have had a good experience along the way, but I know this is where I need to be,” Geiger said of her company. “Content Fresh is about the ability to quickly deliver a company’s important messages. You no longer have to wait months and months to develop an idea. We’re here to help create the message – through press releases, info-graphics and status updates, and then deliver that it via e-mail, the website or social media – instantly.”


Originally Published online at AL.COM:

Statewide Recognition Earned for Social Media Campaign

Statewide Recognition Earned for Social Media Campaign


More about this award from AL.COM

[July 17, 2013 – Foley, Alabama] The Baldwin County Education Coalition is pleased to announce that its board members and volunteers were recognized by the Public Relations Council of Alabama for their efforts in the 2012 Invest In Progress Campaign for Baldwin County Schools.

Baldwin County Education Coalition volunteers submitted two entries into the 2013 Medallion Award competition, of which there were a total of 48 entries representing organizations from across the state of Alabama. The entries were evaluated by a panel of judges from the North Florida PRSA chapter which was comprised of a variety of PR professionals, including several practitioners with national accreditation (APR).

The campaign efforts were awarded three honors including:


1) Medallion Award for Invest In Progress Overall Public Relations Program, led by Denise D’Oliveira and Mary Mullins.

2) Medallion Award for Invest In Progress Social Media Campaign, led by Deborah York Geiger

3) Best In

Show award for the Invest In Progress Overall Public Relations Program


“The independent panel of judges who awarded these projects noted the creativity and value of refining the core campaign messages to five simple themes and using simple e-mail postcards to easily share these messages throughout the social media network,” explains Terry Burkle, executive director of the Baldwin County Education Coalition. “The past work of the seven partner foundations that brought people all over the county together in one place for the “community conversations” was instrumental in allowing the task force to develop key messages that would strike a chord with voters.”
Members of the Invest In Progress Task Force included: Denise D’Oliveira, Mary Mullins, Dr. Alan Lee, Matthew McDonald, Meredith Foster, Sandra Bostrom, Sheren LeBlanc, Deborah York Geiger, Suellen Brazil, Terry Burkle, John Hudson, Lisa Way, Miranda Shrubbe, David Tarwater, Terry C. Wilhite, Tina Covington, Angie Swiger, Beth Dotson and Yolanda Johnson.

Invest In Progress 2012 Political Campaign for Penny Sales Tax

In 2012, the Baldwin County Public Schools went to the public to request an additional penny sales tax to help meet budget shortfalls. The item was placed on the ballot in November 2012 as part of the national presidential election. Volunteer efforts toward school improvement and funding are led by leaders in seven local education foundations representing towns and cities throughout the county.

Research included an extensive public engagement initiative (known as Yes We Can Baldwin) in which over 1,400 Baldwin County citizens met with foundation leaders in 85 different Community Conversations. The goal of seeking “adequate, stable funding” emerged as the public’s top priority.

The main objective of this public affairs program was to secure a minimum fifty-one percent (51%) margin of support for the renewal of a one-cent sales tax for the Baldwin County Public Schools (i.e., Baldwin County Amendment #2 on the November 6, 2012.

The social media aspect of the campaign became an important part of communicating the five core messages and specifically addressing contentious issues by publicly announcing common questions, concerns, and misconceptions with factual answers in short, shareable formats. The results of the campaign were astonishing. In all but one precinct, the voters responded with an overwhelming 63% in favor of the renewal of a one-cent sales tax for the Baldwin County Public Schools.


About the Public Relations Council of Alabama:

The Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA) is the state’s longest operating and largest group of public relations practitioners. The organization exists to further the professional and networking interests of today’s public relations and communication professionals in private, public and nonprofit businesses and organizations. Its annual awards program was held in April 2013. For more information on the awards presented, visit this link:

About the Baldwin County Education Coalition:

The Baldwin County Education Coalition is an independent, non-profit, nonpartisan organization of public school advocates. We work together for systemic improvements and through seven local education foundations that serve communities across Baldwin’s 1600+ square miles. Our strength is in the value we bring to our individual communities and our shared vision for creating world-class schools. For more information, visit

BELOW: The Baldwin County Education Coalition’€™s board members and volunteers were recognized by the Public Relations Council of Alabama recently for their efforts in the 2012 Invest In Progress Campaign for Baldwin County schools. Coalition members shown, front row, from left, are Deborah York Geiger, Denise D’Oliveira, Terry Burkle; middle row, Pete Pederson, Lolly Holk, Beth Dotson, John Hudson; and, back row, Baldwin County Public Schools Superintendent Alan Lee, Norm Moore, Tracy Dickerson, Karen Glover, Durk Johnson, Bob Higgins, Michelle Nelson, and Crysti Varden. (Photo courtesy Baldwin County Education Coalition)