Hashtags and Ham Sandwich Marketing

ham sandwich marketingAs I was reading every possible book and resource on blogging, I came across the great title: No One Cares What You Had For Your Lunch: 100 Ideas for your blog. It turned out to be one of the most important marketing lessons, about blogging, micro-blogging (Twitter), social networking (Facebook), and business networking (LinkedIn).

Now, we add the posting of nonsense hashtags to Twitter and Facebook to a long list of pointless activities. And not just nonsense hashtags, but many, on a single post. Don’t think it looks hip or smart, momentarily, but there is no upside impact, particularly on Facebook. In fact, the reverse is true.

Each HASHTAG should have a purpose…

The essence: In all forms of advertising, marketing, social media, and networking you are vying for people’s attention within brief and/or limited time constraints. It is important for your words and images be pithy, crisp, motivational, interesting, and memorable.

To rambling about topics which don’t pass the ‘Who cares?’ test is not just a waste of a reader’s time, it increases the likelihood they will tune you out in the future.

Facebook offers many options for people to lessen your presence, including demoting you to acquaintance status or turning off the appearance of your updates in their news feed. So, with those choices (and others), to unfriend or block someone and likely offend them; you can simply silence them.

Just what is Ham Sandwich Marketing? It is my buzzword phrase, inspired by the aforementioned book. It is my notation of meaningless posts and status updates that are useless and annoying to everybody but the person who initiated them.

Example: “Just had lunch at Wolfgang Puck with Susie, Johnny, and Big Al.”

My response (Either mentally or actually, by Direct Tweet, Direct Message or Public Facebook Wall Post): “Did you have a ham sandwich?”

ham sandwichIt’s my not-so-subtle sarcastic way of nudging the poster or blogger with the subtext: “I read your item. Am I supposed to know who Susie, Johnny and Al are? Am I supposed be impressed you lunched at Wolfgang Puck. Why don’t just tell me you had a ham sandwich. That would be equally unimpressive and unnecessary?”

If you’re lunch was outstanding, take a picture of the ham sandwich. post about the freshly made Dijon mustard, the soft fresh-baked roll, and what variety of ham was involved. Then there is possibility of being entertaining. Otherwise, you’re just engaging in Ham Sandwich Marketing.

In today’s fast and furious world of communications, being boring is a big crime. Being irrelevant is a felony offense.

Don’t waste people’s time. Be interesting or be gone!

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Wedding Marketing Rehab…

Wedding Marketing Rehab
Photo Credit: Tim Sudall

Tuesday afternoon  at Wedding MBA, kicked off with Wedding Marketing Rehab. Andy Ebon held up a metaphorical mirror to attendees and peppered them with questions about WHY they use specific marketing tactics, their purpose, and measuring results.

The goal was to encourage people to pause, and take inventory of their marketing path. Then, armed with new information and tools from the conference, hit the reset button, change, optimize, and implement an updated, purposeful marketing plan.

Andy lampooned abandoned blogs, websites that haven’t been updated in years, and totally useless hashtags… among others.

One of the specific tools (or ‘truth-tellers) he encouraged was RescueTime.com. A quick download in Windows or Mac will enable a regular summary of your software and website activity. A weekly report arrives, via email, helping you understand, quickly, whether you are bring largely productive, or frittering away minutes and hours on unnecessary distractions.

Joe Fabitz
Contributing Writer
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Forum Spam: You can stay, but that noise has to go!


Noise comes in many forms. Usually, we think of noise as sound. Spam is also noise. Useless Facebook posts and Tweets are another form of noise.

Of late, a big irritation is poorly targeted posts within Facebook groups. I manage several groups for myself and clients. Most of them are professional groups. Mostly wedding industry business groups of one sort or another. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t notice or think about the following:

  • It isn’t a group targeted toward brides. So why are their posts targeted toward brides, not businesses? Didn’t you notice what you signed up for.
  • It’s a national or international group. Why are you posting about a meeting in Oshkosh, WI or Providence, RI. You are annoying all but 1/2 of 1% of the audience.
  • A group is often operated by a single person or company with a specific mission. If your company has a competing mission, don’t make announcements on their Facebook Group page; make them on your own… or on non-competing groups that have relevance to your product or service.
  • Pride in a major league accomplishment is usually cool. People like to see others succeed. Shameless Self-Promotion is almost always two thumbs d0wn. Different people will react in different ways. Think before posting.
  • Golden Rule: Don’t encroach – Try to see potential invasion or encroachment through the group manager’s eyes. If it might be offensive or intrusive to you, assume it is 100% intrusive to them. When in doubt, ask permission.

Here are my plans for dampening the noise, going forward.

  • All Facebook groups, blogs or other gathering places, I manage, will include a ‘guidelines’ document. I expect that some number of people will read the rules… others will ignore them.
  • I’m considering enforcing an approval process for every comment/post. That will slow down the real-time value of posting and responses; however, I’m going to at least give it some thought.
  • I’m planning a near-zero tolerance for post topics, outside the group guidelines. That will result in posts being deleted, some posters being deleted from the group, and other posters being banned permanently. In reality, there is no such thing as a permanent ban; however, the offender will have to seek out the group owner or admin and grovel for re-admittance. Those who have posts deleted or are removed should probably write the owner/administrator and ask for the reason.

One of my favorite sayings in life, is:

“Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.”

Nobody’s perfect. I’m know I’m guilty of making such mistakes from time to time. And, occasionally, I have to ask for lenience or forgiveness. As a group owner or administrator, I’m going to take stronger control on behalf of my group members.

If we lose a few noisy people, it will mean less annoyance for the rest. And that should improve the participation and discourse.

“You can stay, but that noise has to go!”

Social Media words to live by.

Other reading: Wikipedia page on Forum Spam

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert