Keeping workers AND customers safe via an innovative retrofitted door

A safe way to transact, especially for restaurants and eateries. Remember to follow Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington @SMBizRevolution on Twitter to see how Deluxe Corp. is right beside small businesses navigating the pandemic together. A summary of the show (“Small Business Revolution”) is below and a bonus tweet beneath:

See all past guests on Techmania411: Click here

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What is Hashtagify.me?


Q: What is hashtagify.me?

Daniele Mazzini:

hashtagify.me is a hashtag search/discovery engine. It’s free and gives you some basic analytics data too. It allows you to find which hashtags are the best ones for your goals. Cybranding’s Hashtag Intelligence is the paid hashtag tracking and analytics option. Hashtag Intelligence lets you get very detailed data and analyses about the hashtags you’re interested in – either because you are doing a campaign yourself, or because you want to piggyback on somebody’s else campaign.

Q: Let’s hear the backstory of how this all got started.

Daniele Mazzini:

In 2011, I had a different day job and a side project. The side project had a website, and I wanted to find ways to promote it through social media – this is how I discovered Twitter hashtags. Hashtags allow you to conduct and find interesting conversations on a topic on Twitter, so I went out looking for hashtags I should use to promote my new website… but I didn’t find any good way to do so! I found this world fascinating, and I came up with an idea for a useful and cool way and visual way to do hashtag research. This is how the first version of hashtagify.me was born – as a hobby project son of a side project. Lots of people found my free service useful, and hashtags started becoming more and more important. In 2013, I decided to try and create a business around this, so I improved hashtagify.me, made it more professional-looking and added features, and then created a paid, in-depth analytics solution for marketers. You can visit cybranding.com and take a look. 🙂 Now we’re growing and I’m looking for bigger funding.

Q: Do you have any very visible ambassadors? If so, who?

Daniele Mazzini:

Well, some of our users are well-known on social and some of them like to talk about us, like Ann Smarty, Kim Garst, Kristi Hines, Kimberly Reynolds, Brandon Schaefer, and others.

influencers-access-buttonQ: Oh! I know Ann fairly well as well as the other names too. So what are some common misconceptions about your technology? As in, people thinking it will do X but it really doesn’t. In other words, where the user was mistaken.

Daniele Mazzini:

The biggest misconception is that we will automatically add hashtags to your tweets. This is something we don’t do, because it has a very high spammy risk. Another one is that sometimes people think we will do the analysis for them, but right now we only give a tool to do that – it’s up to you to use it. But, we’re also thinking about a project – a “hashtag university” to give suggestions and guidance.

Q: Let’s talk strategy. What are good ways to use your technologies?

Daniele Mazzini:

Let’s start with small businesses. Small businesses, especially if they have an internet presence, can benefit a lot by using hashtags. Hashtags are one of the most powerful ways to get yourself known without spending a lot. There are two basic strategies I advise small businesses to use: One is to find relevant hashtags in their field/niche and then create a list based on those. Then use them in relevant tweets. For example, if you have a video editing service, you should find out which hashtags are used by those interested in that field, and every time you have something interesting to share, use 1-3 hashtags that are relevant. And here’s how we help with that: Our technologies allow you to find which hashtags are both relevant and popular enough. You start with some keywords you think will interest your target audience, then you search for those in hashtagify.me to see how popular they are, what their trend is, and which other hashtags are related to them.  You can further narrow down to come up with a list of anywhere from 5-15 hashtags, depending on your field. Keep them in mind and use them strategically.

The second strategy is: When you’ve found your relevant hashtags, you should try to understand who their top influencers are, and connect with them! Learn what they write about, retweet them, engage them. Also, try to find out which influencers aren’t too big and therefore out of reach for you.  Add value to the conversation around the hashtag, keeping a special eye on the top influencers! This will require time, but it can have great payoffs. One of the best uses of our pro tool, Hashtag Intelligence, is that it makes it much easier to find and understand the influencers.

Tracking some specific hashtag campaigns, either by you or your competitors, is another use case, but this usually doesn’t apply to small businesses. Launching a hashtag of your own usually requires too many resources.

Q: Does your technology work on Facebook? I heard Facebook uses hashtags now, as well as Instagram. I have accounts on both Facebook and Instagram but I don’t use those platforms much at all and have never hash tagged anything on them.

Daniele Mazzini:

Hashtags are VERY useful on Instagram, but that’s not so true on Facebook at the moment. For now, we only analyze hashtags from Twitter as we continue to work on adding Instagram and Facebook. But for the most part, what’s trending on one platform will often be trending in others. So you can still use hashtagify.me to find relevant hashtags for Instagram. Of course, there are some hashtags which are specific to one platform, such as Twitter chat hashtags. Those don’t belong on Instagram. But there’s a lot of cross-pollination and interesting usage between all the platforms. For example, #igers, which means “Instagrammers” has a Twitter popularity score of 63 out of 100. If you want to see what’s popular now, visit hashtagify.me/popular/en

This has been interesting. Thanks so much Dan.

Here’s a promo video about the pro tool:


O Tech Canada! Snapshots of 3 tech-heavy companies born north of the border


Let’s talk about the coolness happening north of the border – And it has nothing to do with temperatures. Canadians are no slouches when it comes to creating innovative or popular technologies. Below are quick profiles of three Canadian companies helping the world with useful tech.
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Sniply – URL shortener for social media marketing

Toronto-based Sniply isn’t “just another link shortener”. Have you ever seen a cool and great webpage but you can’t remember how you landed there, nor who shared it with you? If you tap into your natural memory to try to remember, it might be easy if the “cool and great” content was shared by someone you know well. But if one of your 12,000 Twitter followers shared it, and you two hardly interact, then chances are you’d need a reminder of some sort, assuming you want to thank or engage. The technology offered by Sniply helps to boost engagement and recognition by placing a small overlay on top of a webpage with a note from you – and it can even include a CTA and show your face pic too if you’d like.

Sniply also provides a standard retweet icon to encourage people to retweet the page with your custom note. There’s nothing to download, and you can customize the appearance of the overlay for extra impact, or to tie into your branding. CEO Michael Cheng said “Sniply falls under the umbrella of online marketing tools, but it’s in a hybrid genre because it involves social media too.” If you share often and utilize Sniply consistently, you can boost your brand and even be “top of mind” because your face pic can be easily overlayed on top of pages. For an example of that, click here to see my Sniply’ed author page on SmallBizTrends.com.

A few weeks ago, Sniply reached agreements to acquire Denver-based Hoverpost and Paris-based Headshare.



Lightspeed Retail – Inventory and POS software

Founded in 2005 around the time of Apple’s resurgence, Lightspeed Retail offers affordable solutions for retailers. Brick and mortar stores can use it to sync inventory with their e-commerce site, and store employees complete transactions from any device, even off-site at a conference or pop-up store. It can also manage a full POS front counter that works with cash drawers, scanners and printers. Reporting functions are also available so best-selling items can be identified and ordered ahead of demand, or to see which employees are top performers.

CEO Dax Dasilva noticed stores and boutiques lacked modern serious solutions. Existing tools were only handling one element at a time, e.g. payment or inventory. The company believes it’s important for commerce platforms to use a single database, especially when new stores are opened.

Now backed by Accel Partners and iNovia Capital, Lightspeed actually operated without backing from 2005-2012. Dasilva said there was some help from Canadian government programs, but credits much of the early success to bootstrapping. Last year’s introduction of “Lightspeed Cloud” was significant to its growth. Today, the Montreal-based company employs more than 200 people. More than 19,000 stores in 30 countries use Lightspeed to process 7.3 billion in annual sales. For years, this kind of enterprise-level tech was accessible only to big box stores. Now any retailer can have the same type of management software for under $100 a month. Lightspeed helps clients manage and sell products like clothes, wine, toys, ski equipment, and pet items. There’s even a whole street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood where nearly every store uses Lightspeed, and a marquee client is the Kardashian-owned boutique known as DASH.



