We’ve all been there; using a hashtag that is relevant to our Tweet, but not being mindful of the actual purpose of a hashtag. It’s easy to spiral down the nonsensical hashtag hatchet, but in the end, this behavior has the potential to negatively impact your brand. Take a look at this clip from the Late Night show with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake to witness just how ridiculous hashtags can become when used improperly.
Fortunately for marketers across the Twitterverse, there are ways in which you can properly and effectively incorporate hashtag marketing into the mix. Here's how:
1 – Use Localized Hashtags
If you offer products targeted to a specific area, take advantage of the local hashtag(s). For example, here in Northern Vermont, #BTV is a popular hashtag in the Burlington area. Typically, metropolitan and highly populated areas have their own hashtags, so consider using this effective resource to boost your local marketing efforts.
2 – Leverage Trending or Industry Hashtags
Utilizing trending hashtags can prove valuable for easily gaining attention to your brand. However, using trends in a way that viewers appreciate can be tricky. Make sure that if you’re using a trending topic that it is relevant to your brand or product and that you’re not coming across too desperate for attention. This source allows you to be mindful of what people are looking for, and gives you an opportunity to largely grow your audience reach.
Much the same idea, using industry-specific hashtags can provide new opportunities as well. We often use #InboundMarketing because it relates directly with our industry and types of posts. We have ideas to share, and using an industry hashtag allows us to specifically target a select group of people interested in the same topic. Though industry hashtags do not offer quite the same popularity as a trending hashtag, they are often a better bet, granting a more precise audience-base.
3 – Host a Competition
Nothing gets users participating more than a competition! Depending on your product-line, consider hosting a competition where participants are entered to win a prize. Competitions can be big or small, depending on your reach and the prize offered. Provide a branded hashtag where participants can submit entries. An entry could be as simple as an answer to a question, or could go as far as submitting a photo or video.
Not only will this method get users actively participating with your brand, but it will also expand your reach as participant’s followers see the Tweet on their newsfeed. This is such a broad opportunity that the sky is the limit for what you can do, how many people you can reach, and the growth you can create.
4 – Create a Hashtag for your Event
If you’re holding an event, provide a specific hashtag for attendees within your promotional materials. This is a space where attendees can ask questions about event details beforehand, discuss and make relevant posts during the event, and further the conversation after the event is over. Again, this provides opportunities for growing your reach; when attendees Tweet, they are promoting the event to their friends and followers. Chances are, some of these followers are like-minded, and would also have interest in your event. Plus, this gives attendees more freedom to participate with your brand – before during and after – the event. In general, this will expand the power of your event and really grow capacity for participation.
5 – Nurture your Customers
Not surprisingly, consumers are turning to social media more and more to clear up their questions and concerns. Sending a Tweet these days is much quicker and easier for consumers than sending an e-mail, and there is an ever-growing expectation that brands participate by answering questions and fixing any problems sent their way.
Use this to your advantage by creating a hashtag where consumers can send their questions and concerns. Unlike relying on your handle alone, hashtags can provide an outlet where viewers can browse through previous questions and answers. They might find the answers they need without having to send out an additional Tweet. Ultimately, this will show that you are open to conversation, and are easily accessible.
Ever make a goof with a crazy hashtag? Share your stories below!