Predictive Success – Workforce acquisition analytics and consulting

The cost of a bad hire can hurt a business even after the employee is long gone. Interviews often don’t tell the whole story. Predictive Success, based in Toronto, offers secure tools to help companies design jobs, attract the right candidates, onboard new hires, measure progress, develop experts and succession planning, and more. According to their website, 8,000 clients (including 80 in the Fortune 500) and 28 percent of Canada’s best managed companies use their systems.

President and CEO Dave Lahey said “If you’ve seen the movie Moneyball, you’ll understand the importance of a data-centric philosophy. Using data, companies are able to reduce uncertainty for the frontline leader and increase efficiency, proving that evidence beats opinion.” Predictive Success provides clients with ongoing training and is part of a network of over 300 associates including academic leaders. Tools, workshops and webinars are available in multiple languages.

The company’s “Connect” enhancement integrates their staple Predictive Index (“PI”) with 20 web-based solutions such as Oracle/Taleo Business and Enterprise Editions. The Predictive Index assessment was developed and validated in compliance with EEOC Guidelines, as well as standards set by the American Psychological Association and the Society of Industrial & Organizational Psychology.

Disclaimer re: compensation received: None. Unrelated gift received at a later time via a special unrelated promotion, i.e., gift was not pre-arranged and not given quid pro quo.

Small Businesses Have a Friend in Signpost: Marketing Software Helps Reach and Maintain Customers, and it’s Cost Effective

Do you own a brick and mortar business? You’ve got a friend in Signpost

According to research by IDC, small businesses are getting more comfortable using hosted software for better customer insights. Why? Costs are now lower and the actual software is easier to use and better now compared to even just 2-3 years ago. And it’s only up from here. One such SaaS provider is a company named Signpost.

Among many things it can help you do, Signpost gets your business’s details listed on Yelp, GooglePlus, MapQuest, and dozens more sites. It helps at different points in the sales funnel, such as capture of emails, follow up, encouraging your customers to review you on important social platforms, suggesting different campaigns for you to try, and tracking the amount of your visitors (and conversions) including a map so you can see where visitors are viewing you online. Signpost’s monthly pricing is affordable compared to expenses like hiring a social media marketer or using a dedicated CRM system.  In addition, it lets you create a conversion page without hiring an SEO or an expensive local marketing pro. Adjuncts like MailChimp or Unbounce are absolute headaches for many businesses, and can be removed from some scenarios thanks to Signpost. The fewer steps, the better, right? And what business has time for techno mumbo jumbo? None.

Client Samantha Shih of 9Tailors.com said “Signpost is an economical way for us to reach a broader audience and get our service directly in front of those searching for custom suiting and shirting. It’s like having a robust, yet inexpensive marketing team at your disposal. They do all the legwork for me, managing our online presence, attracting new clients, and remarketing to existing contacts. Unbeknownst to me and my team, we were already listed in dozens of online directories and databases beyond the major players like, Yelp, Google, etc. What was disconcerting is that somehow those listings contained my personal mobile number! Signpost ensures that your information is corrected and up-to-date. By adding engaging content and an offer to our listings we now convert online traffic and get new long-term clients in the door.”


All businesses need to market their products and services, keep track of customers and build loyalty. Signpost is an option for automating these “front office” tasks that are essential for customer relationships. Relationships are the lifeblood of business, but as they get complex, they become tougher to manage. Co-founder and CEO Stuart Wall said “We’ve only scratched the surface of meeting the needs of small businesses in an increasingly tech-driven economy. American small businesses represent a huge addressable market and there’s an equally large opportunity to create technology designed to improve their success. Automated cloud-based software — particularly those platforms that improve efficiency and effectiveness in front office operations — has the potential to be the solution for small businesses and a sustained future growth of the American economy.” Their Twitter address is @SignpostSMB. For more info or to speak to a sales rep, visit their main website at www.Signpost.com